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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Nobody was ever meant
To remember or invent
What he did with every cent.
  -  Robert Frost

People who have never owned a company often fail to understand that any institution formally organized and registered with the government is a separate entity from its owner, even if there is only one owner.  I am the sole owner and member of Maggie McNeill, LLC, yet I cannot simply take money from that entity as I please; I can pay myself as much salary or bonuses as I like, but it must be recorded that way, and if I spend the company’s money on myself without proper documentation (say, by buying cat treats or going to a movie) it is considered embezzlement.  It can get complicated; when I’m on my book tour this summer, for example, I can buy myself dinner with company funds (as long as I keep the receipts), but I could not do the same tonight because I’m not travelling on company business right now.  And though I could give copies of my book purchased with company funds to reviewers or other business contacts, if I wanted to give them to friends as gifts I’d have to buy them from the company because there is no valid promotional reason to give them to friends.

Al CaponeTo those who have never owned a company, this probably seems remarkably silly, and it would be if not for the existence of income taxes.  But because businesses and individuals are taxed differently, using company funds directly for personal use avoids having to disburse those funds on paper, so it then becomes undeclared income.  When the company is small and the amounts meager it’s unlikely the taxman will discover anything amiss, but as the amount of money in question increases the government pays a great deal more attention:  remember, while Al Capone got away with many murders and other violent crimes, it was for tax evasion that he was finally imprisoned.  And when the entity in question is a nonprofit organization, the rules are even more strict; the owner of a nonprofit is still subject to income tax even if the organization isn’t, so spending nonprofit funds on personal use is considered an even more serious offense.

The reason I’m bringing all this up right now is not merely because I got a short lecture on it from my banker last Friday, but also because of certain information a confidential source provided me just the day before that.  Remember Rachel Moran, touted by Irish prohibitionists as a former sex worker despite the fact that she doesn’t know the first thing about the profession and nobody in the area she supposedly worked had ever set eyes on her before?  And then there was her confederate Justine Reilly, who was convicted of “pimping” in 2001 but repeatedly “reframed her experiences” until she was magically transformed into the “victim of pimps” herself.  Well, with the help of Magdalene laundry front Ruhama, the two of them formed an “independent” liar’s club named “SPACE International” and then set about soliciting (ahem) donations (ahem ahem).  Here’s an interesting email exchange with Norma Ramos of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (a major prohibitionist group instrumental in spreading Swedish rot propaganda); I’ve inverted the order from the way it appears on the forwarded email so as to make it easier to read, and I’ve also hidden details like addresses and bank account numbers.

From: Rachel Moran [mailto: rachel.moran8@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 11, 2013 11:05 AM
To: Norma Ramos
Cc: justine reilly
Subject: Bank account details

Dear Norma,

After more nonsense with the bank today where I have been advised that Justine and I will need to set an appointment for next week, we have decided that the commonsense thing to do is have our funding transferred into my account, where it will stay only until we have set up our joint account.

I am going to Norway tomorrow for five nights and myself and Justine are going to the UK the following week, and of course you are leaving CATW within weeks, so we feel this is the best way to deal with things for the time being and are hoping this is okay with you.

Mine is a current account, not a savings account (in case you are asked) and my bank details are below:

AIB (Allied Irish Bank) – ***** Branch
Account name: Rachel Moran
Account Number: 6******7
National Sort Code: 9****1

My home address is, * S_____ Lane, ********, Dublin **, in case you should need that. If there is anything else you need please let me know.

Thank you for this, and for everything, xx

Rachel

From: Norma Ramos <NRamos@catwinternational.org>
Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:03 PM
To: Rachel Moran < rachel.moran8@gmail.com>
Cc: justine reilly <justinereilly@ymail.com>, Corey Backes <CBackes@catwinternational.org>, Janet Gumbs <jgumbs@catwinternational.org>
Subject: RE: Bank account details

Dear Rachel,

CATW is thrilled to an award a seed grant in the amount of $5000.00 to SPACE to facilitate the development of this NGO dedicated to working against the commercial sexual exploitation of human beings. Thank you for the leadership you and Justine have shown been working to end this human rights violation. Warmest, Norma

Norma Ramos, Esq.
Executive Director
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
Phone: (212) 643-9895
www.catwinternational.org

On Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 9:31 PM, Janet Gumbs <JGumbs@catwinternational.org> wrote:

Dear Rachel,

I am confirming that a wire for the amount of USD 5,000,  Euro 3,656.31 was processed today.  The funds should be in your account within two days.  Please confirm receipt of these funds at such time.

Best,

Janet Gumbs
Director of Finance
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)
t. 212.643.9895
http://www.catwinternational.org/

From: Rachel Moran [mailto: rachel.moran8@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 6:35 AM
To: Janet Gumbs
Cc: Norma Ramos; Corey Backes; justine reilly
Subject: Re: Bank account details

Dear Norma and Janet,

We are very grateful for the kind donation of USD 5,000 (Euro 3,656.31) which arrived in my account during my recent stay in Norway. We will be spending this money on communications equipment and fees and technological support, and will be retaining all receipts associated.

Our deepest thanks for your kind assistance,

Rachel and Justine

accountantWell, that’s all pretty clear; the $5000 was awarded as a “seed grant” to SPACE to “develop” its work of ending the terrible human rights violation of consensual sex.  And SPACE’s directors said the money would be spent on “communications equipment and fees and technological support,” complete with receipts.  So nothing to see here, then…except for the part where organizational funds were deposited into a private account, and also that I’ve been hearing rumors that Moran & Reilly are not exactly friends any more.  Perhaps the estrangement is due to the fact that while Moran’s star is rising (she was even interviewed by Rupert Everett for his upcoming Channel 4 documentary, Love for Sale), it seems Reilly is being quietly retired as an embarrassment.  But if Moran & Reilly are no longer a team, what about those company funds that went into Moran’s personal account?  Here’s what my source said about that:

Ms. Moran is currently living it up in the states with the funding from SPACE.  All the original founding members left, including Justine Reilly, and none of the original members had access to SPACE funding or any of the internal administration.  SPACE International is all Rachel Moran!!!

Obviously, this is merely an allegation, but it seems it would be an easy one for the Irish tax authorities to investigate were they of a mind to do so.  While the Irish government seems afraid of crossing the Laundry Orders or looking too closely at anything they’ve polluted with their foulness, governments invariably seem much more likely to sit up and take notice when taxes are involved than when it’s a matter of some trifle like the enslavement of thousands of women.

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For a model that is supposed to help prostitutes…[the Swedish model] shows them remarkably little respect.  –  Mishka Gora

Rough Trade Danford Grant on video

Accused rapist says it wasn’t rape because his victims were only whores:

Danford Grant, a prominent Seattle lawyer…is charged with six counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of burglary for allegedly attacking multiple women at massage clinics…Grant’s lawyers claim Jie Shao, owner of Carnation Massage:  “deleted all the footage that recorded what really occurred…to destroy what was evidence of prostitution, not rape or attempted rape”…attorney…Richard Hansen…has repeatedly put…responsibility …on the…victims…saying…“a lot of these…(massage businesses) were advertising on Backpage…that should tell you something”…

The Lesser of Two Evils

An excellent Christian argument against criminalization of sex work, especially via the Swedish model:

