Sydney Leathers, she of Weiner-sexting fame, is wearing an unbuttoned men's dress shirt and black panties. A loosened red tie hangs between her breasts. "I really want an 'I love Weiner' T-shirt," she says with a laugh. "I think that would be a good one." A camera clicks in the background. She's handed a prop: a newspaper with a headline reading, "WEINERGATE!" Leathers takes it and gamely laughs. "Oh I forgot about that, that's so funny!"
This is just one of many scenes poking fun at "Carlos Danger" in her newly released "sex tape," which is more accurately described as a video of her soft-core photo shoot for Vivid Entertainment. It's revealing about her feelings toward Weiner: She is more than game to have some fun at his expense. As she says during an interview portion of the video, "I guess I think that he's just kind of a joke. Just a punch line now" -- and she seems pleased to be in on the joke.
But, more so, the faux-sex tape reveals the way your porn-sausage is made. I tried writing out key bits of dialogue, all from the photographer, while the video played. It came out looking like porno-poetry: "Grab your nipples/ Throw your head back/ Close your eyes/ Little smile, bite your lip/ I'm a trained professional." Actually, I'm pretty sure that's the chorus of an Usher song.
Throughout it all, the photographer seems bent on getting her to achieve a look that is something between sleeping and sneezing. "Look kind of like you're having and orgasm," he says. Later on he orders, "A little orgasmic!" Then it's, "Close your eyes, kind of orgasmic." Listening to someone instruct a woman on how to feign pleasure is decidedly not sex. (I mean, to me. It's surely someone's thing.) In a particularly poignant scene, she lies naked under a U.S. flag while an assistant adjusts her limbs into just the right unnatural pose.
She is indeed following a decidedly American narrative of the "fallen woman." Her post-scandal power isn't in asserting that she's more than a sexting mistress; it's in essentializing herself as that. Her redemption, such as it is, is in making herself available to men -- all of them. How many of us are publicly outraged at Weiner's antics and privately navigating right on over to Vivid.com? Sexual hypocrisy, all wrapped up in the stars and stripes -- it's like Vivid called in Annie Leibovitz for this shot.
When asked by the photographer-turned-interviewer if she might consider shooting an actual porn, she smiled. "It's maybe a possibility," said Leathers. "We'll see what happens."