Thursday, November 26, 2015

Page 106: NunMoreDark

There’s a lot to unpack in this one screenshot!

Here we encounter the first of (the as-yet-unnamed) Destiny Jones’ social media posts. Her username NunMoreDark is a double entendre: The phrase “none more dark” references the classic rock-n-roll mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), from the scene in which the band discusses the cover for their record Smell the Glove:

In the context of our newly-introduced goth character, “Nun More Black” is simultaneously an homage to Spinal Tap and a reflection of her own gothness.

Since today is Thanksgiving, let me say that I’m thankful for Stoya and her photographer steve prue for giving me permission to use her photo as Destiny Jones’ avatar/icon. When looking for a user icon, Stoya was my first choice. She not only looks the part—she’s gorgeous, after all—but for a book layered with in-jokes and social commentary, Stoya’s prominence in pop culture brings to the table an additional layer of resonance and meaning (which I’ll get to below). I was also hoping she’d enjoy being part of the project.

Stoya began modeling in the alt scene (sometimes wearing her own designs), and eventually became a pornographic actress celebrated as the first major alt contract star and as the “goth girl next door.” Moving from contract star to indie entrepreneur, she writes columns for websites like Vice and The Verge, among others. She and her business partner Kayden Kross manage their own adult website, (link NSFW), offering curated content where they are free to call the shots in the artsy side of the business ...along with the business side of the business. She even had a brief cameo in a Daily Show skit earlier this year. Stoya has gone from being a sex-worker to a pop culture phenom: “America’s sweetheart” and “the prettiest girl in New York,” according to the Village Voice. What’s next? She’s smart, talented and tenacious enough to do anything she wants.

The author and the model
(you can probably tell which one is which).
She’s also no stranger to the pop/nerd culture that permeates The Billionth Monkey. In fact, she’s part of it. She’s friends with Neil Gaiman and has done cosplay modeling as Death for Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. She’s known to read sci-fi and fantasy, play D&D, and enjoy videogames (she’s even on Steam). Perfect for a storyline about urban legends and pop culture changing reality.

I feel that my inclusion of Stoya also makes a statement that sex work—for all that it gets stigmatized and marginalized—plays a significant role in pop culture. Just look at Avenue Q’s breakout hit, “The Internet Is for Porn”!

And sex workers—like anyone else with a job—have interests and hobbies outside of work (duh!). In my experience, alternative subcultures are very sex-positive and overlap a lot; one is not surprised to find the Ren Faire leather worker at a kink fest, a sci-fi con, or pagan camp-out. So yes, a porn star fits very comfortably into my fictional world alongside references to Star Wars, comic books, Stanley Kubrick, and social media. I’m very grateful to Stoya for going along with this, and for putting me in touch with steve prue for photography. They are both fantastic people. You can give Stoya your business at, and steve through (both URLs NSFW).

Moving on to the conent of the Tweezer post: Tim Gunn is a famous fashion consultant and longtime co-host of the reality TV show Project Runway. He’s fashion sensitive, so the appalling couture in this scene of The Billionth Monkey would most certainly make him cry.

Wherever possible, I tried to sneak Easter eggs into these screenshots. For instance, the time of this post is 2:20, which is a shout-out to the readers of my book Perdurabo (2010), because Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law contains 220 verses. Similarly, the number of “followers” in this post, 59, reflects the fact that the letters in “Tim” add up to 59 in Hebrew gematria (t=ט=9, i= י=10, m=מ=40), as do the unique letters of his last name (g=ג=3, u=ו=6, n=נ=50). There are plenty more hidden jokes throughout the book, so this will get extra fun as we go along.

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