23.2.14

Sunday ka Funda

"Screw it, I’ll just be a porn star.”

What started as a joke became real. This is about Lauren, a student, desperately trying to finance her tuition fees, who landed a job as an adult film actress. And how it was not as bad as it is made out to be; in fact, how it empowered her to do with her body only what she wished, not what was forced upon her by lovers, spouses, exploiters.

16 comments:

  1. one of the least quoted observations of gandhi is: how many husbands rape their own wives; how many women prostitute themselves to their own husbands?" the implication is that unless there is the mutuality of interests between the two persons, and instead there is the ulterior motive each one's own, it is the sexual exploitation.
    and the physical body is not between the legs, woman's or man's. a wholesome body of a person is all one's thought, speech, emotions, actions and interactions. so any interaction that is not formed of the mutuality of interests is the exploitation of the live human body. it is prostitution using the different body parts. and ultimately, all modern human interactions that are compensated in money are forms of prostitution.

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  2. Hi Farzana,

    Certainly a felicitous turn, that the high cost of an education at Duke should indirectly facilitate her landing a job in the adult film industry and thus "empowered her to do with her body only what she wished, not what was forced on her by lovers, spouses, exploiters." Doubtless she'd still have been stuck in that same coercive routine should an education at Duke have been free? Irony abounds . . .

    For example, there is a certain irony in the juxtapositioning of higher "higher ed" (Duke, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Harvard, and the like) and finding oneself compelled, however felicitously, to quite literally bare all for them that pay (and for them that don't pay). She could have gotten a "quality" education anywhere in the world (quality being a relative term -- it being, after all, about what one does with what one has been given, with what one takes and/or with what one trades for in quid pro quo) -- indeed, one can well imagine the porn-biz to have it's educative aspects; but not, perhaps, with quite the same accompanying cachet as with that of "higher," more exclusive knowledges purportedly to be obtained solely in and amongst the ivy . . .

    And apropos, perhaps, to Alice's garden door through which she could not fit, certainly some might infer that it's the more subtle (and thus costly) cachet that, key notwithstanding, opens doors wide enough to gain access to that which lies without . . .

    Mind-boggling. From the interview, it appears the young lady got everything from her comfortable, "conservative" family except that which she needed most.  :)

    Mark

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  3. Anon: "ultimately, all modern human interactions that are compensated in money are forms of prostitution."

    So what does that make the policeman who enforces laws outlawing prostitution to earn his/her paycheck..doesn't the above statement seem to be a bit of overgeneralization? Just saying...not that I have any moral objections to the sex trade as long as it does not involve human rights violations by being some sort of slavery, as it is in many cases.

    Hi Mark, FV, higher education in the US is expensive even in state schools -- depending on what career one chooses. If it is medicine for example, then a 100,000$ loan is guaranteed. Granted private schools like Duke a little more expensive than publicly funded universities, but the tale of this student is more of the norm than the exception. In my observation, most conservative people are only conservative in the religious sense and don't fit the mold of the stereotype of the US conservative crowd (republicans) -- it is a different matter that the rich conservatives who control the party cynically exploit the moral convictions of the poorer religious conservatives in order to win elections. I guess this student could have chosen to attend a cheaper school, but then all she really has to do is change her name legally and dye her hair and cosmetic modifications to her appearance (colored eye contacts and maybe a fake birthmark :-)) after graduation to not have her history in the porn industry follow her around. Basically, the meek are not going to be inheriting the earth any time soon, because the bolder ones will take it.

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  4. Al,

    >>higher education in the US is expensive even in state schools<<

    Not really. Tuition at Lizard-Lick U. is about $50 a credit hour, which works out to about $600 per semester, give or take. Books are exorbitant (some almost as much as the course itself will cost you; but the adjuncts, both young and old, who teach most undergraduate courses are not without sympathy, lol). $1200 a semester in-state tuition plus books is about right, with graduate level courses, as you note, an actuarial percentage of what you might reasonably expect to be making on the job, i.e. not so much to break you; but enough to keep you chained.  :)

    Of course we haven't discussed the cost of lodging, meals, transportation and health insurance . . .

    >>Granted private schools like Duke a little more expensive than publicly funded universities, but the tale of this student is more of the norm than the exception.<<

    Not really. There are means-based grants, scholarships and government guaranteed student loans available (many colleges would go belly-up without them) with parents and/or students expected to make-up the difference out of pocket. Some states use lottery proceeds to help defray student education costs. From what I could gather from the interview, her folk(s) made too much money, and were therefore liable for most, if not all of her tuition plus expenses. At $4,000 per *month,* she and/or her parents may have been a little too bold in their (middle-class?) aspirations. Therefore, I'm not sure *I'd* call her a poster-child for the education pyramid-scheme here in the U.S.

