Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dear Monster: I've got a better idea

So, a few weeks ago I watched Boogie Nights on Netflix. It’s a great film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, set in the porn industry in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Pre-AIDS, just as the business was making the transition from film to video.

Burt Reynolds killed it, in his role as porn director Jack Horner  ― a self-proclaimed auteur with who deeply resents the rise of video and, with it, the (now-ubiquitous) ‘amateur’ genre of porn.

Reynolds perfectly, seriously, deadpans his way through Anderson’s nuanced and profoundly ironic script. Burt’s completely believable as a guy who completely believes he’s a fucking artist. The fact that he’s producing complete schlock utterly escapes him.
My appreciation for this film was enhanced by the fact that, back in the late '70s and early '80s, I sat through hundreds of hours of grindingly boring, terribly-written “story” while watching that shot-on-film porn in dingy theaters and video arcades where, if you dropped your wallet on the floor, you'd just leave it there and report your credit cards as stolen.
That influenced my evaluation of a video that showed up in my Facebook feed last month, called Dirt Shark The Doonies, sponsored by Monster Energy. While the title’s a play on Goonies, the video isn’t a riff on the horror genre. The trite dialogue (thankfully limited) and self-indulgent direction ― not to mention the scantily-clad chicks ― are all just bad porn, made worse by the fact that there’s no sex.

There’s lots of sexism, don’t get me wrong. It’s easily as sexist, if not more so, than real porn. 

A minute or so into this film one rider looks up and sees the female talent, wearing little more than sunscreen, and says, "Look at those girls. They look really thirsty." At this point, if you were just making a bad movie, instead of a bad porn movie, they'd ride to rescue. Instead ― and this shows real creative genius ― They do this...

It’s only 8 1/2 minutes long, but when I went back through it to pick out a couple of frame caps and gifs, watching it was enduring a rerun of Andy Warhol’s ‘Empire’.

It’s so fucking terrible, as a video, that I don’t know whether I’m writing this to achieve some kind of catharsis, or to call out Monster Energy for producing (yet another) piece of trite sexist shit. 

I can totally hear someone at Monster whining, "But it wasn't sexist. There were chicks on bikes, too." Hey, AMA and MIC, check it out; women are riding more.

The motorcycle industry is desperate to trumpet any good news, when it comes to increasing the number of women riders. And the racing industry is hardly in a position to turn down sponsors, no matter how fucking tasteless they (or their products) are.

But I honestly wish they’d just go away. In fact, to encourage them I’ve got a suggestion for a cost-effective sponsorship opportunity that will reach a far larger audience than “Doonies” ever will...

Dear Monster: Has it occurred to you to sponsor actual porn? It’s way, way better than this, and the female talent is probably treated more respectfully.

I suppose I don’t blame the riders in this video. Most of them are not, probably, philosophy majors or noted ethicists. It was probably a pretty good day for them, and after all, Monster writes their checks. And this isn’t a diss on motorcycle racing per se, although I roll my eyes every time I see the Monster Energy “girls” at races, too.


  1. Have you also noticed that although Supercross is a world championship, "Monster Energy girls" definitely do not reflect the world? Monster's idea of feminine beauty is "whites only." I've never seen an Asian or African or Latina woman holding a 30-second board and "diversity" is an occasional redhead among the blondes and brunettes. -- Lance Oliver

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