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Links #255

It is well-known that every new drug is the most dangerous drug that ever came along.  –  Peter Reuter

The links above this week’s video were provided by Thaddeus Russell (“rape”),  Elizabeth N. Brown (“juice”), Sarah Woolley (“Leiber”), Jesse Walker (“Lovecraft”),  Mike Siegel (“prohibition”), Jesse Walker (“map”), Domina Elle (“bystanders”),  Mike Riggs (“sidewalk”), Radley Balko (“literally”), Jillian Keenan (“message”), and Clarissa (“hammer”).

From the Archives

If Australia decriminalised prostitution the sky would still be blue the following day.  –  Catherine Healey

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Four cops in Fort Worth who tried to report their supervisor for being a suspect in a prostitution case were all suspended without pay…J.C. Williams, C. Cespedes, D. Shaw, and J. Pittman suspected their narcotics sergeant was involved with a prostitution ring and trying to cover for the prostitutes and their clients…Three of the officers received a 10-day suspension, while the forth, J.Pittman received only five…According to the internal affairs report…the officers were upset about being transferred to another unit, so they retaliated by trying to frame their sergeant…

Dirty Whores

Can’t let the facts get in the way of a money grab, can we Mr. Spicer?

Drugs and prostitution are common in Austin, Indiana.  The town of about 4,000 people is at the center of a public health emergency, with the number of confirmed HIV positive cases at 159…Authorities have been arresting drug dealers…but police say putting prostitutes in jail isn’t as easy…[because] Austin only has six officers and most of the prostitutes know who they are…Anyone charged with prostitution is also required to take an HIV test…Spicer says [giving him] more [money] would help stop prostitution in Austin…

In the US, sex workers aren’t an important vector of any STI, including HIV.

Hard Numbers

As we keep saying over and over:

NEW Zealand…[has] the best working conditions for prostitutes on the planet.  Sex workers…[can] sign contracts, get paid weekly, work for bosses who keep their best interests at heart and have a relationship with police that Australian prostitutes can only dream of.  Prostitution is even covered under occupational health and safety laws.  It’s not pot luck that New Zealand prostitutes have it better.  It can all be traced to a single piece of legislation that passed through parliament in 2003 — the Prostitution Reform Act.  The decision 12 years ago to decriminalise sex work meant it became legal to work in managed brothels without a size limit, work for yourself, work from home, work from the street or work from the web…

Broken Record Indy 500

The “gypsy whores” nonsense has been going on for so long, we’re seeing the same sporting events touted again and again despite a total lack of evidence:

IndyCar fans are quickly making their way to the “Racing Capital of the World,” but the dark  reality of illegal sex trafficking is also making an appearance.  Experts say young girls will be brought to central Indiana this weekend and sold for sex.  The combination of large crowds, a party atmosphere and an event that caters mostly to men is when sex trafficking spikes.  However, the Indiana Attorney General’s office is fighting back though an awareness campaign titled, “Indiana’s Not Buying It”…leaders in the Attorney General’s office have gone to hotels and businesses near the track to pass out information regarding the sex trade…

“Illegal sex trafficking”, as opposed to what?  Legal sex trafficking?

The Public Eye

This craptastic mess is thick with dysphemisms and whorearchy:

A shocking new Channel 4 documentary introduces us to…two high class call girls who sell their bodies through an app on their phones.  They can make between £500 to £5000 a night offering their services to business men, although the average seems to be £2,000 for sex.  Emily B and Cookie Jane come from well-off and well-educated backgrounds, having both attended…£15,000 a year schools, but decided their lives would be more “glamorous” as call girls than by going to university…

Housewife Harlotry (#41)

As is a typical, a “feminist” insinuates that other women’s pragmatic choices are not “real” choices because she disagrees with them.  Naturally, her own choices are 100% free and absolutely uninfluenced by anything outside herself (and certainly not feminist dogma):

…I told the women…that I was writing a book about being a mother on the Upper East Side, and many of them were eager to share their perspectives…It was easy for me to fall into the belief…that all these wealthy, competent and beautiful women…were powerful…But…there was the undeniable fact of their cloistering from men…Sex segregation, I was told, was a “choice.”  But like “choosing” not to work, or a Dogon woman in Mali’s “choosing” to go into a menstrual hut, it struck me as a state of affairs possibly giving clue to some deeper, meaningful reality while masquerading…as a simple preference.  And then there were the wife bonuses…[which] might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a “good” school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks…

