Tag Archives: Vanguard

Is Porn Becoming A More Acceptable Career Choice For Women?

The latest porn-related headline fodder and worst parenting nightmare come true: Laurence Fishburne’s 19-year-old daughter Montana Fishburne making her very public XXX-rated movie debut in order to get famous and successful. Her inspiration being Kim Kardashian’s claim to fame after her leaked sex tape.

Oh, really? This is the sort of twisted causal logic I would imagine for The Onion to come up with than an actual human being.

The less scandalous news that you may or may not be aware of: more and more women are working in the porn industry behind camera, even as higher-up executives. For many women, as the ones detailed in an old news article “Women On Top: Female Execs Rise In Porn Biz,” working in the adult industry is just another 9-to-5 job. That part of your industry that involves naked people getting it on in front of the camera? Whatever.

A while back, the no-limits documentary team Vanguard did a fascinating episode on the changing face of porn in their episode “Porn 2.0,” which also acknowledged the increase of women joining the industry as non-actors.

So is it a good thing that more women are in the porn industry a good thing? Are the increasing numbers of women  in the XXX business an opportunity to make adult film more women-friendly, or are they simply being brainwashed by an inherently misogynistic system that exploits women? 

Allison Vivas, president of her own adult entertainment company Pink Visual, asserts in her opinon piece in The Daily Princetonian that being a feminist and working in porn are not mutually exclusive. After all, in gay porn and lesbian porn, heterosexual male desire is not even a part of the equation.

Certainly, more women working in the industry makes for more diverse interpretations of sexuality that aren’t about drunk sorority girls showing their titties for free. But no matter how progressive and gender-equal the porn industry becomes with more female directors, executives, writers and marketers calling the shots, trying to get famous for a pre-emptive “leak” of a sex tape and announcing your intentions for doing so probably isn’t the best strategy for a long-term career that lasts more than your 15 minutes of Warholian fame.

Originally published August 2010

photo by: Helga Weber

Thank You, Recession: A Look At The Opportunities That Can Only Come From A Big Crisis

Forget all the depressing news stories about the ongoing economic downturn. What are some things about the current recession that we can actually be thankful for? 

"Thank You, Recession" is the name of an episode by "no-limits" documentary series Vanguard that made my day over the weekend. Two reporters travel 5,000 miles south to Argentina, a country that went through its own economic crisis back in 2001. They interview local young people, business owners, factory workers, and families to hear their personal perspectives on how the recession has changed their life and their coping strategies for living in a post-recession world.

Though I am certain there are many untold stories of unbelievable suffering and heartbreak from the recession in Argentina, I was extremely moved to hear the simple and innovative way the Argentines have learned to deal with the crisis that wiped out the life savings of nearly every resident in the country. Factory workers have taken over abandoned factories to create an entirely new business model where every worker has a say in the direction of their business. One man in his twenties has started a successful print magazine highlighting stories of young people coping with the recession. Communal bartering centers have become more popular than ever, where men and women can swap clothing and household items for food, and vice versa.

Towards the second half of the episode, Vanguard then takes a look at the innovations that have begun in America in response to the ongoing recession.

The main take-away I got from the episode is this: the recession is certainly not the end of the world, and every crisis comes with its own set of unique opportunities that otherwise would not have existed. Having extremely limited resources forces many of us to churn out creative and innovative ideas to make do with what we can afford.

As articulated by one young entrepreneur who co-founded her own recession-themed clothing line, it may be possible that we will all one day look back on the economic downturn with some weird nostalgia. Will we all be throwing ironic recession-themed parties five, ten years down the line? 

Watch the episode for yourself to dare to be inspired by our ongoing recession.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / origomi

It’s Not Unpossible: 7 Non-Trashy Non-Celeb Websites That Make For Good Brain Food

For every time I get sucked into clicking through another trashy celeb-related photo slideshow on The Huffington Post (I never learn), I try to balance my internet-surfing with some thought-provoking, intelligent content that replinishes at least half of the dead brain cells that shriveled away with every new picture of Lindsay Lohan sitting in the courtroom with her "fuck you" manicure.

Yes, I know. Waaaay easier said than done.

Which is why it’s important to celebrate online blogs, websites and communities that actually find an audience based on original, intelligent, creative content. I love me my crass celebrity gossip and bullshit horoscopes of the day, but I also love learning really wacky things about human psychology. Or innovative ways technology is helping improve the lives of people in impoverished countries. Or how visual language continues to evolve in how we consume information.

Here’s to online brain food, in alphabetical order, that doesn’t always stoop to the lowest common denominator. Also, I would love to hear your favorite online destinations for nourishing your curiosity as a passionate lifelong learner. School may be out for the summer, but fun learning never stops! 

Big Think. Steal the knowledge of the world’s biggest thinkers via essays, videos and articles across every field imaginable.

Boing Boing. The ultimate information porn for nerds and geeks. This blog is a never-ending reward of cool information nuggets pulled from all over the web, mixing in absurdity, profundity and relevant current events told from an interesting angle. Cat stealing women’s undewear? Jesus’s face spotted at a Canadian water park? Random video animation of street graffiti? I dig.

GOOD.is. Interested in doing the world some GOOD? Learn everything you need to know about helping do some good in the world through interesting articles, relevant videos, and their eyecandy infographics about the latest hot-topic issues. In addition to being an online destination for the do-gooder in you, GOOD is also a quarterly magazine with 100% of your subscription fee going to a charity or cause of your choice.

Information Is Beautiful. An ongoing curation of the latest and best infographics visualized into some cool eye candy. With information and data getting more and more complex, today’s visual thinkers are coming up with more and more challenging and innovative ways to convey statistics in graphical form. Even creation myths across different cultures can be summed up into a graphic composed of colorful symbols.

 Ode Magazine (www.odemagazine.com). Its slogan speaks for itself: "The online community for Intelligent Optimists." Tackling many social issues and current events from climate change to alternative medicine, Ode focuses on not just the problem ailing humanity, but the innovative solutions that the world’s pioneering scientists, human rights activisitsts, artists and everyday people are coming up with to make the world a better place for everybody. It isn’t every day you find a news site that makes you feel more intelligent AND more optimistic for humanity.

Vanguard. Streaming for free on Hulu.com, four news correspondents tackle challenging topics in their "no-limits" documentary series ranging from the cocaine mafia in Italy to the high levels of sexual assault taking place in Native American reservations across America. Every episode is an unforgettable rude awakening of what is going on in the world right this second.

WNYC – Radiolab. What happens in the afterlife? Do animals have souls? Do human limits exist? Podcasts about scientific curiosities combined with big philosophical questions, all condensed into hour-long episodes that can make your next long car ride or house-cleaning session a fun and enlightening experience.

Not in the mood for smarty stuff? Check out a list of 8 silly and absurd internet blogs for some major LOL.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / kalidoskopika

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