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Archive for January, 2012

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  –  Eleanor Roosevelt

Feminists of nearly all stripes are always blathering about the “objectification” of women, as if society, the media, the magical “male gaze” or whatever had the power to literally transform women into inanimate objects like the aliens in a certain memorable episode of Star Trek.  To any reasonable person, the very idea is absurd; women are not passive “things” and cannot be transformed into such by any process known to modern science, nor are humans machines to be programmed by “society” or “The Patriarchy” (or whatever other devil one cares to conjure) into treating other humans in any particular way.  To be sure, the weak-minded are subject to considerable social pressure which colors their thinking about others, but only the most completely brainwashed (who are and always have been a small minority) are wholly unable to see individuals as individual.

This is why the process of demonization works so well in maintaining hostility toward minority groups; the average person doesn’t deal with members of any given minority nearly as often as with members of the majority, and if hate or fear toward that group can be maintained he isn’t likely to have an intimate enough relationship with any of its members to learn that the prejudice and propaganda are false.  If black people or Jews are segregated into ghettos and prohibited from frequent interaction with the majority, members of that majority don’t get the opportunity to learn the truth about them; and if homosexuals and whores are criminalized they are afraid to expose themselves to the majority.  But women are not a minority; we are, in fact, a slight majority, and it’s a rare human who is not on intimate terms with at least one of us.  Contrary to feminist propaganda, it is impossible to truly convince a majority of the population that women are something other than we are, because most of the population are women and the majority of the men are in the position to observe plenty of examples of individual female behavior.

The word “objectification” derives from the concept of a “sex object”.  But sexual desire is transitive; it requires an object.  The word “object” in the phrase “sex object” is therefore used in the sense of “object of the preposition” or “object of one’s affection”, not in the sense of “inanimate object”.  Women ARE sex objects for heterosexual men, and anyone who doesn’t like it needs to take it up with Nature (and find another way for us to reproduce).  Furthermore, the human body is an object in the concrete sense; it’s a physical thing which can be touched, takes up space, etc.  Only the will or spirit animates it, and even then the body is merely a vehicle for the self.  So I have a lot of trouble with people who decry the “objectification” of something which is already an object, in both senses of the word.  I reckon what radical feminists are trying to get at is that men or “society” ignore women’s personalities, but that is nonsense; the fabric of society is largely woven and maintained by women, and (outside of some extreme areas of BDSM) the personality of a female “sex object” is just as important to the average male observer as her body is, despite what some feminists would like to believe.

OK, so what about graphic art?  Women are a popular subject for both male and female creators and beholders of visual imagery, and even moderate feminists often decry the “sexualized images” of women they perceive as increasingly common.  But what is an image?  It’s a collection of tiny dots (electronic or paint) on a surface, which the human mind chooses to shape into something familiar.  But the image is not the thing; this is what Magritte is telling us when he paints a pipe and labels it, “This is not a pipe”.  It isn’t; it’s a picture of a pipe.  And images of women – whether in advertising, porn, “feminist” art, medical illustrations or paintings by Flemish masters – are just that, images.  Any “message”, sexual or otherwise, exists in the mind of the observer, and judging by some of the sexual “interpretations” I’ve heard applied by some feminists to pictures I see as innocuous, their minds are very dirty indeed (if not highly disturbed).  I’m not trying to be difficult or facetious here, but rather to help you recognize that the “sexiness” of an image really is in the eye of the beholder.  Would you be turned on by a photo of two dogs coupling?  How about two monkeys?  Two chimpanzees?  Two really repulsive people?  How about a poorly-drawn sketch of a nude woman?  An artistic nude painting?  A black-and-white photo of a nude woman wholly without sexual context?  What if it was a nude man without an erection?  A photo of a clothed man in some situation that appeals to a kink you don’t share?  Some modern fanatics want to keep people from taking photos of fully-clothed children in public for fear that pedophiles might masturbate to them, and overzealous Victorians draped the legs of tables to avoid arousing the easily-aroused.

What I’m getting at is, people tend to see in a picture whatever it is they’re predisposed to see; I wouldn’t call a picture of a cop beating a man “sexual”, but an extremely sadistic or masochistic gay man with a uniform fetish might conceivably find it so.  Pictures, like attitudes, are powerless to “objectify” women; that can only happen in the mind of individuals, and even then only in those who are predisposed to perceive such content everywhere they look.

One Year Ago Today

January Q & A” answers questions about oral sex, electrolysis and the “Video Vigilante”.

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Blessed be they as virtuous, who when they feel their virile members swollen with lust, visit a brothel rather than grind at some husband’s private mill.  –  Cato the Younger

Those who read my “2011 in Review” column may have noticed that after adjusting for several very popular picture searches, my second most popular column was “Ashley Madison”, published one year ago today; discounting those who viewed it on the home page, it was viewed 3569 times last year.  The reason for this is simple; upon seeing an ad for this con game disguised as a dating service, many people try to look it up online to see what others have to say about it.  Noel Biderman, the Toronto shyster who dreamed up this scam, anticipated this and acted accordingly:

Do a Google search for any phrase like “Ashley Madison scam”, “Ashley Madison fraud” or “Ashley Madison review” and you’ll find websites stocked with testimonials for the agency and either insinuating or outright stating that escorts carry venereal diseases.  Of course, as my regular readers know this is a crock of shit; escorts have a vested interest in staying clean, and promiscuous amateurs have far higher rates of every known STD.  Why are these sites so eerily similar and why do they all carry praise for the agency when their names suggest otherwise?  Because they’re all owned by Biderman, of course, as a quick whois search will reveal.  It took me a bit of diligent digging to find any REAL criticism of the agency…

What I found was revealed in last year’s column, and it’s not pretty; male customers have to…

…buy “credits” which are needed to do pretty much anything on the site (send a message, receive a message, start a chat, etc).  The agency employs a number of shills and/or robots which bombard male members with fake messages that cost credits to open, and sending messages to the fake “too good to be true” ads costs credits as well and goes nowhere…Everything is set up like a casino or a carnival con game, enticing the poor bastard to keep throwing good money after bad in a futile effort to get something for nothing.

