I was watching the third season of the TV show “24” when I came across actress Andrea Thompson.
I remembered her many nude scenes. I remembered her going to work as an anchor for CNN Headline News in June 2001. I remember the controversy at the time when all these nude photos and video clips then showed up from the 1980s. She was gone from CNN in March 2002 after causing great embarrassment to the network.
I remember finding great hilarity in her shame. I remember writing things that were cruel. I was stirred by the hubbub in the journalism community about the hiring of an actress who used to do nude scenes to read the news. There was an emotional undercurrent of — who’s this uppity whore?
I remember when I was a struggling actor in Hollywood and hearing the advice against working as hookers because directors and producers don’t want to hire for acting those they’ve paid for sex.
I remember the contempt that many in Hollywood felt towards porners who tried to join their club.
So as I’m watching Andrea Thompson on “24”, I’m thinking, it is true that you’re going to be treated with less respect if you ever pose nude. And journalism functions for many of us as an alternate religion. We view the pursuit of the truth as a holy calling and we think of ourselves as a kind of priesthood and we don’t want anyone sullying our ranks who’s ever posed nude.
I’m thinking of insecurity, sex and shame. I’m thinking about how the feeling of insecurity drives me to want to lash out. I’m thinking about my huge need to feel superior to others. I’m thinking about how hard it is in therapy to talk about doing things that unethical. I’ll confess to all my sexual sins in a heartbeat, but any time I’ve done something demonstrably and needlessly cruel to somebody, some kind of theft or carelessness, I can’t face it. I can’t face myself doing anything unethical. I have this image of myself as a good person and it is really hard to confront those times when I am not.