Sorry about the mock clickbait title. But I do wonder how many readers got here after clicking the link in Facebook, even though the word clickbait is displayed prominently in the link preview. What is it about clickbait that baits us to click those links even though we know they are going to disappoint?
I remember when I first encountered such links a couple of years ago, they’d often be even more presumptuous than they are now. You’d start with a share on Facebook, promising to show you a video. It always promised something sexually suggestive, or something that provoked a feeling of disgust, or something psychologically interesting, or something else, some elusive thing that you’d need to know, no – have to know, by clicking that link. Then you’d click it and get redirected to a page that still didn’t show you the video, not until after you “LIKE” it and share it yourself. (I never did that; never found out what those somethings were, and am better off for it.) In other words, the share you saw in the first place, the one that sucked you in, was shared by somebody who hadn’t even seen the video that they shared. And that’s just wrong.
I’m not going to answer this question because I don’t know the answer myself. What I’d like is that more people think before clicking those links. Clicking alone generates revenue for someone, somewhere, based on the number of clicks coming from various media, where the statistics are collected by the middle-man affiliate site. If you really want to know that elusive thing promised, Google is your friend. And maybe DoNotLink.com. Don’t help them to earn money that they don’t deserve.
Porn star turned evangelist
I now present that elusive thing that I promised in my own mock clickbait title…
Brittni Ruiz. Photo: Youtube/XXXChurch
Brittni Ruiz above is a former porn star, who was known as Jenna Presley. She now ministers to other porn stars in the inappropriately named XXXChurch. You can read a positive article about her here. (Edit: Note that the linked page has an annoying video that plays automatically on loading the page. There’s also a video of her at the bottom of the page, if you can stomach it. Her acting/reading skills have not improved with her departure from porn.)
But something feels a little off about the whole thing. She claims to have cut all ties to the “sinful” porn industry by closing her social media accounts and obviously not selling her sex anymore. But has she really cut all ties? She’s selling Jesus to people in the porn industry now. That’s what these high profile churches do – make money by selling Jesus. But by presenting herself as a former porn star, I don’t believe she has cut all ties. She’s manipulating her status as somebody who used to do porn, via clickbait marketing which appears to be aimed at getting other people to follow her church. But the point is, not only is she manipulating her status as a former porn star and talking about leaving the sinful industry, she’s OK with taking money from that sinful industry.
Apparently she tried to leave the industry before but it didn’t work out. But now she has found another way to make money also without really doing actual work. Jesus is her new cash cow.
I have this theory that some might consider controversial. It goes like this: There is no motivation stronger than addiction, and drug addiction is the primary reason that people sell themselves. Whether they are prostitutes, strippers, or porn “stars”, the people who sell their sex are doing so to get money for drugs. I can’t prove I’m right, but I know that I am right in many cases. That this woman speaks about Jesus and about the porn industry, but does not talk about why she got into that industry in the first place, makes me highly sceptical. This church gig looks like a way of maintaining her lifestyle, nothing more. I don’t know if she is an addict, and will not speculate about that, but I would find it very funny if the end result of the support for this church resulted in a former porn star making passionate cocaine-fuelled sermons to a bunch of credulous morons ready to part with their money for eternal life.
Update: I hadn’t read the linked article properly. I see she has admitted overcoming “addiction to drugs”. So maybe she is sincere and has found (false) hope in religion, as so many others have done before her. But the rest of my criticism still applies, and this seems to support my theory that porn stars are addicts. (Also, according to her story, the drug addiction came after the porn career began. I’m highly sceptical of her timeline. But besides all that, if she were sincere about spreading Christianity, why make use of her status as a former porn star? I don’t buy it.)
Appeal to hypocrisy
Some people might not like my criticism of Ms Ruiz. They might say that the intent of my writing can often be criticized for exactly the same reason. After all, I identify with being an ex-addict and write about the perils of addiction. Isn’t that the same sort of thing as a former porn star preaching to porn stars to turn to God?
No, it isn’t. I’m not making money doing this. I do this in my spare time. But wait, why defend myself? That argument is actually a logical fallacy called a Tu Quoque fallacy. Latin for “you, too” or “you, also” and also known as an appeal to hypocrisy. This fallacy attempts to show that a criticism or objection applies equally to the person making it. In other words, turn the tables on someone by accusing them of being hypocritical in their criticism of you. We’ve probably all heard this kind of argument used against us, in a relationship with a dishonest partner, or as a parent scolding a child. For example, anyone who lies and is confronted about their lies, uses this kind of argument to turn the tables on the accuser. It’s an invalid argument because it takes the argument away from the topic at hand, and redirects it to a personal attack on the person making the original criticism. In this way it is a type of ad hominem.
Actually every atheist has probably also had this argument used against them. Whenever a theist accuses an atheist of being religious in their atheism, they are making use of this same logical fallacy. I get it a lot, since I am vocal in my atheism. Being passionate about not believing and spreading the truth that religion is bullshit is easy to misconstrue as a belief system, which it isn’t. I saw a brilliant retort to this the other day. One atheist, who was confronted with the argument that atheism is a religion, replied with, “Then abstinence is a sexual position just like doggy-style”.