Our Pleasant Facade of Decency

Something to Celebrate part 2

My phone alerts me to the most unpleasant news headline one can imagine: “Inside rebel held Syria, where children beg to die “.

I begin to read the article because that’s what decent people do when alerted to injustice — they look into it. Ultimately we do nothing but we do investigate because that is the decent thing to do. Before I can finish the article, my patience with decency thins and I finger further down my news stream as I search for something to reestablish my pleasant mood. 
“A Porn-Free America? Republicans Pledge Expurgation Of ‘Public Health Crisis’ That Is ‘Destroying The Lives Of Millions’”

I have to look away from my phone screen to organize my thoughts. I tell myself, you’re here for AVN focus. So I search Google for old AVN-related articles and begin to drift off while staring into the video poker screen in front of me lying flat across the bar top. As I gaze deep into it, the lights on the unpaid machine gazed back at me. I guess my phone is situated in front of me in a way that must appear to anyone looking at me as if I’m thumbing through Facebook because I hear a deeply-accented Indian voice, using perfectly stated and understandable English, ask, “Are you OK, buddy?”
I say, “Oh, I’m fine, thank you.”

The gentleman offers another question. “So what’s happening in the world of fake news and ugly children?”

Turns out this is Raj and Raj isn’t only trying to make a funny about Facebook but also was trying to get to the bottom of my distraction for he had attempted, and failed, on several occasions during my trance to inquire about the availability of the empty bar stool to my left. We progress through the pleasantries like regular civilized people do and Raj takes the seat to the left of me. And through those pleasantries I gather that Raj is a software developer from a place I never bother to inquire about. In an attempt to maintain our convivial environment Raj says, “So what had you in such deep thought?”

And in an attempt to support our convivial environment, I stifle my honest answer and reply, “I do more than I can handle. And I am here, at this moment, thinking about several articles I have read pertaining to the event tonight.”

I use my eyes to gesture towards Raj’s overflowing Adult Video News Convention swag bag, which was carefully wrapped and cocooned by his jacket and situated deep under his feet so any words, symbols or signage identifying the very indecent Adult Video News are carefully covered from the possibly prying eyes of the decent people of this Las Vegas casino.

Then, in the most pleasant way that things of this nature can proceed, I continue with my self absorbed rant. “Seems like plenty have come to the AVN Awards and written about their experience from the perspective of the ‘too cool for school’ journalist blighted by the opportunity to cover the Adult Video News Expo awards ceremony. Some articles in recent years have depicted the event as underwhelming and on the decline when compared with ‘the glory years.’ So underwhelming that some have felt that covering the events of a festival of eager sex industry workers wasn’t sufficient to make an article scandalous enough. Some felt that they needed to make themselves and their sexual exploits the focus of the piece. One lady wrote about how she came and got laid.”

I pause and look at Raj with an expression to mean, ‘Can you believe that?’ His eyebrow raises in a way which shows, in an act of being pleasant, he doesn’t want to reveal that I have lost him. And as oblivious, pleasant people do I continue, “It’s my honest belief that any moderately desirable woman could get mounted in a church during Sunday mass by a married man if she felt the desire to proposition said man in that holy structure. So I found it weird that anybody thought it was news for a woman to get laid, never mind get laid at a porn convention where a one-legged cyclops female midget could probably get sodomized, cunnilingasized and score a three-shoot contract with the Brazzers production company within ten minutes of entering. Certainly I would consider it more newsworthy if a game female entered and exited the four-day event without having intercourse of any sort.”

Raj doesn’t smile. He pulls on his American spirit and muses for a moment. I interrupt his internal trip with a question, “You going tonight?”

“No, the tickets are quite expensive.”

Indeed they are. Between $300 and $5,000 dollars expensive. Such an unpleasant price to think of, never mind pay. So we agree, like agreeable men do, on how displeasing the ticket price was. And Raj, like a pleasant, agreeable man, not wanting to upset our convivial environment, offers no more questions because Raj is typically pleasant but atypically observant. And as a pleasantly observant man, he observed and appreciated my need for mental space, leaving me to drift off to my own place.

And in a very agreeable manner, that’s exactly what I do. And in my space, I continue to use my own prejudices and those prejudices which I have read and those prejudices which I have absorbed though a lifetime of being brainwashed to form my pleasantly small-minded opinions. But anyone can grow tired of retreading old thought patterns and reinforcing narrow-minded ways of thinking that need no reinforcement. So, unfortunately, I grow tired of being pleasant, and I pay my tab and vacate my stool. But before leaving, I offer my extra award show ticket to Raj, and as pleasant people are, because he is pleasant, Raj is grateful and accepting.

