PVV – autobiography POWER!!

I have many adult-related collections… really, you can call them stockpiles of content that I hope to one day use for some sort of project or paper.

Anyway, I have a steadily growing collection of pegging porn, TS content, and educationals (among many other things). I also own every single autobiography and biography written by or about an adult industry-affiliated person ever.

I find autobiographies (texts written by X Person about themselves and/or ghost-written off their own accounts) and biographies (about X person but written by someone else) to be really interesting sociological tools, but there’s a lot of debate about the usefulness of these sorts of accounts. Think about it…

On one hand, an autobiography is kinda like an in-depth interview – someone getting the opportunity to share all about them. Yay!!

But on the other hand, an autobiography comes with many points of contention – first there’s the story (the “facts”), then there’s the story that someone tells (i.e. do you make yourself out to be the hero and/or the mega ass you may well have been?), and then there’s the whole publishing process… what stories are deemed interesting and/or worthwhile enough to tell (and who makes those decisions?) and how are those stories edited/manipulated during publication. There’s a lot of room for slippage!!

And biographies are even more perilous because they involve all of the above concerns and the added bonus of having a third party author’s version of the truth built in.

So how the hell can these things – autobiographies and biographies – be sociologically useful? Well, in lots of ways…

First and foremost, sometimes they represent the only story and/or information we’re gonna get. For example, Traci Lords gave us her account of what happened in the 1980s in Underneath It All (2003), and she hasn’t really talked about any of that since.

(you can read all about Traci Lords in PVV’s Uncovered piece about her, which is here)

Second of all, the types of narratives that are told vary dramatically over time. For example: at one time, a story may be more “victim;” at a different time, the same story may be more “survivor.” These sorts of things vary within a society (i.e. we have definitely shifted from “victim” to “survivor” narratives) and may also vary over time within a person themselves – a person who may have, at one time, thought of their story like Version A may later on think of their story like Version B. Accounts give us markers by which to consider these sorts of socio-cultural shifts.

And third of all, autobiographies and biographies and the issues I’ve just outlined (among other things) give researchers and sociologists something fun to do!! Figuring out the social, cultural, and individual context and implications of a narrative is super challenging, but it’s also a fun nerd puzzle that only a relative few people are lucky enough to get to do.

(certainly there are many other ways in which autobiographies and biographies are sociologically useful, but three is enough for now)

So anyway, via the magic of the interwebs and Tod Hunter, I just learned that the John Holmes autobiography, Porn King, is back in print and is now available through Amazon. This text is different from the John C. Holmes biography, A Life Measured in Inches, that came out a few years ago, a copy of which I of course own.

From Tod Hunter:

Porn legend John C. Holmes tells his own story in new book, PORN KING

CHATSWORTH, Calif. — PORN KING, the long-unavailable autobiography of legendary porn star John C. Holmes, has been released by publishing house BearManor Media, with a new epilogue by Holmes’ widow Laurie Holmes…

Revered as “The King” by legions of ’70s porn fans, John C. Holmes was the iconic porn stud whose massive endowment riveted the attention of adult filmgoers worldwide. His amiable detective character “Johnny Wadd,” which he first performed in 1971, helped establish him as a popular personality when most porn performers were anonymous bodies in 8mm loops. Holmes’ troubled life included legal and drug problems before his comeback to adult film in 1983 and his eventual death from AIDS-related complications in 1988…

In PORN KING, Holmes talks freely about his childhood, his time as a swinger and paid gigolo, his on-set experiences as he shot 8mm loops in small offices and Johnny Wadd films on location, the rise and fall of his struggles with cocaine addiction which led to the notorious 1981 robbery of L.A. nightclub owner Eddie Nash and the retaliation murders on Wonderland Avenue, his arrest, trial and acquittal before his return to adult filmmaking with performer Misty Dawn, who he married and is now known as Laurie Holmes…

The newly revised edition, including an updated, heartfelt, no-holds-barred epilogue written by Laurie Holmes, is an incredible story. The 160-page book is illustrated with family photos, production stills and news photographs of Holmes at adult conventions and putting his hands in cement outside of the famous Pussycat Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard in Southern California.

PORN KING is available at all major online booksellers and as a paperback or Kindle download through Amazon.com. ISBN is 978-1-59393-685-3.”

I’m totally buying this… *click*

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Buy Porn King here and A Life Measured in Inches (2nd edition) here.

And once you do, here’s your Dr. Chauntelle assignment: compare the two John Holmes narratives (one biographical, one autobiographical)… how are they similar, and how are they different? Who and/or what is served by these similarities and differences?

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Images courtesy of Tod Hunter.

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You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from PVVOnline/Porn Valley Vantage, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”

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