Unsexy Sells

Aug 29, 2009 • Opinion

With all the tweeting, social sharing and oversharing, many are starting to wonder if the information generation hasn’t turned into the chronicler generation. Funny guy and radio host Steve Dahl is worried about it. In his column last week, he ruminated about our current penchant for sex tapes:

Has the memory card replaced actual memory? With the leak/release of that nudie tape featuring actor Eric Dane, his wife, Rebecca Gayheart, and 2002 Miss United States Teen (not Teen USA) Kari Ann Peniche, I have to wonder if it has. Can’t anybody have a good time anymore and just remember it?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? “Esse est percipi,” said the philosopher George Berkley–to be is to be perceived. This is the mantra of our generation, as shown by the tweeting, Facebooking, Flickring, Blipping, Foursquaring, etc. that run rampant.

Do our lives make no sense without an audience? And can we only understand things as an audience–even things that occur to us?

I blog to remember. And let me tell you–it’s come in handy on more than one occasion. Who doesn’t like photos and videos of their treasured moments? Or just some random moment? Who hasn’t looked back at an old tape filled with nothing in particular and smiled, somewhat horrified at how silly they appear, how ridiculous their hairstyle or fashion choice, but marveled just the same at how young they were then?

Most of us grew up with parents who chronicled our every move. Photos, videos. Some of them kept our letters, old drawings, report cards. My parents still have an old math test I bombed.

My grandmother got me journaling when I was young, by quoting Anais Nin to me, “write to live things twice–in the moment and in retrospect.”

So what if sex tapes are not like porn, as Dahl says? Real sex looks nothing like porn. Real people don’t have directors, or lighting and sound guys. People filming their sex are more into the sex they’re having than getting the right angle.

Of course it’s going to be less stellar than porn. The people involved are sharing a moment, not creating a fantasy. That’s why the sex tape will be filled with bizarre conversations–like McDreamy trying to figure out his porn star name and Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee discussing names for a stoner cookbook.

That’s what makes sex tapes interesting–they’re not fantasy. They’re real. Real is not very sexy. But if the prominence of reality entertainment products is any indication, unsexy sells.

Thumbnail image by Drew Ressler.