Biderman has himself a sweet little racket going, but he couldn’t have anticipated that a certain website which exposes the swindle would end up as the second result from the top whenever someone Googles “Ashley Madison testimonials” (in fact, mine is the only site on the first page which isn’t owned by Biderman).  I’m also the first result on page two for the search “Ashley Madison scam”, and I’m sure you’ll get similar results by combining the agency’s name with words like “fraud”, “flim-flam”, “hustle”, “rip-off”, “shakedown” or “sucker game” (at least, you will now).

There are lots of hucksters out there pulling the wool over people’s eyes, so you may wonder why Biderman’s con in particular annoys me so.  There are two important reasons:  First, as I’ve stated many times, I think it’s reprehensible for a married man to cheat on his wife with an amateur, because she could jeopardize his whole marriage and even put his wife in danger, yet here is Biderman trying to convince people that the immoral course of action is moral and vice-versa.  Second, as I stated above, his fake “testimonial” websites all either imply or directly state the outrageous lie that escorts carry venereal disease while cheating housewives are somehow magically protected from viruses, spirochetes and even pthiridae via the prophylactic power of most holy matrimony.  As if that weren’t enough, he’s added other prohibitionist myths to his smear campaign in the past year; Aspasia recently sent me this photo of an Ashley Madison ad which Mariko Passion posted on her Facebook page.  Seven men a day, my high-priced fanny; that’s not “average” by any stretch of the imagination, except in the dirty minds of prohibitionists.  I only did that many in a day twice in my entire career, once in 2000 and again in 2005.  And though it may be true that the average woman has sex with seven men in her lifetime, the average woman doesn’t cheat on her husband either (and even the average cheating woman doesn’t hook up with random strangers on the internet).  As for that last line…92% of statistics are made up on the spot, eh Noel?

Now, sleazy Ashley Madison ads are nothing new; they’re practically a trademark.  But one has to wonder if Biderman hasn’t “lost his Ouija board” (as Grace would put it) on this one, reported in Huffington Post on December 20th:

…Ashley Madison, a “pro-adultery” website whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair,” put up a billboard in Bucks County, PA, that “endorses” Newt Gingrich for president.  Gingrich has famously admitted to extramarital affairs in the past.  The billboard boasts a large picture of Gingrich, with the text, “Faithful Republican, Unfaithful Husband.  Welcome to the AshleyMadison.com Era”…site founder Noel Biderman explained further in a statement:

Now that Newt is the leading contender in the race for the GOP nomination, we felt compelled to make a point to illustrate how times have changed when a serial divorcee/adulterer is capturing the hearts of the American people.  Gingrich proves that marital fidelity has no bearing on someone’s ability to do a job.  Rather than judge him, Americans have finally embraced the reality that affairs are commonplace, and perhaps paradoxically, might be an indication of great leadership to come.  He is not the first nor last politician who will step outside of their marriage.

Of course, most smart politicians do their cheating with whores; those foolish enough to try it with amateurs risk losing everything, which makes them pretty much the same as other men…though Biderman would rather you forget that.

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MOLOCH, horrid King besmear’d with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,
Though, for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loud,
Their children’s cries unheard that passed through fire
To his grim Idol.
  –  John Milton, Paradise Lost (Book I)

Moloch is the traditional (via the Bible) name for a Semitic god worshipped by the Canaanites, Phoenicians and Carthaginians.  There is some debate over whether the word is actually the name of the god himself, or else the type of sacrifice he demanded in times of crisis:  living human children thrown into a furnace at the base of the idol, sometimes in the shape of an open mouth.  Some historians dispute the scale of the practice, claiming that it was exaggerated by enemy writers, but there is little doubt of its historicity considering that it is described independently in Hebrew, Greek and Roman sources.  A cemetery in which the charred remains of such offerings were buried was called by the Hebrews tophet, a word which has since become synonymous with “Hell”.  And the name of Moloch has come to mean any institution or cause which requires a horrible sacrifice, especially of children.  Some Victorian writers used the name as a metaphor for industry which employed child labor, and modern America has its own Moloch:  our viciously-misnamed “justice” system, into the maw of which uncaring functionaries hurl kids by the thousands for the sake of a “war” as barbaric and ultimately futile as those lost by the Carthaginians over two millennia ago.