Later that night, I arrive at the award show and I am impressed in ways that events of this nature tend to impress the impressionable. The event is very well organized, likely because those who were paid to organize it did their jobs well. And why wouldn’t they? Who knows why I expect the things I do, but I did expect that an event celebrating sodomy would be a bit more… I don’t know…. second rate. I must have been an imbecile to think, even if only for a second, that the organizers, who organize such events, might allow some fluff girl to be in charge of the pyrotechnics or a nominee for best gangbang to spearhead set design.

Like most agreeable, pleasant people, I need to make things fit in their neat little boxes so I can move comfortably though my pleasant, oblivious life with my civilized herd mentality. So I make these unfounded assumptions. What an incredible imbecile I was because second-rate it is not and impressed I am. The event is as well put-together as it could be, from its floors to its ceilings, all the little things in between, and as grand as one could imagine. Serving as just a quick reminder to me not to let one’s own biases intrude on one’s own common sense and good logic.

I should have expected a great show from this lot, being that this industry, as much as any industry, resides in the state of the art of visual technology. And if your industry is on the cutting edge of visual tech, logic should have lead me to believe that your industry’s defining ceremony should look damn near like a Star Wars scene seen though a pair of 360-degree VR goggles viewed by John Logie Baird days after he invented the precursor to the television, and it does.

For today, tech is king and the king has bestowed upon his humble servants of smut a bounty of visual technology and eye candy for them to use as they will for their celebration. From the lighting to the multiple fifty-foot high-def flat screens on stage to the camera-equipped drone which is then attached to a large neon green blimp that hovers over the crowd, the gala’s aesthetics are a few steps beyond impressive. At one point during the show I think back to what one writer wrote about last year’s award show, stating that it was somehow on the decline when compared to years past.

Yet another typical thought pattern of pleasant people, to think things were better ‘back in the day.’ I myself am not a huge fan of ceremonies, but I can say that I’m not sure how the show could be much better unless ‘back in the day’ it was held on a space station with a perpetual orgy in progress on stage throughout the festivities.

But those are all just props; it’s people that make events. Is it not? Well, all the people are pretty and everyone smiles and most everyone says the right things except for when the things said are crass but those are the right things as well because this is a celebration of not just the freedom of expression but of free will.

Oh yes, the people who perform the unpleasant acts on camera do not do what they do for art or pay alone, they do what they do because this indeed is what they want to do. Against what Reverend Bob, Grandma Ethel and Senator Kate may think is in the best interests of them and theirs, these crusaders of sodomy stand in protest with their performances, with their convention and, this night, with their celebration. For these people are no less pleasing and proper than Grandma Ethel. And no more unsavory or uncivil than Reverend Bob, who condemns pornography out of one side of his face and demands money, to provide for his lavish lifestyle, from his indigent parishioners out the other side.

In fact, these people can be pleasant and proper and do what most pleasant and proper people can’t: they can, like my friend Raj, recognizing I was distant and allowing me my space do as I please, be pleasant and proper and civil while also, in a very pleasant and proper way, without judgement, allow people the space to live their lives the way they want while they in turn live theirs.

My friend Raj, by the way, never gets to see just how magnificently pleasant an event organized by an industry of indecency and unpleasantries can be.

Maybe he has had his fill of indecency, or maybe it is he who was tired of being pleasant, or maybe it is me whom he found unpleasant. I will never know, for my friend Raj is a no-show.

The whole production makes me think of how amazing it is that as long as humans have inhabited the face of the Earth we still have not grasped the concept that, of all the freedoms that we have seen fit to define by words, sexual freedom is likely the least harmful of all. Forget the simultaneous penetration of someone’s orifices by multiple phalluses somehow being a threat to human morals and civilized society; history has shown us that judgment and intolerance is what is truly uncivil and unpleasant.

Great show, AVN. Thank you for the experience.

Also by M. Wheeler Books
The Preceded by Chaos Story follows Mitchell, a young Emergency Medicine Doctor from Volume 0 to the plus volumes, as he and his views of the world around him change; as well as, following him retrograde in time through the minus volumes as the reader explores the chaos that cultivated the need for Mitchell to transform into something better…

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