Mainstream blogs (JMG, DListed, Queerty, etc.) are covering the passing of Erik Rhodes, and SFist has an insightful take on who Erik Rhodes was and what he meant to the industry as one of its last traditional gay porn stars:
Since , he starred in numerous films, became one of the only name-brand stars in an industry increasingly faltering amidst the explosion of piracy and amateur cam sites. He wrote about his life as a porn star and prostitute on various blogs, never sparing anyone the nakedly honest details of his depressions, his abuse of party drugs like GHB and meth (link NSFW), and the ups and downs of his relationships, including one with a boyfriend of four years which ended earlier this year. Most interestingly, he was always glad to take criticism from “fans” and have public dialogues in the comments on his blogs, and to try to make people understand his dark sense of humor, his nihilism, and how the persona of ‘Erik Rhodes’ contrasted with his actual self. All of it felt like an art project at times, a critique of gay male norms and body image issues, in which he, himself, was the medium and the subject.
There was a lot to love and appreciate about him, but the one thing I loved and appreciated most about Erik Rhodes was that he “got it.” “It” being the ridiculousness of fame, the ridiculousness of the industry he worked in, and, at the risk of sounding obtuse, the ridiculousness of life in general. He loved what he did on camera, but Erik Rhodes never took “Erik Rhodes” seriously. Erik Rhodes was humble, full of humility, and completely self-aware, perhaps to a fault. Ironically, he was more grounded in reality than most of his peers, and especially his detractors.
Rhodes admitted to participating in comment threads on various blogs, including this one. He told me he would use aliases and engage commenters, tricking them into phony arguments for his own amusement. So, for those who have left disparaging comments on the post about his death and/or plan to do so on this one, please know that it’s exactly what Erik would have wanted. I’d like to think that he’s in the comments right now, somehow trolling all of us from beyond and having the last, great laugh.