In the early ‘90s, politicians responded to rising crime rates with a number of measures designed to convince the Great Unwashed that they were “tough on crime”, including “three strikes” laws, wildly disproportionate sentencing and trying juvenile offenders as though they were adults.  And while some ruthless teenagers undoubtedly deserve more serious sentences than those available in the juvenile court system, most do not…and some states allow even prepubescent children (most of whom have not even achieved adult cognitive levels) to be tried and convicted as adults, with results that endure for decades if not for life.  Furthermore, this draconian “crackdown” occurred just as America was relapsing into a state of hysteria about sex, especially sex among legal minors; despite a total lack of evidence for the belief, the public and legal establishment became convinced that any kind of sexual contact (including mere conversations or the taking of nude or simply suggestive photos) before the magical age of 18 was inherently harmful, and that the older party – even if under 18 himself – was automatically “exploiting” the younger one, even if they were not in physical proximity to one another or the younger one was unaware of the sexual interpretation the older placed on such interaction.  This eventually led to the absurdity of charging teenagers with “child pornography” for “sexting” (because the little monsters should know better than to sexually exploit their innocent, childlike selves), and when combined with the nightmare of “sex offender registration” we arrive at a formula for mindless, destructive tyranny and child-sacrifice on a scale that would’ve made the Carthaginian priests avert their eyes in horror.

This article, which appeared in Time on January 8th, gives some idea of the full scope of the injustice:

…more than one-third of the sexual abuse of America’s children is committed by other minors…these juvenile offenders pose a profoundly complicated challenge for the child-protection and criminal justice systems.  It’s a diverse group…encompassing a minority of youths who represent a threat…and a majority who are…unlikely to reoffend…[Our] public policy includes a federal law…with a requirement that states include…offenders as young as 14 on their sex-offender registries.  Many [experts]…object to the requirement, saying it can wreak lifelong harm on adolescents who might otherwise get back on…track…Some states have balked at complying…even at the price of losing some federal criminal-justice funding.  Other states have provisions tougher than the federal act, subjecting children younger than 14 to the possibility of 25-year or lifetime listings on publicly accessible registries that include [their] photos…Delaware recently [registered] a 9-year-old…Several other states have registered 12- and 13-year-olds.  “We’re bringing down a very heavy hammer on the head of kids, with significant life-altering consequences,” said Marsha Levick…of the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.  “It’s a knee-jerk reaction that’s foolhardy beyond imagination.”  [And] Nicole Pittman, a Human Rights Watch researcher…says states should halt the practice…”Most legislators do not believe children should be on the registry — yet it’s the kiss of death for most politicians to vote against any sex offender law,” she said.

…[A government] analysis…found that juveniles accounted for 35.6 percent of…[those accused of sex offenses]…against minors…93 percent [of them] were male [with an average age of 13]…and…59 percent [of “victims”] were younger than 12 and 75 percent were female.  The report referred to a popular misconception that juvenile sex offenders are likely to reoffend, and said numerous studies over the years have shown the opposite — that 85 to 95 percent of offending youth are never again arrested for sex crimes.  University of Oklahoma pediatrics professor Mark Chaffin…says efforts…are complicated by the tendency…to lump them together with adult sexual predators…”Now that the data has shown most of those assumptions were wrong, it’s difficult to undo those messages that people in the advocacy and treatment fields were putting out a generation ago.”

…While some youths commit violent, premeditated acts of sexual assault and rape, others get in trouble for behavior arising from curiosity, naivete, peer pressure, momentary irresponsibility, misinterpretation of what they believed was mutual interest, and a host of other reasons.  Some cases involve sibling incest; sometimes the offenders have autism or other developmental disorders that lessen their ability to self-police inappropriate conduct…sociologist David Finkelhor…of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center…[says the system] “…needs to differentiate between the kids we should stigmatize as little as possible…and others who need a lot of intervention…”

…The latest juvenile crime data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that arrests of juvenile sex offenders declined by about 25 percent from 2000 through 2009.  That would mesh with a decline in child sex abuse committed by adults, as well as a decline in the overall juvenile crime rate.  But data from New York City, Florida and elsewhere indicates that the prevalence of child-on-child sex hasn’t dropped noticeably.  In any case, forms of abuse evolve with the times as sexting becomes a common youth activity and easily accessible online pornography affects some children…”There’s a fear of technology — parents don’t think they can control it,” said Marsha Levick, who has been working…to dissuade prosecutors from criminalizing commonplace teen sexting activities…Nancy Arnow of Safe Horizon, a New York-based victim services agency…said the child-on-child sex abuse cases are among the most difficult.  “We have to distinguish between sexualized behavior that might be pretty normal — experimenting, touching each other — versus molesting, subjecting another child to harm,” she said.  She recalled investigations of children as young as 7, and the arrest of an 8-year-old…

Another challenging type of abuse cases involves youths who are autistic…[Jay Deppeler, who runs a treatment program for adolescent male sex offenders,] recalled one autistic young man who…had committed a sex offense as a 14-year-old and later — after turning 18 — committed a property…offense…[he was then] obligated to apprise prospective employers of his full record, including the juvenile sex offense — making him “virtually unemployable…Long term, I fear his prospects are quite bleak,” Deppeler said.  “What do we end up doing with a guy like that?”

Though there’s some good information in the article, it has a major flaw:  it doesn’t actually question any of the established “child sex abuse” narrative.  Oh, we’re told that the majority of the “offenders” are no real threat, but the assumption is still that they did something wrong and need “correction”.  The basic idea that it’s OK to punish someone for life for a non-lethal offense goes unchallenged, and though the article calls the belief in high recidivism among sex offenders a “misconception”, it wrongly qualifies the term with the adjective “juvenile” (in fact, adult sex offenders have a low recidivism rate as well).  Even Nancy Arnow, who clearly states that adolescent sexual experimentation is normal, feels compelled to add the qualifier “pretty” and to say it’s “difficult” to distinguish harmless activities from crime.  Adolescent sexual experimentation isn’t just “pretty normal”, it’s absolutely normal.  And there’s a very easy way to distinguish sex play from molestation:  did the supposed “victim” complain or draw adult attention via obvious stress or anxiety, or did some busybody adult discover the young people together and impose “exploitation” and “crime” paradigms on what was actually a harmless and mutually consensual activity?

