Working in an industry that teeters on the edge of legality tends to rouse the sorts of questions that totter on the edge of proper society. While adult performers aren't the media's first subject choices, we are often one of its more interesting.
That is the expectation, anyway, during those rare events when the mainstream media dives down to have a look at what we're all thinking. Within our own ranks there are of course dedicated bloggers and other media outlets, but they tend to cater to porn fans, asking questions about things such as sexual positions, fantasies, and dating preferences.
The questions are mostly in line with some sort of abject lowest common denominator that panders to all sides, but they are trying for serious. The questions we face from the mainstream media are of a different sort. They tend to either probe for some painful origin story or ask us serious questions the way one might ask a five-year-old where babies come from, snickering all the while at the fanciful whimsy of his response.
The question they're all asking us this year has been timely. Journalists want to know where the porn stars lean on the spectacle that has become the American presidential race. The joke is on all of us, though, this time.
It's on porn stars, naturally, not because of the nature of our jobs but because of the nature of our cohort: Millennials aged 18-35 whose prospects are more limited than any of the generations that have come before us in the last fifty years and whose belief that the political process can solve the problem is at an all-time low.
The joke is more largely on America as a whole, divided as it is between two gridlocked parties who now can't even wrangle their own as both watch the front-running candidates beat out the nominees they would have chosen.
The joke is on Europe and Asia and Russia and Japan and South America and the populations of every country, everywhere, because – like it or not – the man or woman who runs America will affect us all. Influence is arguably our greatest export.
But should we be surprised that the runaway candidate is a reality TV star who stirs up noise by hurling slurs at immigrants and women? Or that the woman who might make history might also soon be under federal indictment? Or that the only candidate offering a coherent solution to our disaffected youth is in the ironic position of needing those same youth to be just affected enough to actually turn up to vote?
America is a culture of 140-character snippets, scripted reality shows, and fast food. Our education is not competitive with that of other developed nations (our students' test scores in critical thinking come in at 26th against a list of fewer than 50 countries – The Smartest Kids in the World, Amanda Ripley), and an alarming chunk of our population can tell you more about Kim Kardashian's week in review than about what the duties even entail for our next American president, much less who might best fill the shoes (Kim K's twitter following: 45m and change/Hillary Clinton's: 6m). We lack nutrition as a whole. The rest of the world shouldn't look down on us just yet, though. We're sending it your way.
We probably won't turn up. Existing data shows for most Millennials that low voter turnout is the most likely case. As an adult performer, it was always a crapshoot. An attack on my industry is just as likely to come from the right as from the left.
If it's not a religious issue, it is a social one, and any government who might get anything done about it is local anyway. As for the presidency, it's a crapshoot in spades. Regardless of voter base, the fact is the effectiveness of any president is only going to be strapped by super PACs and lobbyists and special interests groups and that enduring party gridlock.
But who is looking at the issues, anyway?
Just ask Obama, who with eight years in the seat of arguably the most powerful position on earth was not able to push through policy effective enough to turn around two of our more central domestic crises – healthcare and gun violence. It doesn't matter which side of the issue a voter falls on. What matters is that these are issues – children are getting shot in their schools, and citizens are getting locked out of proper access to healthcare – and these will remain issues so long as the highest seat in the land is too shackled to ever push forth any radical change.
Trump is ridiculous to believe he will be some sort of precious exception. He's playing for a position in the same system. Even if he doesn't take donations to fund his campaign, every other elected official whom he must work with will have.
But who is looking at the issues, anyway? Trump is mud-slinging Hillary over her husband's infidelity twenty years ago, Hillary is making excuses that don't line up, and Sanders is, well.
Sanders is great.
Though polls show that my stance on this is in line with 83% of the democratic voters in my generation, Sander's problem is us. It's the times. It's that he just might be a little late in the making. The system is broken, and the kids have gone home. They're living in their parent's basements in record numbers, figuring out that their shiny future jobs might not cancel out the debt incurred at their shiny schools, and they're holding off on marriage because they can't afford it.
Instead, they're working at the fast-food chains to get by while in their time off they try to make it as the next overnight YouTube sensation or app developer, finding an untapped niche for their startups. They're building followers. And yes, some of them are making a run for it in the sex industry.
The American dream is still there, but my generation doesn't believe that its failure or success is going to come from radical change in public policy. It's probably not going to come from the Republican or Democrat of the moment. It's surely not going to come from the votes that we don't cast. But where do we think it's going to come from, really, when as a culture the media has learned that the only microphones worth waving in our faces are the ones waved ironically?
Kayden Kross is an IBTimesUK columnist and runs TRENCHCOATx.com