As any one of my students will tell you, I love reading aloud. Whatsmore, I think it’s a dying art. Consequently, I make them read aloud in class. Often. Because college should occasionally resemble first grade. And sometimes, when I’m feeling generous and dramatic and they’re feeling exceptionally unenthused, I read to them!! I think it’s a nice thing to do.
So when I heard that Sasha Grey had read Dog Breath to some first and third graders as part of the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America program, I thought “that’s nice.” But I had a sneaking little “uh oh” brewing in my head as well.
This is what happened: on November 2, Sasha Grey read the aforementioned book, Dog Breath, to some kids at Emerson Elementary School in Compton, CA.
From what I can tell, this is all the “fact” available at this moment. Other alleged details include: Sasha was booked (“booked”? maybe “scheduled”…ehhh) by an outside person who regularly coordinates “celebrity” readers…
(because what better way to inspire notoriously marginalized and underprivileged children than with a little celebrity free time!!)
…for NEA’s program/this school district/region/area. This scheduling person let school administrators know about some of Sasha’s mainstream acting credits, like “Entourage,” but didn’t provide her full resume, which includes credits like these, as well as several other mainstream media projects…
(why would they? would they require my full work history and publication listing if I was volunteer reading to kids? no, they would not)
…Sasha was also supposedly registered/signed in/whatever under her given name, not as “Sasha Grey;” and some parents apparently flipped the f out when they learned Sasha had been reading aloud to their children…
(wait, what?? how did they even know who she was? hmmm…)
…In response, school officials allegedly denied Sasha had even been inside the building, much less interacted with kids. But luckily, TMZ was there to clear the air.*
(pictured: Sasha reading, kids listening; more photos posted on TMZ here)
Eeeesh, and what the heck??!!
Although I can’t see the kids’ faces in this image, I’ve been around enough college-aged “kids” to know that initiating and maintaining that sort of rapt head posture is difficult… both for the individual imparting whatever information/stories and the audience taking it all in.
Based on the backs of their heads alone, these kids seem interested and entertained. Sasha is reading an age-appropriate book and is obviously engaging. These kids aren’t getting anything other than enriching attention, and there’s nothing on their minds other than “what a good story this lady is reading us, eeeyah!!”
(at least, I would hope kids of this age aren’t already browsing the archives of XXX Whatever with “other things” on their minds… but whose fault is that if they are? Oh right… Sasha’s)
Again, eeesh and what the heck?
Anxiety about and over this horrific volunteer reading debacle comes strictly from the “adults” involved. Calling sex worker discrimination is easy and obvious. Lamentations from angry parents asking why the school district couldn’t just get someone with a “respectable” (former) occupation attest to that.
But maybe the volunteer coordinator(s) and even Emerson Elementary School itself didn’t highlight or disclose Sasha’s past because they didn’t care about her career in adult? Maybe they were just excited that someone, “Sasha Grey” or otherwise, wanted to read to the kids… Or maybe they wanted to contribute to Sasha’s efforts to destigmatize the adult industry and work therein?
Somehow I doubt it.
I can think of 8 million far more nefarious and asshole-ish scenarios that are more likely than any of one those more benevolent ones, but what I most wonder about is the person who coordinated this booking in the first place… Wasn’t this a person who had handled these sorts of things at least once or twice before? Don’t people have to get pretty seriously background checked to even be in the same room with kids these days??
Given all that, who was stupid enough to bring this apparently vile and villainous woman into the hallowed halls of Emerson Elementary School? Who pitched this beautiful, entertaining, and apparently literate evolving performance artist without any sort of due diligence? Wtf!!??
Perhaps the heavy-hitting and enticing “Entourage” references were just too much for star-fucker wannabes/volunteer organizers to bear? Or perhaps Sasha’s hypnotic former sex worker powers scrambled their brains?
We’ll probably never know, but I have many guesses.
What do you think? Email Dr. Chauntelle!!
*it has also been alluded that this reading thing was all a publicity stunt on Sasha’s part… that would definitely add another dimension to this discussion.
Sasha talks about this incident on “The View” – enjoy!!
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