…To criminalise male purchasers while simultaneously exonerating female vendors…is a violation of natural justice…this…“denial of consent”…fails to understand the motivation of women who…prefer prostitution to the alternative…the duplicity and irrationality of wanting to eliminate prostitution…while simultaneously denying the moral agency of prostitutes…is mind-boggling.  The contortions of the mind needed to support this feminist narrative have…also led to…prostitutes [being treated]…like children incapable of taking responsibility for their actions…[while] male clients…are…“sex offenders”…along with rapists and child abusers…According to Dr Melissa Farley, upon whose dubious “research” seemingly every justification of the Swedish model is based, they are “predators”…For Christians, promiscuity has [always] been the defining aspect of prostitution…medieval canonists agreed that although it was wrong for a prostitute to practice her trade, there was no wrongdoing in her receipt of money for her services…It is…hypocritical and inconsistent to criminalise only this one form of promiscuity…It is not…criminal…for a woman to have a different sexual partner each night…nor…for a man to buy his mistress an apartment, clothing, etc…integrity would demand…prohibition [of sex work] apply to all illicit sex…Such a prohibition…was ludicrous in Catholic medieval Europe, and…even more so in a modern western democracy…

Actually, This is Good News

The more sex workers are treated as other professionals are, the better:

Prostitutes could be sued for breaching the Consumer Guarantees Act, the same as any other service provider, a law professor says.  A man who tried to sue a prostitute for compensation and damages  had his claim dismissed…But…Professor Cynthia Hawes said prostitutes were…no less accountable than other service providers…”if you’ve made a contract with somebody there could be a case.  A contract of prostitution is not unlawful in itself”…

Maggie in the Media

On Wednesday I was a guest on the Inspireland podcast; you can listen to it at that link or download it on iTunes.

Parable white slave girl

For April Fools’ Day, Jenny Heineman wrote a satire entitled “It Happened To Me:  I Read And Believed Nick Kristof”:

Despite ample warnings about the prevalence of con men seeking to prey on easily malleable puppets like me…I almost became the victim of a murky, seedy, dark, sex trafficking ring operated by equally murky, seedy, dark (-skinned) men…prostitution…is never a victimless crime…all fact-based evidence to the contrary should be deeply scrutinized…Furthermore, prostitution and sex trafficking are synonyms because if you disagree…you’re a pedophile…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

A [Connecticut] woman faces prostitution charges after…she reported being robbed by a man who responded to her ad…Nikoletta Herman…became nervous about the way he was acting…changed her mind and…the man got upset, assaulted her and stole her cellphone…

Marching Up Their Own Arses

The newest anti-whore fad:  using “licensing” to jack up prostitution fines:

…Wausau [Wisconsin] Police Chief Jeff Hardel [wants]…an escort license…ordinance [which] would impose fines in the $2,000 to $5,000 dollar range, and [require] licensed escorts to be fingerprinted, pass background checks, and file a…business plan.

Full of Themselves (Updates Galore)

Massage parlors are victims of licensing as well:

…Minneapolis will require massage businesses to be licensed…to prevent sex trafficking…With cooperation from…victims, prosecutors are…working to drive down the demand…through aggressive prosecuting of “johns.”  The city also has conducted training sessions to educate hotel and motel owners and employees to recognize, report and stop sex trafficking…

coffee crack pipe
To paraphrase one line from the article, “The new law is intended to make Minneapolis a safe police state to call home.”

Gullible’s Travels

Coffee smoking is a dangerous new trend that could be going viral among teens…But the side effects can be dangerous. People have reported trouble breathing, dizziness, vomiting and even hallucinations.”

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

violence and assault against sex workers by the police…has come under the scanner of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission…Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) filed a complaint…on behalf of the sex workers…”Women have been beaten up just for standing on the road, or while walking towards the bus stop…Women have been…compelled to pay money, failing which they are threatened that false cases will be filed against them,” Professor Rajendra Y J of PUCL said…

The Prudish Giant (TW3 #9)

PayPal is at it again; here’s a letter sent out on Monday by the crowd-funding platform Patreon (which lets patrons pledge a set amount to an artist for every new work created) to artists who create “adult” material:

…we had to change your custom URL and set your Patreon page to “private”…users must [now] have a specific link to view your page, as it no longer appears in our search results.  We got a notice from Paypal this morning that they were shutting down their entire integration with Patreon because of “adult content” on our site!  As you can imagine, this would be detrimental to creators – hundreds of thousands of dollars were to be “frozen” unless we flagged all adult content pages, made them private, and removed Paypal functionality from their individual pages…We have already emailed your patrons who signed up to become your patron through Paypal, and we have asked them to switch over to a credit card.  No action is needed on your part, however, if you would like to email your patrons as well, that could be helpful in converting patrons from Paypal to credit card…

Above the Law 

Kansas jailer Kenneth Reese “has been arrested, accused of sex crimes against jail inmates”; the first allegation a year ago didn’t go anywhere, but a second accusation seems to have tipped the balance.  Meanwhile, in Louisiana, “Richland Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Dewey Allen has been arrested on charges of sexual battery and malfeasance…

Held Together With Lies

Emily J does a splendid job of ripping apart prohibitionist nonsense:

…here are the basic numbers of their claims:  140 girls & women in Ottawa right now are trafficked sex slaves…[each makes] $260 000 – $280 000…on average…[at] $200/Hour average price…$260 000 per year at $200/hour…[is] 1300 sessions in a year…if each one works 365 days per year, they earn $712 per day…[and] 3.56 clients per day, every single day…that’s 498 unique men seeing trafficked girls in Ottawa…[and] 182,000 sessions per year…[which would mean] 65% of all men in Ottawa have had sex with a trafficked sex slave…

Number Puzzle

The invaluable Wendy Lyon debunks another bogus “trafficking” study:

There’s been much in the Irish media…about a new report on sex workers’ clients…You’d need a pretty small population size for 58 [respondents] to…tell us anything about clients as a class – and the authors can hardly claim simultaneously that the population size is small enough, and that it spends €250m a year…if the respondents amounted to even 10% of the sex-buying population of Ireland, that would still require them to pay an average of €431,034 per year for sex…the…survey…asks…Have you ever changed your mind and walked away because the person seemed…a list of options follows, including “scared”, “controlled”, “unwilling”, “unhappy” and “too young”…a client who…walked out of an appointment with an independent escort who was in a bad mood…[was] recorded as having encountered a sex worker who he believed was exploited or trafficked.  This…is a gigantic leap that undermines whatever credibility this survey might otherwise have had…

Under Every Bed

This collection of single sentences  about the “sex trafficking problem” in Boise, Idaho (population 200,000; known chiefly for lumber and potatoes) is not actually organized into a coherent article; apparently, its “writer” is a dual devotee of the “sex trafficking” cult and the Hemingway software.  The gems found therein include (multiple sic):  “a child is taken in…they’re used not only for prostitution but also in gang organized crimes”; “victims…go through a ‘moral development’ period…in order to stay safe they must go along with their captures”; and “investigators…believe that a major problem stems from the Internet…‘where kids play online’”.

Bottleneck (TW3 #324)

This breathless article from the Canberra Times is clearly intended as an attack on decriminalization in New South Wales:  it spouts “sex trafficking” nonsense; quotes cops, politicians and an NGO named “Brothel Busters”; and does not quote any sex worker organizations at all.  But like many prohibitionist screeds about the “failure” of legal sex work regimes, it ignores a vital point:  the women it discusses are only victims because they are specifically excluded from working legally via some legal bottleneck, in this case the inability to get visas for sex work.  Naturally, Scarlet Alliance has repeatedly warned the government about this exact issue.

Bootlickers (TW3 #326) 

Because surely there are scads of women who think escort to barista is a good career move:

[Sheriff's Sgt. Darrell L. O'Neill] was charged…with felony promoting prostitution…for allegedly tipping off bikini baristas in exchange for sexual favors…[cops claim] Java Juggs stands hire young women who have worked as strippers and escorts and “essentially operate as drive-through strip clubs or brothels”…

Innocence Never Had

Another useless public policy based upon the absurd notion of magical “pimp” mind control powers:

[Los Angeles] officials are exploring a plan to require more…training for foster parents and group home workers to help them recognize …signs that children and teens under their care may be victims of sex trafficking…pimps sometimes recruit underage sex workers from group homes…Rachel Thomas, a sex trafficking survivor [said]…”There’s a grooming process…with recognizable signs.”

