“Problematic”…basically means “forcing me to think about things I’d rather not think about”. – “Watershed”
You’ve probably noticed that these “back issue” columns have grown much shorter; it’s because three years ago, my procedures were changing so that a large fraction of each week was taken up by columns of a predetermined type. The weekends, of course, were news and links columns; Wednesdays featured Q&A columns (this month’s were “Second Look” and “Quack, Quack“) and Fridays reprints from my columns in Cliterati (this month’s were “Vulnerability” and “A Fate Worse Than Death“). You’ll notice that there are only two of each of those rather than four; that’s because holidays (in this case International Sex Worker Rights Day, the Vernal Equinox and Easter) and monthly features (in this case the harlotography “Tullia d’Aragona” and the fictional interlude “Mercy“) pre-empted them. Diaries wouldn’t become a weekly feature for another year, but this month had one in “Comfort Zone“; there were also representatives of one regular (“My Favorite Short Stories“) and two semi-regular (“Struttin’ My Stuff” and “Book Review: SuperFreakonomics“) features. And once all that’s out of the way, there aren’t a lot left to describe. “Puppet Show” reveals the prohibitionist use of shills and sock puppets to make themselves seem more numerous; “No Friend of Ours” explodes the myth of Nevada’s whore-friendliness; “Checklist” looks at the absurdity of “signs of sex trafficking”; “Banishment” discusses the return of an old punishment for “sex offenses”; “Watershed” speculates about the possibility of a reversal of the anti-sex worker trend; “Original Sin” explores the origin of “sex trafficking” hysteria in religious beliefs; “Absolute Corruption” profiles one tragic victim of the last major moral panic, and “Dutch Threat” examines Dutch politicians’ attempt to undermine the sex industry there.