The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry. - William F. Buckley
Twelve updates and three meta-updates.
Think of the Children! (September 30th, 2010)
In California, crime is whatever school officials say it is: ”…Stacie Halas, a…teacher at Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School in Oxnard, was removed from the classroom…after pupils reported spotting her in a series of X-rated clips. ‘Maybe it’s not a crime as far as the penal code is concerned, but we feel it’s a crime as far as moral turpitude is concerned,’ said [superintendent] Jeff Chancer…” Because we certainly can’t have “sex rays” corrupting the innocent minds of nasty little snitches who watch internet porn and even make videos of their own: ”…a boy and a girl engaged in oral sex during class at Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School in Oxnard…[and] students…videotaped the…act on their cell phones…School officials have placed the teacher on paid administrative leave. They won’t say what actions, if any, have been taken against the students…“
Thanks to EconJeff for alerting me to the Richard B. Haydock Grammar-School Gomorrah, and see “Metaupdates” below for more “sex ray” hysteria.
The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (January 3rd, 2011)
Mainstream feminists are slowly coming to the realization that neofeminist attitudes hurt women, and Oregon State University graduate student Virginia Martin argues that they even hurt feminism itself:
Stereotypes and misinformation about sex work…only foster distrust and separation…between men and women…we were assigned a reading…that [claimed] “activists…are working…to eradicate prostitution – a practice rarely distinguishable from sex trafficking – by ending the demand for it” …prostitution is a consensual act between two adults and sex trafficking is slavery therefore making it nonconsensual by nature. Additionally, the tenet that ending prostitution would simultaneously end human trafficking is naïve and juvenile…The assumption that all sex workers…are oppressed and need saving is incorrect and an oversimplification of a complex issue…
Maggie in the Media (February 3rd, 2011)
I’ve appeared on several other websites lately. ”Sluts, Whores & More Ongoing Insanity” on Amazing Women Rock (March 5th) is a spirited defense of sex workers and a criticism of those who use words like “slut”, “whore” and “prostitute” as insults. It prominently features myself and this blog as examples of Amazing Susan’s point that “Being educated and independent AND in control of one’s sexuality are not mutually exclusive.” The London School of Attraction published a two-part interview with me last Monday and Tuesday, and on Thursday I published a guest column on Nobody’s Business entitled, ”Rick Santorum vs. Marc Randazza: A Dichotomy of Zealotry“.
Real People (February 6th, 2011)
“Healing Power of Sex Work” by Wrenna Robertson is an excellent essay which includes short profiles of a number of different sex professionals. Wrenna herself is a 36-year-old stripper who entered the profession at 18 to pay for university and never left despite earning two degrees and publishing a book, I’ll Show You Mine, which I mentioned last August.
A Moral Cancer (March 6th, 2011)
Politicians have long held that election or appointment to political office automatically grants degrees in medicine and pharmacology, but in the UK just being a cop confers expertise in oncology research:
…After a “drugs factory”…was raided, local yokel police passed on this dire admonition to a wide-eyed public:
Police are warning that when cannabis plants reach the final stages of maturity the odour they release has carcinogenic properties…Officers who deal with the plants use ventilation masks and protective suits and people who have plants in their home, especially anyone with young children, may be exposing their family to a health risk.
…Of course, that’s complete horse shit…Those who have bothered to actually look into the topic before making fools of themselves…know that…the terpenes, which are distinctive for marijuana’s distinctive odors, are in fact anti-cancer agents…
The Harborough Mail was apparently so embarrassed by its own gullibility that the story was pulled, as you already discovered if you tried to click that link.
A War for Peace (May 12th, 2011)
Just because Femen is clueless in proper application of topless protests doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the concept, as nursing mothers have demonstrated. And now exiled Iranian women are protesting their homeland’s misogynistic policies in the same way: “After a nude photo and short video of a popular Iranian actress baring her breast…several online campaigns have sought to raise awareness about repression of women in Iran. The latest…came from a group of European-based Iranians posing…to promote…the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar…”
Uncommon Sense (September 20th, 2011)
American “authorities” often justify their brutal mistreatment of streetwalkers by labeling them a “public nuisance”, but the Swiss prefer a more pragmatic and civilized approach:
Residents of…Zurich [voted]…to build dedicated garages…in [order to move] streetwalkers away from residential zones…The site will be shielded from sight by signs, be fitted with showers and toilets and will feature a gynaecologist for any medical problems and volunteers from the Flora Dora women’s group for any advice. The…site aims to eliminate…Zurich’s Sihlquai area, where about 60 streetwalkers work every night. Besides nightly traffic jams…[residents complain of] used condoms…[and other] trash…Ursula Kocher, who heads Flora Dora…said that the proposal had the support of the prostitutes themselves, as it could offer better security…
So the residents are happy, the hookers are happy and the politicians are happy. What a concept!
