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Archive for April, 2016

May Eve 2016

Chernabog

Though most outside the Germanic & Scandinavian countries have forgotten, May Eve (AKA Walpurgisnacht) was once considered the springtime counterpart to Halloween.  In fact, Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” describes a legendary occurrence on May Eve, the demon-king Chernobog’s summoning the spirits of the dead to dance for him.  This legend is of course the basis for the last sequence in Disney’s Fantasia, but since Disney pursues “unauthorized” videos fairly aggressively I prefer not to deal with it; besides, I’m not really fond of the fade into an excerpt from Schubert’s “Ave Maria” at the end.  So I’m just going to share some concept art from Fantasia with a recording of the unedited “Night on Bald Mountain” below.  If you’d like to celebrate with some other creepy stuff, take a look at last year’s “Tricks and Treats“, my most recent thanatopsis “A Necessary End“, and the horror tales I’ve penned in the meantime, last month’s “Windows of the Soul” and  this month’s “Knock, Knock, Knock“.  And if you’ve never seen The Wicker Man (1973) or would like to rewatch it, now’s the time; it’s also set in the days leading up to May Day.

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Back Issue: April 2013

I am supposed to accept…that the laws of biology are suspended for human beings, or that the laws of logic and economics somehow do not hold when sex is involved, without any proof whatsoever…despite the fact that these things are roughly as credible as the claim that a group of six-headed lemurs from 61 Cygni has established a colony in downtown Hoboken.  – “Not Rocket Science

Mulberry Police by Ricardo Cortés (2013)Even though there were far fewer holidays in April than in the previous months of 2013, the number of columns which fell outside of categories was still relatively small because of the regular Wednesday and Friday features.  The holidays fell at the beginning and end of the month; it started with my April Fool column “Mulberry Street“, a Dr. Seuss homage (followed the next day by “The Story Behind the Story“, which gave some background detail).  And it ended with “May Eve“, which on this occasion looked at scary TV episodes.  This month’s fictional interlude was “Genius Loci” and its harlotography “Skittles“, and though there was no “favorites” column this time there was a song column, “I May Sell You Some of Mine“.  It was in the weekly features, though, that the numbers really racked up: my Wednesday Q&A columns this time were “Natural Processes“, “Garbage In, Garbage Out“, “Dry Run” and “Vice Versa“; and my Friday Cliterati reprints were “Awakening“, “China Dolls“, “Under the Bus” and “Monsters“.  falling rocksAnd after the news and links columns, that left only eight more: “Under Every Bed” ridiculed the expansion of “sex trafficking” hysteria to small towns; “I Saw My Brain” featured a bizarre criticism of a tyrannical Florida Sheriff; “Not Rocket Science” used illustrations from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to explain the concept of “burden of proof”; “Theatrics” showed how real exploitation which doesn’t fit the “sex trafficking” narrative is ignored; “Credit Where Credit is Due” called attention to a rare clever article in Jezebel; “The End of the Beginning” questioned whether the “sex offender registry” witch-hunt may be slowing; “The Auctioneer Effect” explained why penalties and restrictions always ratchet up; and “They Don’t Want To Know” looked at how the media self-censor to prolong ignorance about sex.The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali (1931)

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I’m a journalist preparing a report about the increasing use of AirBNB by prostitutes.  Do you know if this is something common ?
AirBnB logo
I’m not sure why people are surprised that sex workers use AirBnB.  See, sex workers are people, so any time something becomes more common for people in general, you can bet it will also become more common for sex workers.  As smartphones became more popular, they also became more popular for whores.  As Uber became more popular, we used it more, too.  And since AirBnB has become increasingly popular, Surprise! We’re using it more as well.  I don’t see any stories headlined “Medical Professionals Increasingly Use Computers for Research”, or “Small Businesses Turn To Square for Credit Card Processing”, but for some reason when perfectly ordinary sex workers (and yeah, we’re pretty ordinary; there’s no city in the world where we can’t be found) use a perfectly ordinary technology or product, it becomes a storyIf sex workers are using AirBnB to a disproportionate degree than other people who rent hotel rooms (and that’s a mighty big “if”), it’s probably because cops and other professional busybodies are lying to hotel owners, managers and employees about imaginary “sex trafficking” in an effort to get them to spy on sex workers and report them to said cops, so the cops can then arrest the workers, steal everything they own as “proceeds of crime” and then plaster their names and faces all over the news.  If you want a real story instead of a ridiculous excuse to titillate the bourgeois, try investigating how the War on Whores is becoming the replacement for the increasingly-unpopular War on Drugs.

(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.)

 

 

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We approached Ruhama expecting to be dealing with a charitable organisation, but what we received was an institution seemingly characterised by paranoia.  –  Julianne Flynn

Think of the Children! 

