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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Jenna Jameson, revealed

It's become a standard joke that all actresses in porn films, no matter how insignificant their careers, are referred to as "porn stars." Jenna Jameson actually has been a star in that field: even if you don't watch porn, it's near impossible not to be aware of who she is, since she gets so much press.

(It's hard not to think that's because a lot of reporters are inveterate porn watchers.)

Two weeks ago the NY Post ran an article about her, Jenna Jameson goes on rant slamming Muslims and defending KKK. She evidently said there was a "Muslim rape epidemic."

Jameson, who is now engaged to an Israeli jeweler, Lior Bitton, and has converted from Catholicism to Judaism, compared Islam to the KKK:

“Do the klu klux klan follow a religion that orders the death of apostates? When was the last time we saw a klan member blow up infidels?,” she tweeted.

The star, who is due to give birth in April, has lashed out at Muslims before. In January, she drew fire for tweeting that Islam “promotes child rape, female genital mutilation, butchering non believers and polygamy.”

To say that the KKK is not as violent as radical Muslims hardly seems like a "defense" of them. And what Jameson said about Islam is true, even if such honesty is usually not a good career move. 

The article featured this recent, virtually unrecognizable picture of her:

Jameson does seem to have gone though a lot of changes in appearance over the years. Her pictures tell the story of someone who's never been happy with herself, despite having starting out as a beautiful woman. Here she is early in her career:

She looks vapid, and her implants are too big, but she's undeniably beautiful. And she seems to be glowing with health.

A little while later she became borderline anorexic:

When someone is constantly changing her appearance, it usually signals a deeper discontent. Here's Jameson with some ear piercings:

She has also decided to adorn herself with tattoos: 

As she got older, she seemed to acquire the soulless look of a sex worker:

And finally, as she slid further into drug addiction and alcoholism, she let herself get fat, even by the standards of pregnant women. 

Jameson always presented herself as nothing more than a sex object. She would put on a lascivious look, a sort of half sneer meant to convey sexual desire, or possibly sexual invitation. Maybe she figured that as a porn star this was how she was supposed to appear. But it came across desperate and pathetic. And obscene, in both senses of the word. 

And it made me wonder about her childhood. The cliche about women who become strippers -- or porn stars, or prostitutes -- is that they come from broken homes and dysfunctional backgrounds. As is often the case, the "Early life" section of Jameson's Wikipedia bio held the key:

Jenna Marie Massoli was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her father, Laurence Henry Massoli, was a police officer at the las Vegas Sheriff's Department and program director for KSNV-DT. Her mother, Judith Brooke Hunt, was a Las Vegas showgirl who danced in the Folies Bergere show at the Tropicana Resort & Casino. Her mother died of melanoma on February 20, 1976, two months prior to her daughter's second birthday. The cancer treatments bankrupted the family and they relocated in Nevada, Arizona, and Montana, usually living in a trailer home or living with her paternal grandmother. She and her older brother, Tony were raised Catholic, though they were essentially left to parent each other.

So Jenna grew up missing -- and undoubtedly romanticizing -- the mother she never knew, the glamorous showgirl in the Folies Bergere. Wikipedia does not explain why the family moved around so much; you'd think a police officer would be able to provide at least a middle class existence for his family. But the bit about how Jenna and her brother were "essentially left to parent each other" makes it sound as if the father was mostly absent as well.

Jameson's early life, right down to the trailer parks, was straight from that stripper playbook.

It was nobody's fault that Jameson grew up without a mother, an anchor to guide her, a steadying influence, and, mostly, someone to love her. But her entire life has reflected that early loss. 

I never would have expected to feel this way, but I actually ended up feeling sorry for her. 

Jameson is undoubtedly a difficult woman, and probably impossible to live with. But she doesn't deserve the bad press she's gotten recently, especially since what she said about Islam is largely true. It does promote a culture that's abusive to women. 

So maybe all those reporters who are taking such glee in her downfall and simultaneously preening about their political correctness should take a hard look at themselves. They might realize that they're mostly just angry that they never got a girl who looked like Jenna. At least not the early version. 


Anonymous said...

has "covered" from Catholicism to Judaism.

That's a typo, should read "converted".

Yeah, one does feel sorry for these sad, confused tribes. It all boils down to
the right childhood which is just luck, the hand of fate.


John Craig said...

Sherie --
Thank you, I will make that correction.

Yes, exactly, no one is responsible for the family they come from, that's just a matter of dumb luck. If you want to get really philosophical about it, sociopaths can't help their families either, and -- as is obvious from this blog -- I'm rarely sympathetic to them. So I don't know why I suddenly felt sorry for Jameson (and I'm not saying she's necessarily a sociopath, though she's obviously a difficult personality).

Mark Caplan said...

The Daily Beast has a funny bit on Jenna. She apparently started sending tweets (tveetz?) in Hebrew. Her Jewish beau, if you can believe it, reportedly filed fraudulently insurance claims for diamonds he said had been stolen. As Jenna has aged, she looks more and more and Jewish, or at least more and more like Joan Rivers.

John Craig said...

Mark --
I guess if this post was about anything, it was about Jameson's tenuous sense of self, and her conversion in a way mirrors her changes in appearance over the years. She's never satisfied with the current version of herself, and always wants to make a change, thinking that somehow the latest change will somehow fill the void. Jameson's changes in appearance were almost all for the worse; I'll leave it up to you whether her late in life religious conversion is an improvement or not.