    >>In my observation, most conservative people are only conservative in the religious sense and don't fit the mold of the stereotype of the US conservative crowd (republicans) -- it is a different matter that the rich conservatives who control the party cynically exploit the moral convictions of the poorer religious conservatives in order to win elections.<<

    In my observation, Al, another's morality and/or ethics has little to do with one's own faith.  :)

    Mark

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  5. "Tuition at Lizard-Lick U. is about $50 a credit hour, which works out to about $600 per semester, give or take. Books are exorbitant"

    Mark,
    I was thinking of out of state tuition fees which is pretty exorbitant, plus as you mention, one needs to throw in other must-haves like insurance, books and whatnot. Of course, Lizard-Lick university is world renowned for quality education at rock-bottom prices :) -- your larger point that there are less expensive colleges that may not require a side-career in porn to sidestep 11% interest loans for a few 100K$ is well taken. But then, "personal ambition and aspiration" does not always involve rationality. Remember seeing various rich and famous people hanging around Duke campus many years(decades) ago, so it is clearly an upper end school (though it is not Ivy League formally speaking, or was not, anyway).

    http://blog.collegetuitioncompare.com/2012/09/228-us-state-university-tuition.html

    " From what I could gather from the interview, her folk(s) made too much money, and were therefore liable for most, if not all of her tuition plus expenses. At $4,000 per *month,* she and/or her parents may have been a little too bold in their (middle-class?) aspirations."

    I think there is a yawning gap between making enough to be able to fund education for all your children, and making enough to own a house and live a middle class life, but not enough to pay the mortgage and a couple of cars AND a few education loans...can be done, but I don't think americans save that much as a norm to be able to do such things. Being in debt is a very american thing, from what I understand :)

    "In my observation, Al, another's morality and/or ethics has little to do with one's own faith. :)"

    True, but on the other hand, morality is a good cover for ones prejudices and invoking a "higher power" and saying cute things like "hate the sin, not the sinner" to cover up for passing judgement on someone else. :) "hey, it is not for me to say, but the good lord has a real problem with you doing X and leading a life of sin" is the kind of rhetoric one hears over and over, spoken softly without cuss words, because that is more important than the prejudice and bigotry evident behind soft words, apparently...but I digress.
    -Al

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  6. Mark, as an aside, it has always struck me as odd that americans, for all their "free speech or bust" attitude seem to have no problems with Pearson Education, a privately held company (with each stock costing about 20,000$ last I heard), publishing 100% of all the books. Pearson Education owns Wiley, Prentice-Hall and all the textbook publishers a decade ago, and I would be surprised if anything has changed now.
    -Al

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  7. Hey Al,

    Thrilled, of course, that we understand each other. Yes, my "not really" response to yours was indeed to point out lower-cost alternatives to these . . . well, if not truly ivy, certainly, after a fashion, boutiques for hot-house plants.  :)

    As for Pearson, I can't speak to their market-share at university here in the U.S. They certainly appear to cast quite the giant shadow over primary and secondary schools however. As far as "free speech or bust" americans tolerating such monopolistic practices as give industry (in general -- not just publishing, with which I would include news and newsmedia, e.g. Murdoch, et al) so much leverage over their lives, I would attribute it to a certain kind of fatalism for those who *might* be conscious of it. It's kinda like investing or besieging a castle. Defenders have to be alert and on-guard 24\7. Those doing the besieging can pretty much pick and choose their moments to whittle away (subterfuge, undermining, infiltrating) at the castle defenses. Where will your average american -- busy servicing his and/or her respective debt, as you note, for the mortgage and a couple of cars AND a few education loans (not to mention their credit cards maxed out on various and sundry "consumer" items) -- find the time to become informed about such things, much less do their bit in holding the line? You say that's what american consumers pay their elected officials to see to? That's what the US Attorney General's office is for? That's what the US Supreme Court holds the gates against? Well, perhaps; but there is also quite the compelling argument to suggest those bastions have already been well and thoroughly breached.

    Ah, but now *I* digress. Really, my original response to Farzana's Suday ka Funda entry was to remark on how truly happy Lauren sounded in her interview. She apparently now has lots of dosh and is none the worse for her exertions. Her felicitous tone was positively infectious, which may account for the interviewer's avidly supportive questioning of her, giving Lauren a virtually unprecedented opportunity to quite freely air her views. How's that for free speech, Al, hmmm?  :)

    Near as I could tell, Lauren had finally got some sympathetic understanding that perhaps formerly (at Duke or at home) had not been forthcoming to her. Not at all like RG's interview.  :)

    M.

