Sometimes, the most difficult part of doing my news columns is deciding what subtitle to use for a given article. To be sure, many of them are obvious, but that’s not always the case; sometimes I remember a previous story I want to link back to, but for the life of me can’t remember what heading that one was under. And even if I can remember a few details of the original to search on, that doesn’t always help; for example, a few months ago I was trying to refer back to an article on strip club restrictions, but searching for “stripper”, “strip club” and even just “strip” wouldn’t find it. When I finally located it after half an hour of digging, I discovered the reason: the original article had used the phrase “exotic dancers”. Another thing that can make a heading tough to remember is topical drift; new stories refer back to older stories, then newer stories refer back to the update and so on, and after a while the heading doesn’t actually apply very well to what’s appearing under it. Sometimes I start using a new title for a certain kind of article, after a new full column on the subject appears (such as the recent shift from filing rapist cops under “Above the Law” to filing them under “To Molest and Rape“), and once in a while I even intentionally change the focus of a heading in order to collect stories on one theme which previously appeared under different headings (as I did two years ago with “Rooted in Racism“).
However, I think this may be the first time that I’ve ever written a new column expressly for the purpose of creating such a new heading. I’ve recently run into several stories about the effects of sex businesses on neighborhoods, and every fucking time I have forgotten which title the last one ran under. So then I’ve had to go through the pain of finding the last such article, but can’t remember the phrasing it used so the process takes forever. Well, no more; from now on such articles will appear under this heading. Previously, such articles have appeared under the not-terribly-intuitive title “What a Week!“, due to the aforementioned topical drift: the original of that name was an early news column which featured a story about a mega-brothel being built in Spain, then a couple of later ones referred back to it for a mega-brothel being built in Sydney, then another discussed a study done for the licensing of said brothel which demonstrated that the concept of “negative secondary effects” is essentially bullshit. And obviously, subsequent stories referred back to that. “Negative secondary effects” is the term used by prudes and authoritarians to make the concept of “sex rays” seem something other than ludicrous; this disproven dogma claims that the very existence of an adult business magically draws crime, and turns men into drooling sex maniacs who then go forth and rape women (hence the pious charade of directing a portion of “pole taxes” to finance rape and domestic violence charities or anti-whore programs). As a quick perusal of that last cluster of links will demonstrate, stories about claims of such effects mysteriously and malefically emanating from strip clubs rather than brothels or massage parlors have until now appeared under “First They Came for the Hookers” along with stories about former sex workers being fired from post-sex work jobs for having been sex workers. From here on out, any articles either claiming the existence of such baleful effects or debunking such claims will appear under this heading, whether that business is a strip club, brothel, adult toy store or whatever. So maybe now I won’t be quite so frustrated the next time I encounter such a story.