A couple months ago while browsing in history section of the Barnes & Noble bookstore near me, I chanced upon a book which must have been misshelved, Corey Taylor’s Naked: The Life and Pornography of Michael Lucas. Intrigued by the sexy man on the cover, I browsed through to learn about a Russian Jewish porn actor and producer who is outspoken on a number of political issues not (directly) relate to the porn trade.
While this unusual combination intrigued me, I didn’t buy the book and indeed may well have forgotten it had I not earlier today read Jamie Kirchik’s New Republic essay on Lucas “Hard Right: Gay porn’s neocon kingpin.” Turns out this guy is an interesting blend of seemingly discordant parts (inciently a description which could be applied to many gay conservatives though the parts might be different).
A “staunch advocate of safe sex,” he makes sure performers uses condoms in his films, he has earned the enmity of many on the them, thankfully not for this safe-sex advocacy, but because he has frequently denounced “Muslim homophobia and anti-Semitism.”
Reading widely, he is well-versed in international affairs. He even blogs about them, though his blog (warning, it contains adult content) is far racier than ours. He even writes a regular column for the New York Blade. In this piece, he offers his thoughts on “Gay Takeaways” from the CNN/YouTube debate last summer.
Devoted to his family, Lucas uses the money he earned in porn to move his parents and grandparents to New York. He even “put his father to work as a set constructor on his films.”
While I can understand how (to quote another outspoken blogger who performed in the buff), porn “flattens the soul,” I don’t see it as necessarily a bad thing. Those who become addicted to it may well be destroying themselves; that’s not because of porn, but because they let it become a substitute for something else. Others find porn offers a temporary release, enabling them to get on with their lives.
While I wouldn’t normally find myself intrigued by the story of a “porn star,” I must admit Michael Lucas’s story does fascinate me. His regular video celebrations of casual sex do not cause him to lose sight of his obligations to his family. His professional focus on sex has not prevented him from opining thoughtfully (if a bit vitriolically at times) on a number of issues of the day.
But, the real “takeaway” (as he might put it) of his story relates to the essence of America and (what I believe should be) the essence of the gay conservative agenda–freedom. We may not like the way Lucas chooses to exercise his, but at least our nation allows him to do so.
Gay activists may not see the War on Terror as a gay issue, but Michael Lucas shows why it is. While they focus on other issues, fitting their liberal leanings, such as increasing the power of the state to promote “equality,” they would certainly defend the freedom of pornographers to ply their trade. A freedom they lack in Islamofascist nations, just as gay citizens there lack other freedoms we in the West take for granted.
While some might fault him for his trade, we should at least salute Michael Lucas for speaking out on an issue on which the heads of most gay organizations are, more often than not, silent. (They don’t want to risk offending their allies in the community of the oppressed.) This issue is of course the persecution — and execution–of our fellows in foreign lands. Methinks the lives of gay individuals is a far more compelling concern than state-sanctioned equality in a nation where we already enjoy so many freedoms, including sexual ones.
I may just have to return to Barnes & Nobles to pick up Lucas’s book.