Friday, June 11, 2010

Identity theft

When I was in Tampa last month, I invited the conference participants to visit my web site and read my blog. I gave them the web addresses on the one of the slides printed out in their packet. I didn't think to warn them about googling my name.

If you put the words Jill Kelly into Google, you'll either end up on Wikipedia or at http://www.jillkelly.com/. Neither site is about me. Both are about a blonde 39-year-old porn star who took my name as her stage name. The web site comes with a Mature Content warning.

That Jill Kelly is famous for live sex shows, hard-core porn films, and a line of sex toys. She's even an Adult Video News Hall of Famer, something I didn't even know I could aspire to. She also works as a talent agent for other female porn stars.

Perhaps we all think of ourselves as unique. That our name is our identity and belongs to us. I've known for many years that there are other Jill Kellys in the world. I had a collection agency from Florida calling me for about 18 months and threatening to repossess my Mustang. Except I was driving a Honda and the real deadbeat was Jill Marie Kelly, not Jill Beverly Kelly. And two years ago I received a paycheck from Oregon Health and Science University for much more than my part-time teaching gig warranted. Turns out the University, which is Oregon's largest employer, had another Jill Kelly (Jill Eileen Kelly) on their payroll. I didn't try to cash the check. There are even several other Dr. Jill Kellys, who are authors--one in spirituality, one in fantasy. Those I don't mind so much.

I'm not a prude and I don't care much what consenting adults do or whether they take pictures of themselves doing it. But to have the name that is mine pre-empted by a sex worker, that just feels weird. Well, at least all my body parts are my own. According to her web site, that other Jill Kelly can't say the same.

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