The Mean Streets

I’ve walked down some mean streets in my life and met a lot of bad guys who frequently have keener insights into life than the good guys.

People become good by having consideration for others. Take David Suissa for example. He’s a good guy. He takes other people’s feelings into accounts. He doesn’t just lambast people in his Jewish Journal column.

Then take me. I’m not as connected as David. Except when it comes to my closest friends and community, I write what I think. If the writing is good (if I want to read it), then other people’s feelings are secondary (particularly if they are public figures).

I remember when I was writing about the XXX industry, many porners said to me, “You just want glory (big scoops) and you don’t care who you hurt.”

These pornographers tended to have keener insights into human relations than many esteemed professors of psychology, sociology, women’s studies, etc. No pornographer is so stupid as to believe that men and women are identical except for the plumbing.

I remember the wisdom I found on Feb. 29, 2000:

James DiGiorgio, the technical director, says, “Aja [born in 1964, she entered porn in 1987] plays a hapless waif named Honeysuckle who
delivers pizza…”
Aja smiles and shows off rune tattoos on her lower legs. “That’s my
shield knot. This symbolizes a spiritual journey.”
Her religion is Asatru, pre-Christian Northern European ancestor
“I was very disappointed by the movie The 13th Warrior,” says Jim.
“The ending was lame.”
“I was looking to see if it was historically accurate,” says Aja. “And it was. I liked that the guy from Morocco was just accepting that the Vikings had their own gods and he wasn’t trying to push his god on them.”
“Yet he did not forsake his god,” says Jim.
“Right, there was respect for both cultures. That’s what I liked about it.
And he was willing to learn and have an open mind.”
After the first scene, we eat pizza and talk about religion.
Aja brings out a book (The Germanization of Early Medieval
Christianity: A Socio-Historical Approach to Religious Transformation by James C. Russell) to try to settle an argument with performer Kyle Stone.
He’s not impressed. “Look, even [porn actor] Nick East wrote a book,
so what does that prove?”
Various porners say how stupid the Bible is and how wonderful
paganism is. Kenji, the 350-pound still photographer, calls for a return to child sacrifice.
None of the porners around the table believe in God, except perhaps
Kyle Stone.
“I’ve never thought of it as a person,” he says. “More as an energy.”
“Does God monitor what you do and reward and punish you for your
behavior?” I ask.
“No. It’s more of a collective conscience. You should monitor what
you do.”
“He’s a spiritual accountant,” says Kenji.
Aja expounds on her book. “It’s just talking about missionary work and how dangerous it is to go into other societies and try to change their behavior.”
A few minutes later, the porners grouse about the lack of ethics in their business.
“People don’t give a shit if society passes laws that say ‘Thou Shalt
Not Steal,’” lectures Jim. “They’ll steal anyway. They’ll just assume they won’t get caught. But if it is God who says ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal,’ how do you get away with it? Because God is omniscient. He sees all and knows all and you cannot hide that you stole from God.”

In season three of the TV show 24, Jack Bauer is revealed to have a heroin addiction. He claims he used heroin only to get in with the Salazar brothers in Mexico so he could penetrate their drug ring. Most of the good guys buy this explanation, but drug lord Ramon Salazar knows better. “You didn’t need to take heroin to establish credibility with us,” he tells Jack. “You did heroin because you were running away from pain.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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