One Year Ago Today

Aggressive Ignorance” demonstrates the truth of James Baldwin’s statement that “ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

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Tyrants have not yet discovered any chains that can fetter the mind.  –  Charles Caleb Colton

What, you thought we were finished with updates for the month?  I’m getting so many of these now I’ll soon be changing the way I handle them; look for a new feature, “That Was the Week That Was”, coming next Saturday (February 4th).  But in the meantime…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (April 4th, 2011)

I’ve suggested that amateur women protect themselves by taking tips from the pros, including checking in and out.  Well, somebody had the same idea:

…myDate…makes it easy to set-up a network…who will receive text and e-mail alerts should you not make it back from your date at a [predesignated] time…Provide details of your upcoming date, including where, when…contact information for the person you are going out with…[and] a check-in time…[when] you expect to be back home alone…If you don’t [check in]…text and e-mail alerts are sent to your [contact] list…if something goes wrong, you’ll have loved ones on your trail as soon as possible…if…you stay out longer than expected, you can always…change the check-in time…[or] cancel the whole thing if your date never shows up…

The main flaw in this is that the man doesn’t know about the “app” unless you tell him.  A callout does more than let others know your status; “it also sends a clear message to the man:  People know where I am and how long I’m supposed to be here…It’s difficult to stop someone who intends to commit a crime with malice aforethought; what basic protective measures do is to deter opportunistic crimes.  Locks prevent morally weak people from being tempted to easy thefts, and the knowledge that others know a woman is with him might stop a man with poor impulse control from succumbing to the desire to rape her.”

The Pro-Rape Coalition (April 14th, 2011)

The evidence strongly indicates that as porn has become more available, the rates of rape and other sex crimes have decreased; some studies even suggest that porn is actually responsible for the drop.  Therefore, any politician who wants to increase the number of federal obscenity prosecutions is, whether he admits it or not, pro-rape.  Some of you might like to know the names of the current presidential candidates who want to see more American women raped, and XBiz is happy to oblige:

…Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have each pledged to enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography.  The pledges [were] compiled and published by Morality in Media [as] part of the organization’s…”War on Illegal Pornography”…None of the other…candidates nor President Obama has responded to efforts initiated by MIM to learn their views…

Sales Pitch (May 22nd, 2011)

Sweden is so invested in selling itself as the “feminist” moral arbiter of the world that it’s willing to lie about the success of its eponymous model, pretending that it has greatly reduced both prostitution and the demand for it.  So I think it’s fair to consider this scandal (as reported in Feminist Ire) what the young people call an “epic fail”:

I posted…here…that, contrary to the claims of advocates of the Swedish model, brothels continue to thrive under the sex purchase ban.  Now, it seems that they’ve had a little bit of help from friends in high places:

A high-ranking civil servant in Sweden’s defence ministry has been sacked after it was revealed he was involved in running several Thai massage parlours on the side…The raids revealed that the wife of the defence ministry official operated three massage parlours in the Stockholm area and that he served as an alternate board member of the company that ran the operation.

And according to the Swedish Tax Agency,

“We have clear indications both in the trafficking of girls and that many deal with unreported wages and pay unreasonably low payroll taxes”.

This isn’t the first time a high-ranking official has been found to be personally involved in undermining Sweden’s claims to have all but eliminated trafficking and sex work.  Last year, the chief of police in Uppsala…was convicted on numerous charges including rape, purchasing sex, and “procuring” (translation: he was running a prostitution ring, involving underage girls).  And regular Swedish press reports prove that they have as many examples as any other country of police and government officers being (literally) caught with their pants down…What gets my goat is the deliberate deception of those Swedish officials who come to other countries and tell us…that it’s “impossible to run a brothel in Sweden” when your own fucking government official is running several of them – and when their tax non-compliance seems to be the main source of your interest in them…

The Punitive Mindset (October 20th, 2011)

Remember how the unholy union of sadists and neofeminists are trying to ban porn in Connecticut prisons?  Well, as explained in this January 10th article from Slate, it gets much worse:

…While you might think of masturbation as a sort of last refuge for the incarcerated…that is not the case.  In fact, a number of state prisons regard jerking off as a rule infraction…In North Carolina…it is a violation to “touch the sexual or other intimate parts of oneself  or another person for the purpose of sexual gratification”…Tennessee forbids “any behavior intended for the sexual gratification of the subject.”  Ohio prohibits “seductive or obscene acts, including  indecent exposure or masturbation.”  Kentucky regards inmate masturbation as “inappropriate sexual behavior.”  In California…masturbation is permissible provided it is stopped immediately if noticed by staff, blue balls be damned.  If the masturbator perseveres, even if concealed by bed sheets, he can be cited for “Intentionally Sustained Masturbation without Exposure.”    These policies are part of a long correctional tradition to forbid all forms of sexual activity…

In practice, inmates are seldom sanctioned, so long as they touch themselves discreetly.  In Connecticut, masturbation is against the rules only when performed “in a lewd and public manner.”  Other states have similar policies.  But the line between intentional and inadvertent exposure can be blurry in a context where inmates do not control their privacy and cells are sometimes defined as public places.  What’s more, some experts on prison sex contend that anti-masturbation and anti-porn policies in prisons are counterproductive because they effectively drive inmates to engage in risky sexual behavior…increased access to pornography—which goes hand-in-hand with increased access to one’s doo-dads—might be just what correctional facilities need to stem prison rape…

