Tomb Raiders

Bush's Secret Society Hits the Mainstream

"Frankly, it sucked," Newman tells the Voice of his shot at cable immortality, ranking it "somewhere below Porky's Revenge." As many disappointed reviewers noted, Porn 'n Chicken featured only brief nudity; its zingy exposition wilted into college-comedy clichés involving corrupt, nasty administrators, and the importance of finding yourself.

Did Porn 'n' Chicken, in any of its incarnations, exploit women? The Comedy Central character of "Polly Morphous," a feisty bisexual feminist and budding porn star, was partially based on a woman in the class of 2002 whom the male founders of PnC filmed in the library, in a lesbian scene involving a strap-on and fisting. (She played an initiate into a secret society.) This woman was one of the only PnC members to be quoted under her own name in the campus papers, while others used handles like "Dallas Everhard" and "Sweet Jimmy the Benevolent Pimp." A self-proclaimed sex activist, she described the porn performance to the Yale Daily News "as a sort of self-challenge," a very public way to confront "a personal history of fear and shame."

But not long after The Staxxx filming session, the real Polly was cut out of the picture. Reporters, nearly all of them men, covered the four founding PnC fathers with a wink and a slap on the back—Time's Joel Stein even brought porn star Sydney Steele to a PnC meeting—without mentioning the woman who had done the dirty work. When it was time to make a deal with Comedy Central, the guys all received associate producer credits; the girl didn't even get money for her life rights. (She refused to be interviewed for this article.)

"Who was the fool, who the wise man, beggar, or king?": from an 1882 S&B photo album.
photo: Yale University Library
"Who was the fool, who the wise man, beggar, or king?": from an 1882 S&B photo album.

Even without a secret handshake or ties to the Rockefellers, the boys with boners are profiting from their self-made network. Currently Newman, the "producer" of The Staxxx, who started and sold two tech companies and became a venture capitalist while still an undergraduate, is CEO of Cyan Pictures, an independent film production company on Park Avenue; Spoelman is his VP of finance; Ponsoldt, a Columbia film student and a camera intern on Porn 'n Chicken, directed Cyan's first film over the summer, a short about Oxy-Contin addiction in Appalachia entitled Coming Down the Mountain.

Porn 'n' Chicken, it emerges, is nothing less than Skull and Bones: the Next Generation. After all, sex, self-promotion, media savvy, and entertainment have far more allure these days than death, secrecy, obscurity, and politics. "Every few months," Newman confesses to the Voice, "I head over to the Yale Club to watch old men in tweed jackets with corduroy elbow patches drink scotch and ramble about . . . the fun time they had last weekend on Buckley's yacht. Half of me is terrified I'm slowly turning into them, and the other half is secretly hoping I am." Conspiracy theories may come and go, but the transmission of power, man to man, is still an open secret.

« Previous Page