Checklist (#345)

“Sex trafficking” fetishist develops app to cram complex individual situations into a series of stock “sex trafficking” phrases:

…Duane Dunston…decided to use his expertise to help law enforcement agencies communicate with victims of slavery – by creating an app…”You Have a Voice” is designed to enable victims to describe the nature of their enslavement or exploitation in their native language by answering a series of questions.  Answering sensitive questions by using the app rather than speaking directly to officers could reduce the shame and fear that often stops victims from speaking out, and help police to arrest traffickers and save other victims…Dunston has attended several human trafficking conferences…and…has also written two novels about human trafficking…

He’s an “expert” because he has written two books of fiction about his fantasy-world of sex slavery; by that standard John Norman should be considered the world’s leading expert on the subject.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #439)

Even officials in Vietnam are starting to sound more sympathetic to sex workers:

…almost 44 percent of all sex workers have suffered from physical violence.  Nearly 46 percent of them did not report to authorities due to limited knowledge of the law and lack of trust in the authorities…Le Van Quy of the Ho Chi Minh City Anti-Social Evils Agency, said violence is a permanent threat for sex workers…Nguyen Thi Hue of the HCMC Aids Prevention Committee said many sex workers do not test for HIV…due to discrimination by healthcare workers…He…said…“It is difficult for them to raise their voice.  First, they will face an administrative fine.  Then there is a perception that a person working in the field must suffer from that form of violence”…

Checklist (#501) 

[The] Mayor [of Baltimore] signed…a bill that protects hotel employees who report suspected human trafficking from retaliation.  The bill…is a companion…to another…requiring hotels to train employees on how to spot human trafficking…Maryland is a “hot spot” for human trafficking according to the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force…

Vendetta (#518) Jimmy Carter

Morally-warped billionaire enlists clueless, ignorant old millionaire to aid in her crusade to “save” women by subjecting them to violence:

…Our home cities, Atlanta and Boston, are among 11 in a network launched in February, called Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE).  These cities are committed to reducing the demand for illegal sex in their communities by 20 percent within two years…The new approach we advocate moves away from hunting down and punishing those being exploited—the sellers—and focuses on the true perpetrators:  those who profit and those who buy.  By taking steps to reduce demand rather than supply, we can make this market less profitable…This strategy reflects an emerging philosophy first embraced in the Nordic countries…

Bad Girls (#537) 

Alix Tichelman…was found guilty of giving a Google executive a fatal dose of heroin on his yacht and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.  Defense attorneys…say their client had also injected herself, clouding her judgment.  She…didn’t call for help because she panicked…Tichelman plead guilty to two counts of administering a controlled substance and one count of involuntary manslaughter…

 

 

Hamlet:  Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius:  By th’ mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.
Hamlet:  Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius:  It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet:  Or like a whale.
Polonius:  Very like a whale.

Rorschach_blot_06A fantasy is in many ways like a cloud formation or a Rorschach inkblot; because its form is unmoored to anything concrete, the shape the human mind imposes upon it is determined by the patterns of the mind rather than any external phenomena.  A psychologist can sometimes tell something about the workings of a subject’s mind by the shapes he imagines he sees in inkblots and the stories he tells about those shapes; likewise, it’s possible to tell something about a fabulist’s mind by the content of the fantasies she spins about the lives of people she knows absolutely nothing about.  This recent “sex trafficking” article from Alabama is a fine example; we’ve seen all theses tropes before, but this time let’s think about what they say about a person who either believes them herself or expects everyone else to believe them.

Eliminating Homewood’s prostitution problem isn’t about going after the girls, said Tajuan McCarty–founder of the Birmingham-based anti-trafficking organization The Wellhouse–it’s about going after the pimps and Johns…

The first thing we can tell about McCarty is that she has little or no capacity for original thought; the “end demand” nonsense spewed here is the cant du jour among prohibitionists, so espousing it takes roughly the same level of cognition as “Support our troops!” or “Smash the Patriarchy!”  It’s nothing more than a shibboleth to demonstrate that she belongs to the “us” group.

