OFF THE GRID

What Sandra Bullock’s Sex Tape Means

Apr 6, 10 | 7:51 AM   byMichael Wolff
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The purported Sandra Bullock sex tape certainly establishes new standards for purported sex tapes.

It may be that, even in the long history of Hollywood depravity, this is the big one: Never before has an actress, a girl-next-door actress at that, been so publicly tagged with an account of such extraordinary sexual behavior. I mean not just suggestions and whispers, but circulating-everywhere details. It may be that there has never been anything that quite exposes the hypocrisy and fraudulence and pure fantasy of the phony-baloney media as much as this. Sandra Bullock, who’s made hundreds of millions of dollars off the illusion of niceness and hamishness and old-fashioned nothing-special decentness, is so far out there that even the most gullible will surely never trust the media again. We’ve all been played for suckers by the pervs, that’s the lesson.

Or this might be just another example, in the pile-up of examples, of Internet hyper-reality. The Internet exaggerates everything—it’s a vulgar, loud-mouthed, garrulous, entertaining but boorish friend. We understand this, and discount for it.

Or, perhaps what’s most notable here is how Bullock’s husband, Jesse James, is applying the blackmail opportunities more and more available in every relationship. Couples have always held damaging secrets about each other. But now, with life in so many instances electronically preserved, those secrets become an easily available weapon and currency. James, at an extreme economic disadvantage, is attempting to balance the scales with his threat. Clearly he understands the new subtleties of the blackmailer’s craft: a description of the video can be more provocative and more real than the video itself (and all sex video stories are enhanced by Nazi props).

Or, we are just face-to-face with another example of ever-more embroidered American erotic life, the parameters of which have been expanding for many years. We’ve steadily added practices, modified standards, gained new expertise, and found new uses for technology. Also, because of the Internet, together with new forms of blackmail and self-promotion, we’ve seen much more of everybody’s erotic life, both the famous and the unknown. Personal porn is apparently the norm.

Sandra’s reputation is surely not so much ruined as it is evolving.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at
VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWolffNYC.
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