The Punitive Mindset (TW3 #352) 

Campaigners fighting the Ministry of Justice over a ban on books being sent to prisoners…threatened to take their battle to the courts…Geoffrey Robertson QC, who has offered his services for free, said…justice secretary Chris Grayling [is] acting “unlawfully and irrationally”…to inflict “cruel and unusual punishment” on literate prisoners.  “Grayling is not a lawyer, he is a politician who seems to think he is above the law,” said Robertson…”He has no power to impose additional punishment on prisoners over and above that which is imposed by the courts.  The action has nothing to do with prison security or any other legitimate purpose”…Grayling [pretends]…”the arrival of thousands of unknown parcels in our prisons each day”…would undermine the…battle against drugs…

R.I.P. Andrew Hunter

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

Sex workers from across the UK and rest of Europe crammed into a select committee room in the House of Commons to argue against plans to change prostitution laws that would criminalise clients…

Whither Canada? 

Canadian prohibitionist is sad because he can no longer force sex workers traumatized by arrest to listen to his “rescue” sales pitch:

A prostitute rescue program…is now on hold because police are no longer laying prostitution charges in Saskatoon, says…Don Meikle…once an arrest was made “we would be sitting at the police station waiting for them…It’s…very disappointing…It’s taken away that crisis that quite often created change”…

The rest of the article is littered with words like “combating prostitution” and the program is praised by a pro-Swedish model prohibitionist group.

Delightful Conversation

Go back and look at the text below the second picture on yesterday’s column (which I actually posted on March 8th) before reading this:

…[Miranda Barbour] made up the claim that she killed more than 20 people and is drawing on the escapades of television serial killer “Dexter,” her sister said…”She takes a lot of truths and puts the lie in the middle so when people…see all these truths…they believe the lie”…Ashley Dean said Elytte Barbour loved the TV show Dexter and suggested that her sister…”is using descriptions from the show”…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on March 16th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

In early December, Elytte and Miranda Barbour were arrested on a charge of murder in the first degree, three weeks after getting married and moving from North Carolina to Pennsylvania:

[The Barbours]…lured a man to his death with an ad on…Craigslist…because they wanted to kill someone together…Elytte Barbour [said]…he and…Miranda…[lured] Troy LaFerrara…[with an escort] posting…Elytte [said]…Miranda…regularly…made anywhere from $50 to $850 by meeting with men for such activities as having dinner together or walking around a mall.  The ads she placed…all said upfront that sex was not part of the deal…“She is not a prostitute…she…meets with them and has delightful conversation”…

Miranda BarbourGenerally, when a couple commits murder together, the man is the leader and the woman the follower.  But from the moment I read this report, I strongly suspected that this time it was the wife who was the psychopath  and the husband her weak-willed assistant.  Why?  Because she actually expected him to believe that the ridiculous “time and companionship only” disclaimer was literally true, and he actually did.  And a man who can “tenderly be led by th’ nose as asses are” in such a fashion is also the sort who can be convinced that killing somebody for fun is a reasonable idea.  After this story broke I waited for over two months for the other shoe to drop as I knew it inevitably must, and on February 16th came the awaited thud:

[Miranda Barbour claims]…she killed many more victims…the 19-year-old…[said] she participated in at least 22 killings in the past six years in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California.  “When I hit 22, I stopped counting…I can pinpoint on a map where you can find them”…Barbour [said] she had her first experience with killing when she [was] just 13, shortly after she…joined a satanic [sic] cult in Alaska…she [says that she] felt no remorse for her victims and…killed only “bad people”…

While this bizarre fantasy was believed by the reporter to whom she first spoke of it, the credulous cop who called it “the real deal”, and a friend she first met in one of the psychiatric hospitals where she has spent much of her young life, just about everyone else realized that the idea of a 13-year-old female serial killer who murdered dozens without even being suspected is patently absurd:

Miranda’s father, Sonny Dean…is not the only one who doubts his daughter’s story…If she really killed 22 to 99 people in the span of six years in four different states…that means she was getting away with murder every few weeks to every few months since the age of 13.  It would make her America’s most prolific serial killer.  “Miranda lives in a fantasy world made up in her own mind,” Sonny said. “She craves attention, is selfish, dishonest and manipulative”…at…16, Miranda [had told a friend] she was a member of a “gang” that was “comprised mostly of men”…[and] “mentioned having been raped by multiple men at once”…[after returning from her first episode of running] away from home when she was 12…she told her mother, Elizabeth Dean, that she’d been “out prostituting” and had met a 25-year-old man named Forrest, who was “into satanic [sic] stuff” and was now her “ruler”…

Miranda claimed to have been “branded” with a swastika and Forrest’s name, but though her mother found large cuts on her they were not words or other recognizable symbols.  Several years later, after her parents divorced, Miranda claimed…

…that she [had become] pregnant…[and] the cult members…”tied her to a bed, gave her drugs and [gave her] an ‘in-house abortion.’”  Miranda’s mother…[immediately] took her daughter “to a doctor, who said there were no signs of an ended pregnancy”…

When she later really did become pregnant, she claimed that Forrest was the father, but that he had since been murdered; she also claimed to be a “high-ranking official in the satanic [sic] world” at the age of 17, when a judge decided it was better to send her to live with her uncle in North Carolina.  There she met Elytte, won him from his pregnant girlfriend, and talked him into eloping to Pennsylvania with her, where they committed the murder to “bring them closer together”.  And while it’s obvious that Miranda is capable of murder, it also seems very likely this was her first one.  She was never unsupervised in most of the places she claims to have killed, and…

…Alaska State Troopers issued a statement that there is “no evidence” that Miranda committed any murders in the state.  Members of Seeking Alaska’s Missing, a statewide support group, are also skeptical.  Authorities where Miranda lived in North Carolina said that their only unsolved homicide cases date back to Miranda’s infancy, and thus would’ve been impossible for her to have committed them.  Experts have said she doesn’t fit the profile  of a serial killer, who are rarely women [and] are typically older…

DexterAccording to Miranda’s mother, a person claiming to be Forrest called about Miranda’s baby after she moved to North Carolina (and after Forrest had supposedly been murdered).  But though her mother seems to believe in the existence of this “Satanic cult”, I do not; while it’s entirely possible Miranda belonged to a group of maladjusted teenagers playing at being a “cult”, her ideas about the behavior of such groups bear far more resemblance to pop-culture depictions than to anything real.  The notion of uncatchable serial killers preying on “bad people” seems borrowed from the television series Dexter, the “branding” motif should be familiar to anyone who’s been following the “sex trafficking” hysteria, and imaginary “forced abortions” appear over and over again in the “recovered memory” literature and latter-day descendants of the “Satanic Panic”.  As I’ve explained before, those suffering from such delusions and confabulations remember them just as clearly as you remember what you did yesterday, or even more clearly if your day wasn’t very interesting.  And over time, the false memories invariably become more detailed, more extreme and more lurid, and conform ever more closely to whatever narrative the deluded person has embraced (such as the belief-system of a political or religious group).  Miranda Barbour’s story already bears some resemblance to those of “sex trafficking survivors” (branding, gang rape, enslavement, exploitation of adolescent girls by older men, etc), though for now she is not only claiming her prostitution was voluntary, but also that it wasn’t even prostitution.  However, this affair is not yet over and Barbour’s tale is not done changing; I won’t be at all surprised if she soon “remembers” being the victim of “sex trafficking”, and her “Satanic ruler” turns into a “pimp”.