…Homewood resident Andy Conaway…is spearheading efforts to eliminate issues that plague their neighborhood—including prostitution.  McCarty…said…Birmingham is a hub of prostitution…

As I’ve pointed out before, dysphemisms play an important part in the demonization of peaceful, consensual transactions; sex is a “plague” (later it’s referred to as an “epidemic”), and a rather unremarkable American city is cast as a “hub” from which the imaginary pestilence spreads to nearby, smaller towns (“…the area…is known for prostitution well outside Alabama’s borders…“)

…both grown women and children [are] being trafficked in plain sight…a 17-year old girl rescued in Homewood…had been kicked out of the prostitution ring she was part of…because she was “too old”…”Pimps will talk about how they can walk into any middle school and leave with five girls who willingly run away with them,” said McCarty…

Nearly all “sex trafficking” propaganda relies heavily on the fetishization of pubescent girls; believers dwell upon lurid descriptions of the bondage, humiliation and rape of teenagers, and the “average debut at 13″ myth is lovingly and obsessively repeated despite its evident absurdity to anyone with even fifth-grade mathematical ability (much less that expected of actual 13-year-olds).  But McCarty goes much further than usual; while it’s not unusual for prohibitionists to vomit out the vile, misandrist fantasy that literally no man wants a woman over some arbitrary age, I’ve never seen that age set below 18.  Moreover, the idea that a “victim” would actually be released from her supposed “slavery” because she had reached that age is not only novel, but also contradicts her earlier statement that “grown women” (a term usually considered to refer to people of at least 18) are “being trafficked in plain sight”.  But the most telling content is what follows next; it occurs in several places in the article, but I’ve gathered it together here for ease of demonstration:

…”These women are victims…whether they are willing participants or not.  She is a princess; she is someone’s daughter”…They are always viewed as commodities and not people…Asked if there are ever any cases where women work for themselves, McCarty said absolutely not.  “Somebody’s got her…every single time”…

The defining characteristic of McCarty’s weltanschauung is her shocking disregard for the intellect and capacity for the self-determination of her own sex.  Even if a woman decides to sell sex, McCarty tells us, her decision cannot be trusted; she is not a rational actor but a pawn of malevolent “pimps and johns” and a passive “princess” to her parents, no matter how old she may be.  That doll-like view of women is echoed a few sentences later, where we are told that “prostitutes sit and wait under the watchful eyes of their pimps“, like toys unable to move until someone fully human – i.e. a male – winds them up and sets them in motion.  Nor does she imagine this to be merely a common or even typical situation; she insists in no uncertain terms that it is a universal one.  In McCarty’s view, no woman is ever capable of self-determination, ever.  She believes that cops should actively hunt sex workers, trap them like animals and then transfer ownership to her organization like dogs sent to the pound; meanwhile, men who violate what she considers to be the proper usage for these mindless playthings should be utterly destroyed without even a semblance of due process:  “It should be about helping her and arresting him…Send her to us and plaster his face all over a billboard.”  McCarty’s mind is a horrifying landscape of self-loathing and reality-denial, and she wants the state to use violence to force everyone else to live in it with her.

I am a man living in Asia and I have, on my many lonely nights, reached out to sex workers who have invariably helped and made a difference to my life.  I’ve always endeavoured to treat all with the greatest respect I can provide and I really want to help make a difference because I really respect their work.  My question is how to get engaged in a drive for decriminalisation.  It doesn’t matter where; I just think it should be legal and safe for whomever wants to engage in this line of work anywhere.  I know I have been a huge beneficiary of their efforts and care and I really want to give something back if I can.

monkey see monkey doI believe that charity begins at home, and that your efforts would be best expended on the sex workers in your country.  You don’t mention which Asian country you live in, but there are sex worker rights organizations in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong and a number of other parts of the continent.  In fact, I’ve always admired the strength and courage of Asian sex worker organizations; Asian sex workers are my heroes, and if you can help them in any way, such as by donating money or helping through your profession, it would be invaluable to their struggle.  And that doesn’t just affect your country, either:  humans may be the smartest monkeys, but we’re still monkeys, and “monkey see, monkey do”.  The Swedish model has spread because the monkeys in power get the idea from watching other boss monkeys impose it on their tribes, and the more countries decriminalize sex work the more likely it is that the monkeys in other trees will see and imitate that behavior, too.  So to elaborate on my initial statement: charity does indeed begin at home, but the ripples spread out to affect the whole world.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

