Porn for Politicians, and Politics for Pornographers

Collage by Krist Novoselic
Apparition Of Cicciolina emerging from the allegorical closet. Krist Novoselic's column runs every Tuesday.
I was in Europe about 20 years ago, hanging out in a house with a bunch of guys one evening. We were smoking cigarettes and drinking plum brandy, and this being a "guy party," somebody busted out a porn video. I find most pornography boring, appealing only to men denied the female form. But this video was different--a Fellini-esque spectacle starring porn superstar Cicciolina that was part sexual excess and part variety show.

This is what blew my mind about Cicciolina (real name, Ilona Staller): She was actually an elected member of the Italian government.

Italy's--if not most countries'--politics are corrupt, and Staller even spoke to that on the floor of the legislature. I'm sure that people were tired of getting screwed by those in public office. Staller's election could be seen as people metaphorically screwing politicians in return. In fact, Staller still made hardcore porn while in office!

Porn and politics are not foreign to American elections. The California recall election in 2003 featured both a porn actress and publisher Larry Flynt as candidates. Flynt may not have won that election, but he's active in politics nonetheless. His niche is discovering the hypocrisy of self-righteous politicians.

Sex scandals abound in U.S. politics. We're used to seeing an apologetic governor or senator behind a podium talking about how much they regret their sexual infidelities. It's become so common that there's a ritual humiliation about it. No public statement/plea for forgiveness is complete without a grim "good wife" standing quietly next to her husband. Louisiana Senator David Vitter went through this rite after being connected to a Washington, D.C., prostitution ring. He apologized for this and says he's made good with God and family. Now he's going after the ultimate redemption--facing voters in 2010 to get re-elected.

The office of U.S. Senator grants a lot of pomp, power, and privilege. Vitter obtained this through selling himself as a righteous man. Larry Flynt runs for governor of California and gets written off as a smut-peddler. No wonder Flynt finds such delight in exposing politicians that grandstand their pious personal morality but in private have solicited hookers.

Vitter's opponents want to brand his personal failings on the minds of voters. That's where the Draft Stormy campaign comes in. Political operatives in Louisiana are calling on porn actress Stormy Daniels to run in the upcoming Senate election. Daniels is obviously used to being in front of a camera, and was articulate and congenial with CNN's Rick Sanchez. Not your typical politician, during the interview she didn't spin or dodge and was quite forthright about her profession and what she's doing with the election. Daniels spoke of the need to unseat Vitter. Not to get herself elected, mind you, but to unseat the senator. Daniels was also candid that her run for office was not her idea, telling Sanchez she's being drafted by "a political group."

We'll see if Louisiana will forgive Vitter, even as his opponents try to keep the sex issue alive. Not that Stormy has a chance of being elected--she recently got busted in Florida for domestic violence. Apparently she didn't like the way her husband folded the washing, so she threw a potted plant at him.

This incident is almost perfect: "Airing dirty laundry" is another cheap and easy metaphor, and with that I'll end my story.

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