James Deen is the biggest porn star in the world, and I’m looking at him, not on a screen, but directly into his eyes. His gaze penetrates me and instinctively I want to move with him, but I can’t since I’m fully clothed, cruising down an LA highway in the back seat of a car with three other people. Banging through Google Glass is definitely a mind fuck.
I’ve been dreaming of a Google implant since Sept. 2010, when I published part of an interview Nate Silver and I conducted with Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, in Mountainview, California. In our quest to learn everything about predictions while researching The Signal and the Noise, we asked Hal to make some about Google’s future. To my surprise and delight, he told us he thought there might be a brain implant by 2020. I told him to get cracking because I wanted one ASAP, and we all had a good laugh. The article I published also happened to contain the first mention of Google Glass, though I didn’t fully register the significance at the time (nor did the New York Times, as their big reveal of a smartphone-syncing “peripheral” leaked by an unnamed source within Google’s secret X labs came over a year later).
I also didn’t realize that The Atlantic would be hosting its annual Washington Ideas Forum in DC the very next day, in which the top editors were to interview major politicians and business leaders, one of whom was Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
When asked about Hal’s comment, Schmidt laughed nervously, shifted in his chair, then blurted out the following:
“There’s what I call ‘the creepy line,’ and the Google policy about a lot of these things is to get right up to the creepy line but not cross it. I would argue that implanting things in your brain is beyond the creepy line. At least for the moment, until the technology gets better.” He proceeded to change the subject to search.
I kept this journalistic cascade mostly as an inside joke with myself, but I did update the automatic signature on my Android phone to read: “Sent via my Google Implant.”
Fast forward to the announcement of the Glass Explorer’s program, and you can bet I was one of the first to tweet all the things I would do #ifihadglass. When I was selected, I freaked out like I had won the lottery.
A week before I was slated to pick up my Glass, I was in Seattle interviewing Jen McEwen and Jesse Adams, cofounders of MiKandi, the largest Android app store for adult content.
I’d interviewed Jen previously while researching something tangential, but wanted to meet with them to learn more about an email Jen had sent me:
“In case you or a colleague is interested in Glass Porn, I wanted to let you know that we got a pair of Glass. I’m pretty sure we’re the only ones in the adult industry who has Glass right now. And, yup, already applying Rule 34.”
However, when I met up with them in Seattle, they had bad news: Google had censored their fun. Tits and Glass, the app MiKandi’s development team had created to enable users to create and view POV porn via their Google Glass, wasn’t what Google had in mind for its beta app catalog. The app was pulled only a day after the team announced it.
“They quietly updated their terms and didn’t announce to anybody,” Jen said, “and then they punished us for it.” Although MiKandi voluntarily pulled the app when they realized Google had changed its policies to prohibit “Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material,” they discovered the next day that their API limits were set to zero.
Not to be deterred, Jen and Jesse figured that even if Google didn’t want users to watch porn on their Glass, there was nothing to stop them from recording whatever sexy footage they wanted and uploading it to the web. So they repurposed Tits and Glass to enable POV exporting and created a website that would house all the explicit content Google wouldn’t have gracing its light-refracting prisms.
There was one other thing they were going to do, Jesse told me, glancing at Jen. “We’re going to shoot the first Google Glass porn next week. James Deen is going to star in it,” she said casually. My jaw dropped. Ever since a friend introduced me to his blog, I’ve been fascinated with him and his diligently-curated enthusiasm about how awesome it is to be a porn star. I asked what they were going to have him do, and they said they didn’t know — they’d never directed a porn before. I started offering suggestions based on my own pre-formed Glass fantasies, and they invited me to join them at the shoot in LA.
“Perfect timing,” I said. “I get my Glass on Saturday.” They told me to bring it.
The day of the shoot, I was expecting to walk into a film studio, and was surprised to arrive at a generic office building. I knocked on the generic office door with my Super Mario Bros theme song knock, and was surprised when James Deen himself swung open the door. I felt all the blood rush to my face, and I stood there looking at the man, the legend, for what felt like an awkwardly long pause but in reality was probably only a second.
“Hi. I’m Arikia,” I said, finally extending my hand. “I have some Glass for you.”
