Thursday, June 09, 2011

Tera Patrick: Sinner Takes All as Asian American literature?

So, the other day it came to my attention that adult entertainer Tera Patrick recently released a biography, Sinner Takes All featuring a foreword by Margaret Cho, with the assistance of Carrie Borzillo. 

I'll take the somewhat transgressive position of arguing that it will be interesting to see what lessons we will learn from this if we took note of it as an Asian American biography. 

This might seem unlikely in the majority of academia, but I feel inclined to give it consideration because there's a strong lack of Thai American biographies out there presently, and this one provides an interesting baseline in regards to how much prominent Asian Americans in American and international entertainment are able to discuss their heritage and interaction with their culture. Consider the way they position her biography at Amazon:
"Tera Patrick is one of the most recognized faces in the world today. She has successfully merged into mainstream and pop culture becoming a worldwide business woman and brand. Although retired from performing in Adult she continues to own and operate her official website,has a top selling male enhancement novelty line through Fleshlight , and licenses her movie catalog worldwide to satisfy her fans.Tera Patrick is the ONLY woman ever to be featured on BOTH covers of Playboy and Penthouse magazine simultaneously and was crowned Penthouse pet of the year runner-up in February 2002. She has also been featured on both the US and UK editions of the popular FHM magazine where her advice column " Ask Tera" ran in the UK edition for 5 years (2003-2008). Hundreds of magazines have featured Tera on their covers including Maxim , FHM,Wheels and Heels, High Times,Girls and Corpses,showcasing her diverse editorial portfolio. Her first memoir Sinner Takes All is an intimate peek into her life where she successfully traveled to over 80 countries feature dancing, filming, and touring. Sizzling details of her love life on and off the set are also told in juicy detail. 2014 was the release of Tera's first mainstream feature "Live Nude Girls" . Tera is a regular feature on the live touring Comedy show "The Naughty Show" with Comedian Sam Tripoli and her many TV appearances have included Chelsea Lately, Carson Daly, Big Idea with Donnie Deutch, Howard Stern, MSNBC, FOX News, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. She was the first to host the AVN Awards Show appearing on the Showtime network in 2008 and also co-hosted The 2013 XBIZ award show with Comedian Orlando Jones. Two shows for Playboy TV featured Tera Patrick as their host in 2000, NightCalls 411 and School of Sex .The video games Backyard Wrestling and Saints Row used Tera's image and featured her as a playable character. Popular in the Burlesque circuit Tera performs her striptease shows monthly with the Sultry Sweet Burlesque Troupe in Los Angeles , CA. and she will tour europe in the spring of 2015. New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles brought Tera to the Comic Con Convention where she sells her exclusive merchandise modeled after her unique Cosplay .Supreme , Pin Up Girl Clothing, I Am Sin Make-Up, SugarFix,and Lucky13 have used Tera as a spokesmodel in their campaigns. She is writing her second novel a follow up to Sinner Takes All and has a weekly radio show "Reign Of Tera" on the Vivid Radio channel /Sirrius XM.Tera resides in Los Angeles California ."
Which is certainly extensive but it doesn't once mention her ethnicity. We might also look at the description for her biography in general:
The world's #1 porn star strips down about life, love, and everything in between. 
Tera Patrick wasn't always Tera Patrick. Once upon a time she was a gangly, teenaged bookworm named Linda Ann Hopkins, obsessed with serial killers and Marilyn Monroe and determined to make men all over the world one day desire her. And she succeeded: Today she sits atop the porn world and runs her own multimillion-dollar empire. 
Sinner Takes All is a sexy and deeply personal memoir in which Tera bares all about baring all. Tera discusses leaving home as a teen to work as an international fashion model, losing her virginity at age fourteen to a man twice her age, working as a nurse at a senior citizen's home, her on- and off-screen sexual escapades, and the emotional obstacles that she's had to overcome, including a strained relationship with her mother, deadbeat boyfriends, and a suicide attempt that led to a stint in a locked-down psych ward. 
An honest and naked look at a one-of-a-kind life, Sinner Takes All is a riveting memoir of the making of a modern sex goddess.
It's predicable language for what the marketers think will move a book about an adult film actress, attempting to construct a classic image of what they believe fans of pornography want to hear about someone in the industry.

The writing itself tends to be perfunctory, aimed at casual readers and it feels like it would be more interesting to hear about how the overall book was written because there's a certain machined, processed feel to it all that damages its long-term value as a readable, insightful work. This is somewhat surprising given most people's accounts that Tera Patrick is a very well-spoken, intelligent and considerate woman who is regularly re-inventing herself.

Time will tell how we assess this book, and what the Thai American community puts forward in the years ahead that more fully captures the Thai American experience in the US and around the world.

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