BY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!
ON THE COVER
CP: Hard to know what to do with Matt Stroud’s weird, twitchy exploration of the porn industry, with South Philly resident Stoya as his Virgil. There’s a porn convention, lunch at Geno’s, grabbing a beer at Manny Brown’s, a Q&A section interjected into the middle of the narrative, plus frequent asides about “PR-speak” and how women in Stoya’s industry can’t really say what they think. But Stroud hints that Stoya might be different.
“…you get to speak with Stoya briefly, make small talk and even get some concise background on her experiences and ideas. You notice that she’s quick, adept, that she actually answers your questions… instead of, as you’ve experienced from some other stars today, mimicking copy from press releases and making insincere, rehearsed, spiraling thank-you speeches to a general fan base that is not you. It’s nice. You find out that, as a kid, she was home-schooled in North Carolina, that she moved north with her dad years ago, then came to Philly for art school when she turned 18. But this short interaction is soon interrupted by Adella, who whisks Stoya away to join a panel discussion (which is sadly and again predictably banal; it turns out mostly to be about who on the panel has sucked the largest cock).”
Even in the light of the guarded nature of porn actresses, there’s just too much porn-industry jargon (Pornese?) and not enough about the girl and the city she calls home. Also, footnotes — a DFW tribute? That’s sweet, but even the man himself wasn’t writing that way toward the end of his career and, sadly, his life. It just seems misplaced now.
PW: Hard news and hard truths this week, as Kellie C. Murphy delves into AIDS among African-American women in the city.
“Philadelphia-specific HIV statistics are grave. Averages here are higher than the rest of the nation, especially among women. Philadelphia’s response is appropriately targeted, with some of the best resources that a handful of clinicians, dedicated community outreach staff and concerned politicians have to offer.
But the issue remains unresolved because, despite all the effective treatment options, modern education models and testing programs, those at the highest risk of infection and transmission are still not talking to each other about their lifestyles and will not discuss HIV.
Rashidah Abdul-Khabeer refuses to get lost in a statistical forest. As the deputy director of the Circle of Care, part of the Family Planning Council and one of Philadelphia’s major HIV/AIDS care facilities, she’s been preaching about the importance of getting together to talk—simply and frankly—for years.
‘I’ve given up on all the statistics,’ Abdul-Khabeer says. ‘If you want statistics, look in the paper. For me, its all about dialogue. The question is whether you have enough information to protect yourself and enough courage to implement what you know. And the answer is no, there’s not enough information and there’s not enough courage’.”
Courage runs through this piece – from Emma, diagnosed with HIV after her long-time partner kept it secret from her; from Abdul-Khabeer andothers, quoted or not, who counsel AIDS patients; from Murphy herself, cos I know I’d fall apart if someone told me they were diagnosed with AIDS on 9/11. I mean, damn. The article wraps up with a rundown of services to help out new patients and others in need. Well done.
INSIDE THE BOOK
PW: Week One A.B. (After Barack — I’m hoping this will catch on): Not just yes, but hell yes. “Grind Freak Railroad“? Well, they are an American band. The subhead for this article was my Quizzo team name last week. Explain yourself, Jeffrey Barg. Um, adios, Tim?
CP: Glad you enjoyed Shangri-La, Brian; I grew up near there. Here’s to socialism! Here’s to Felix, too: “Sporadic fits of manic productivity” make the world go ’round. You down with OED? Yeah, you know me. The post-curse Sixers, huh? I’ll stick with the Big Five, thanks.
WINNER: PW takes it this week. Sex might sell, but I’ll take gritty reality over “the business of creating fantasy” anytime.