Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Ron Jeremy, "Hardest (Working) Man in Show Biz" (2007)

Ghost-written by Eric Spitznagel.

This is the third autobiography of a porn industry star that I've read in the last year. Each of them are unique, but this one stands out from the rest. Jeremy - if his reputation isn't already familiar to you - is likely one of the most prolific and longest-lived male actors in the porn industry. He has apparently appeared in about 1,700 movies, and moved on to directing them. He has also dabbled in stand-up comedy, 'serious' acting, and now, books.

What is unique about Jeremy's book? He has little negative to say about the industry. He didn't seek it out as a career (he hoped to be a legit actor). He came by it as what he thought might be an entree into serious work, and as an alternative to working with special needs persons.

This leads me to another unique aspect of Jeremy's book. He has a Masters degree in Special Education. He had a good relationship with his parents. He claims to not be a drinker or drug-taker. In this regard, Jeremy's experience of the sex industry, then, comes not from desperation, addiction, depression, or abuse. For him, it seems to have been a pretty decent job that evolved into a career.

Compared to Holmes' and Jameson's books, Jeremy's inattention to the dark side of porn work comes across as disingenuous. This is not to say that everyone's story has to be sad or terrible, but as a male actor who realistically profits off his female (co-)stars, it might have been a good service for him to recognize what like is like on the other end of the penis(es) in the industry. The difference is particularly discernible when he spends time discussing his love of animals, but gives so little attention to ingrained sexism and systemic abuse and risk problems for women and men in the porn industry. Even his discussion of conflicts with the law come across more as failed comedy routines than genuine legal struggles.

The book is entertaining, no doubt, and Jeremy comes across as a nice enough guy; a little naive, a little simple, a little goodhearted. His book is a cotton-candy version of the porn industry. For those looking for fluff, it does nicely. For those looking for something more insightful, balance out Jeremy's view with the biography of John Holmes (another prominent male star of the industry), or Jenna Jameson's book.

A pretty good summary of the book is available at The Bookbag.

My discussion of Jenna Jameson's "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star (A Cautionary Tale)"
My discussion of "Porn King: The Autobiography of John C. Holmes."

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