“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.” – Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”
The following is a collection of short articles commenting on events and news stories from the past week, arranged in chronological order.
R.I.P. Bob Guccione
The second of the “Big Three” of men’s magazine publishing (the others being Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt) died of cancer last Wednesday (October 20th). Whether you ever read Penthouse or didn’t (I renewed Jack’s subscription every year, and I knew more than one woman who occasionally bought it or its spinoff Forum for the raunchy “letters”), he has to be given credit for pushing the envelope and helping to advance the cause of sexual liberty in the US by bringing both porn and frank discussion of sexual topics (including prostitution) into the mainstream. For many years Penthouse even carried an advice column named “Call Me Madam” written by none other than Xaviera Hollander. Guccione’s empire has fared the worst of the big three, though; while Playboy valiantly struggles on and Hustler has prospered by expanding into strip clubs and video, the Penthouse brand collapsed around the turn of the century. Here’s a full obituary from Time.com.
This appeared in the Huffington Post on October 21st. Only the first two are prostitute-related, but the rest are funny too; I really did LOL.
Beating a Long-dead Horse
In my column of October 18th I discussed the pathologization of normal male behavior, and the news obligingly provided me with an example on the 22nd. Most of us over the age of 35 probably remember the Clarence Thomas Senate confirmation hearings, rightfully described by their subject as “a high-tech lynching of an uppity black man.” Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court was challenged not on grounds of professional unfitness, but rather on the premise that he should be disqualified for being a normal, sexually active man who sometimes flirted incompetently. Anita Hill could produce no evidence that Thomas ever pressured her for sex, and indeed never alleged that he did; she and her supporters seemed to believe that Thomas’ making dirty jokes and admitting to enjoying porn somehow rendered him incompetent as a judge under the vague and self-defined “hostile work environment” premise. For readers outside North America I should explain this bizarre notion; in the US a woman is entitled to file a “sexual harassment” claim against an employer or even a peer on the grounds that he created a “hostile work environment”, meaning he made comments which she claimed made her feel uncomfortable. Under current American law, “sexual harassment” is not defined by specific actions on the part of the accused but rather by the feelings of the self-proclaimed victim! In other words, if a good-looking guy I’m interested in makes a pass at me it’s totally legal, but if a creepy guy does it’s “sexual harassment” because the “crime” is not determined by objective criteria but by how I claim to have “felt” at the time. A man might make a certain comment in front of twelve women and it wouldn’t be “sexual harassment”, but if the thirteenth finds it “offensive” he has suddenly committed a crime without even realizing it because there is no requirement that the woman even let the man know at the time that she finds the behavior objectionable; he’s just supposed to know by ESP.
The Thomas hearings marked the height of neofeminist power in the US; fanatics like Catherine “All heterosexual intercourse is rape” MacKinnon were described as “sexual harassment experts” and actually invited to comment on the proceedings by mainstream news media; a group of female US Representatives literally marched (in formation for the TV cameras) over to the Senate to “demand” that Hill’s accusations be accepted without proof; and bogus claims such as “domestic violence is the leading cause of injuries for women between 15 and 44” were repeated endlessly in American media. By the mid ‘90s a backlash against these excesses helped to create the “men’s movement”, drove most young American women away from feminism and spawned “third wave feminism”. But though the neofeminist hyenas are not beaten yet it is a virtual certainty that they’ve noticed their popularity slipping and have started to pine for their glory days of the early ‘90s. It should therefore come as no surprise that they’ve dug up this old piece of carrion. The ex-girlfriend of a healthy man reports that he likes porn, scopes out women he works with and prefers chicks with big tits; whoa, hold the presses! Does any sane person consider this newsworthy? I understand how delusional lesbians who believe in “social construction of gender” might find this important, but why do the rest of us indulge their pathetic obsessions? What next, a “revelation” from the president’s ex-girlfriend that he has a penis and two testicles and pees standing up?
My Second Shot
I got my second shot (of three) of Gardasil last Friday (October 22nd) and boy, did it hurt! This one was in the arm, and a good thing it was because I would have been quite uncomfortable driving home had it been in my derrière like the first. The nurse told me that in her experience it was always so; the first shot is nearly painless but the second burns like fire. Though I got the injection around 1:30 PM it didn’t stop hurting until after my shower around 8 PM. I’ve got one more on February 23rd to be fully immunized (and about $600 poorer in all). Ouch! But if you’re under 30, a working escort, a regular hobbyist or a swinger, I still think it’s worth it for the peace of mind.
Since it’ll be Halloween in a few days, I thought some of y’all might be interested in TV shows and movies featuring vampire sex workers. When you think about it, being a “lady of the evening” is a perfect cover if you’re a female vampire; nobody expects you to go out in the daytime, and your prey comes to you alone and without telling anyone where he’s going! The earliest example I can think of is Catherine Rawlins, a vampire call girl from episode 4 of the classic TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974), simply entitled “The Vampire”; the only other TV example I know of is Janette du Charme of Forever Knight (1989), a vampire and former prostitute who owns a Toronto nightclub named “The Raven”. In movies we find the horror comedy Vampire Hookers (1978); here’s a trailer for it on Youtube. A similarly-themed horror comedy is Bordello of Blood (1996). Vamp (1986) introduces us to the vampire strippers of the After Dark Club (led by Grace Jones), and The Titty Twister in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) is another strip club also staffed entirely by vampires. Finally, John Carpenter’s Vampires features a prostitute who has been bitten by a vampire and is used by the heroes to track him across the country via their telepathic link (a plot element clearly lifted from the novel Dracula). If anybody can think of any others, please let me know!
Yes, this is actually topical, besides being just in time for Halloween. In 1954 Dr. Frederic Wertham touched off a moral panic with the publication of his book Seduction of the Innocent, in which he claimed that comic books were causing juvenile delinquency by “destroying the innocence” or children by exposing them to violent imagery and “sexual subtexts” (sound familiar?) The hysteria culminated in Wertham’s appearing before the Kefauver Commission so Congress could consider banning comic books. As happened with the PMRC Hearings three decades later, the industry was forced to censor itself in order to prevent Congress from doing so in order to “save the children”. And people wonder why I say nothing ever changes. Well, a few things do; after the ‘50s hearings a number of comic books were essentially banned (a few example appear in this Huffington Post slideshow), but after the ‘80s hearings chief agitator Tipper Gore recast herself from a pro-censorship conservative to an eco-friendly liberal so her husband could become vice president, and her adversary the RIAA got in bed with Big Brother in order to prosecute teenagers and single mothers for music sharing, and most recently to agitate for the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” I discussed in my column of October 2nd. I guess politicians have become more adept at putting the public to sleep in the last half-century.