Few sources of sex rays are as dangerous as the names of body parts:

A West Michigan substitute teacher…had no clue saying the word “vagina” would cost her her job…Allison Wint…said it to…8th graders [while explaining] historical interpretations of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings.  But to school officials, Wint crossed the line–and violated school policy…[that] teachers are required to get advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health…

Life Imitates Artifice

Note that this clumsy wannabe “pimp” basically followed a script he learned from anti-whore propaganda:

Andrew Jordan…pleaded not guilty to six felony counts including human trafficking, domestic violence, assault and committing a racially motivated crime…a 23-year-old Los Angeles woman…testified…that she was forced by Jordan to have sex with other men in Long Beach and Los Angeles, and to solicit sex acts from cars passing by.  She told authorities that Jordan monitored her whereabouts and ordered her to send him text messages every time she was picked up and every time she completed an act…He collected the money in between and forced her to stay out until she met a quota…the defendant beat her severely when she broke his rules and called her racially degrading slurs…coerced her into getting a tattoo of his name on her wrist, and controlled all of her personal belongings.  She testified that she was scared to run away as he kept tabs on her by constantly driving up and down the street…It was not until she was in custody that she was able to tell an officer that she was being abused, authorities [claimed]…

Note also that last transparent attempt to use this an an argument that criminalization is good for sex workers; obviously the prosecutors are hoping readers don’t know the maxim that “hard cases make bad law“.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The one good thing about more prostitution stings: more cops getting arrested.  “A Boynton Beach cop caught up in an undercover prostitution sting as a john willing to pay $20 for oral sex [was sacked]…Vintyre Finney…had been on paid [vacation] since Oct. 19…”  Serves the cheap fucker right.  And then there’s this dude:

…Maulia Labarre was arrested by the state Attorney General’s office after an investigation with the Honolulu Police Department and the FBI.  Sources say he tried to bribe a known prostitute by offering to help after an arrest, in exchange for sex.  He allegedly used his computer to get information on the woman and her case…

Where Are the Victims?

OH MY GOD HE PAID THEM SALARIES!!!  WHAT A MONSTER!!!

Sunil Meher, who was arrested from Kolkata airport…for running a sex racket, employed several women by paying them nearly Rs 40,000 ($600) each every month.  Police also strongly suspect his links with international sex ring kingpins in Goa and Delhi…Police…said Meher not only dabbled in sex trade, but was indulged in human trafficking.  He paid hefty amount to girls, who would travel in flights…At least 12 cases were registered against him here since 2009…

The average monthly income in India is approximately Rs 3000.  This fiend was paying his “victims” over 13x what they could’ve made in most other jobs.

Worse Than I Thought

Soon we’ll be hearing about how New Hampshire is a “sex trafficking hub”:

…New Hampshire…has…made it…a…felony “for a person to pay to engage in sexual contact with a person under the age of 18” and require “registration on the sex offender registry” for such individuals…adults having sex with minors is already criminalized in New Hampshire…like it is everywhere in America.  Sex trafficking is also a crime already in New Hampshire, as is prostitution between consenting parties.  So why the need for the new law?  Because duh: under the old rules, an adult who solicits paid sex from a teenager could only be charged as a rapist and a prostitution offender.  Under the new law, they can also be charged as a sex trafficker, thereby triggering more check-marks when tallying up annual human trafficking arrests.  Got to keep feeding that moral panic somehow, don’t we?…The bill would also add paying to watch a sexually-explicit performance by someone under 18 as a form of human trafficking.  This way, if a 17-year-old uses a fake ID to get a job at a strip club, anyone who patronizes that club can also be charged as a sex trafficker…The state has no power to seize the assets of misdemeanor prostitution offenders or statutory rapists, but it has ample leeway to seize the assets of suspected human traffickers.

Monkey Business Gooey

Guys have offered to pay me with dogs and horses, but never a monkey:

…A [bush baby] named Gooey…was reported stolen from the Zany Zoo Pet Store in [Eugene, Oregon]…police found the animal in a hotel room with a prostitute…[who] told detectives she received the monkey from Nathan McClain…owner of Zany Zoo…McClain paid the prostitute in deposit money from the store, as well as donation money…that was supposed to go to Girl Scouts…McClain was arrested twice [recently when cops claimed]…he appeared to be on meth…Gooey…is safe at a nearby animal sanctuary.

Unclean Situation

A good article on Ruhama, the Magdalene nuns’ new front; here’s the best part:

…the Good Shepherd Sisters received more than €14.4 million from the Health Service Executive between 2006 and 2011.  More recent funding data was difficult to obtain and nowhere in their website are there any links to their levels of funding…Martha McGuire, the Communications and Policy Officer of Ruhama [claims] Ruhama…”is not led or in any way dictated by ‘church teaching’”…Ruhama subsequently attempted to withdraw their statements and said we would no longer be allowed to print them…Email correspondence between McGuire and Sarah Benson, Ruhama’s CEO, were inadvertently forwarded to The University Times Magazine.  One particularly telling line between the two says: “I reckon once it goes to print we can criticise such attacks as ‘pimp-thinking’.”  This shows Ruhama are so concerned with tightening its control of the thinking around this industry that it blames anyone who dares to question that power.  By simply asking the question, “Does Ruhama separate itself from the Church’s sexual teaching?”, Ruhama were willing to tarnish the reputation of another person and publicly declare them an advocate of pimp-related activities…