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Impenetrable in their dissimulation, cruel in their vengeance, tenacious in their purposes, unscrupulous as to their methods, animated by profound and hidden hatred for the tyranny of man…  -  Denis Diderot, “On Women”

As I have written on numerous occasions, the fallacious notion of the prostitute as a specific type of woman, with characteristics that set her apart from all other women, is a relatively recent one.  Prior to the mid-19th century it was widely understood that transactional sex was a normal female behavior, one that any woman might engage in under the proper circumstances.  This is not to say that it was accepted and condoned; far from it.  But nobody imagined that a woman was entirely defined by the act, either, nor embraced the foolish fantasy that only women of a certain background or experience made the choice.  I have also often pointed out that women are far more pragmatic than men like to believe; many if not most of us, even those from relatively sheltered lives, are perfectly capable of trading sex for money or other advantages should the need arise.

Jeanne de ClissonCase in point Jeanne-Louise de Belleville, Dame de Montaigu, born in 1300 to the powerful Breton nobleman Maurice IV of Belleville-Montaigu and his wife Létice de Parthenay.  She was married off at the age of 12 to a 19-year-old nobleman named Geoffrey de Châteaubriant and bore him two children.  Geoffrey died young in 1326, and four years later she married Olivier III de Clisson, bearing him five children.  But while her first marriage seems to have been a typical one, the second one was unusually passionate for a 14th-century noble couple.  The two were extremely close, and Jeanne was very devoted to him…so devoted, in fact, that what would have been the easy and unremarkable life of a wealthy French noblewoman became remarkable indeed after her husband was executed for treason in 1343.

It happened like this:  in the early part of the Hundred Years War, there were two rival claimants for the title of Duke of Brittany; Charles de Blois was favored by the French and John de Montfort by the English.  Olivier was on the French side, but after he lost Vannes to the English in 1342, de Blois complained that Olivier had not fought enthusiastically enough, and accused him of having defected to the English.  Olivier responded, predictably enough, by defecting to the English, but was captured by French forces and beheaded by order of King Philip VI on August 2nd, 1343; in a particularly barbaric touch, his severed head was then displayed on a pole at Nantes.  Jeanne was devastated by his death and furious at the King and de Blois, and swore revenge on both.  But while a lesser woman might’ve been content with cursing them from afar, spreading rumors or bribing someone to poison the royal wine, Jeanne was no ordinary woman.  She promptly sold off all of the Clisson lands the King had not seized, purchased the three best warships she could find, and had them painted black and rigged with sails dyed blood-red.  To raise money for a crew and to win allies from amongst the other Breton noblemen (who were none too fond of the French to start with), she sold her favors to them and charmed them into swearing to support her.  Keep in mind she was 43 years old at the time, had borne seven children and presumably had only been to bed with two men before this; she must have had a powerful charisma.

But that charisma, however great, paled beside her hatred.  From 1343-1356 the “Lioness of Brittany” mercilessly hunted and pillaged every French ship she could find, slaughtering the crews except for one or two who would be released on shore to tell the King who it was that had done the deed.  At the Battle of Crécy (1346), she helped to secure an English victory by bringing in supplies on her ships.  And after King Philip died in 1350, Jeanne only got worse; apparently enraged at his having escaped her wrath by fleeing into Hades, she began specifically hunting down ships owned by French nobles, and whenever she caught one she would personally behead him with an axe and have his body thrown into the sea, despite the fact that she could’ve made tremendous profit by ransoming them.  Were this a Hollywood movie, she would have eventually caught up with Charles de Blois and given him his comeuppance, but real life is rarely so neat; de Blois not only outlived the Lioness by five years,Château de Clisson but was also made a saint (though the canonization was annulled by the next pope on request from the English-supported Duke John V of Brittany, whose side had eventually won).  By the time she was 56 Jeanne’s thirst for vengeance was apparently slaked at last; she retired from piracy, married Sir Walter Bentley (who had personally fought de Blois) and settled in Hennebont, France, where she died in 1359.  Her son, Olivier Jr, earned the sobriquet “The Butcher” for his fierceness in war; he obviously inherited that from his mother, whose ghost is supposed to haunt the ruins of the old Château de Clisson (which was destroyed during the French Revolution).

Jeanne de Clisson was neither poor nor disadvantaged; neither sexually abused as a child nor mistreated by a husband; and neither homeless nor addicted to any drug.  Perhaps it could be said that she was emotionally disturbed by the loss of her beloved husband, but if so it was a very lucid kind of madness:  Jeanne knew exactly what she was doing, and chose to sell sex as a means toward that end.  And though most whores have far more mundane goals than the death of a king and the downfall of an entire country, our choices are every bit as pragmatic – and often as temporary – as hers.

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For decades I have been trying to come up with an ideal way to slice a banana.  -  SW3K

This was a very unbalanced week; while I had so many sex-work-related items that I was able to write three other columns from them in addition to yesterday’s TW3, as you can see the links pickings were pretty sparse.  The first video is another of the unusual covers I like to feature, of a song we’ve seen here before; the second is a new video version of something we’ve previously seen as a slide series (and which, IMHO, is important enough to repeat).  Everything down to the first video is from Radley Balko, and the links between the videos from Franklin Harris (“RIP” and “bananas”), Aspasia (“table”), Korhomme (“Anglophile”), Rick Horowitz (“part one”), Mike Siegel (“part two”), Eddie J. Cunningham (“Javert”), Jason Kuznicki (“rumor”), and Jack Shafer (“Watterson”).

From the Archives

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Natalie wrote…that she was…madly in love with a woman…[who] outstripped all her other loves by a long way.  Rather vexed, I answered: “The best in your life was me! Me! Me!”  -  Liane de Pougy, My Blue Notebooks

Perceptive readers may have noticed that though I share a profession with the subjects of all of my harlotographies, I don’t think I would have gotten along with many of them.  This is especially true of the Grandes Horizontales of La Belle Epoque; while I admire their spunk and envy their income, most of them were possessed of character traits I find irritating or even repulsive:  among these are incredible irresponsibility, the tendency to use people and a pathological affection for falsehood.  Though the former two would probably have caused me greater distress had I known the ladies in person, it is the latter one which annoys me most as a chronicler of whoredom because it makes it almost impossible to declare anything about their lives with certainty, despite what biographers who have never personally known a whore (much less been one) seem to believe.  Case in point Liane de Pougy, whose statements about her exes (and herself) are usually reported as fact despite their conflicting with her earlier statements about the same people.

Liane de Pougy, 1887Anne-Marie Chassaigne was born in La Flèche, France on July 2nd, 1869, the daughter of Pierre and Aimée Chassaigne; like so many others of her time she was educated in a convent, but unlike most of her peers she somehow managed to evade the nuns often enough and well enough to get pregnant at 16.  She eloped with the father, a young naval officer named Armand Pourpe, but predictably the marriage was both short and unhappy; she treated her baby son Marc as though he were a doll, and professed to be disappointed that he was not a girl so she could dress him up and fuss over him more.  When Armand was transferred to Marseilles she remained behind and promptly took a lover, Marquis Charles de MacMahon; when her husband later caught them in flagrante delicto he shot at them but only succeeded in wounding her wrist.  In response she sold her piano, abandoned her son and lit out for Paris on the first train she could catch, changing her name to “Liane” upon arrival.  She later wrote in her memoirs that her husband had “taken her violently on their wedding night”, supposedly traumatizing her; consider, however, that she was already sexually involved with him before they were married, and that this supposed emotional shock didn’t stop her from having sex with someone else as soon as he was over the horizon.  Furthermore, her arch-rival La Belle Otero claimed to have been raped at ten; one must wonder if Liane didn’t invent her marriage-bed ravishment so that she, too, could have a sexual horror story for those who responded to that sort of thing.  She also claimed that her husband was a brute who beat her, and that she had a scar on her breast from one such beating; perhaps, but it also provided a convenient excuse for her infidelity.

