The internet, a colossal gastrointestinal tract whose foul, acidic bile we’re all being digested in as we speak, and whose corrosive esophageal embrace none of us will ever emerge from, is home to many, many different types of useless content and non-news ephemera. Please navigate your browser to literally any web site you can think of and choose at random among the most recent posts for evidence. There’s the facile hot take, the hoax passed off as authentic, the too good to check wacky local crime story, the celebrity fart-huffing, the thinly-veiled sponsored content, and the endless stream of pop culture-pegged reaction pieces meant to piggyback off of run-off traffic, to name just a mere fraction.
But there’s one type of post that transcends them all, whose sheer cynicism and laziness, even for those of us click-numbed into a perpetual content coma, still manages to rankle. You might be familiar with it, because we just posted a version of it here!
Ariadna Gutierrez, better known as Miss Colombia, even better known than that as the woman who got her crown took on live TV the other day, has been offered a porn contract! TMZ, of course, reported it, and GQ, Jezebel, Death and Taxes, Complex, New York Daily News, The Wrap, Maxim, and many, many others, soon followed suit. It would be hard to find a more perfect example of weapons grade content even if you spent every day looking, which I happen to do! (Please kill me.)
The reasons that this type of thing is the nadir of news are manifold, but for a start, it’s based, as all of the best news stories are, on a marketing press release and nothing else. The head of porn company Vivid sent a letter to Gutierrez offering her one million dollars to film a pornographic video, and, based entirely on that, the sites in question dutifully conspired to give the company free advertising. Why? Well, because it’s an excuse to put the word porn in a headline, which is great for traffic for some insane reason. Despite the fact that there is a literal unending supply of actual porn available in every corner of the internet that you’re currently on right now — go take a look! — for some reason people are still compelled to click on articles that merely mention the existence of porn. It’s a way that general interest sites get to have their titillation, literally, and eat it too. Ever wonder why you hear so much about what PornHub is up to all the time? They send out a lot of press releases, and bloggers are bereft of ideas and under constant pressure to deliver traffic.
Further, it’s a story about something that’s not going to actually happen. Vivid knows this, the web sites know this, and the readers know this, but we do it anyway. It’s similar to how when some jerkoff pizza shop in the middle of nowhere announces they’ve placed a life time ban on Osama Bin Laden’s skeleton from ever ordering one of their meatball subs, and sites fall in line to reap the sweet, sweet nothing clicks. ISIS not welcome at Ohio nail salon, shop owner pledges. Oh word? Better pass that one along to the readers.
And on top of all of that, it’s dragging a woman’s name into a context that she didn’t agree upon, or remotely suggest herself. It’s not enough that pageant contestants like this are sexualized to within an inch of their lives already, but now we all get to sit around imagining her fucking on camera. This type of pronouncement has a way of sounding exaggerated, admittedly, but there’s definitely an aspect of rape culture involved here. Some lotion-fisted CEO had a fantasy about this notable woman having sex, something she didn’t ask for, and now mainstream news sites are complicit in spreading that fantasy far and wide. And why? Because we literally do not give a shit.
So, to recap: it’s free marketing for a company who knew exactly what they were doing when they proposed the idea, it’s a hypothetical that will never happen, and it’s just downright sketchy. There’s your internet in 2015. It’s 70 degrees today on Christmas Eve. People are joking that it’s the end times. I sort of hope they’re right, if only so I could log off.