Checklist

Sex workers: Uber now wants its drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs.  I suggest you start using Lyft instead:

…an event [celebrated] a new partnership between Uber and ECPAT-USA to combat sex trafficking…Uber officially signed the voluntary ECPAT “code” that provides guidelines for travel and tourism companies to aid in the fight against sex slavery and sex tourism.  Uber is the first company in the “sharing economy” to sign the pledge….and…has already laid out initial steps the company will take to address trafficking including…[updating their] driver resources pages with information on how to identify possible trafficking victims…

Under Every Bed

The only thing interesting about this tired rehash of lurid masturbatory fantasies is the way the number of clients per day has now dropped back down into the realm of the possible:

…Monica Miller…shared her own [lurid fantasy] with the audience—of coming from a broken home, falling into one vulnerable situation after another before she was trafficked on the streets of Minneapolis.  Miller…[fantasized] “The johns who bought me, I wasn’t human to them, I was an object to them”…Miller said if she were to perform five sex acts a day—which she [pretended] was a low number—that equated to 1,820 sex acts in a year.  “I’m just going to be real here. That’s 1,820 rapes”…She said the idea that when a woman turns 18 years old, working in the sex trade suddenly becomes a choice rather than a forced act is a false notion…Miller said the only way we as a society can progress toward the elimination of sex trafficking is by [masturbating to these fantasies] together…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because “Prince’s only sister set to inherit his estate” isn’t a good enough headline for the Mail:

The woman who stands to receive $800 million from Prince’s death: Purple-haired former crack-addict prostitute sister is set to inherit singer’s estate in absence of will – along with catalog of unreleased music…The vast fortune accumulated by Prince over the course of his music career is likely to go to his only sister if the singer failed to leave behind a will. Tyka Nelson, 55, will be awarded Prince’s estate under Minnesota state law as his closest living relative. She and her brother were close in recent years after a difficult stretch in their relationship when Tyka was struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine and prostituting herself to support her two young sons…Prince has an approximate net worth of $300 million, which does not include the millions his estate is set to make in the coming weeks from the increased sale of merchandise and music or the money the singer received when he signed a deal agreeing to stream all his music on Tidal. His music catalog meanwhile is worth over $500 million according to Prince’s first manager Owen Husney, due in large part to the fact that unlike other artists he owned both his master recordings as well as his own music publishing. Prince also has a large collection of unreleased music, which Husney believes may include an album he made with jazz great Miles Davis…

Frequently Told Lies

One can never have too many resources debunking “sex trafficking” garbage; this one is from the English Collective of Prostitutes, and has citations and footnotes.

Safe Targets (#452)

Here’s Tara Burns again, demonstrating how the only people ever charged with “sex trafficking” in Alaska are sex workers themselves:

…when I made a public records request…every single person to have been charged with sex trafficking was an alleged prostitute who was charged with prostitution of herself in the very same case in which she was charged with sex trafficking…arrested…[sex workers are] ordered to give [money from their] earnings to the Municipality of Anchorage, in violation of the Municipality’s own law against accepting money from a prostitute…Trying to locate evidence of the evil men [cops] claimed were taking all the money from sex workers, I made a request of the Anchorage prosecutor for all charges filed under Anchorage’s municipal codes in 2013 and 2014.  There were no charges against anyone for transporting a prostitute, having a place of prostitution, accepting money from a prostitute, etc.  The only people who had been charged were 34 sex workers and 22 clients…

Lower Education (#625)

First they came for the students, and I said nothing because I was no longer a student…

Adults may soon find their sex lives regulated to the point where nearly every sexual encounter is defined as rape unless neither party reports the activity.  The American Law Institute will vote in May on whether to adopt a model penal code that would make “affirmative consent” the official position of the organization.  Affirmative consent — or “yes means yes” — policies have already been adopted by many colleges and universities, and have been passed as law in California and New York…a female former prosecutor…called the draft “really disturbing.”  A group of concerned members within ALI even circulated an opposition letter, signed by dozens of members, that detailed the dangers of pushing affirmative consent on the general public (not that it’s a good policy for college students, either)…The policies…require [people] to engage in a question-and-answer session each time they engage in any kind of sexual activity…[and thus] shift the burden of proof onto [the] accused…[who] has to prove a crime didn’t occur rather than an accuser proving a crime did occur, as is the norm in civilized society…From the moment any physical contact is about to be made, one person must begin asking for permission.  “May I touch you here?”  “May I kiss you?”  “May I kiss you here?” and the like would all be required questions under such policies.  Activists can try and “make affirmative consent sexy” all they want, but no one has sex this way, and I can guarantee you the activists don’t ask all those questions either, which would make them rapists under these policies…

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By the time I woke up last Thursday morning, three of the books Chester sketched and signed for me had already been purchased; another followed that evening, and another has been spoken for but the buyer wants to let others choose their sketches first and will take the last one.  So far, the books containing the sketches numbered 4, 5, 8 and 10 have been bought and delivered to their new owners; the ones you see here are the ones which are left.  If you’d like one, make sure you speak up now before someone else gets your favorite!