[Sex workers are] not helped by campaigns which [call] us…“prostituted women” who don’t have any ability to properly consent anyway.  –  sex workers of St. Kilda

One Size Fits All

The phrase “human trafficking” now means “any behavior I don’t like”:

Not a single same-sex couple can reproduce together.  It behooves us to analyze the ways that same-sex marriage demands other people’s children as a “civil right” and in so doing invariably denies both women their own children and children their right to a mother and a father…Gay families are compromised by their need to tear apart other people’s families using the oppressive force of the state and its legal apparatuses…People use their children in all kinds of ways.  Except these are often other people’s children and they did not have to be conscripted to a life of distortion and play-acting.  These children are never the result of same-sex couples’ accidental pregnancy…All gay families are created by or because of someone else’s family being destabilized…The new social justice dictum is that society owes LBGT people the flesh and blood of other people’s children because they are “married” now.  Let’s be honest.  Love does not make a family in this case.  Human trafficking does.

Author Rivka Edelman works hard to get libertarians on her side by invoking the specter of state violence, but this strategy depends on the reader swallowing the rather bizarre assumption that all children placed for adoption got there by being stolen from their birth mothers.  It is absolutely true that the state has a fetish for stealing people’s children, but I sincerely doubt that the majority of adopted children (or even a large minority) are available because of such actions.  Furthermore, the rationalization she employs to separate same-sex adoptive couples from heterosexual ones, namely that straight couples could theoretically produce children of their own, is an exercise in absurdity; if gay couples should be denied the right to adopt because they can’t biologically produce offspring, infertile couples would have to be denied for precisely the same reason.

It Looks Good On Paper

Article goes on and on about how awful it is that “sex trafficking victims” are burdened with a criminal record, yet never questions the premise of burdening anyone with such a record for peaceful, consensual activities.  Oh, and it quotes the usual lies, too.

…no matter how hard she tried, Nicole, who was lured into the brutal world by an abusive boyfriend when she was a teenager, couldn’t get her record expunged…But that system is starting to ease up for trafficking survivors…It’s a welcome reprieve considering that sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime…An estimated 293,000 youths alone are at risk of being sexually exploited in the U.S.  Nailing down precise figures remains a challenge due to a lack of funding and the fact that victims are too fearful to come forward.  Compounding the issue is the fact that police often can’t detect the difference between someone who has been forced into the sex trade and a consensual sex worker…

Surplus Women Zheng Shurong

A construction worker thought to be the boyfriend of a murdered prostitute has been arrested at his home in [Hong Kong]…the 62-year-old had a relationship of several years with Zheng Shurong, 44, who was found dead in her…flat…with a curtain chord around her neck.  Zheng’s 19-year-old daughter called police after loosing contact with her mother…

The Prudish Giant

It looks like Twitter may be heading in the same direction as Google, PayPal, LinkedIn, et al:

According to SunTrust Robinson Humphrey tech analyst Robert Peck, Twitter is preparing to purge an estimated 10 million porn-posting users.  Ditching such a large chunk of users sounds drastic until you do the math:  Twitter claims to have 302 million monthly users, so getting rid of the explicit posters will only account for about 3 percent of its total—although that’s just counting the users and not their followers…One week after Twitter’s revenue forecast was reported to be below expectations and deemed a “nightmare earnings scenario,” Nielsen, a global television and digital data company, pulled its advertising campaign after discovering paid promoted tweets on pornography-associated pages…A Twitter spokesperson told Adweek they “are committed to providing a safe environment for brands to build their business, and our product team is working to fix the issue.”  But…how the company intends to fix the issue is a growing concern within the adult industry…

Useful Idiots 

Scott Greenfield explains how useful idiots are trying to subject all human interaction to criminal law.  Here’s the text he quotes and discusses:

