And so it ends. I'm not sure how I feel about the "pursuit of pleasure" being tagged the root of it all, unless by that one means the pursuit of easy money in the gold rush environment all three parties cohabited in back then. In other words, I would define the grand overarching theme here a bit more narrowly.
That's the thing that linked all three of the corners of this murder triangle, really, in which the early chapters of the book did a good job of explaining. Kocis, Sean and Grant, and Harlow and Joe, all were players during this brief window in time, in which certain advances in consumer technology allowed amateurs to get into the gay porn industry, and make a bucketload of money with relatively little work and only a modicum of talent.
Kocis had staked his claim during the gold rush the earliest, and hence was the most successful, building up a solidly lucrative home business that was only terminated by his death. It's interesting to speculate on what might have happened to Cobra Video had there been no murder: Would Kocis' business to continue to thrive until the present day? Or, would the same collapse of the easy money gay porn bubble that lead to the financial problems of Harlow and Joe also have led to woes for Cobra? We'll never know.
Sean and Grant got into the game later, and were then hampered by civil legal distractions, and then later criminal legal distractions. As a result, by the time they got their own quality Brent Corrigan videos to market, the heady gold rush days of amateur gay porn were over. By all accounts they did well enough, but still, one wonders what they might have achieved had not years been wasted in court rooms from California to Pennsylvania.
And then there's Harlow and Joe. Of all the parties, no one better exemplifies the whole rise-and-fall aspect of this easy money period; from their nouveaux riches excesses with chinchilla coats and quick SRTs, to the fact that to this day, they are in still in denial about the fact that they were ever in financial difficulties...difficulties that unquestionably motivated them to murder.
I want to close with one last thing, something that was almost overlooked by the Kocisphere, but was found rather late. And with difficulty, as it was fairly inconspicuous.
On March 27, 2009, gay escort and blogger Benjamin Nicholas wrote one of his usual long, meandering blog posts. You can read it in the link above; he goes on and on and on about various crap, and then suddenly, out of the blue, he happens to casually mention the conviction of Harlow Cuadra. And that he worked with Harlow in a professional capacity before. And talked with him, and got a measure of the kind of person he really was:
"...I have worked with [Harlow] in an escort capacity in the past: Years ago we had been hired together on several occasions and, on a very superficial level, we'd chat back and forth. He seemed like a driven young guy, but one who was too involved with pie-in-the-sky concept to really make anything a reality. He often bragged about what material riches escorting afforded him (if you consider Outback steak dinners, liposuction and a used car 'riches') and where his adult career was headed once he got his start up studio off the ground. To me, he seemed perfectly nice, but like most performers I've met in the adult industry, perfectly stupid and suited best for whatever required the least work in life. People often times confuse nice with good. In this case, the two couldn't have been more different."On this, I have several points to note:
1) Note that BN and Harlow are working together, on a job as equals. It's not Harlow talking to a client, it's not Harlow talking to a fan, it's not Harlow talking to a jury...it's Harlow talking to a fellow escort. An equal, a PEER, confidentially talking shop to one another. In other words, this is one of those cases where THE MASK DROPS, and we see the REAL Harlow Cuadra reveal himself.
2) And note what the real Harlow says: "...once he got his start up studio off the ground." Italics mine. Harlow is taking ownership and control of Boybatter here. Joe is not even mentioned.
3) And also note Harlow's character traits which come to the surface in these conversations: Harlow is pie-in-the-sky unrealistic, stupid and lazy.
Essentially, BN is painting a picture of Harlow as a product of the gay porn subculture PC mentions above. All this easy money rolls in initially to he and Joe, not because they were particularly hard working or clever, but merely because they happened to be situated in the right place at the right time when a financial bubble began to form.
And then, when the bubble bursts, and all that easy money begins to flow out as easily as it first flowed in...well, you can see the exceptional mental desperation that led them to murder. It's one thing to go from rich to poor. It's quite another to go from poor to rich and then poor again, realizing that going to rich in the first place was but a matter of luck.
I think a lot of the behavior of many of the principals in this saga, from Kocis to Sean and Grant to Harlow and Joe, can be best understood by understanding the bubble-ish environment they were all a product of.