In Paris, the 18-year-old Liane immediately set out to become a courtesan, and learned the trade from the highly-respected Countess Valtesse de la Bigne.  Much to her mentor’s annoyance, Liane was bored by intellectual pursuits, but she was simply more attuned to the zeitgeist than the older woman:  it was a time when appearance and style were prized over depth and substance, as evidenced by the fact that, though utterly devoid of any acting talent, she was hired to headline a show at the Folies-Bergere on the basis of the impression she had made while attending the Grand Prix with the Vicomte de Pougy (whose surname she promptly appropriated).  So hopeless was she that Sarah Bernhardt, who had been given the job of teaching her to act, eventually told her, “when on stage, just keep your pretty mouth shut.”  But as with so many others up to the present day, this did not stop her from becoming a wildly popular celebrity; it started on the night of her debut, when she picked up the visiting Prince of Wales as a client.

Liane de Pougy (November 3rd, 1902)The ‘90s were the heyday of Liane’s career and the period of her infamous rivalry with La Belle Otero, played out in the various theaters and the dining room of Maxim’s restaurant, a favorite of the demimonde.  Though Otero became more famous and sought-after than de Pougy by about 1895, Liane was the wiser investor and the more careful bookkeeper, and appears to have had a larger number of less-famous clients compared with Otero’s smaller number of kings and princes.  Both women derived a sizeable secondary income from licensing their images for postcards, as was typical for courtesans of the time; as I have noted before, this period saw the beginning of the modern cult of celebrity, and the Grandes Horizontales were at the center of it.

Like most courtesans, Liane began to opt for longer-term arrangements as she aged; unlike most, not all of hers were with men.  In 1899 the American heiress and writer Natalie Clifford Barney became infatuated with her after seeing her at the Folies-Bergere, and though their lesbian relationship was very intense it was also very short because Barney kept insisting she wanted to “rescue” Liane from prostitution (a notion much more popular in America at that time than in France).  The two continued to have deep feelings for one another, though, and corresponded for the rest of their lives (see epigram).  Never one to miss a moneymaking opportunity, in 1901 Liane published a thinly-fictionalized account of their affair, Sapphic Idyll, which became a runaway bestseller and caused Barney considerable trouble with her straight-laced parents.  She also profited in another way:  when it became known that she was bisexual, she gained a small but profitable upper-class lesbian clientele.

Liane de Pougy in a detail of Une soirée au Pré-Catelan by Henri Gervex (1909)On June 8, 1910 the almost-41 Liane married the notably-younger Prince  Georges Ghika, after which she was called Princess Ghika.  Though neither as rocky nor as short-lived as her first marriage, this one was not without its major difficulties; the first of these came on December 2nd, 1914 when her son Marc, a French pilot in the First World War, was killed in action near Villers-Brettoneux.  Though she had never been close to him, his death precipitated a period of soul-searching in which she turned back to the Church, becoming a lay Dominican sister.  Though this phase did not last long, she remained devout for the rest of her life (though like many Catholics, she ignored sexual prohibitions she found inconvenient).  In 1926 Ghika ran off with a much younger woman, and while Liane’s diaries of the period brand him a pervert (whereas before he was described in glowing terms), the two did not divorce.  She consoled herself with lesbian lovers until he came back to her a few years later, and they remained together until his death in 1945; the latter period was not a happy one, however, and each had a series of extramarital girlfriends.

After his death she re-entered the Dominicans permanently as Sister Anne-Marie, and spent her last five years caring for physically and mentally handicapped children; she died at the Asylum of Saint Agnes in Lausanne,  Switzerland on December 26th, 1950, at the ripe old age of 81.  Her memoirs, My Blue Notebooks, were published posthumously.  Though many who wish to believe in such things have praised the “repentance” for her “sinful” past (most especially her prostitution and lesbianism) she proclaims in this work, the more cynical eye of this harlot sees instead the pièce de résistance of a long series of deceptions.  While her previous writings merely reinterpreted other people in her life, this one reinvented herself; and while the others were only intended to deceive mere mortals, this one was designed to pull the wool over the eyes of God himself.  And no matter what else I feel about her, I have to admire her for that one, grand, final act of chutzpah.

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The human body is not essentially…pornographic, and I think to make it so is a mistake.  -  Pat Robertson

This was one of those weeks in which I couldn’t be sure who was going to take the top position; it went back and forth several times before Radley Balko took it with six.  Popehat and Grace were tied for second place with four each (“irony”, “911″, “nanny”, and “fireman” for Popehat; “Palm Beach”, “3rd”, “hair”, and “spray” for Grace);  Jesse Walker (“gothic”, “Pat Robertson”),  Cop Block  (“10″, “20″) and Edward Cunningham (“together”, “test”) had two each,  and the rest of the links were provided by Franklin Harris (“RIP”), Walter Olson  (“physics”), Police Misconduct (“cop-lovers”), Jasper Gregory (“scrolls”), Jason Kuznicki (“cost”), Jemima (“strip”), Mike Siegel (“ABC”), and Lenore Skenazy  (“sign”).  The Via North Carolina Harm Reduction requested I share the second video, and I discovered the first while reading this article in order to answer a reader question.

From the Archives

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The movement of sex workers has become successful because they have learned to recognise themselves as workers.  -  Samarjit Jana

R.I.P. Gloria Leonard

Gloria LeonardPorn star and men’s magazine publisher Gloria Leonard died on February 3rd after suffering a stroke at her Hawaii home on the night of January 31st; she was 73, but had been in good health.  Like me, she was already over 30 when she began sex work and had already had a previous career (in her case, as a stockbroker).  She was hired as publisher of High Society in 1977 and still continued to star in and direct movies for several years afterward; she also pioneered one of the first phone sex lines in 1983.  During the feminist “porn wars” she became an outspoken advocate of sex work, and served as president of the Free Speech Coalition from 1998-2001.

Juxtaposition

Compare and contrast this:

Notified by The Street of its investigation that revealed that escort services were using Twitter, Rep. Chris Smith…urged that Congress investigate…to initiate a crackdown on Twitter, Backpage, Craigslist and other social media “that are the conduit for this terrible exploitation of women”…

And this:

Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police authority has decided to launch a war against what it described as vice and sorcery accounts on Twitter…The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice said it had formed special teams to track those accounts and arrest those who are behind them…[for] “spreading vice and witchcraft…we are determined to eliminate these accounts before they become widespread and out of control”…

Oops

[Indian] police have [difficulty] acting on tip-offs about prostitution activity…[because] moral boundaries are changing at different rates and what some call illicit sex is…[to] others…usual dating practice…In September…18 couples…in “compromising positions” were  rounded up from rooms in a hotel in…Ludhiana and detained under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.  Dharampal Singh…who led the raid, [said]…“Every couple says that they are there by consent or are dating [secretly]”…which is not uncommon in a society where families still arrange marriages and frown on premarital sex…

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

A [Virginia] state law that makes it a crime to have sex outside of marriage remains on the books after an effort to decriminalize it failed…Lawmakers…had concerns over potential loopholes the change would make in relation to incest and other sex crimes…[bill sponsor] Mark Sickles…[said] members want to make sure the bill is redrafted correctly and sent to the state Crime Commission for review before it is taken up again.  Eight people were convicted of fornication last year…

Surplus Women

[In 2007] Bonnie Barrett…was murdered by [Derek Brown]…who police believe was imitating Jack the Ripper…Bonnie worked as a…sex worker in Whitechapel…and…Jackie [Summerford] believes better policing could have prevented her…death.  She is one of several women who are today launchingRobert Richard Fraser a campaign on the Change.org petition website to change the way police interact with those in the sex trade.  She says… “They deserve to be protected, not ignored by police”…

Meanwhile, “Police have arrested a man [for]…the murder of…Maria Duque-Tunjano [last week]…Robert Richard Fraser…[is also suspected in]…an attack on another sex worker on January 18…

Imaginary Lines (November Updates)

The Gibson guitar company, having had its federally seized wood returned to it, is celebrating with the release of a new product made from that very wood:  the Les Paul Government II Series…available in one color:  “Government Tan.”

