from http://www.canada.com/ It’s bound to be educational. But it may not the kind of education most Grant MacEwan students were expecting.
Sandwiched between such luminaries as David Suzuki and Gwynne Dyer, former porn star Ron Jeremy is coming to campus to offer his first-hand insight into the porn industry.
Jeremy, the rumpled, pot-bellied star of more than 1,700 hard-core porn films dating to the late 1970s, will give a lecture at MacEwan’s downtown campus next Thursday.
“He is going to be talking about the porn industry and the realities of it,” says Adam Guiney, president of the college’s students’ association.
“We hope he will be very valuable in educating people about the porn industry, where it is moving forward and how it relates to the law, and why porn has become such a big thing. You log onto the Internet and one in three sites have porn. There is a demand.”
The former adult movie star’s swing through Edmonton is part of a speaking tour that has included 30 different colleges and universities around the world, including Oxford, where he joined the likes of Winston Churchill and the Dali Lama as a guest lecturer alumnus.
Sociologist Fiona Angus calls it an effort to move pornography into the mainstream.
“There is an attempt by the pornography industry to try and shift it into some kind of realm of acceptability,” says Angus, who teaches at Grant MacEwan. “It’s trying to change the morality around it. It’s an attempt to legitimize their business because there has been so much bad press around the exploitation of women, sexually transmitted diseases and all sorts of things. But frankly, I don’t think the general public is buying it.”
Guiney admits he was skeptical when the MacEwan students’ association was first approached about bringing an aging former pornographic movie actor in as a guest lecturer.
“But we looked at his credentials,” says Guiney. “On the college speaking circuit, he’s ranked as No. 1 in terms of his message, content and entertainment value. It wasn’t an arbitrary thing where we just said ‘let’s bring in a porn star.’ He actually has some very strong credentials behind his name, not just in the film industry but in academic and college circles.”
Like many people of his generation, Guiney says didn’t even know who Ron Jeremy was.
Neither was he familiar with the porn star’s work.
“To be honest, I hadn’t even heard his name before,” says the 20 year old arts student. “I believe it would be more of our parents’ generation who would be familiar with his name.”
Originally an special education teacher, Jeremy got into the adult entertainment business in 1978 when his girlfriend submitted photographs of him to Playgirl magazine’s “boy next door” feature.
From there, he moved to movies, and made more than 1,700 of the low-budget films during his career.
With a stringy shock of hair and a 1970s-style mustache, he’s no porn film Adonis, unlike mainstream actor Mark Wahlberg’s portrayal of the sinewy Dirk Diggler in the movie Boogie Nights.
“Jeremy’s appeal is broad, far wider than any other adult star,” says a biography on the website askmen.com. “Perhaps it’s due to the fact his fame and persona is that of a regular Joe.”
Guiney says the guest speaker will be a departure from other at MacEwan, including Suzuki earlier this month and Rwandan genocide survivor Joseph Sebarenzi.
“We have a diverse student population,” he says. “We like to broaden our horizons.”
Jeremy is expected to speak for 20 minutes and then answer questions from the audience. The 300-seat lecture hall at McEwan’s downtown campus is sold out. Tickets sold for $5 for students and $8 for non-students. The students’ association isn’t saying how much it is paying him.
Surprisingly, Guiney has received relatively few complaints from other students.
Although some may think the association is sending out the wrong message, he defends the decision.
“We’re by no means promoting it (pornography),” Guiney says. “He (Jeremy) is not here to recruit people into the industry.”