Last week was pretty good for me financially, despite a couple of cancellations, but other than that it was  pretty stressful.  Having to deal with taxes was not a good way to start the week, and it didn’t really get better after that; there were a host of real-life annoyances small and large which continued to stack up until Friday, at which point I was so out of juice that I simply wasn’t able to go any more.  So I simply stayed at home, made myself an omelette, worked for a while, drank enough to thoroughly relax my body and brain and sent silly texts to friends.  Definition of a true friend: someone you can text drunk at 1:30 in the morning to tell her how beautiful you look in the mirror at that moment, and she doesn’t even make fun of you.  Much.  Anyhow, I didn’t even get dressed on Saturday, but on Sunday I had a lovely brunch with another friend I haven’t seen in a couple of months, then in the afternoon I went to Big Lots.  Don’t laugh; I love bargain shopping.  Virtually nothing I own was purchased full-price, unless somebody else paid it and then gave it to me as a gift.

Anyway, I’m rather hoping this week will be better; I had a lovely dinner with one of my favorite gentlemen last night, today I’m having my hair done, and then later this week I have a major professional engagement which should be a lot of fun.  In a few weeks, I’m going to be visiting Los Angeles for about a week; I need to test my new vertigo medications (fingers crossed & pray to Hermes for a good journey, please!), I want to visit some friends, and a special gentleman is taking me to Disneyland.  So if you’d like to see me while I’m there, please let me know; I should have my dates firmed up by the end of the week.  Oh, and while we’re on the subject:  I’ll be in New Orleans for the Desiree Alliance conference from July 10th-15th.  I’ll be offering my usual advance-pay special for both trips; contact me for details if you’re interested.  And yes, I can hand-deliver a book to you to save the shipping cost.

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For the love of money/A woman will sell her precious body.  –   The O’Jays

It’s been a while since I’ve done a whore songs column, so I figured there was no time like the present.  Let’s start out with a blues classic, featuring a lady who only has seven informal clients…though she sees them very regularly!

A Man for Every Day in the Week (Sippie Wallace)

I am feeling mean and blue,
Evil as can be,
‘Cause me and my seven men,
We all can’t agree.

They keep me bothered night and day,
Right down to the end.
But the money I get from all of my men,
Is money I’m proud to spend.

Now my Monday man, he works on 4th and Main
My Tuesday man gives me my spendin’ change
My Wednesday man buys my hats and shoes
My Thursday man don’t care what I do

Now, my Friday man he buys my home-brewed beer
My Saturday man (unintelligible)
My Sunday man he’s dressed so nice and neat
He’s a nice, clean man I’m always eager to meet.

I got a regular man for each morn I rise
Bring me so much money every day pass by
I want you all to learn to make your ends all meet,
And have a nice, good man for every day in the week!

One could be forgiven for thinking the next selection is about a rent boy, given that its title is “Rent” and the singer is male.  But songwriter Neil Tennant said, “I’ve always imagined it’s about a kept woman, and I always imagined it set in America.  I…imagined that this politician keeps this woman in a smart flat in Manhattan, and he’s still got this family, and the two of them have some [sort] of relationship and they do love each other but it’s all kind of secret…”

Rent (Pet Shop Boys)

You dress me up
I’m your puppet
You buy me things
I love it
You bring me food
I need it
You give me love
I feed it

And look at the two of us in sympathy
with everything we see
I never want anything, it’s easy
you buy whatever I need
But look at my hopes, look at my dreams
the currency we’ve spent
I love you, you pay my rent
I love you, you pay my rent

You phoned me in the evening on hearsay
and bought me caviar
You took me to a restaurant off Broadway
to tell me who you are
We never, ever argue, we never calculate
the currency we’ve spent
I love you, you pay my rent
I love you, you pay my rent

I’m your puppet
I love it

And look at the two of us in sympathy
and sometimes ecstasy
Words mean so little and money less
when you’re lying next to me
But look at my hopes, look at my dreams
the currency we’ve spent
I love you, you pay my rent
I love you, you pay my rent

It’s easy, it’s so easy

The next song is unusual in that it was written and sung by an actual sex worker from Ireland, Kate McGrew (better known as Lady Grew); I’m just going to let it speak for itself:

Hey Lady (Kate McGrew)

I won’t let them say that it’s wrong
Cuz I am that I am
And ain’t it sweet how we ache?
Won’t let them say that I’m wrong
Boy, I’ll show you wrong

(refrain)Hey lady you’re shining
Let your moon rise lady
You’re shining shining
Light all leading
Your heart your home
Bright and calling
Night fallen lady
You’re shining

