As the planet’s sixth largest economy, California contributes mightily to consumerism. From Apple to oranges, from wine to weed, the Golden State produces many things people enjoy the world over.
This, of course, includes pornography.
California is the Hollywood of porn. Purportedly more skin flicks are shot in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley than anywhere. It is a sub-set of Old Hollywood, with its own A-list actors, directors, and those who aspire to be.
I’m not familiar with her body of work, but I hold little doubt that porn actress Stormy Daniels, who allegedly slept with Donald Trump and was then paid $130,000 to keep mum about their yearlong affair, must be the hottest X-rated star ever. How do I know this? Because Trump reminds us all the time what a winner he is. The biggest. The best. The greatest. Gilded everything. The Donald, bang a second-rate porn queen? Forget about it.
Thus it should be of particular interest to Californians that Ms. Daniels, scheduled to appear this evening on “60 Minutes,” comports herself well as she represents the homegrown industry in which she gained fame. Her appearance, after all, may constitute the most important performance of a porn star ever, that being to help take down a president who is among the most feckless in modern U.S. history.
Americans like their political scandals simple and juicy. Teapot Dome? Iran-Contra? The Keating Five? Good luck comprehending any of those yawners without having to read a book.
Sex on the other hand? Everybody understands sex. Remember Bill Clinton? Nobody had a clue what Whitewater was about, but his repeated dalliances in the Oval Office with a 21-year-old intern named Monica Lewinsky – oh, yeah, everybody got that one. Few mental gymnastics were required to generate broad public outrage and Congressional rebuke.
Clinton lied about having been involved with a woman other than the one he was married to. That, essentially, is why impeachment proceedings were initiated against him, albeit unsuccessfully. And that is why similar allegations of philandering may well sink Trump, courtesy of his purported illicit relationship with the buxom Ms. Daniels who, by the way, is a registered Republican and an avowed family values conservative.
The debate rages daily in the news media over whether Trump et al. colluded with Russians who meddled online in his favor to help him win the 2016 presidential election. Then there’s the companion debate about whether Trump’s people, or possibly Trump himself, sought to cover up that collusion amid special counsel Robert Mueller’s federal investigation. Half the country, certain of the commander-in-chief’s guilt, is praying he winds up in the slammer, while the other half, the “fake news” crowd, stopped paying attention long ago.
But tonight isn’t about any of that. It’s about sex. And, you can bet your prurient bottom dollar that Trump detractors and supporters alike will be paying close attention to what Stormy Daniels has to say, the evidence she presents to buttress her claims. They will be judging her character and his, mulling whether a narcissistic tycoon accused of cavorting with a porn actress right after his third wife bore him a son, then paying that porn actress big money for her silence, is fit to lead this nation.
You don’t need to read a book to understand the question at hand. It is one of morality, which always has a market.
This may be one of the most “alternative” fact-filled administrations in the history of the White House. But as they say in Hollywood, you can’t make this stuff up.
David Freed, a screenwriter, novelist and former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, lives near Montecito. He can be contacted at David-Freed.com.