In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything goes. - Cole Porter
It’s time for another collection of short articles about various things of interest; think of today’s column as a collection of provocative little presents from Maggie’s fishnet Christmas stocking. The first one is a seriously big deal; if it pans out it’ll be the best Christmas present the medical community has given mankind in many years:
Doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood announcing that Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the “Berlin Patient,” appears to have been cured of HIV infection thanks to a stem cell transplant he received in 2007 as part of a his treatment for leukemia. The doctors stated that the results of extensive testing “strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved.” Brown is the first person to ever be declared cured of HIV, and his case shows the way toward a potential cure for HIV through genetically-engineered stem cells.
And just last week, Time named another AIDS-related discovery to its list of the Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2010; recent studies show that healthy individuals who take antiretrovirals, medicine commonly prescribed for treating HIV, reduce their risk of contracting the disease by up to 73 percent. It’s too early yet to say that AIDS has been cured, but the millions already infected and those (like sex workers and medical professionals) who have higher-than-normal risk definitely have reason to hope that a cure may finally arrive in the next few years.
As I’ve mentioned before, Jezebel tends to sit on the fence between third-wave feminism and the last remnants of second-wave feminism; its editorial staff seems to give considerable leeway to contributors, and some unfortunately have the tendency to write articles which exude the unmistakable dead-fish smell of neofeminism. I’ve noticed the writer of the following article (reprinted verbatim) in particular has a strong tendency to rely on rhetoric which was already pungent in 1991 and has grown ever-more-foul in the intervening two decades:
We’re referring to the words allegedly spoken to Mark Wahlberg at some party for The Fighter. According to the NY Daily News, a “young beauty” approached Wahlberg in the “VIP Section” of the Top of the Standard bar. Her line? “Well, I’m the single girl and you’re the married man.”
Wahlberg allegedly “wasn’t amused,” and we don’t know why he would be, since it wasn’t remotely amusing. What it was, in fact, was depressing, degrading and reliant on archetypes that we wish didn’t exist. And while we’ve described it as an abysmal line, there’s always a chance it’s worked in the past — which is more depressing still.
For all we know, Wahlberg’s PR is pushing the story to highlight his upstandingness (and really, you shouldn’t get special credit for normal, decent behavior) but that’s not where our interests lie. Young beauty, whoever you are: you are better than this. You shouldn’t be defining yourself in relationship to the nearest man, and you shouldn’t buy into a world that pits “mistresses” archaically against wives. We hope that seeing this item will serve as a wake-up call. You’re not “the single girl” — you’re a person! A person with opinions and history, and value. You deserve to be not just in the VIP section, but in the VIP section of life!
First off, it’s only a “pickup line” if a man uses it; the female equivalent is called a “come-on”. But even if the two are considered together, this does not remotely even make it into the running to be considered to be nominated as among the worst pickup lines of this month, let alone ever. My nomination for that honor would have to be, “Let’s joust; my pork sword versus your clam salad.” Yes, that was a real line, spoken by a guy I actually knew and overheard by another friend. What makes it even more astonishing is that it actually worked; I guess low female self-esteem is a horny-but-clueless guy’s best friend.
The rest of the piece is so judgmental and indicative of rigid, indoctrinated thinking that it is – to paraphrase the article itself – “depressing, degrading and reliant on rhetoric that we wish didn’t exist.” The author clearly believes herself to be “better” than the young half-hooker who solicited Wahlberg, yet says the girl is better than “this” (meaning her profession). But you’re right about one thing, Ms. Neofeminist; she is a person with opinions, history and value, just as every other prostitute is. We don’t “define ourselves in relationship to the nearest man”; it is YOU who are doing that by “defining” her in relation to a potential customer even though you know nothing else about her, and you shouldn’t buy into a world that pits “feminists” archaically against whores.
These are just a couple of funny slideshows which are only tenuously related to this column by the “Video Girl Barbie” entry in “Toys Not To Get Kids for Christmas” and the “Free Hugs” entry in “Obvious Traps”. Think of them as stocking stuffers.
The ex-porn starlet ex-wife of actor Kelsey Grammer, infuriated over his divorcing her for a younger woman, now plans to blackmail him with a sex videotape demonstrating “just how twisted his sexual appetite is” in order to extort a larger alimony payment than the court assigned her. A woman demands money that she would not have if she hadn’t sex with a man; why isn’t this illegal again? Oh, yeah, that marriage license thing, which makes prostitution legal. I don’t remember anything about it making blackmail legal, though, so why hasn’t this sleazy trollop been arrested and charged with attempted extortion?
This article talks about “maid cafes”, Japanese establishments in which guys pay girls to give them a GFE without the sex. This is of course exactly what many of our clients want as well, and it’s a very old tradition in Japan; really, the girls are like low-rent modern descendants of geishas (who as you may remember replaced the oiran by practicing then-modern entertainments instead of archaic ones). It’s also not all that different from the being-sweet-and-cute-for-money procedure practiced by strippers and Hooters girls. Still think there’s a clear line between illegal prostitution and legal professions which dance all around it? What is it that defines prostitution? If it’s penetration, what about hand jobs? If the guy doesn’t climax, is it still prostitution? What about police busts in which neither sex nor any conversation about it occurs? How about guys who just want to watch a girl masturbate or play with another girl? If a guy comes in his pants during a lap dance, is it prostitution? How about a Las Vegas escort who gets a quickie wedding with her client, does a all-nighter and then gets an equally quick divorce in the morning? How about the Muslim temporary marriage, which can be as short as one night? And if a ex-porn starlet blackmails her ex-husband with video of him clapping and chanting “lubbu-lubbu”, is it illegal?