…the American Law Institute (ALI) has undertaken a review of the sexual assault provisions of the Model Penal Code.  The undersigned members of ALI are concerned about the direction the project has taken…If there is political consensus on anything in the United States today, it is the consensus that our government has overcriminalized and overincarcerated the American public…§1519 is a bad law — too broad and undifferentiated, with too high maximum penalties, which give prosecutors too much leverage and sentencers too much discretion.  And…in those ways, §1519 is unfortunately not an outlier, but an emblem of a deeper pathology in the federal criminal code…the current ALI draft is an extreme deviation, focused on expanding criminal sanctions for sexual behavior and expanding the problems…equating silence with unwillingness, as Section 213.2(2) does, “patronizes” or “infantilizes” women, treating them as if they were incapable of expressing their own desires…

Buried Truth  Screen-Shot-2015-05-18-at-1.58.14-PM-670x592

Another anti-gay “authority” figure is revealed as a closet queer:

Until 2 p.m. on Monday, the “Our Church Staff” section of St. John’s Lutheran  Church and School’s website described Reverend Matthew Makela as an associate pastor who enjoys, “family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.”  Screenshots obtained by Queerty from a source who asked that his name be withheld shed light on some of the Reverend’s other favorite past times — namely nude make out sessions and sex with other men…how someone behaves between the sheets is really nobody’s business but his own, except when he’s actively doing damage to others.  We’ve seen it time and time again. The lawmaker who spends his days fighting against gay rights and his nights cruising for bottoms, or the ex-gay activist who isn’t quite as ex-gay as he’d like everyone to believe…Makela…doesn’t just preach Jesus’ love and help with bake sales.  He also uses his position of authority and respect in his community to broadcast his self-loathing view on same-sex attraction…

Banishment

A call for a return of the policy which enabled Robert Pickton to slaughter women virtually at will:

Residents of Vancouver’s Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood are petitioning the city to crackdown [sic] on prostitution in residential areas and establish a red light district…It’s not clear where he wants the red light district located, but [instigator Ewart] Aitken says organizers hope to meet with city officials in coming weeks…

Under Every Bed 

Though this story quotes “sex trafficking” fetishists who fantasize that a tiny town is a “sex trafficking hub”, it also quotes the truth from sex workers themselves:

…Apip-Acam, a [rescue industry NGO]…describes [La Jonquera, Spain] as “one of the main centers of the prostitution industry and the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in Europe”…Many women here insist that they are not working for pimps or being exploited by trafficking gangs, and that this is the only way they can make a living.  Of the 111 women working in the open in La Jonquera that Apip-Acam has contacted, only six have signed up to a program for victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation…[yet Apip-Acam still pretends that] “all of them are subject to extreme control and domination by small family clans”…

Be Careful Who You Rape Meagher turns prohibitionist

Remember how Tom Meagher, the husband of a woman who died because “authorities” don’t give a shit about whores, supplied the quote from which this subsection title was drawn?  Well, he’s become a prohibitionist now, and the sex workers of St. Kilda have something to say to him:

As street based sex workers from St Kilda we have come together to urge you to reconsider your position endorsing the campaign “We Don’t Buy It” and to share with you some of the implications it has for us as sex workers…we…are…subject to laws and policing operations that target us and our clients.  And this really makes it harder for us to best look after our safety…our justice system…is more of an injustice system, and as you pointed out so well, this tragically not only affects us, but our whole society.  To report crimes committed against us we risk being charged ourselves and being known to police for further profiling and harassment…seeing your passion for justice…[for] all, including sex workers, co-opted into a campaign which does just the opposite of this is hugely disappointing and upsetting…Any campaign which calls to end sex work or stigmatises our clients ends up further stigmatising and dehumanising us as well, and ultimately serves to take away our agency and increases violence towards us…

Broken Record (#425)

I kind of feel sorry for “sex trafficking” fetishists from Omaha; since their city appears to have just one largish sporting event, they keep tapping its anemic body to feed “gypsy whores” hysteria:

Hotel workers in the Omaha area are undergoing training on how to spot women and minors being forced into prostitution…Experts say high-profile events, such as the College World Series in Omaha, bring a higher risk of sex trafficking occurring at lodging facilities…Coalition member Shane Fagan said signs hotel staff should keep an eye out for include lodgers with a small amount of luggage, an unusual collection of wigs or IDs inside a suite, prepaid debit cards and girls who are unsure of what city they’re in.