…the idea that sexual amenities could or should be part of the American correctional tradition never gained wide acceptance.  Prison policy…grew more punitive in the ’70s…Today only six states allow conjugal visits, down from more than a dozen two decades ago… [Another] new factor [is]…the female prison guard…women are steadily replacing men because prisons prefer to hire guards without criminal records and with some education beyond high school—both of which favor female applicants…[also] they can legally oversee housing units for both male and female inmates, whereas men often are permitted to guard and conduct pat-searches only on other men.  The result is that male inmates are accorded less privacy in which to masturbate than female inmates…

Prisons must also protect female guards from the hostile work environment…as established in a [2006 federal] case…The threat of sexual harassment is now also used as a justification for keeping porn out of prisons…Connecticut said explicit materials create a hostile environment for staff…[and] Pennsylvania’s 2006 ban was designed to improve working conditions for women…But…what if porn—and its natural consequence, masturbation—has the potential to deter sex crimes like prison rape?…a review paper on porn and sexual aggression from 2009 points out that as the availability of sexually explicit content has exploded in the Internet era, sex crimes have dropped nearly everywhere the matter has been studied.  That doesn’t match with the theory that using porn facilitates rape, and some researchers even argue that porn might have a protective effect, by giving people a safe outlet for pent-up desires…patients seeking treatment in sex offender clinics often say porn helps them restrict their urges to their imaginations rather than acting them out by force.  In effect, masturbation displaces rape…yet in prisons, Stone Age attitudes toward…sexuality still rule…Correctional officials may wish inmates were sexually inert, but a more pragmatic attitude might yield better results…

Ask yourself what kind of sick mind would want to be a female guard in a male prison, and I think you’ll understand where a lot of this “harassment” nonsense comes from.  Angry, sadistic neofeminists aren’t allowed to literally castrate men, but they want to get as close as possible.  And if their ridiculous demands cause more men to be raped, that’s just a bonus.

One Year Ago Today

Wild Guessing (Part Two)”  dissects the Schapiro Group’s treatise on stealing grant money from worthwhile programs using lies, exaggeration and appeals to emotion.

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Justice means minding one’s own business and not meddling with other men’s concerns.  –  Plato

A busybody is, by definition, one who cannot resist meddling in other people’s business even when his victim’s actions have absolutely no effect on him.  And because respect for the rights of individuals has generally increased since the late Middle Ages, busybodies (both those with political titles and those without) in “democracies” usually have to find ways to justify their meddling in order to keep the opinions of the masses in their favor (or at least divided enough to prevent unified opposition).  The chief means of doing this is via propaganda, and one of the chief targets of such busybodies is sex (especially commercial sex).  In the four stories we’ll look at today, the busybodies in the latter three use a very old moral panic (disease as punishment for “sin”) as an excuse for persecuting sex workers, but in the first con artists use a relatively new (130 years) moral panic (sex slavery) as a means of robbing busybodies.  Investigative reporter Andrew Drummond broke the story on January 6th:

Officers of the Australian Federal Police were summoned to the Thai government  complex in Bangkok…and urged to look into [an] alleged fake rescue…by an Australian registered charity…The Brisbane based…”The Grey Man” [claimed to have] rescued 21 Akha hill tribe children and saved them from certain slavery in factories and brothels…[but a Thai government] investigation…found that the children never left their village…[they] were all living at home and were attending a school on a daily basis…under a special government fund [which provided] all their meals, uniforms and schoolbooks…The Grey Man [which is staffed by ex-special forces and former and active Australian policemen] issued an appeal for funds…after their claimed rescue…but on October 21 last year they removed all references to the rescue from their site and Facebook pages…[Their] president initially announced the rescue had taken place, then denied it again.  He later said his denial was to protect the children…

[Thai authorities are] investigating …breaches of both the Child Protection and Computer Crime Acts…It’s alleged that The Grey Man abused [and defamed] the children by putting their pictures up on the net and linking them with prostitution to raise cash…The Grey Man President John Curtis has claimed that the children and local community [were] intimidated by Thai government officials and his organization…[was] the subject of a vendetta by Thai [NGOs] because The Grey Man had shown that they were better [by rescuing] more than 140 children from sexual abuse in Asia…Also subject of the enquiry is an American registered charity “Children of South East Asia” (COSA)…[which] supplied the pictures…exhibited on [The Grey Man’s] Facebook site…

I hope the matter really was called to the attention of Thai authorities by another NGO; once these sleazy opportunists start fighting each other, all we have to do is sit back and watch.

The next item, also from Australia, is another look at the mining-community controversy we’ve seen before; what makes it interesting is the combination of so-called “health experts” spreading lies they have statistical proof are false, an unusual version of the “gypsy whore” myth and the paternalistic attitude of unnamed “community members” toward adult miners:

A prostitute from Queensland’s mining regions…[says] discrimination against her work was “disgusting” and putting sex workers in danger…[she says motel owners] “kick you out, no refund – regardless of whether you have one or seven days left”…she [also] said…the harsh treatment posed risks to sex workers and could force them on to the streets…The reports have…sparked concerns from health experts about the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  They have also had community members concerned about the fiscal responsibility of high earning miners who appeared to be wasting money.  Late last year University of New England associate professor John Scott told Australian Mining there was no evidence to suggest a rise in sex workers translated to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases in the community.  He also said there had been no study to back up claims rural sex work had increased beyond normal levels.  “There hasn’t been any data on it, but my hunch is that it would not be epidemic in these areas,” he said.