When I interviewed him before the shoot began, he was friendly and eloquent and welcomed me to sit and talk with him while he ate a chocolate croissant. He even had a kind of shyness about him. He told me he wasn’t really sure what to expect from Glass, and that he didn’t have expectations about Glass or anything else as a general rule in life. He seemed, all in all, pretty normal for the world’s biggest porn star.
I’ve never encountered another Glass owner before, but it wasn’t until the shoot that it hit me how rare they actually were, and how valuable mine was to the shoot in that moment. Apparently there are only two thousand developer editions out there, and an additional two thousand went to winners of the Explorer contest. He wore my Glass during the shoot, and his costar, Andy San Dimas, wore the MiKandi developer’s pair.
At one point during training, he toggled the guest function off and almost tweeted something from my account. I laughed as I instructed him on how to get back to the settings menu while Andy was inadvertently recording.
When I asked James and Andy how POV shots were previously recorded, they both had responses that made their noses wrinkle. Apparently either a camera man would have had to be situated flush against the couple, or they would have had to rig up a contraption to secure a camera on the actor’s physical person. Tech bloggers can make fun of Glass all day and night, but it will always look cooler and more discrete than a GoPro Velcro-strapped to the side of the face.
While filming the back story, we were all milling about, (I may even have a cameo or two in the video). But when it was time to get down to business, everyone but the porn stars went in the board room and closed the door. The six of us sat listening through the walls, looking at each other and smirking as their well-rehearsed moans reverberated through the XBIZ office. Eyebrows arched when furniture crashed around. The baby panda, it seemed, had transformed into a ravenous beast.
After the shoot, I rode with Jesse, MiKandi’s lead developer and another employee to a Korean BBQ restaurant near downtown LA. We’d realized that because James Deen wore my Glass during the shoot and Andy had worn the developer’s, we each had the footage they recorded, not the footage recorded of them. So we switched.
During that car ride of ecstasy, I felt James Deen’s penetrating gaze looking deep into my soul as he hovered over me on that levitating projector screen in my eye. Having the object of so many of my lonely night tumbles through the red light sector of the internet looking into my eye with an expression of orgasmic bliss was so real that I gasped out loud.
The other three passengers laughed, but the developer was laughing with me, not at me, as Andy San Dimas simultaneously rode him in the passenger’s seat, in his mind’s eye. There were a lot of half-finished sentences as we tried to explain to our car-mates what we were experiencing.
I suddenly realized that we had all crossed a major technological bridge that day in the cyberotics field. By having two Glass-wearing users recording their intercourse that they were simultaneously experiencing, they were for the first time able to capture something that until now has been disingenuously manipulated; a genuine experience so many people throughout the world craved, that could be replicated for all their enjoyment. We’d all just test piloted the next wave of VR sex that would enable anyone with the means and the will to virtually fuck the lover of their dreams.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear if anyone will ever get to experience the magic that I did. With Google’s app policy as it is, apps can’t push porn into Glass — you can only view what you recorded on the device itself. You can’t even sync Glass with your computer like you can a phone or other external storage device, as the only way of transferring files from Glass is to dump them into your computer via Dropbox. There’s no way to put files into your Glass without jailbreaking it.
Seeing this footage reflected directly into my eye confirmed what I suspected ever since I read that Slate article about how James Deen is the champion purveyor of “porn for ladies.” While numerous male-authored articles featured hypotheses minimizing Deen’s appeal and female sexuality itself to the desire for sugar and spice and everything nice, (disregarding his moonlighting on hardcore bondage sites like Sex and Submission), I had a hunch there was a much more obvious common denominator: desire.
His blog conveyed this just as much as his video performances. Meeting him IRL, I could tell he was a true blogger, as he pouted a little when the MiKandi team informed him of the NDA issued until the video came out. Being in his presence that day, I searched for the synchronicity of his blog persona and who he really is like I have done so many times before throughout various communities. And I recognized it was the irrepressible output of a creative professional.
Watching his face transform in a way anyone has only ever seen in the most intimate of moments, un-disturbed by a lurking camera man to the point where he could laugh and play like he was just fucking for the hell of it, I confirmed that James Deen really enjoys “banging hot chicks.”
And for that moment in time, he really enjoyed banging me. And it was awesome.