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  8. " How's that for free speech, Al, hmmm? "

    Hey Mark, was just kidding about the free speech bit in the earlier post -- the US certainly protects free speech more than most countries. Though you say the wrong thing, and speech could become quite expensive (in terms of litigation fees :)) -- but then given the non-existence of free speech even in the rule books in India by design, I can only wish India provided even a fraction of the economic and social freedom that US provides...of course, social freedom in the US depends on where you live, but still. One of my thesis is that strong law and order is a pre-requisite for free speech, assuming the rule books actually support that concept very clearly. Unfortunately, Indian constitution allows "reasonable restrictions" on free speech, where "reasonable" is so vaguely defined that the courts need to step in to interpret it everytime the constitution is cited...oh well.
    -Al

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  9. Hi Farzana,

    Apologies for the digressions. Can't seem to keep my train of thought on the tracks to save my life, but that's an old habit. And if you will allow me, I would like to formally raise my clenched fist whoever it was that mimicked my writing in your comments section while I was away from here.

    thanks

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  10. There was another student who was also known as "london belle" a masters/phd student who was urgent need of funds to finance her studies and she become an escort. While in university I knew 2 students who used to work in strip club to finance her studies. Some student find it easy money and don't find it immoral!

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  11. Anon:

    Mahatma Gandhi is not quite my man to exemplify any such morality. The term "mutuality of interests" is itself about transaction and, therefore, not different from "parts" vs. whole. I do get your point about the mind's primacy, though.

    RA:

    Financing studies by working for some con job fly-by-night operators or wily corporates can be construed as participating in immorality, too.

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  12. Mark:

    I do not think of the choice she made to be only about funding education, although that was the initial motivation. True, had she not been spurred on by financing it, she might have been stuck in the rut of routine exploitation. But she got an opportunity to see a different world, however outside of the acceptable realm it is. Perhaps, this is the real education.

    I am not sure about whether she got everything from her family. 'Conservative' is limiting, so perhaps she also jumped into the adult film world because it appeared freer.

    A view from Alice's door perhaps?

    PS: Can't say I am riveted by your conversation with Al, but thank you for sharing. I can't figure out too much education :-)

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  13. Al:

    Can't comment on the edu biits, but this:

    { guess this student could have chosen to attend a cheaper school, but then all she really has to do is change her name legally and dye her hair and cosmetic modifications to her appearance (colored eye contacts and maybe a fake birthmark :-)) after graduation to not have her history in the porn industry follow her around. Basically, the meek are not going to be inheriting the earth any time soon, because the bolder ones will take it.}

    It is important to notice her statement about how those who 'outed' her are essentially hypocrites who watch porn, but have a moral problem with those who produce it. That is really a bigger issue. Wonder if we'd suggest that people who watch porn should camouflage their identities, although they do often hide their indulgences.

    So, these are the people who inherit the world. Who is the meek one here?

    PS: Ditto what I said to Mark. Thanks for sharing. Your note about digression was a digression!

    ---

    People, there will be typos. Treat them well...

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  14. FV:"That is really a bigger issue. Wonder if we'd suggest that people who watch porn should camouflage their identities, although they do often hide their indulgences. "

    FV, yes, there is certain hypocrisy of society at large (pretty much everywhere, save a few countries) in a system that forces women in certain ways for survival, and then bashes them for doing what they had to, in order to survive.

    Also the reason why I state why Lauren may have to change her name and obfuscate her identity once in the job market - this is almost a certainty given world views today. I expect a few more decades will change all this, but all of us here may not be around to see such change I would think.

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  15. Hi Farzana,

    For what it's worth, I figure it quite natural for folks to have more than one reason for doing anything. Some may call them (and usually pejoratively) "ulterior motives;" but there's also the expression (more often used admiringly or in self-congratulation), "to kill two birds with one stone." The latter speaks to a clearly abiding instinct among humankind for the "efficient," so called -- expending the least amount of energy for maximum gain. Thus, where Al observes that "'personal ambition and aspiration' does not always involve rationality," I would counter by suggesting such as *always* involving rationality. I daresay Lauren's readily apparent happiness in her present pursuits -- a happiness which I take to be genuine -- is in some manner linked to that efficiency factor, however subconsciously.  :)

    As regards the porn-watching hypocrites who 'outed' her (if I may), perhaps we could call them energy-thieves; or was the intent, rather, to rob her of her happiness? Both, maybe?

    M.

    Ps. Alice had to "get small," as we recall. Perhaps an analogy for casting-off one's . . . well, inhibitions, perhaps?  :)

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  16. "Thus, where Al observes that "'personal ambition and aspiration' does not always involve rationality," I would counter by suggesting such as *always* involving rationality."

    Hi Mark, Good point..I think I sub-optimally expressed my thought there. Lauren could have chosen a low risk and socially conforming path or a high risk/non conforming path, and she chose the latter. I meant that the choice may not have been consciously thought through -- it was certainly rational choice as you point out. Most people would choose the low risk path -- where risk is measure in unknown variables that might arise from choosing that path at different times in the future...but then there are risk mitigation schemes like I mentioned. If Lauren shows the same appetite for calculated risk (or maybe this was a one-time act of desperation, I don't know) then that would be to her benefit I am sure.
    Al

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