How could one fit “an unusual collection of wigs” in a small amount of luggage?

Lying Down With Dogs (#430)

The idea that “not happening in front of this camera” = “eliminated” is a product of the same level of cognition that allows a toddler to conclude that if he can’t see you, you can’t see him either:

Security cameras installed…[in] “red light districts”…in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District have helped eliminate prostitution there…After seeing these cameras installed…potential guests do not dare enter…Such devices also help detect and prevent thefts and other social evils…police…[hope] the presence of such cameras [will force sex workers to]…give up the trade…

Crying for Nanny (#445)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion, and the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow knew it:

A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed a lawsuit brought against…Backpage.com over posting ads for the sexual trafficking of minors…the judge correctly concluded that Backpage.com couldn’t be sued for running the ads, relying largely on Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230), the law that immunizes websites from liability based on user-generated content…The plaintiffs in the case of Doe No. 1 v. Backpage.com, LLC are young women who were allegedly sold for sex as minors via ads placed on Backpage…[they] brought various claims against Backpage.com even though it did not have a hand in creating or posting the ads…the court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that Section 230 did not apply to civil actions…[and] explained that it found EFF persuasive in arguing that the chilling effect of extending this exception to private actions would be particularly serious because they would not be subject to the filter of prosecutorial discretion and the heightened standard of proof present in criminal prosecutions…

Check Your Premises (#449)

What, not 50 or 100 per day?  Slackers.

The 18-year-old South Jersey woman arrested last month on charges she recruited a girl to be a prostitute was herself a victim of the…human trafficking ring recently broken up by federal and state investigators…the men who ran the prostitution ring forced a 14-year-old girl to have sex with up to 10 men a day…and…used violence and threats to control the girl and the 18-year-old…woman, who was also forced to become a prostitute…

Diary #255

fabrics at Maggie's office 5-18-15Last week I mentioned two forthcoming events, one of which dominated most of my week.  And I don’t mean the photo shoot with Mistress Matisse, either, though that was fun (and pictures will be forthcoming soon); no, I mean the decorating of my office.  Jae has piles of lovely fabrics here and is arranging them on my walls and ceiling; I picked up a new bed and some kitchen stuff, and as I write this (yesterday) I’m about to pick up some floor mats to serve as a base for the rugs, soften footfalls and dampen sound (and, not incidentally, to make the floor more congenial to wrestling and other such sport).  Jae has quite a talent for decor, and what I’m seeing so far has me excited not just for this place, but also for my permanent residence at the country place once it’s done.  We have big plans for that place, by the by, and I’ll tell you about them as they develop; for now suffice it to say that a lot more people will be seeing my ranch in the future than have in the past.

Last Wednesday I had dinner with an ally from California who traveled here specifically to meet me, my SWOP friends and other allies; he has some ideas I’ll be telling you about as they unfold, but which could really help the sex worker rights movement in the PR department.  Also, business is starting to pick up for me, albeit slowly; it takes time to get established in a new city, especially in my price range and under the current climate of fear and sexual repression.  But I have lots of help and true friends, and it’s only a matter of time; I think by midsummer I should be well and truly back in the saddle again, and it shouldn’t be long before my writing schedule ramps up again and I get that promised book of essays on the press.

Barbara Payton

I’d rather drink and die.  –  Barbara Payton

I’ve often pointed out that the professions of actress and whore were at one time indistinguishable from one another, and that even now they are at best two branches of one stem (with a large area of overlap in porn and explicit general cinema).  Furthermore, it’s not unusual for actresses in difficult circumstances to practice the more stigmatized branch of our shared profession in a more direct fashion.  But generally, such deals are both highly discreet and in the “high end” price range; the case of Barbara Payton is an extreme and notable exception.