(I can actually understand the tug of wanting to convert to Judaism: why not join the winning team? There are all sorts of benefits to being a tribesman, though it's questionable whether or not recent converts are ever really accepted as such.)

As far as her looking more and more like Joan Rivers, well, that seems to be a function of plastic surgery. It used to be that most plastic surgeons' ideal was Faye Dunaway, which is why so many women ended up looking like second or third rate versions of her. I guess the less skillful surgeons end up making their patient look more like the old, Barbie doll version of Joan Rivers.

Jokah Macpherson said...

"The cliche about women who become strippers -- or porn stars, or prostitutes -- is that they come from broken homes and dysfunctional backgrounds. "

I'm a little skeptical of this. I'd definitely agree Jameson fits this mold but I'm not necessarily sure that porn stars come from more broken, dysfunctional homes that the general population at large. It's kind of hard to test, though, since in spite of their "star" status, information on the childhood background for most of them is pretty scant.

Probably the most "mainstream famous" porn actor of the 2010's, James Deen, is the the son of two engineers, including a mechanical engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA. There could be something hidden we don't see but from the outside this looks like the perfect upper-middle class all-American family situation. Incidentally, it's kind of funny how it's the male actors who tend more often to move into mainstream cultural awareness (think Ron Jeremy). I guess it's part of a push to normalize porn for women, a much more difficult market demographic to penetrate (pun intended). The only recent female actor to gain mainstream media attention was Belle Knox, and not because of her popularity as a performer but because of the gimmick that she was a Duke student.

To her credit, there'll probably never be another Jenna Jameson. The business model the industry is shifting to doesn't really promote individual talent.

John Craig said...

Jokah --
That cliched background is probably truer for prostitutes than for porn stars or strippers, but I bet there's some truth to it. I just looked up Deen, and found the following:

"Now, his boy-next-door image is under threat amid allegations he raped an ex-girlfriend, beat up one actress and tried to force himself on another. He has not been charged with a crime, but the backlash has been intense."

It was from this article:

I have no idea whether it's true, but that would seem to belie the normal wholesome middle class image. (I'm not saying his parents weren't what you said, merely that there was something going on there which made Deen something other than wholesome.

Just read Ron Jeremy's bio, yes, he came from a middle-class background too. But I'd also say that -- and I should have specified the sin the post -- it's the women who are more likely to come from dysfunctional backgrounds. With men who do this, there's almost an element of masculine pride involved, whereas women who do this are sort of giving up any hope of ever being considered a "good girl." I know that sounds awfully dated, and it also assumes a double standard, but the fact is, there IS a double standard when it comes to these things. (Which is why "slut shaming" is a thing and "stud shaming" is not.)

Just looked up Belle Knox, too, her real name is Miriam Weeks. I hadn't realized she was half Punjabi Indian. She seems to be doing it almost as a political statement, or at least that's how she justifies it. From Wiki:

"As of 2014, Knox is pursuing a major in women’s studies and sociology and has expressed interest in becoming a women’s rights activist, and civil rights lawyer. Knox is a College Republican and considers herself a sex-positive feminist and libertarian. She identifies as bisexual."

But yeah, she comes form a more middle class background.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Nah, the "good girl" thing is definitely not dated. It's probably built-in firmware in the female brain since women get stuck with the hot potato, so to speak, after the sex act, and have a strong incentive to maintain support from their male partner and peers. The PUA's talk about all girls having an anti-slut defense (ASD) and the thing I find fascinating about it is that it's more of a defense against doing anything that would cause one to be perceived as a slut than against actual promiscuous activity.

I suspect a lot of the success in recruiting girls to the porn industry relies on them being "young and stupid" and not fully realizing the consequences of their actions. It just so happens that this impulsivity coincides with the age at which there's the most demand.

John Craig said...

Jokah --
I agree with you, actually, I just threw that "dated" comment in there as a sop to, I don't know, political correctness, I guess. Four million years of human evolution means that human nature is too ingrained to change with the political whims of each generation.

High Arka said...

Be sure to add echoes around (((James Deen))) and (((Ron Jeremy.))) One of early porn's characteristics in every European-based civilization has been that porn is about hideous Jewish actors screwing a succession of desperately poor young blonde white girls until the latter girls are broken and replaced. That's not so much the case any longer, as Hispanics get access to modern filming and computer equipment (although if you dig deep enough, they're still primarily financed by Jews, like other aspects of modern entertainment media), but in Jameson's peak, e.g. the twentieth century, it was definitely the case. Google "Jews and porn" if you want to do your own research.

Lucian Lafayette said...

Only vaguely related,

Since I habitually run down references on the internet, I went to the original article. As I expected, the article was internally contradictory, stating that she "defended the KKK" but also "got into a social media tiff with former KKK leader David Duke." OK, maybe they were disagreeing about which wine goes with Chicken Napoleon but I doubt it. Also, and at no surprise to me, there was no ability to comment on the article.

This leads to my theses, the more left-wing, rabble rousing, and sloppy the article is, the more likely it is not to allow any reader comments. This is very tough research. The writing is frequently abominably bad.


Anonymous said...

The term "porn star" has been an oxymoron since the widespread distribution of decent video equipment through consumer channels and especially since the Internet. We live in a saturated world of porn, made often by amateurs with nothing better to do, and consequently there is no need for the true "porn star" as such.

In the short era of "classic" or "golden era" pornographic feature length films, you had expensive theatrical feature films, and the term made some sense.