The “dirty whore” myth appears again in this January 9th article from the Daily Caller:

…The Korea Times reported that [a] survey of 500 South Koreans over age 60 determined that 66.2 percent are having sex, and that 53 percent of that group — or 35 percent of the survey group overall — said they pay for sex.  Paying prostitutes is illegal in South Korea…The Korea Herald reported on Sunday that more than half of the sexually active senior citizens said they buy anti-impotence pills, and 19.6 percent of them said they used sex toys.  The government-funded study also found that prostitution in South Korea is closely linked with sexually transmitted diseases.  One out of every eight interviewed  seniors suffered from gonorrhea…Prof. Chae Kyu-man of Sungshin Women’s University told another newspaper that the government “should induce them into venting their sex drive legally and in a healthy manner.”

Only one in eight have an STI while half see whores, so of course the disease must come from the whores rather than those good, clean amateurs the government wants to somehow force to have uncompensated sex with old men.  Of course, the government of South Korea is under considerable political and economic pressure from the U.S., so it lies for the same reason as “The Grey Man”:  profit.  The same is of course true of Michael Weinstein; the latest on his crusade appeared in the LA Weekly on January 10th:

The L.A. City Council today said that yes, porn stars must wear condoms when performing within city limits.  The 11-1 vote means that a costly ballot initiative asking you, the voter, to approve just such a rule can be avoided.  The AIDS Healthcare Foundation…noted that the City Council’s approval seems to defy a move by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to block the initiative in court…[on grounds that]…it would supersede the state’s authority over workplace safety enforcement…The industry is against condoms, arguing that…production will simply flee the city and perhaps go underground, where things would be more dangerous…Our industry source…said this law will not apply to studio shoots and will only affect off-site and “location” production…Diane Duke, executive director of the…Free Speech Coalition, sent the Weekly this response to today’s votes:

Performer health and safety is a priority for the adult film industry, which is why the industry’s standards and self regulations have been successful as represented by the industry’s low rate of STI transmission…Government regulation of film making would likely undermine existing health and safety efforts and industry standards that are effective as well as take the government into dangerous new territory.  This approach betrays our Constitution; it betrays the hard lessons we’ve learned in the 25-year fight against HIV/AIDS; and it betrays aggressive health and safety efforts in place that are proven and effective.

Given Weinstein and AHF’s history of using lies and grandstanding to line their own pockets, that brings us back full circle to the first item in today’s column.  And until the busybodies are prevented from interfering in other people’s lives, there will always be plenty of opportunities for con artists to capitalize on their deep-seated urge to meddle in things which are none of their business.

One Year Ago Today

Wild Guessing (Part One)” is my debunking of a “study” by the Schapiro Group, a marketing firm which crows that its new “methodology” represents “a quantum leap forward in determining…the magnitude of the problem” of “child sex trafficking”.  And what is that ground-breaking methodology, you ask?  Why, guessing their ages of escorts from pictures they post online, of course.

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I’d call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse.  –  Woody Allen, What’s Up, Tiger Lily?

Humans are obsessed with assigning blame.  To a degree, this is understandable; when something bad happens, we want to know why it happened, and if somebody caused it we want to know who so we can keep that person from doing it again.  Unfortunately, the preferred way of stopping harmful behavior is by inflicting even more harmful behavior on the guilty party and any “accomplices”; though some people are satisfied with one scapegoat, others seem to feel that it’s a shame to waste a perfectly good opportunity for violence and therefore want to accuse as many people as possible.  And still others (of whom an inordinate number seek employment with the police) seem wholly unconcerned with whether the victim of such “punishment” is actually the guilty party; they just want to inflict violence on somebody, and after all a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  Or as the ever-clever Philippa expressed it, “The State wants an eye for an eye, but it doesn’t care whose eye.”  It’s much easier for such troglodytes to torture somebody they don’t like (or whoever’s convenient) than to actually have to go out and figure out who might really be guilty.  And if there’s a convenient (and preferably helpless) target handy, why trouble themselves any further?  Best just to get to the fun part.  My column of one year ago today provides a perfect example of this syndrome; faced with an unknown serial killer, the newspapers blamed an established villain (namely, Craigslist) and district attorney Thomas Spota blamed the victims.

Another, much weirder example of this appeared in Slate on January 6th:

…I’ve written before about the fascinating research underway on the phenomenon of zoophilia and the reported 1 percent of the human population that feels a primary erotic attraction to other species.  Yet I’d absolutely no idea about the brutal oppression that not only zoophiles faced in centuries prior, but also the animals themselves that had been involved in their sordid affairs.  Today, I think, most people would feel sympathy for an animal that had been violated by a human being, but in the past, they were seen as being just as morally culpable as their sexual partners.  And while today’s zoophiles continue to face…jail time and fines…the “buggers” of the past were burned alive…Indeed, a panic over porking pigs grew so intense in Colonial New England that it became, for a time, the “other” witch-hunt.

