The algorithms that determine what shows up on my social media feed (which is to say Facebook, as I don’t do any of the others) are a mystery to me. I don’t know how they determine who shows up at the top or even who gets an appearance way down after scrolling.
This last week, one of those sponsored things showed up from a gay news site. (I won’t name it because I suspect my publisher here wouldn’t go for a free shout out.) The featured headline was click bait I couldn’t resist—“Adult performer Tex Davidson Announces COVID-19 Infection, Hospitalization”—particularly when coupled with a shirtless selfie.
Mr. Davidson, who looks like he was put together when beef was cheap, tweeted about having a seizure followed by a stroke before testing positive for COVID-19. He has been hospitalized here in Dallas at Baylor and subsequent tweets indicate he is on the mend, at least feeling strong enough to take a swipe at “this crowd of selfish party goers,” which rung a bell with me about a “Rona Rave” house party that took place in New York earlier this month.
When that hit my radar a couple of weeks ago via a Facebook post sponsored from a different gay news site, I just moved on without clicking as the picture with that story was of a young man who looked like he could be my grandson. Besides, I have been gay since the earth cooled and know that there’s a subset of gay boys who can be counted on to act recklessly in any given situation. So a rave party at the epicenter of a global pandemic isn’t really news.
But Mr. Davidson having aroused my curiosity, I decided to check into this a bit further. It seems that Ian Frost, an adult film star, posted several videos to Instagram before deleting his account due to the backlash. And, just to keep things spicy, yet another adult performer was there, this one by the name of Shane Jackson.
Now, I’ve got to jump off the bus here for a minute. I hit on this topic once before, but what is it with these names? Tex is clearly the name of either a porn star or a member of the Manson family. A simple comparison of photos of Mr. Davidson and Mr. Watkins makes it easy to determine which is which. But Ian Frost and Shane Jackson? The first sounds like the scion of a British banking family and the latter could be the valedictorian of Highland Park High School. What’s next? Schuyler Stuyvesant?
Before anyone jumps on me for using the word “porn,” I’m compelled to note that, if one’s work is popular on the number one “adult” site, one is either a porn star or a hub star–take your pick.
Now back on the bus. When confronted about his behavior and that of his friends, Mr. Jackson responded, “They’ve all had the virus. Let people live.” Indeed, Shane. Besides, I’m sure you and Ian were just doing research for a sequel to Fire Island Sex Party, possibly entitled New York Rona Rave: A Sex Party to Die For.
Admittedly, I’m having a little more fun writing this column than usual. Doing the research alone has been downright distracting. And the point is, there is no point.
When even members of the adult film industry are divided on this thing, it’s no wonder there are a hundred different decisions for each of us to make on matters big and small. Everyone knows what the issues are, and choices are made whether we’re conscious of them or not. The internet will provide some type of justification in terms of data to support what we’re doing, and we can discount any data that doesn’t. We may err on the side of caution or the side of heedlessness.
But increasingly it has become clear that no level of government is acting consistently and effectively to address the crisis, turning this whole thing into a crap shoot. Some will put money on snake eyes and go to the rave. Others will bet on the pass line and stay home. Somewhere in the middle is betting on the come. So place your bets and take your chances.
I should mention in closing that Mr. Davidson describes himself as a “Retired Award Winning International Adult Performer,” leaving behind what may be a substantial body of work. No clip this week though, as I wouldn’t want to discourage you from doing your own research.