Where Are the Protests?

I guess rugs just aren’t as sexy as whores:

…researchers documented more than 3,000 cases of forced labor in India’s handmade carpet sector…factories and shacks where workers toil 10 to 12 hours a day for six to seven days a week were “cramped, filthy, unbearably hot and humid, imperiled with stray electrical wires and rusty nails…and contaminated with grime and mold”…Workers were subjected to frequent beatings and abuse and…suffered from…long-term health issues because of the grueling nature of the work.  Many…suffered from eye disease or loss of vision due to insufficient light.  Some developed spinal deformation…The average adult worker was paid between 21 and 24 cents an hour, while children were paid less…These carpets are sold in a number of major retail chains including, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Target, Sears, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Ethan Allen, IKEA and others…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Brigham Young University wants young Mormons to “rescue” their friends from the scourge of wanking by ratting on them to religious “authorities”:

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Thank you to new reader Xavier Naff for Vampyres, a lesbian vampire movie I first read about over 20 years ago but have never actually seen.  I’m told it’s very interesting on several levels.

Above the Law

Chicago police strip-searched three people on the street, and forced the woman to discard her bloody tampon while five male officers watched and made jokes about her body…Caprice Halley, Tevin Ford, and Willie Douglas…sued the City of Chicago and its Officers Wherfel, E. Doughtery, A. Granat, D. Balesteri, B. Rodekohr, J. Reckard, R. Federici, and T. Conlon…In May 2013, Halley and Ford were passengers in Douglas’ car, when they were confronted by police in an unmarked car driving toward them the wrong way down a one-way street…

Beside the vaginal probing of the woman, these uniformed molesters also shackled Douglas to a house’s burglar bars, pulled down his pants and spread his buttocks.  “Wherfel [then] took a small bag of heroin from her own sock and falsely claimed she had found it in Halley’s waistband”…

An Example to the West DMSC logo

A six-day conference of sex workers began [in Kolkata]…discussions [include] issues concerning their well-being as well as those relating to trafficking of minors and pension to old sex workers…

Hall of Shame

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

…Denis Hof…started pondering an expansion north of the border after he heard about the Supreme Court striking down prostitution laws in this country…“The smart residents will understand that it’s going to stop the sex trafficking that’s going on now. You got a huge sex trafficking problem…Our way would slow that down substantially”…

Yes, he’s spreading “sex trafficking” lies in Canada in hopes of lining his own pockets at independent sex workers’ expense.

The Public Eye

Here’s a short interview with Melissa Gira Grant in New York Magazine about her new book, Playing the Whore; in it she discusses Nick Kristof, Gloria Steinem, Jill Filipovic and other prohibitionists who claim they want to “rescue” us from our own choices.lurid sex trafficking (so-called) art

Profit from Panic (TW3 #40)

California State University, Stanislaus…senior Hannah Noonan took a proactive approach to educate her peers…through the creation of…“Crate Human Awareness,” a graphic installation displayed in a heavily traversed area of the campus…“My desire is to educate others that humans are being kidnapped and sold into slavery, prostitution, pornography, and organ harvesting”…humans are typically smuggled in crates of this type…according to Noonan…

A 22-year-old art major said it, so it must be true!

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #44)

Gloria Steinem continues her journey into irrelevance:

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem today described prostitution as “commercial rape” and said it was wrong to term prostitutes as sex workers.  “Prostitution involves body invasion and so it is not like any other work.  So how can you call it sex work?  Prostitution is the only word you should use”…

That “body invasion” nonsense says almost all you need to know.

Above the Law (TW3 #313)

A New Jersey State [prison guard is going to]…prison for…[threatening] four prostitutes into having free or cut-rate sex with him…Juan R. Stevens pleaded guilty to official misconduct in return for…five years in prison…two before he’s eligible for parole…[he] also forfeits his state job and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey…

The End of the Beginning

A New Hampshire house committee has just passed a bill 18-1 (!!!) that would prohibit the establishment or existence of sex offender residency restrictions in that state.  This…is completely unheard of.  It’s one thing to simply not pass residency restriction bills, but it’s quite another to pass a law that explicitly prohibits them…[the bill’s sponsor] argued that restricting housing for sex offenders pushes them “underground,” in campgrounds, under bridges and to other places the police cannot monitor…

Guest Columnist:  Sarah Woolley (TW3 #324)

Cathy Reisenwitz in Daily CallerAmnesty International logo

It just couldn’t be clearer.  “Amnesty International is opposed to the criminalization or punishment of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults.”  Thus begins a recently leaked document from the famed human rights organization calling for an end to prohibitions on sex work…Amnesty…defines sex work as work, making a clear delineation between employment and slavery…As Maggie McNeill details, anti-prostitution campaigners paint the typical sex worker as a child slave, while governments use anti-trafficking laws to restrict migration.  And that ill-intended confusion muddies the entire debate…as Amnesty International points out, “Criminalizing or otherwise punishing people for their choices in selling or buying consensual sex in any way fails to address these structural inequalities, and rather serves to further disempower individuals”…

A Broker in Pillage (TW3 #330)

The federal government must pay nearly $40,000 to cover the legal fees of a California woman who successfully sued to reclaim more than $1 million of her money [stolen by police] during a Nebraska traffic stop…Tara Mishra…[earned] the money…as an exotic dancer…and…[gave it to friends] to invest in a New Jersey nightclub…The government’s claim that the money was tainted with drug residue was of little value, the judge said, as…nearly all cash in circulation is drug-tainted…

Little Tin Gods

The Jefferson Davis Parish sheriff’s office claims that eight survival sex workers there were murdered by a serial killer.  However, all the women knew one another well; several were related to one another, and every one of them was a drug informant to a sheriff’s office which is notoriously corrupt even by Louisiana standards.  Read this long, thorough investigative report on the murders, and I suspect you’ll come to the same conclusion I did the very first time I heard about the case.

Number Puzzle (TW3 #350)

Alice Schwarzer…accused news magazine Spiegel…of trying to damage her reputation by reporting on her [paying]…‘a six-figure sum’…in back taxes [for]…her Swiss bank account…she…accused Spiegel of acting in the interest of [prostitutes]…

Catastrophic Consequences

Edinburgh City Council has scrapped the licensing of saunas and massage parlours…but it [does] not mean the saunas [will] close…Scot-Pep…said…”With Police Scotland persisting in its policy of using condoms as evidence of sex work against the explicit recommendations of the World Health Organisation, workers will fear to keep large quantities of condoms on their premises, as this could be used to criminalise women.”