…In 1646…a servant by the name of George Spencer…was executed for making love to his master’s pig.  He swore that he didn’t do it, but, unfortunately for Spencer, the sow happened to give birth to a deformed fetus (“a prodigious monster”) that resembled George a bit too closely for most people’s comfort…just like the pig fetus, this grumpy old man also had “butt one eye for use, the other hath (as itt is called) a pearle in itt, is whitish and deformed”…a fellow New Haven [Connecticut] citizen with the ridiculously unfortunate name of Thomas Hogg…found himself at the center of an intense buggery investigation when a neighborhood sow bore a deformed fetus with “a faire & white skinne & head, as Thomas Hogg is”…the governor and deputy governor personally frogmarched him out to the barnyard toward the sow in question and ordered him to “scratt” (fondle) the animal before their eyes.  This was done to gauge just how intimately familiar Hogg and hog might be.  “Immedyatly there appeared a working of lust in the sow,” the court records recount for us, “insomuch that she powred out seede before them.”  When Hogg reluctantly titillated the teats of a different sow, that animal showed no sign of returning his affections.

It wasn’t just pigs.  In the nearby colony of Plymouth…a 16-year-old boy named Thomas Granger…[was] indicted for taking indecent liberties with…“a mare, a cow, two goats, five sheep, two calves and a turkey”…There was little question in these righteous minds that the boy should be dispatched to the flames…but there was a lot of head-scratching…over which sheep, exactly, he’d been defiling.  This was vital to sort out, because if they executed the wrong sheep, they risked the unthinkable happening:  a monstrously bleating, hoofed prodigy might drop undetected onto Plymouth.  So, naturally, a line-up of busily masticating victims was staged for Granger.  With one trembling finger, the boy pointed out those five naïve, amber-eyed ruminants that had been targets of his secret woolly lust…

…the issue of animal consent has become central to the legal treatment of zoophilic behavior.  Injunctions against human-animal sex…now seem to derive from the question of whether a hog can ever really agree to make love to a Hogg…Can an animal be smart enough to give sexual consent to a human partner?  Even if it were smart enough, would it have means by which to express its desire?  The zoophiles themselves would say that it can…We no longer hold animals morally culpable for having sex with people, but we’ve now Bambi-fied domestic animals to the point that they’re regarded as sexless innocents…Disgust reactions aside, the challenge lies in teasing apart the animal’s actual consent to sex from the human partner’s mere perception of the animal’s giving consent—a perception that, like that of any erotically-charged mind, is prone to a dangerous confirmation bias.  Having said that, however…it’s not entirely clear that some animals, in some circumstances, cannot derive pleasure—even benefit—from sex with humans.  Anyway, it’s often the animals that are doing the penetrating…and in cases involving an erect horse penis the size of a small moped, exactly who’s being assaulted becomes difficult to sort out…

If you have time you may want to read the original, which is extremely funny.  But the portion I’ve quoted here is enough to make my point, which is that very little has changed; people and their governments are still sticking their noses into the private behavior of individuals and making a really big deal out of anything that involves sex.  Remember, the original reason for criminalizing bestiality had nothing to do with “cruelty” as it’s usually framed nowadays; nobody in the 17th century gave a damn if a man whipped his horse half to death or slaughtered his livestock in some unnecessarily cruel way.  But let him, um, know his nanny goat in the Biblical sense, and it was the stake for both of ‘em.  And just as in the 17th century, people still want to shift the blame (sometimes even to the victim) or spread it around to as many bystanders (innocent or otherwise) as possible.

Postscript

I have just a few more not-entirely-random thoughts on the bestiality thing I’d like to share.

First:  Yes, it’s icky, but someone doing something which is icky to most people  is insufficient grounds for sending armed thugs (who tend to behave in a pretty bestial manner themselves) to persecute him for doing it.

Second:  Readers with long memories may recall my writing that “…there are valid arguments for laws against adultery and bestiality that aren’t based in Christian morality, but we’ll leave that for another time.” The quoted essay makes the secular argument for prohibiting bestiality:  nonhuman animals, like children, are unable to give informed consent.  The secular argument for prohibiting adultery is simply that it’s a violation of a contract.

Third:  I’m highly doubtful that anything like 1% of the population is primarily attracted to other species, especially considering that only 2% of Furries admit to zoophilia.  I might believe that 1% of sexually broadminded people have had a cross-species sexual encounter, but primary attraction is (if you’ll pardon) a horse of a different color.

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No work of charity can be more productive of good to society than the careful instruction of women.  –  Catherine McAuley

My column of January 10th contrasted the religious views of prostitutes with the views of the religious toward prostitutes, and related the story of a priest who avoided dealing with a group of streetwalkers until chance (or perhaps God) forced him to see one of them as a real person.  Not all clergy need to be so pushed; in my column of last February 12th I introduced Reverend Paul Turp, who spoke out against attempts by the Hackney council to put local strippers out of work by closing down their clubs, and in the comments for that January 10th column The Dudes are Emerging pointed out two stories about another member of the London clergy who feels called to reach out to sex workers, Sister Lynda Dearlove.

As Dudes remembered, I have great respect for nuns; in one of my earliest columns I wrote:

Like many Catholic girls…from south Louisiana, I attended an all-girl Catholic high school run by nuns.  And though my path is quite different from theirs and would undoubtedly horrify most of those good ladies, I have nothing but respect for them as a group…the education they gave me has served me well, and despite our different philosophies and spiritual beliefs we have in common a decision to pursue a life different from that of most women in modern society…one of my [favorite] teachers…[was a nun who] first exposed [me] to the idea that there are many paths to God, and we are called upon to follow the one which our hearts tell us is right despite what others might think.