Barbara PaytonBarbara Lee Redfield was born in Cloquet, Minnesota on November 16th, 1927, to Erwin and Mabel Redfield.  Her family moved to Odessa, Texas when Barbara was 10, and though she was very  fortunate in the looks department of the genetic lottery, another of her inheritances eventually destroyed her: both parents were alcoholics.  Barbara eloped with her high-school boyfriend William Hodge just after her 15th birthday, and though her parents had the marriage annulled she was determined to get out of their house via matrimony; just two years later she dropped out of school and married a decorated combat pilot named John Payton, with whom she moved to Los Angeles.  Barbara dreamed of Hollywood success, and persuaded her husband to have some professional photos done; she quickly attracted attention and was a very successful model before she turned 20 (despite the birth of her son in March of 1947).

But success went to her head, and Payton eventually tired of being married to a party girl; they separated in July of 1948 and were divorced in 1950.  Her self-promotion had already attracted the attention of William Goetz of Universal Studios, however, and in January of 1949 he signed her to a $100/week contract (about $1000/week today).  After a couple of minor films, she won critical attention for her performance in Trapped (1949), and was highly praised for her work in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) opposite James Cagney.  The star’s brother, William Cagney, was so taken with her that he bought out her contact with Universal and got her one with Warner Brothers for $5,000/week, an unheard-of amount for such an inexperienced performer.  Despite this, her career began a sharp decline by the following year, when she appeared in Bride of the Gorilla (1951) with Raymond Burr; by 1955 Hollywood was done with her.  Ironically, her career was destroyed by the same thing which had first ignited it: her hard-partying lifestyle.

From the very beginning, Barbara used speed to keep her weight down, tranquilizers to sleep and alcohol for just about everything else.  She was incredibly promiscuous, and was not afraid to ask for money; soon after she signed with Universal she caught the eye of Bob Hope, who gave her an allowance and kept her in a luxurious apartment.  But Hope dumped her when she started demanding more money, and she took up with her drug dealer, a sometimes-movie-extra named Don Cougar; that ended sometime after Cougar beat up Payton’s elderly landlady over a rent dispute.  Over the next couple of years she is known to have been involved with Howard Hughes, Guy Madison, George Raft, John Ireland, Steve Cochran, Gregory Peck and Gary Cooper, plus many others who weren’t involved in the movie industry.  In 1950, Franchot Tone fell in love with her and proposed; she accepted, but began an affair with a minor actor named Tom Neal.  While Tone was away she even invited Neal to live with her (in the apartment Tone was paying for); when Tone returned she kicked him out.  She went back and forth between the two men until September 14th, 1951, when Neal beat Tone so severely he was hospitalized; she then married Tone on September 28th, lived with him for 53 days and then returned to Neal, who as you might expect beat her regularly as well.  The two never married, but stayed together for four years; and though both their careers were badly damaged by the scandal, the straw that broke the camel’s back in racist 1950s Hollywood was Payton’s relationship with her next boyfriend, black actor Woody Strode.

I Am Not AshamedHer life soon followed her career onto the rocks; she began pawning valuables to pay bar tabs and was arrested for giving bad checks to a liquor store.  She was temporarily reprieved in November of 1955 by marrying George Provas, a furniture store owner, but after their divorce in August of 1958 she resumed her downward spiral.  Her face and figure ruined by hard living, she was no longer able to attract patrons of the caliber of Bob Hope or Howard Hughes, and turned to streetwalking to survive; on February 7th of 1962 she was busted for prostitution on Sunset Boulevard.  She was homeless for much of that year, and was beaten on multiple occasions; she lost several teeth and once was severely stabbed.  In 1963 she got $1,000 for a ghostwritten autobiography entitled I Am Not Ashamed, but the money didn’t last long and things just kept getting worse.  In 1964 she was arrested for shoplifting, and in 1965 for possession of heroin.  Finally in 1967 she admitted she could not survive on her own, and moved back in with her parents (who now lived in San Diego); there she died on May 8th of heart and liver failure.  She was only 39 years old.

Barbara Payton had always been a whore from the time she first realized that she had sexual power over men, in her mid-teens; it’s a sign of our society’s deep misunderstanding of harlotry that nobody ever really accused her of it until she lost control of her behavior and was unable to actually make a living at it any more.  The most successful whores are never so labelled, and the greatest legal penalties and social stigma fall upon the least.

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