Here’s a more surprising reaction to the news:

Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) has voted to publicly support the rights of sex workers…approximately 70 students…voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion…[which] stipulates that EUSA officially advocate the decriminalisation of sex work, offer its support to sex workers who are students at the University of Edinburgh, as well as endorsing sex workers’ rights organisations, “such as SCOT-PEP and Sex Workers’ Open University”…

The More the Better (TW3 #404)

Franck Ribery and…Karim Benzema were acquitted on charges of soliciting an underage prostitute…the…judge ruled there wasn’t enough proof the men were aware that…Zahia Dehar…was a minor at the time…

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

More on the Canadian sex worker intimidation scheme; note they are only just realizing now that most escorts advertise online:

[Halifax, NS] police who worked in a recent nationwide sex-trade operation are seeing a shift toward online communicating…A joint news release issued by a number of Canadian sex-work support groups said the operation uses deception and intimidation…male officers posed as clients to book appointments, but then had several officers arrive…and demand entry.  They…[interrogate] her…demand to see her identification and search her premises and possessions…Fiona Traynor…of Stepping Stone…criticized the police news release for saying the sex workers were under some level of control.  “There’s no [evidence] of…that,” she said…

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When one enjoys full liberty, one must use it with the utmost moderation.  -  Victor Hugo, preface to Marion Delorme

Marion De LormeLast month, sex worker activists discussed the case of Patricia Adler, a sociologist who had promoted ridiculous whore stereotypes in her classes on “deviancy” for twenty years; she of course never bothered to consult actual sex workers or even fellow academics who had actually studied us, instead preferring to let students simply make things up under her (almost wholly ignorant) guidance.  But while we were annoyed and insulted by her actions, we were by no means surprised by them; since time immemorial academics, artists, moralists, rulers and almost everyone else have considered prostitutes to be more like fictional characters than real people.  As I wrote in “Projection”, harlots “tend to be dehumanized into symbols for other people’s psychological needs and problems…people project their own concepts onto us and imagine us as the external representations of those concepts.”  The internet is the enemy of such projection because it allows us to speak for ourselves rather than allowing others to usurp that right, and because it allows real information about a person to be widely disseminated, thus disrupting the fictions.  In modern times, myths and other tales about whores are thus limited to those told about fictional characters (including those played by real people in “sex trafficking” roadshows), and those we tell about ourselves (and can successfully bury the truth about).  But it’s not always easy to separate fact from fiction when discussing the lives of courtesans who lived prior to the information age, and in some cases it’s practically impossible.

Case in point:  Marion Delorme, a French courtesan of the 17th century.  A few facts about her are well-known and not generally disputed:  she was born on October 3rd, 1613, the daughter of Jean de Lou, sieur de l’Orme and his wife Marie Chastelain.  She was rich, beautiful, well-educated and had little interest in conventional marriage, and her second known lover was Henri Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis de Cinq-Mars, who was a favorite (and possibly lover) of King Louis XIII; she stayed with him until his death in 1642.  In her twenties she became the hostess of a salon which after 1648 became a meeting place for the enemies of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin, and when he sent men to arrest her on July 2nd, 1650 they reported back that she had died suddenly on June 30th from an overdose of antimony she had taken to induce an abortion.  And that is the extent of what we know for (reasonably) certain; everything else about her life is speculation, ranging from the highly likely to the highly dubious to the patently absurd.

idelorm001p1Though she began working as a courtesan sometime after she began hosting the salon, it’s uncertain how quickly the former followed the latter; she is said to have been secretly married to Cinq-Mars, but presumably it was in both their interests not to reveal that so as to avoid interfering with their other partners.  One of Marion’s was said to have been Cardinal Richelieu, who had first introduced Cinq-Mars to King Louis because he believed he could control the young nobleman and thereby influence His Majesty.  But Richelieu had completely misjudged Cinq-Mars; instead, the young man told the King of the Cardinal’s treachery, pressed for him to be executed and tried to organize a noble rebellion against Richelieu.  Alas, he was caught by Richelieu’s spies and executed in 1642.  Marion was not implicated in the conspiracy, but it seems likely that her sympathies were aligned with those of her dead husband; when the civil war called the Fronde began in 1648, those who opposed Richelieu’s successor Cardinal Mazarin gathered at her salon.  But some doubt her convenient death practically on the eve of her arrest; a legend claims that the officials sent to detain her were either deceived or bribed into reporting her death, that the elaborate funeral which followed was a sham, and that Marion fled to England, married a lord and lived to 1706.

None of those speculations test the limits of credulity, but they are only the beginning; other accounts claim she later had all sorts of adventures, eventually returned to Paris and died in abject poverty in 1741…which would have made her 127!  And in his Illuminati, the writer Gérard de Nerval recounts a legend that she used esoteric means to delay aging, was actually 150 at her death, and was already involved in the circles of power when King Henry IV died in 1610.  Furthermore, her involvement in court intrigue at a time later generations find fascinating ensured numerous fictional versions of her life;  most notably, Victor Hugo wrote the drama Marion Delorme (1831) which was later adapted into opera by both Giovanni Bottesini (1862) and Amilcare Ponchielli (1885).fictional Marion Delorme illustration  It has also been suggested that the villainous Milady de Winter of The Three Musketeers is based loosely on Marion, which if true would be rather ironic given that Milady was the agent of the fictional Richelieu and Marion the (eventual) enemy of the real one.

In general, the lives of famous people who lived more recently are clearer to us than those who lived very long ago, and the more remote the era the more likely true biographical details are to be mixed with legends and myths.  But when the subject is a whore, the truth tends not only to be harder to find (due to fabrications by the lady, her clients, her enemies and her clients’ enemies), but also harder to extract from the mythic landscape to which so many people would prefer to confine us.

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We don’t know what sex workers themselves think about [the Swedish model] because nobody, it seems, bothered to ask them.  -  Fionola Meredith

R.I.P. Andrew Hunter Andrew Hunter

The president of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and founder of the Asia-Pacific Network of Sex Workers died suddenly on Boxing Day at the age of 47.  There is very little information available for a fitting tribute to this amazing and tireless activist, but I am in contact with his partner, Dale, and hope to get a proper full-length obituary ready in the next few days.

Out of Control (The Camel’s Nose)

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a creepy rapist doctor:

An [Ohio] emergency room doctor was sentenced to 35 years…after pleading guilty to raping and killing a pregnant prostitute…Deanna Ballman…died of a fatal overdose of heroin, which Salim [Ali] gave her at his home…Salim acknowledged that…he dumped her body.  However, he only intended to have sex and not harm her or the unborn child…

License to Rape

Another serial rapist cop protected by his department and given a slap on the wrist when caught:

…Michael Vagnini…had a thing he liked to do when he busted someone.  He liked to do it a lot.  “The complaint lays out in graphic detail how…Vagnini…conducted searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his [ungloved] fingers into their rectums”…when the complaints piled up so high that even…Police Chief Edward Flynn couldn’t come up with an excuse for ignoring it, Vagnini’s pleasure at humiliating and physically violating his victims was finally subject to prosecution…Of course, arrest and prosecution for serial anal rape is one thing.  What comes of it is another.  A deal was cut…“that would not require him to become a registered sex offender”…he [only]…got…a sentence of 26 monthsfat Barbie

I first reported this in “Links #119”.

Barbie 

More adults badly in need of lives:  “Plus-Size-Modeling.com is suggesting Mattel create a plus-size Barbie.  While some say more realistic curves would be a better role model for girls, others say an overly large Barbie would be an unhealthy example…

To Protect and Serve

Another casualty of the War on Whores:

A dog owner is demanding a [Florida] police officer’s badge, after that officer shot his dog while…[trying] to serve a woman with a warrant for prostitution charges…the woman doesn’t live there anymore. [Richard] Stotler moved in after her, and said he has no idea who the woman is…[but the cops] didn’t listen…[and trespassed] through the gate around the back of the house, where they found Lady…She’s…[now] on three different pain medications, with part of a bullet still lodged in her ear canal, and other wounds Stotler isn’t sure will heal…police…haven’t released the officer’s name or whether he will face any disciplinary action…

Subtle Pimping

Tragedy pornographer Erin Healy claims to have “investigated sex trafficking” for her latest novel, yet somehow she didn’t find any of the numerous debunkings of the myth which would have invalidated her premise.  To quote this plug piece Fox News published for her, “Go ahead, please cringe with me.”

Why Not Teach Them Critical Thinking Instead?
lurking traffickers

The New Jersey…Attorney General will sponsor assemblies statewide…to warn students about the dangers of human trafficking…surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII…the “Say Something Assembly” program…[says] traffickers may target minors through social media, telephone chat lines and after-school programs, and at shopping malls and bus depots.