(rap) In these meat-covered bones I’m a ghost and I drive it
hum and moan of our ghosts as they’re colliding
my time imma sell it / take yours and do what
as long as your happy I swear I couldn’t give a fuck
abolitionists in this patriarchy go home!
give women the power then leave us good and alone
cooperation has been forgotten lately
I’m a lady of the night
I don’t need your saving

(refrain)

(rap) See they’d have you believe that it’s all for your good
cuz surely with freedom you wouldn’t act like you should
we can’t be trusted with action over hope
or when’s the best time that our seed be sown
for millions of years we trusted the group
then culture came in and now we’re told what to do
cerebral cortices grow
but so does empathy
nature and nurture can exist in peace

(refrain)

Who are we?
All we see is light in mirrors
You’re light in my mirror
Who are we?
All we see is light in mirrors
Light

(refrain)

All y’all ladies you’re shining shining
Won’t let them say that it’s wrong
Cuz I am that I am
And ain’t it sweet how we ache?

There’s no way I could do a song column right now without one from Prince; I think no other artist was so universally beloved by sex workers, especially strippers.  There are a number of his songs that read as hookerish to me, but none other as much as “Darling Nikki”.  Now, you may disagree, and it’s certainly not stated in the song.  However: Nikki hangs out in hotel lobbies, comes on to men she’s just met, has every device “money could buy”, asks the narrator to sign his name on a form of some sort (a credit card slip, perhaps?) and leaves what sounds like a business card.  Yeah, that’s a whore in my mind.  Prince was notoriously aggressive about having his videos removed from YouTube, so we’ll see how long this video lasts; I’ll try to refresh it with a new copy whenever it’s yanked.

Darling Nikki (Prince)

I knew a girl named Nikki
I guess you could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine
She said how’d you like to waste some time
And I could not resist when I saw little Nikki grind

She took me to her castle
And I just couldn’t believe my eyes
She had so many devices
Everything that money could buy
She said sign your name on the dotted line
The lights went out
And Nikki started to grind

Nikki

The castle started spinning
Or maybe it was my brain
I can’t tell you what she did to me
But my body will never be the same
Her lovin’ will kick your behind
Oh, she’ll show you no mercy
But she’ll sho’nuff sho’nuff show you how to grind

Darlin’ Nikki

Woke up the next morning
Nikki wasn’t there
I looked all over and all I found
Was a phone number on the stairs
It said thank you for a funky time
Call me up whenever you want to grind

Oh, Nikki, ohhhh

Come back Nikki, come back
Your dirty little Prince
Wanna grind grind grind grind grind grind grind grind grind

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U better live now/Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door.  –  Prince, “Let’s Go Crazy”

The big news this week, of course, was the sudden and unexpected death of the iconic rock star Prince; as of this writing the cause of that death is still unknown, but I’m not going to let the occasion pass without a tribute.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many Prince videos on YouTube because a few years ago he had them all removed, and policed it pretty closely thereafter.  Since I really hate embedding a video and later finding it gone, here’s one I hope will stick: a live performance of “Purple Rain” on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1991.  Of course, I already featured the best Prince performance on YouTube in Links #195 two years ago, and you really ought to watch that one, too.  The links above the video are from Matt Welch  (“garden”), Radley Balko (“compulsory” and “monkeys”), Nun Ya (“cops”), and  Skye (“together”).

From the Archives

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The only issue is that the people having sex are consenting to it and anything else is an arbitrary moral judgement which no one has the right to make.  –  Stephanie Farnsworth

The Rescuers

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular “Christian” pastime:

Valerie Carter…has been prowling some of the toughest highways in Richmond, Virginia…for the past eight years.  She and her “streetwalking ministry” volunteers look for women and girls caught up in the local sex trade……they…pray with the women, hug them, give them a list of resources to help them get out of the trade.  They keep the visits short to avoid putting the women at risk of beatings from their pimps…Carter says. “No one dreamed about being in this kind of business.”  But they are in it, most of them unwillingly.  Someone else makes money by exploiting them, whether it’s a pimp or a trafficker…

Acting and Activism Amal Clooney

Apparently, she’s less human rights lawyer and more Hollywood propagandist these days:

Amal Clooney took her first trip to Dallas to…[speak] before a sold-out crowd at the annual New Friends New Life luncheon…The event raised more than $1 million for the anti-trafficking organization, which [claims to] offer…counseling, housing and other services to 1,400 formerly trafficked teens and women every year…

In actuality, the “services” this organization “offers” are the usual things: feel-good bullshit like art therapy and a photocopied list of government welfare programs.

Droit du Seigneur 

I just love watching them eat their own:

Federal prosecutors…have indicted two DEA employees for moonlighting as strip club owners and then purportedly lying about it to their bosses…Special Agent David Polos and Greg Glover, a telecommunications specialist, have been charged with conspiracy and making false statements in connection with the forms they submitted to renew their national security clearances…Polos and Glover conspired to conceal their ownership of the New Jersey strip joint, “Twins Go-Go Lounge”, and that Polos also failed to disclose an “intimate relationship” with one of its foreign dancers that lasted for months…the government [alleges]…prostitution, drug use, employment of illegal immigrants, and running the club during “DEA business hours”…

Divided We Fall

Go, Stephanie Farnsworth!

