What I learned from a movie about a porn star and one about a zoo

Netflix is either the best thing ever or the devil.

While I’m never quite sure which way I’m leaning on this, what I am sure of is that I’ve watched the first ten minutes of a lot of awful movies and TV shows because of Netflix, and I’ve also fallen into a couple of gems as well. (Here’s to you, “Parenthood.”)

Last weekend was one of those times when I was relying heavily on the Netflix suggestion gadget to provide entertainment for the night, so I kind of blame it for this entire post.

The title “Lovelace” popped up with the description of being a 1970s-era biographical drama of Linda Boreman’s fall into the porn industry and how she got herself out.

Now I’m not going to lie, 13-year-old Travis would have probably instantly had that flick rolling. What can I say, when you’re 13, a lot of times you don’t really make decisions as much as you just go with whatever direction the wind blows.

Thirty-one-year-old Travis is a little more discerning with his viewing choices and isn’t about to waste time watching some crappy movie just to see some skin. But because I’m always fascinated with the path the leads people to some of this world’s darkest places, and the story of how they escape them, I decided to give it a shot.

Truth be told, it wasn’t awful. It was probably a notch above anything you’ll see on the Lifetime channel, but just a notch, no more.

As you probably expected, this lady didn’t grow up wanting to be a porn star, she just started down a bad path that got real slippery, real fast, and landed her in a place was she was abused by a perverse industry. Yeah, there were a few cringe-worthy scenes, but that was to be expected.

Anyway, the point is, she got out and she wrote a book, titled, “Ordeal,” about the experience in hopes of opening people’s eyes about what was going on in the industry. Towards the end of the movie she was being interviewed about the book on “Donahue,” which if you’re younger, was basic the grandfather of every awkward talk show on TV today.

At one point during the interview, Linda told a lady that in total she’d only spent 17 days in the porn industry and wished people wouldn’t let that define who she really was as a person.

Seventeen days out of her entire life, and still today, the name Linda Lovelace (her porn name) or Linda Boreman is almost always associated with pornography.

At first that seems kind of rough. I mean, just a tiny fraction of her total days on this Earth completely changed how she was, and is, perceived.

But really, isn’t that how it is for all for us? Doesn’t it only take a sliver of our time for us to completely ruin our reputations?

Now I’m not saying the sins of our pasts should taint us for the rest of our lives, they shouldn’t. I completely buy into having our sins washed away and am extremely thankful for it. Grace is like a giant pool of pudding we should all be so happy to drown ourselves in. (Choose your own flavor here or substitute Jell-O if you’re that guy.)

But I think it’s important for us to realize how important and impactful every faction of time we spend on Earth can be.

I know, I know. So far this seems pretty grim, but I think there is a super bright side to go along with all this darkness.

If the factions of our lives in which we screw up can be that impactful, so too can the fractions in which we do good.

This got me to thinking about a clip from “We Bought a Zoo,” which by the way, is 100 times the flick “Lovelace” is. The clip is short, give it a watch.

Twenty seconds of courage. Twenty second of “embarrassing bravery” and something “great” will come of it.

Now, Matt Damon’s not Jesus, but that line reeks of the truth that a faction of our lives spent in a positive direction, being brave and doing good, can lead amazing things.

Linda spent the rest of her life writing books and promoting anti-pornography movements that opened a lot of people’s eyes to the horrors of the industry and very likely saved some people from making the same mistakes she did. She used those factions of her life in a positive manner and is likely more known for her activism than anything she did on film.

We’ve all screwed up in the past. Those fractions of our lives are gone and we have to deal with the consequences of our actions, there’s no way around it.

The good news, however, is that we have a lot of fractions left and the longer we spend on Earth using those moments in a positive way, the smaller, and less impactful, our misused fractions will become and the less they will define us.

So, let’s be wise and embarrassing brave with each moment we get and see what great things come from them.

— @TravisKWilliams

 

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About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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