Porn not so taboo anymore

Renee Rosenow

Even after the release of “Pirate’s of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End” almost two years ago, pirates are still relevant in many more ways than Homecoming t-shirts with “Why is the rum gone?” printed on them.

While the coast of Somalia has had its fair share of problems without Captain Barbosa or Will Turner, a few other pirate movies have set records and made headlines.

According to an article in The Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper, the university’s Campus Events Commission chose to run a free screening of “Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge” last Wednesday on campus. The group also brought in the film’s director and many cast members for a post-screening question and answer session.

That may not sound too thrilling, but this pirate movie isn’t really tied into the previous three blockbuster installments. With a budget of $8 million, “Pirates II” broke the previous record of $3 million for a pornographic film previously held by the first “Pirates” movie.

Although the screening and question and answer session was deemed a success by the events commission, it brings up an interesting gray area in film production publicity that isn’t very surprising.

According to the article, the reason the commission chose to show the movie and host the Q&A was to “spark (a) dialogue of how the adult film industry, mainstream media, and regular films are becoming so (similar).”

Most students around the country were not alive to see the buzz and controversy surrounding “Deep Throat” in the 1970s, which was also screened by the UCLA commission. But the film was commonly well-received by mainstream media and opened many discussions previously forbidden by generations afraid of saying a three-letter word.

Because of “Pirates II’s” colossal budget for a porn film, it was treated to a big screen release in September at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. Many of the stars of the film were impressed with the Hollywood-like feel given to a genre of film that is normally screened in a building where you can only enter in the back door and the windows are opaque. Yet another example of a closing gap between porn and feature movies.

So why would Hollywood continue to incorporate pornography into its world? Simply put, sex sells.

As a society, we are constantly bombarded with commercials attempting to sell a product because it makes you more attractive to the opposite sex. We can turn on a television and channel surf during prime-time programming and easily stumble upon sexual innuendos or actions. On top of that, porn screams of controversy and increased media attention because of the industry’s reputation for misogynistic behaviors, frequent drug and alcohol abuse, and accusations of human trafficking.

Likewise, Hollywood and its products have all but sucked the oil well dry. It’s hard to find a summer or winter blockbuster that isn’t based off of a book, video game or comic and isn’t just a high budget remake of a movie made many years earlier. It’s clear the industry is running out of ideas and the easiest way to remedy that is with something sexy or violent. Considering “Quantum of Solace” pretty much used up all the chase scenes and explosions left in the tank; the one thing left is the always-reliable sex.

Porn stars are also increasingly making transitions onto the big screen in acting roles. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh has cast 20-year-old porn actress Sasha Grey in his upcoming movie “The Girlfriend Experience.” Likewise, fellow porn star Katie Morgan played a larger than cameo role in Kevin Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” which also featured Traci Lords, another crossover who has taken on roles in multiple television shows and movies. Porn legends Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson are just as recognizable names to the average person as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

All of these factors have led to the multi-billion dollar porn industry continuing to grow and expand into mainstream America. The Internet provides easy access to any type of pornography you can spell on your keyboard and this allows porn stars a better chance of crossover success because of Generation X and our generation’s desensitization to their profession. Sex is no longer as taboo a subject as it once was, and cyberspace’s vast libraries of free pornography have been a catalyst.

It’s only a matter of time before we see a porn star on the red carpet and in the pages of People Magazine because of the increased assimilation of the profitable industry with the mainstream lights and cameras of Hollywood.

McCormick is a senior print journalism major and managing editor of The Spectator.