The fact that many LGBT people end up in sex work is an issue often overlooked rather conveniently by many activists and charities.  Sex work is still talked about in moralizing terms, and the…image of the LGBT world in recent campaigns has been that of white cisgender gay people in long term relationships, often with children…The heart of the demand for LGBT rights is the idea that all people should be granted autonomy over their lives and bodies, that anyone should be allowed to sleep with who they choose and that it only concerns the people in the relationship and not the government or bigots…People enter into sexual relationships for all kinds of reasons.  It is rarely a fairytale of two people falling in love.  Sometimes it is for fun, but many engage in [transactional] sex…or…to shut their partner up.  The list is endless and every reason is valid…It is simply hypocritical for LGBT activists to fight for bodily autonomy but deny it to sex workers, and given the huge numbers of people within the community who engage in sex work it also throws a lot of LGBT people under the bus…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Norman Ochs is facing charges for allegedly hiring prostitutes…The 76-year-old was charged…with four crimes.  Each misdemeanor count carries up to a 93-day jail sentence…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit and the sex workers, nearly always immigrants, can easily be pressured to “co-operate” or be deported:

…federal law enforcement has rebranded as a sort of national ministry for vice prevention…Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigators and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials conducted a widespread raid on Korean massage parlors in New York City, which the feds allege were…fronts for commercial sexual activity…11 massage-parlor owners were…charged with conspiracy to launder money and to violate the federal Travel Act…informants…who…[are] “cooperating with law enforcement in the hope of receiving a more lenient sentence”…[say] the alleged prostitution…was not being forced upon the staff.  Any money earned from such endeavors was split between workers and business owners, and workers were free to come and go as they pleased…Nonetheless, the indictment refers to the massage parlors as “commercial sex trafficking businesses”…

Monsters 

Though the reporter couldn’t resist mentioning a past criminal charge, at least NBC refrained from publishing her mugshot:  “…a transgender woman who may have been working as a prostitute…Keyonna Blakeney…was found dead, with trauma to the upper body, in a [hotel in] Montgomery County [Maryland]…

Cops and Robbers Adam LaRoche

The rescue industry provides many opportunities for wealthy white folks to play cowboy:

Adam LaRoche is a 36-year-old who played Major League baseball for 12 seasons before causing a ruckus by retiring earlier this year…the first baseman, a conservative Christian, “spent 10 days in November in Southeast Asian brothels, wearing a hidden camera and doing undercover work to help rescue underage sex slaves”…LaRoche…[and] Milwaukee Brewers pitcher…Blaine Boyer… “tried to determine the age of the girls…and identify their bosses”…

Safe Targets (#512)

My friend Tara Burns, still doggedly fighting for sex workers in Alaska, with the help of Maxine Doogan of ESPLERP:

…What Burns and Maxine Doogan really want is for prostitution to be decriminalized.  That’s the mission of the advocacy group they started, Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP)…[but in the meantime] they’re after the next best thing:  improved safety and protection for those in Alaska’s sex industry and equal protection as citizens under the law…The two women…stayed in Juneau the entire legislative session, pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 21…[which] grants prostitutes immunity for prosecution when they come forward as a victim or witness of a violent crime…

Doubling Down

This is mostly just ignorant cheerleading for a do-nothing law, but it contains a repetition of the moronic statement, “It is estimated that here in the United States more than 100,000 children are victims of human sex trafficking each year.”  For an analysis of what that would actually look like in the real world, click on the subtitle above.  I reckon it’s a good thing Aleeshia Carroll is majoring in social work, because basic math is obviously far out of her grasp.

The Widening Gyre (#616)

Misinterpreting ordinary interactions is common at the height of a moral panic:

The propaganda-created panic over sex trafficking in your own backyard!!!! has claimed yet another victim…Amanda Kalidy…was shopping at Target [in Edmond, OK] with her 4-year-old daughter when another young girl began following them and repeatedly asking her daughter for candy.  Kalidy says she asked the other child where her mom was, but the girl, who looked about 9 years old, did not answer.  Later the girl offered her daughter some gum.  That’s when Kalidy noticed a “strange” man nearby.  Obviously, the only explanation for the situation is that the man wanted to steal Kalidy’s daughter so he could sexually exploit her and was using this other child as bait…She reported the incident to a Target manager, who allegedly told her that that’s “what [sex traffickers] do is target places like Target.”  For the record, there have been zero reported cases of sex traffickers kidnapping children from Target in the history of the United States…

The Public Eye (#618)

Color me unsurprised:

