Monday, September 17, 2012

This is obscene

Please read "The Obscenity Police Are Coming," my latest on Forbes.

Basically I got tired of writing shit advice posts on my Forbes blog. How to do this. How to do that. The only reason people write advice shit is because they don't know how to do the thing. So take heed when you take advice.

I wanted to stop doing that. Which wasn't a super easy choice. Because shit posts about stupid things tend to get you a lot of traffic. Then people write you emails telling you how inspired they were by your words. And before you know it, you are a shit-turner-outer. Because it gets you paid and it gets you appreciated. So why would you stop doing that?

Only that's not good enough. So I decided I would stop writing shit, and I would start working on getting better at doing journalism again. So I did that.

I wrote about cupcakes first -- "A Cupcake ATM Dispenses Love" -- because that was easy. I felt sort of intimidated -- intimidated by cupcakes: sigh -- so I told myself it was a photo essay. And I took a bunch of photos to distract myself. Then I told myself the text was just captioning for the photos. And then it was done. So I posted that.

Of course, that was sort of silly. So I wanted to do something more serious. So I wrote: "Is Apple a Sin Stock?" That intimidated me for other reasons. Because it was about finance. And I don't know anything about finance. Or Apple, really. Other than I use their products.

So when I called up, say, the portfolio manager, I wrote the questions out beforehand, and I didn't say much other than ask the questions, because I didn't want them to realize how much I didn't know. I ended up really liking the portfolio manager. He was interested in the ideas of things rather than numbers, and I liked that. We had something in common, which I did not expect.

I also talked to a priest for that piece. I asked the priest if something bad that had happened to me was because I had sinned, because I was a sinner. He said no. He said that can't be the case because bad things happen to babies, and what have they done wrong? He said why God makes us suffer is a mystery, and when he said this I understood that he meant pondering this question, why does God make us suffer?, was maybe the thrust of his life, and if maybe I spent the rest of my days pondering this question, that would be enough. Because there is no answer. Only the question.

Then I read about how Romney would maybe launch a war on porn if elected, so I decided to write about that. "The Obscenity Police Are Coming" is what I called it. Usually, I write the title first. This time, the title came later.

I talked to an anti-pornographer, and a pornographer who went to trial and got off. I talked to a lawyer who defended a man who dealt in scat and bestiality porn, and then I talked to the man who made the scat and bestiality porn.

That man is Ira Isaacs. I talked to Ira years ago, before his first trial had started. Now it was three trials and an appeal to the Supreme Court and four years later, and Ira had been convicted and was telling me how long his sentence might be.

I like Ira. I always have. I told Ira I would visit him in prison. And I meant it.

I also told Ira that I would let you know that if you want to donate to his defense fund, you can email him here:

I also talked to a porn star and budding pornographer named Sovereign Syre. I couldn't link to her blog from my Forbes post because she posts too many sexy naked photos of herself, but you can look at her naked here

One of my favorite parts of the piece was the fact that photographer J.M. Darling allowed me to publish a photo he took of Sovereign at the top of my post. See. I think that photo made the piece. Thank you, Mr. Darling.

At first, the post didn't get a lot of traffic, but then it did, because it blew up on Reddit. Probably by the end of today it will be the all-time-most-read piece I've done for Forbes. So far it's gotten 153,000 views. At one point, it was the #1 most read post on And another post I wrote, "The Hardest Thing About Being a Male Porn Star," was #3. 

Now I want to do more in-person reporting. The Apple piece and the obscenity piece were mostly phoners.

I am best in the flesh. So that's where I am going.