On the day of October 8, 2018, Red War, a thriller inspired by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, topped the New York Timesbestseller list. It cost approximately $17.38. The author, Vince Flynn, has sold at least 15 million copies of his books to date.
The Bible, a religious book known for being one of the best-selling books of all time (it’s estimated 5 billion copies have been sold), written by Paul the Apostle and others, cost around $8.
That same day, Full Disclosure, a book inspired by porn star Stephanie Clifford’s life and written by Stormy Daniels (her show name), was not one of a Times bestseller, had no estimate for copies sold, and cost $30.47. It did, however offer up five detailed paragraphs describing what the president of the United States’ penis looks like.
While, at this point, all of the authors listed above have name recognition throughout the globe, only one of them hosted a book signing Monday at The Museum of Sex while wearing a shirt with the inspirational message “Start a Revolution.”
It was not veteran author Vince Flynn or one-time author Paul the Apostle who wanted to inspire people at a place that sold crystal dildos for $50. It was Stormy Daniels.
But let the guessing and judgement stop there. Because at that place which sold crystal sex toys (along with another Bible, this one on sex positions that cost $17.99 and has sold 100,000 copies), Daniels really did inspire those who waited in line to see her.
She didn’t want the event to focus on the political scandal that shot her from a name searched mostly on pornhub.com to a name searched millions of times on google.com. She didn’t want to take questions from press, and didn’t succumb to the bait fans threw at her with comments on women’s rights or her ongoing legal battle with President Donald Trump. She didn’t even mention Toad, a video game character to which she had compared the president’s genitalia.
She just wanted to compliment fans’ smiles, or leave messages for attendees’ mothers. She dressed like an author, wearing a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. By all senses, it was a normal book signing at a not-normal place with a normal-looking but not normal-living author (who signs off her messages with “Love and licks, Stormy Daniels”).
The people there, albeit a few, were mostly women and gay men, a base Daniels recently said, in an interview with Vogue, is new but welcome.
Marco Zappala of Bushwick was first in line for the signing. The short film director got there three hours early because he said he “really wanted to shake the woman’s hand that’s out to destroy Trump.”
“It feels kind of like by being here, I’m protesting in a way,” he said of the event. “It’s like I’m meeting literal Deep Throat.”
Literally, he was going to meet a woman who stood up for things the president arguably doesn’t: women, sexual women, loud women, nasty women, etc. And if meeting that symbol in 2018 means meeting Daniels and getting her book signed, then by all means it was a protest.
“The most terrifying thing to Trump is an educated woman,” Zappala explained. “And the most threatening thing to this administration is reading.” With that rationale, the signing was a perfect combination of activism: doing a legal act that the president and his administration both frown upon, yet cannot stop.
“She’s a hero to American women,” said Nancy Coplin of Austin, Texas. “I’m gonna tell her she’s my hero.”
Coplin was in New York for a vacation, but came to the signing as soon as she found out about its existence. In her 70 years of living, Coplin said she’s stood against the patriarchy constantly, whether it be in her field of work or in her support for equal rights.
She said Stormy’s lack of care about those that judge her on her sex life and on her sex work, is a sign that the times are getting better, that women are getting stronger.
Those at the signing weren’t meeting a porn star. They were meeting an activist. A symbol of resistance. “She smelled like a mix of patriotism and unlawfulness,” Zappala said after meeting his idol below six disco-ball chandeliers in a room that resembled a speakeasy.
Perhaps it was the perfume that made him, and the hundreds of people who wanted a moment of her time, feel this way. Or perhaps it was the person, who stripped her way out of her trailer park home, empowered herself through sex work, and then came out on top of one of the biggest political scandals known, to have given off this aura.
So, of the $17.38 thriller novel, the $8 religious text and the $30 memoir, which would you buy?
My money, like the president’s, is on Daniels’ work.