The Las Vegas Madam: The Escorts, The Clients, The Truth is the tell-all memoir of Jami Rodman, the madam who came to fame by employing…Suzy Favor Hamilton...this book was…written more to play to outsiders’ expectations than to advocate for the people Rodman worked with…What really got to me, though, wasn’t the manner in which Rodman chose which stories to tell, focusing on titillating accounts such as nonconsent roleplays gone wrong and customers with pedophilic ageplay fetishes.  It was her disdainful attitude toward other sex workers and the industry…the book certainly doesn’t foster sex worker solidarity, nor does it paint a nuanced picture of escorts…At one point, Rodman cites statistics from [Melissa Farley‘s] “Prostitution Research”, a site which is heavily affiliated with rescue industry organizations…it became painfully clear to me that she was buying into the flawed statistics, salacious reporting, and misleading accounts of the wider industry put forward by abolitionists rather than trusting her own sex work experiences and those of the many women she worked with whose lives stand in direct contrast to prohibitionist tropes.  It’s funny that she quotes a website which would label her a trafficker…

Traffic Jam (#619)

Of course, even if Weyker and the department lose, the money won’t come out of their pockets. But the more lawsuits against the cops, the better:

A dozen or more people who say they were harmed by a discredited sex trafficking case soon could be suing the St. Paul Police Department and Sgt. Heather Weyker, according to the attorney representing…Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf [who] is seeking $20 million in damages for the more than four years he spent in jail on sex trafficking charges based on exaggeration and lies…[Attorney Robert] Bennett said he has another nine or 10 people preparing to sue, and other lawyers have several more.  Earlier this month, Hamdi Ali Osman…filed the first suit arising from the dismissed charges, seeking $12 million…

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Anything with “sex” in the vicinity will gather news crews like pyros to a dumpster fire.  –  Tim Cushing

Puritan shamingIt’s probably almost impossible for anyone under the age of 30 or so to conceive of how different the United States I grew up in was from the US of today.  That’s true in many ways and on many levels, but for right now I just want to look at one of them: the way Americans have lost so many of the gains made in the so-called Sexual Revolution, and returned to a Puritanism more vicious and repressive than we’ve experienced in centuries.  Because while it’s absolutely true that sexual variation is recognized and tolerated to a much greater degree than it has been for most of this country’s history, it is equally true that the moralists and censors now have far more terrifying tools of surveillance and a greater capacity to inflict violence than those possessed by any of their spiritual ancestors since the Dawn of Man.  And while people who were shamed or persecuted for their sexual behavior in the past might be able to pull up stakes and start a new life somewhere else where nobody knew them, in the Information Age every transgression is eternal and indelible;  furthermore, self-appointed guardians of the public morals are always looking for new ways to ensure that absolutely no one can escape their snooping or whatever scarlet letters they’ve been branded with.

Fortunately, a growing number of journalists have begun to awaken to the presence of the black pall that has descended over what was once described as “The Land of the Free”, and while it’s much too late for those who have already joined the obscenely-long roll call of victims of the Anti-Sex police state, recognition of a problem is the first step toward solving it.  The pendulum must eventually swing the other way, and perhaps articles like this one from The Week are among the first signs that we’re reaching the top of the arc:

…It is…remarkable how deranged so many of us seem to become as soon as sex is invoked in a public dispute…moralistic grandstanding drives public argument and policymaking when it comes to sex.  The porn panic...is a prominent example.  But it’s hardly the only one…

We’ll come back to that article presently, but let’s look for a minute at what The Atlantic had to say about the most egregious example of that porn panic, Utah’s recent embrace of Gail Dines’ crypto-moralistic scheme to disguise a Puritanical censorship regime in “public health” rhetoric:

…Gail Dines…wrote a column that spread widely: “Is Porn Immoral? That Doesn’t Matter: It’s a Public-Health Crisis”.  The divisive proclamation was occasioned by a bill passed last month in Utah…[which itself solipsistically] traces back to Dines…In 2013, Dines traveled to Reykjavik, where she met with Iceland’s Ministers of health and welfare amid [the] country’s campaign to ban pornography.  The move would have put the liberal state…in the company of Saudi Arabia and the countries where gender disparities are greatest.  But it made sense to many as a matter of public health…

Regular readers will recognize this sentence as the product of a mind befuddled by the “left-right” fallacy; a totalitarian state is a totalitarian state, and Iceland’s carceral “feminism” is as much a religion as Saudi Arabia’s Islam.  But I digress:

…In 2015, [Dines] returned her focus to the U.S., relaunching an advocacy group based in Boston with the new mission to “eradicate porn’s harms because porn has quickly escalated into an overlooked public health crisis”…at an anti-pornography summit…she reached an unlikely confederate, a Republican state senator from Utah named Todd Weiler…[who’s in league with] a Utah-based group called Fight the New Drug…The group denies a formal affiliation with the Mormon church, though…its founders are all Mormon, and its facts rely on claims from Mormon author Donald Hilton’s He Restoreth My Soul…