I imagine that Sister Lynda, profiled in this article from the Guardian of January 5th, would agree:

…Sister Lynda [is] a nun [dedicated] …to working with  sex workers in one of London’s most notorious red-light districts, King’s Cross.  And just like the convent, the “safe house” [she] has set up is women-only.  “Women operate differently, and it helps street prostitutes – just as it helps nuns – to have a space that they know will only have women in it,” she says.  Women at the Well – the project’s name comes from a gospel story in which Jesus meets a woman at a well who is living in an “irregular” relationship, and refuses to judge her for it – looks like just another anonymous hotel [on the outside]…But…inside… there are bright, cheerful paintings on the walls, a cafe and a clothes store, a computer room and lots of [showers] with body lotion and fluffy towels.  “The women who come here can have counselling, and help with finding accommodation, but we also offer massages and manicures and the chance to get your hair done,” explains [Sister] Lynda.  “Most of these women have never had…any pampering in their life; what we’re doing is helping them see that they matter too, that they have permission to care about themselves.  The thing most of them most want is simply a long, hot shower…”

Most of the women who come here…have had desperately disadvantaged lives.  “Typically they’re in their 30s through 50s, and they’ve been involved in prostitution since they were teenagers.  Many have mental-health problems; the majority didn’t finish school, and almost none of them grew up in stable families.  I’m not saying there’s only one sort of background for prostitution – you do see women who come from much more advantaged backgrounds, but that’s far less usual…”  What Women at the Well aims to provide…is something most of its clients…have…no experience of…the sense of being part of a family.  “That’s what we’re trying to do that’s different from the other services the women might access,” she says.  “Ours is a very holistic service, and we aim to give the women a place where they feel genuinely valued, looked after and cared about.”

…women using the centre are [also] offered sexual health advice.  This is a treading-on-eggshells issue for a project run by a Catholic nun – but it’s clear that [Sister] Lynda operates as close to the wire as she possibly can without invoking the ire of the Catholic hierarchy.  “We enable women to have contact with sexual health services because they’re in a high-risk occupation,” she says.  “It’s important to deal with it effectively, just as we aim to deal effectively with their mental and physical health…[I was] heartened by the Pope’s recognition  that within the context of prostitution, using a condom is primarily about the intention to reduce the risk of infection and an assumption of responsibility”…For some years she ran a shelter for homeless people: but gradually she realised there was one group of clients the shelter wasn’t [caring] for.  “Those women were street prostitutes, and they were the most disadvantaged group of all – and in a shelter that was dominated by men and their needs, the women simply weren’t being heard,” she says.  What angered her on these women’s behalf was that as disadvantaged children they had been seen as “deserving” – whereas once they were effectively forced into prostitution, society ceased to care.  “One minute they’re ‘children in need’ and we’re trying to help them, the next minute they’ve turned 18, we’ve failed to help, and suddenly it’s all their own fault.”

Women at the Well is funded from a variety of sources, including the Sisters of Mercy [Sister Lynda’s order].  “My fellow sisters were happy to back me – they believed, as I believe, that this is the work our order’s founder, an 18th-century Irishwoman called Catherine McAuley, set us up to do…She worked with women in extreme need, just as I do.”  Other funding comes from grants and individual donors, with around a fifth coming from central government…Over the last three years Sister Lynda has become increasingly respected among those who champion the rights of sex workers – in 2010 she was awarded the MBE, and last year she was nominated for an International Women of Courage award…

The reporter can’t quite resist some subtle editorialization and injecting an Olympics angle which, though not directly stated, implies a “human trafficking” connection.  But Sister Lynda herself doesn’t buy into propaganda, as demonstrated by this two-year-old article from the Islington Tribune:

…the streets of King’s Cross are a safer place for all thanks to…Sister Lynda Dearlove…[a] 51-year-old [Roman Catholic nun] who was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List…she has witnessed first-hand the problems the women face during regular night patrols around the area…[Sister Lynda said,] “There is no religious judgment.  We just aim to improve the quality of people’s lives and to break down the barriers for these women…We offer training but also help to empower women by raising their personal confidence.  A lot of time they just need someone to treat them with respect – many of them have been looked down on by everyone they have met.”

…The drop-in centre provides a range of support and employment advice services for more than 150 prostitutes each year…Sister Lynda said crack cocaine is a “massive problem” for prostitutes in King’s Cross and backed [government] proposals…to open a…drug clinic in the south of the borough.  She said:  “Of most of the women we meet on the street, very few are working with pimps.  It is not organised at all and…many of these women are self-medicating with crack, which is a psychological addiction – it means their mental health becomes an issue.

“I am absolutely for decriminalisation of prostitution.  One of the main problems for prostitutes is that they become locked in a cycle and much of that has to do with these women going in and out of prison.  [Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs)], which are used to police prostitution, are a big issue.  We have a positive relationship with the police, but ASBOs are easily breached and often women find themselves in custody…Then there are CRB [Criminal Record Bureau] checks.  If a prostitute comes to us and she applies for a job, for example as a cleaner in a hospital, she will be CRB checked and not even given an interview.  For many it feels like there is no escape, but there are ways out and we can show them that…”

Perhaps one day some members of the American clergy will develop the courage necessary to follow the example of people like Sister Lynda and Reverend Turp, both in reaching out to sex workers and in speaking up against the evil propaganda which supports the continued criminalization of sex work, and thereby makes the lives of all sex workers (especially those at the subsistence level) far more difficult and dangerous than a more just society would tolerate.

One Year Ago Today

January Updates” reports on the death of a German porn star, Marriott’s announcement that its hotels will no longer offer in-room porn, and British police tricking female activists into sex in order to bust them.

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