When I heard the news that my colleague and friend Erik Rhodes aka James Naughtin had died, I was in shock. This couldn't possibly be true. But nevertheless, I clicked through my twitter feed, and a few blogs... before realizing that it was. And my heart... sank. He was only 30 years old.
It's a funny thing.... this world of porn that both myself, and James existed in. Although, I can only imagine that the pressure Mr. Naughtin faced, was ten times the amount of myself or anyone else. Still, to prevail in it, is to be commended. To talk about it openly, is nothing short of inspiring. Because no matter what people such as Erik Rhodes posted, regarding his faults, his demons, his trials or tribulations.... He posted what he wanted people to see. So, to base who James was as a person on his blog, or public musings... is foolish. You were never going to see him for all that he was, because he was only portraying a fraction of himself. He was a very bright star. Bright enough to know the divide between porn persona, and real person.... and I for one... will miss him greatly.
I started writing this morning as a way to deal with the heartache that I feel, for him and for all of us. We as a gay community set a standard for physical perfection, that is almost impossible to maintain or achieve.... yet Erik did for so long. So, why are all the stones being thrown? Why are people tearing down a person with disgusting comments, not even 24 hours after he died? It certainly can't make them feel better about themselves, can it? Saying that he brought it on himself, with no true understanding of being in his shoes.... seems callous. Almost inhumane. Therefore, I will refuse to believe that James' legacy is reduced to bitchy tweets, and blogger comments of disdain. He was a guy that went through life, and documented to the best of his abilities, his experiences. Instead, I will remember his insight, his fearlessness at attempting to overcome his fears, and his penchant for living life to its' fullest. An intense performer, a respectful colleague, and a kind person. It's no wonder, that with someone who burns that bright, many will choose to tarnish any way they can in the aftermath of his death. But know this.... no matter what you say, or do.... A brighter star, there will never be.