Despite the sex columnist’s claim that consuming porn is a completely healthy activity, I don’t know anyone who actively fesses up to the habit. And in this, the age of share-all — see Facebook’s new action-based interface that’ll let you know that Mark is listening to LMFAO or Mark is rubbing one out to South Central Hookers 24 — even my most blab-savvy pals fall suspiciously silent on the topic of porn.
That all changes, however, when the subject of alt-porn — and we’re hardly talking about the art-minded work of porno-teurs like Richard Kern — arises. (Or “arouses,” I hear you chuckle. Well, aren’t you the comedian, Big Pun.)
The Suicide Girls member I know defends his porn habits by saying, “I joined it because my ex became a model. She now lives in Kentucky.” The Burning Angel subscriber? “There was this hot hairdresser I knew from Montreal on there. It’s funny to watch her shove shit up her ass.” How about God’s Girls? “It’s classy, man,” he said. “Plus, they don’t exploit their models like they do at Suicide Girls.”
Um, excuse me? Exploit their models? Are we still talking about porn, where girls get anally fisted with their head dunked in the latrine? Listen, it’s cool if you’re down with porn. It’s the intellectual dishonesty that gets me. It’s all part of the rationale behind being into alt-porn — it’s not that disgusting, abusive, old-man-creepy, exploitative porn, man. It’s porn for the punx. It’s beautiful girls — part of a shared subculture bound by music, aesthetic and politic — reclaiming an artform dominated by the lecherous male gaze. It’s a subculture that’s jamming an industry that, by some estimates, swallows a full quarter of all web searches every day.
Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. So, I decided to review three punk-themed vids to see how “alt” alt-porn really is.
TITLE: Bad Musicians Make Me Wet (2009)
SITE: Burning Angel
STARRING: Every-scene-girl Andy San Dimas — whose working name surely references the Ataris’ embarrassing 1999 hit rather than Bill and Ted’s — and two penises
PLOT: Opening on a wall scrawled with the Dim Mak record label’s logo, San Dimas plays a record producer who, inexplicably, is blowing one of her terrible musician-clients. Another prima donna client — complete with a faux Euro accent — busts up the scene, upset that he’s not receiving her full attention. San Dimas, displaying her penchant for customer service, satiates the upset client by telling him he’s as good as “Jesus” — and proceeds to fuck him against a pole. Eventually, she ends up joysticking two dudes, resulting in a double-shot man-batter facial.
MISOGYNY RATING: For all the band T-shirts, lady executives and honest-to-Dan Savage dialogue, this does precious little to reboot tried-and-true porn narratives. Why, for example, is a woman in a position of power banging her subordinates — aren’t they the ones supposed to be doing her favours? Why do San Dimas’s customer service solutions involve spreading her ass cheeks? Who granted a third-party guy permission to participate in what was, to that point, consensual sex between a couple? What does Dim Mak have to do with anything? Further, its title — Bad Musicians Make Me Wet — is clearly meant to capture the gaze of Skankin’ Pickle cover bands everywhere. F for fail.
TITLE: Suicide Girls Must Die (2010)
SITE: Suicide Girls
STARRING: Amina Muster, Bailey Suicide, Bully Suicide
PLOT: Part Jersey Shore-style reality TV show, part campy horror spoof, Suicide Girls Must Die follows 12 girls to a remote cabin, filming a photo shoot for SuicideGirls.com. After encountering a cranky landkeeper and a homeless man living in the woods, the girls start to disappear one by one — but not without voyeuristic nudity dispersed throughout.
MISOGYNY RATING: I get that this is trying to be cheekily self-aware: Yes, it’s loosely about a photoshoot for their website. Yes, talking-head interviews and staged drama makes this feel like terrible reality TV. Sure, there’s a play on countless horror-flick memes dispersed throughout. And yes, the nudity can only be classified as inoffensive (cough, weaksauce). Presumably, this is alt-porn as it’s meant to be — occasionally snarky, while finding creative ways to portray and use sex — but this hardly feels transgressive. Even worse, it’s boring — something that it achieves despite its liberal titty shots.
TITLE: The XXXorcist (2006)
SITE: Burning Angel
Starring: Joanna Angel, Kylee Kross, Tommy Pistol
PLOT: It’s a take on The Exorcist, duh. Chained to a bed, a priest (Pistol) is asked to do anything to help a possessed child (Angel). After trying the standards — you know, reading Bible verses and whatnot — he’s forced to perform a sexorcism on her. Bonus points: The Exorcist’s head-spinning scene is spoofed. That, and there’s a crucifix-shaped dildo. Y’know, because sacrilege has never been this fun!
MISOGYNY RATING: For its title — and its explicitness — this might be the most progressive of the bunch. Feeling more like deliberate homage than sex flick, this is simultaneously gross, funny and explores the evident sexual tension underlying plenty of classic horror flicks. However, The XXXorcist dissipates that tension in the most obvious of ways: by having sex. It’s almost genius in its simplicity. If Re-Penetrator, the X-rated spoof of ’80s cult classic Re-Animator, is anywhere near this hilarious, maybe there’s hope for alt-porn after all.