Surplus Women (September 27th, 2011)
Canadian police now believe that more than 30 unsolved murders of prostitutes in Edmonton, Alberta, may be the work of a serial killer:
…Since 1975, the bodies of at least 30 women…have been found…[and] dozens more are…listed as missing. Staff Sgt. Gerard MacNeil is…convinced a serial killer is still on the loose…”I can’t say whether that person is alive, whether they are in custody for other offences, or whether they have left the province…” [he said]. Project KARE, a joint task force between the RCMP and Edmonton police, was formed in June 2003 to investigate the deaths of women living high-risk lifestyles…members…hit the streets two to four times a week to connect with sex trade workers…The response from the women themselves has been warm…”Ninety-five percent of girls talk to us…[they] know exactly what we do and who we are. They understand we are not trying to bust them for doing their job…we are there to…make sure they are doing OK”…
But despite stories like this, fanatics who support criminalization still refuse to comprehend that it creates conditions which are far more dangerous for women.
An Ounce of Prevention (October 15th, 2011)
…HIV/AIDS researchers are testing an injectable version of a drug normally used to treat people already infected…[in hope of developing] a long-lasting version that may be given to people who aren’t HIV-positive, but are at high risk of becoming so. Three clinical trials have shown that antiretroviral drugs may help prevent uninfected people from acquiring HIV…but…the AIDS Healthcare Foundation…has filed a petition urging the Food and Drug Administration not to approve…[the drugs] for use by uninfected people. The group [claims] that people won’t take the drug as indicated and that they’ll stop using condoms or other prevention methods…
AHF’s true concern is that since they can’t provide such a drug, it would cut into their profits.
The More the Better (January 9th, 2012)
Despite the incredibly annoying headline, “Streetwalker to Cat Walker”, I was pleased to see another example of a sex worker accepted into the mainstream:
Former call girl Zahia Dehar has unwrapped her debut lingerie collection…in Paris…The Chanel designers says Zahia is, “a very French courtesan, like Liane de Pougy or the Belle Otéro”. She became notorious a couple of years ago when the then underage prostitute was allegedly paid thousands of dollars for sex with some of France’s most famous footballers. Her face caught the attention of magazine editors and she has since appeared in magazines like V and Vanity Fair.
Coincidentally, La Belle Otero is the subject of this month’s harlotography, coming on March 30th.
The Sky is Falling! (February 20th, 2012)
The pompous Michigan sheriff quoted in this column opined that “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt” from a sugar baby arrangement, but I doubt he was thinking of this sort of thing: Bob Caldwell, the 63-year old editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Oregonian, died of a heart attack last Saturday while visiting his 23-year-old sugar baby. The cops magnanimously decided not to pursue prostitution charges against the understandably distraught young woman, but that mercy obviously didn’t extend to protecting the dead man’s reputation or sparing the feelings of his wife and three daughters.
Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (March 3rd, 2012)
Once again, Indian charities demonstrate a wisdom far in advance of that of the self-important Americans who insist that they know what’s best for Indian sex workers:
…in Kamathipura, Mumbai’s red-light district…[there is] a bank…[which] serves only prostitutes…A vast majority of the area’s 4,000 sex workers have accounts with…Sangini, Hindi for “female friend.” As Sangini sees it, sex workers with even a modest financial buffer are able to refuse clients wanting unprotected sex. And savings build confidence, providing the wherewithal to change professions if they choose. Often, women will leave their passbooks here so husbands or pimps don’t discover and squander their earnings. Men can deposit but can’t withdraw funds without the woman’s permission, says Diane Cross, the charismatic social worker running the bank…“We get lambasted by churches that we’re encouraging prostitution,” says Krishna Sarda, head of the India800 Foundation, a civic group funded by grants that’s underwriting Sangini’s $75,000 annual budget. “The idea you can stop this trade altogether is cloud-cuckoo-land. Our focus is on trying to stop the exploitation”…
“…Arizona…[has] been targeted as [one possible home]…for the adult business…But…Maricopa County attorney Bill Montgomery said…’Under Arizona law, anyone paid to appear in a pornographic movie may be guilty of the crime of prostitution, which carries mandatory jail time as well as the possibility of other penalties’…” I hate to agree with a district attorney, but anyone who thinks that porn acting isn’t prostitution is either delusional or a hopeless lawhead. Americans don’t need more ridiculous laws exempting certain kinds of sex work from persecution under certain arbitrary conditions; what we need is for the government to stop interfering in the private affairs of adults altogether.
Another good, clean, moral organization refuses charity from nasty, dirty whores:
The [cash-starved] Lennox Little League…[returned a $1200 donation from a gentlemen's club named] Jet Strip…president Robert Aguirre told KTLA…”It was a shocker to us. We do not want the money from the strip club…” [The club's manager]…said that the club has been giving back to the community for years, [donating to]…raise money for school supplies for [underprivileged] children…[and contributing] to…sheriff’s deputies…This isn’t the first time a Jet Strip donation has been returned. In 1993, according to Yahoo! Sports, the American Red Cross refused a $5000 donation from the club…
PayPal…is backtracking on its policy against processing sales of e-books containing themes of rape, bestiality or incest after protests from authors and anti-censorship activist groups. PayPal’s new policy will focus only on e-books that contain potentially illegal images, not e-books that are limited to just text…The service will still refuse…to process payments for text-only e-books containing child pornography themes…[but]…will…focus on individual books, rather than entire classes of books…E-book sellers will be notified if specific books violate PayPal’s policy, and the company is working on a process through which authors and distributors can challenge such notifications…
If people would always resist infringements on our rights this vehemently, even governments would be compelled to back down.
One Year Ago Today
“Jill Brenneman Q & A (Part Two)” concluded the feature drawn from the comment threads of the Jill Brenneman interview columns.