Droit du Seigneur

Rebecca Woodard says…in her new tell-all tome that prosecutors forced her to continue to turn tricks after she agreed to wear a wire to help snare…Anna Gristina in 2008…“The [Assistant District Attorney] told me to work…and then turn over to his office the money and any gifts that clients gave me…this ADA was my pimp”…Woodard does not name the ADA…but gave several clues to his identity.  Sources…confirmed…that she is referring to former ADA Mark Crooks…[now working] as an assistant federal prosecutor in Maryland.  Woodard…says she didn’t tell prosecutors about all her gigs.  “Obviously, if I did this with every client I saw, I would have been broke”…prosecutors [threatened to]…arrest her for prostitution if she didn’t [work for them]…

Woodard also claims that while working earlier for Kristin Davis she was hired by Eliot Spitzer, who liked to choke escorts during sex.

The Crumbling Dam

The number of charges for prostitution-related offences in Toronto courts has dropped by 90 per cent over a five-year period, as the constitutional challenge against Canada’s prostitution laws [went on]…Toronto courts received 1,088 charges…in 2006.  In 2011, the number of charges was a tenth of that, just 110…Alan Young, the lawyer who argued the case, said…Prostitution-related offences have been low priority for enforcement…“The government kept asserting that when the laws were invalidated, there would be…chaos…and my position was, we’re charging so little, the community wouldn’t notice much difference”…Cartoon History of the Modern World 2

Presents, Presents, Presents!

The mails were a bit slow during Christmas, so I got a few cards and one present at the end of last week: The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part 2 from Kevin Wilson.  Thank you, Kevin!

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Prostitutes [in New Zealand] are hitting back at a bill that aims to restrict where they can work, saying it’s unnecessary and could put their safety at risk…The bill…would give police the ability to arrest and fine them and clients if they break the rules…Another…bill [proposes] to recriminalise street prostitution and confine the trade to brothels…

Useful Idiots

“Feminists” never, ever think of the implications of laws they push:

Domestic abuse involving “emotional blackmail” – but no violence – could become a criminal offence carrying a heavy jail term…the…bill…proposes making it illegal to…“intend to control or coerce” their spouse.  Anyone found guilty…would face up to 14 years’ imprisonment…its definition of abuse includes…“[depriving] them of the means needed for independence”…

As Tim Worstall points out, the definitions criminalize the normal behavior of most British wives.

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant presents a long list of her picks for the best sex work writing of the year, including journalism which treats sex work rationally.  Many of these were linked here when they appeared, and you may enjoy reading the others.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #34)

A rare Irish denunciation of the Swedish Model:

…the planned introduction of new laws criminalising the purchase of sex in Ireland, north and south…conflates sex workers and targets of human trafficking, treating them…as…one homogeneous group of oppressed and distressed victims…destroyed by the abhorrent appetites of men…[supporters] are wilfully blind to the consequences of their sanctimonious stance for the very individuals they say they want to rescue and protect:  the sex workers themselves, some of whom, inconveniently enough, refuse to allow themselves to be saved…criminalising clients does not wipe out prostitution, or even substantially reduce demand.  But it does hurt sex workers, placing them at increased risk of violence, exposing them to stress and ill-health, making them feel stigmatised and hunted…Where buying sex is outlawed, it is the people selling it who pay the price…Laura Lee

The Public Eye (TW3 #324)

Douglas Fox is retiring as the editor of Harlot’s Parlour, and handing the reins to our friend Laura Lee:

…I am handing harlots to Laura with the assurance that she will continue to encourage a wide and diverse opinion within sex work to be heard.  There is not, after all, only one message about what or who is a sex worker.  Despite our disagreements what unites us is a desire that our work is recognised and that we are provided the full protection of the law…

Sold Out

This at first seems to be just another of the inane “libertarians are bad because of this strawman I made!” articles we’ve seen so many of this year, but it contains this gem:  “Libertarians…called for the abolishment of ‘victimless crime’, which lumped homosexuality with prostitution, polygamy, recreational drugs, abortion, and gambling…certainly not a ringing endorsement of the LGBTQ community…”  How dare they include wonderful gays with that riff-raff!

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #326)

This is another long, horrifying article on the Magdalene laundries; it covers ground that will be mostly familiar to those who have studied the history of these monstrous slave-labor camps, but includes a fact I did not know before:  “Australia had eight Magdalene laundries – all at Sisters of the Good Shepherd convents – from the 1940s until the ’70s.  There is no firm data on how many girls they held but it’s estimated to be several thousand…[they] were for girls who were wards of the state or deemed delinquents but often were victims themselves who had committed no crimes…

Innocence Never Had

Let's Talk About TouchingImagine that you’re a young sex worker (say, 16-19) who’s just been arrested in a “sting”, manhandled by leering cops and pressured by scary perverts to reveal a “pimp” you don’t have.  Then a creepy middle-class woman comes in to see you in your cage and gives you… crayons and a coloring book:  “The Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches…provides backpacks for immediate needs to those rescued from sex traffickers…items needed are:  travel size toiletries,  toothpaste and tooth brushes, small blankets, flip-flops…notebooks, pencils and cases, erasers, crayons and coloring books…

Bootlickers (TW3 #345)

More totalitarian prudery from Everett, Washington:

Everett police updated the boundaries of zones used to designate high-prostitution areas…The newly zoned areas include some of the bikini barista stands that have made headlines in recent months…and…are used to enforce court orders given to those convicted of prostitution activity, including people who buy sex…Offenders can be arrested on the spot for violating the court order…

Note that many people accused of “prostitution” in Everett are the aforementioned bikini baristas, so these “orders” deprive them of their jobs.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #351)

An excerpt from Mindy Chateauvert’s Sex Workers Unite:

…despite the acceptance of “sluts,” the “prostitute” remains a deeply embedded symbolic marker between decency and disrespect.  The “ethical slut” engages in sex of her or his own “free” will, while the “dirty whore” insists on getting paid…Sex-positive feminists and other “sluts” believe there is nothing morally wrong with consensual sex between two (or more) people…but money changes everything…That cognitive dissonance — the deep chasm filled with stereotypes and prejudices — interferes with the capacity…to hear sex workers speak about their experiences.  Stories that don’t conform to the “superhappyfunsexysexwork!” narrative tend to flummox pro-sex feminists; they can identify with privileged exotic dancers, porn performers and professional dominants…but think “junkie whores” need to be rescued and should be prevented from working in their…neighborhoods…

Opting Out (TW3 #352)

A few more examples of the dirty, nasty porn Cameron’s filters are “protecting” British women and children from:

…One of your ISPs blocked access to the website for Glasgow’s St. Mary’s Cathedral [and] the blog of its provost.  A second ISP blocked access to charity sites including ChildLine, the NSPCC and the Samaritans.  Other websites blocked include the British Library, National Library of Scotland [and] your Parliament…best…of all is the site of Claire Perry, the Member of Parliament who campaigned so prominently for the new law.  How’s it feel, Claire?  Oh, your site is legitimate and shouldn’t be censored?  That’s how the owners of every single other site being blocked feel…

Cops and RobbersPot Noodle

A…police officer refused to deal with a harassment complaint from murdered Bijan Ebrahimi because it would mean his Pot Noodle would get cold…On a separate occasion…Mr Ebrahimi had banged on a police station door to make a complaint but no-one had answered, despite there being staff inside.  A…police spokesman…was unable to comment on the claims…until the conclusion of the [Independent Police Complaints Commission]  investigation…[Lee] James, 24, was jailed for life, with a minimum sentence of 18 years…for beating and stamping …Ebrahimi to death.  Stephen Norley, 25, was jailed for four years after helping James to set Mr Ebrahimi’s body on fire…

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