Again, there’s absolutely nothing “unlikely” about an alliance between two anti-sex, pro-censorship ideologues who prefer to hide their moralism under bogus studies and cargo-cult “science”; it would be exceedingly unlikely for these two not to team up.  But for some reason many people are wedded to the ahistorical notion that evangelical feminists and evangelical Christians are “opposed” to one another, and they keep professing shock when the world fails to conform to their fantasies.  Anyhow, let’s return to that article from The Week:

…sexual assaults are being handled on college campuses…by  establishing offices to oversee the creation and enforcement of regulations…covering every imaginable form of sexual or quasi-sexual conduct, ensuring that in all cases such conduct conforms to legalistic norms of consent…The result is a supremely creepy combination of liberalism, Puritanism, and the infrastructure of a police state.  In addition to stifling free speech and the free exchange of ideas on campus, such regulations go well beyond punishing bad behavior to require a transformation in the way people relate to one another at an individual level.  Ruling common forms of flirtation and seduction out of bounds, they aim to remake romantic and sexual interactions on the model of contractual negotiations among business partners…

If you think he’s exaggerating there, take a look at this article from Reason:

Colorado State University-Pueblo [expelled] a male athlete…after he was [declared] responsible for sexually assaulting a female trainer…[who] never accused him of wrongdoing, and said repeatedly that their relationship was consensual.  She even stated, unambiguously, “I’m fine and I wasn’t raped”…The athlete’s lawsuit against CSUP…argues that the university not only deprived him of fundamental due process rights, but also denied sexual agency to an adult woman…The student-athlete, Grant Neal, has named the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights as a co-defendant.  OCR’s Title IX guidance…”encourages male gender bias and violation of due process right during sexual misconduct investigations”…Neal’s expulsion…stemmed from his…relationship with a female student and athletic trainer, Jane Doe…Sexual relationships between athletes and trainers are frowned upon…Neal [gave]…Doe a hickey…[which] was…noticed by another trainer, described as the “Complainant” in the lawsuit.  When confronted, Doe confessed to the Complainant that she and Dean had engaged in sex.  According to the lawsuit, the Complainant “presumed” this sex was nonconsensual, and reported it to the director of the athletic training program…Doe told another administrator, “Our stories are the same and he’s a good guy.  He’s not a rapist, he’s not a criminal, it’s not even worth any of this hoopla!”…[but] the predetermined outcome for Neal was a guilty verdict…

As I and other sex worker activists have repeatedly pointed out, a society which does not respect a woman’s “yes” cannot be trusted to respect her no either; the latter is demonstrated about twice a week in this blog, and the former is at the heart of the War on Whores:flush the johns

The criminal justice system theoretically operates on a presumption of innocence.  An arrest booking is hardly an indicator of guilt, but try telling that to millions of people who believe being accused is no different than being found guilty by a jury.  Everyone knows this presumption of guilt exists, despite it being wholly contrary to the basis of our justice system.  Cops know this best.  A high-profile bust is as good as a guilty verdict.  So it’s no surprise that they’ve increasingly turned to the greatest shaming mechanism known to man: the internet.  In a long, detailed and disturbing piece for the New Republic, Suzy Khimm examines law enforcement’s infatuation with harnessing the internet to prey upon the public’s continual presumption of guilt…Prostitution stings are a favorite.  You can easily tell it’s a victimless crime because none of the parties involved receive any privacy protections from law enforcement.  Being swept up in one of these stings means seeing your name and face splashed across a variety of news outlets while the fine print (“all arrestees are innocent until proven guilty”) is relegated to the end of the coverage, if it’s mentioned at all…This country’s Puritanical approach to sex has long been the focus of law enforcement shaming efforts.  It’s not enough to simply arrest and charge customers and sex workers. An effort must be made to uphold the stigma…

In the US, government at all levels has always been at war with human nature, including sex.  But as I said at the beginning, “authorities” now wield weapons beyond the wildest wanking fantasies of their Puritan forebears.  And if they aren’t stopped, those weapons will not be restricted to use against male sexuality of which “feminists” disapprove, nor even to just women who cater to or enjoy that sexuality; they will be turned to use against everyone, and by the time useful idiots like Gail Dines realize that means her as well, it will be much too late.

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As I explained on Tuesday, Chester Brown and I spent a lot of time together on Sunday, and much of it was used in signing books.  The reason this took so long is that Chester did a unique custom sketch in each one, taking about half an hour each!  I then left some space for a custom inscription, signed my name, and he signed, dated and numbered each one below that.  There are only ten of these altogether, and each one is different.  So I’m going to ask $50 for each one, plus a shipping & handling fee of $20, for a total of $70.  If you’d like to buy one, please email me telling me which of the pictures you want and how you want the book inscribed; you can then PayPal me the cost and I’ll get it off to you right away!  One of these is already spoken for, but the recipient isn’t picky about which one, so as of this morning all 10 are available (though obviously that will change as people buy them).  If you’d like to see any sketch in more detail, just click on it.  Thank y’all so much for your loyalty and support; if this goes well, we’ll do a signed and numbered edition of The Forms of Things Unknown as well.  And naturally, it would also inspire me to get the book out all that much faster!

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