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Archive for July 20th, 2018

As so often happens, partisans got outraged last week over something they’ve never given a shit about until they thought it gave them some political advantage:

…Adult film star and locus of national scandal Stormy Daniels was arrested [on July 11th] at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, Ohio.  The stop was part of a tour Daniels is taking across the country…Attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump, tweeted…that Daniels was arrested while “performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs.  This was a setup & politically motivated….They are devoting law enforcement resources to sting operations for this?  There has to be higher priorities!”  Higher priorities for local cops than getting to take in naked ladies for a few hours and then assert their authority over the most famous of them?  Avenatti can’t be that naive…

The charges were dropped the next day due to a loophole excluding featured performers, but the two other dancers arrested with her are not so fortunate; Stormy donated all her tips from the next night to their legal defense.  Naturally, sex workers and supporters of free speech were irate:

…almost any law aimed at free expression can be used to punish a political opponent.  These regulations—typically known as “no touch” or “proximity” rules—are common, and throughout their history they have been used to make end-runs around the First Amendment…erotic dancing is a form of expression protected by the Bill of Rights…so…those who wanted to restrict strip shows were forced to get more creative…Enter the “adverse secondary effects” doctrine…in which the Supreme Court said that the government can’t restrict adult businesses because the government doesn’t like the expression therein—but it can restrict them, using zoning regulations, because of harmful effects the businesses may cause…in reality, these secondary effects rarely actually exist outside of the imaginations of those who want to regulate the businesses…There are a number of dances that require proximity—and not just lap dances:  Think of a hula dance in which the dancer places a lei around the spectator’s neck.  Unfortunately, courts have been hostile to this notion, and almost universally uphold proximity and no-touch rules…Daniels was arrested under one of these laws after an extensive sting operation.  Why did the State of Ohio devote a team of police officers and hours of taxpayer-funded overtime to an investigation, raid, and arrest of a woman for the grave crime of touching another person while semi-nude?…When you give law enforcement a tool that can be used to target someone who has unpopular views, they will use it.  So, not only was the expression demonstrated by the nude dancing suppressed, but the tool of suppression may have been used to punish someone for their political activism…

Democrats have always joined Republicans in enthusiastic support for anti-sex worker laws since such laws first started popping up in the late 19th century, and half of the blame for “sex trafficking” hysteria and the horrible laws it has enabled is scattered all over the Dems’ front lawn like overturned garbage cans.  But now that their chief political enemy has a long history of interaction with sex workers, their opinion of us changes with every news cycle.  When it was revealed that Trump’s wife has a history of sex work, his enemies happily used that as an attack.  But when the Stormy Daniels scandal broke, suddenly we became heroes and the anti-whore laws magically become the fault of “conservatives”, while the “progressive” rhetoric which has been used to push them for this entire century so far is swept under the rug.  So though Susan Shepard’s article on the incident does mention the feminist “exploitation” argument (and contains an excellent survey of “pole taxes” and other anti-stripping laws, many authored by Christian hit-shyster Scott Bergthold), her editor at NBC chose to lay the blame solely on “evangelicals” and to call attention to Shepard’s rather tone-deaf and divisive statement that “club owners and customers generally skate by with a slap on the wrist or a ticket…It’s a double standard that unfairly punishes working women while leaving those who purchase and profit from their work unscathed.”  I’m rather annoyed to see this strongly Swedish-scented assertion from Shepard, a former stripper who co-founded Tits and Sass, but I guess one has to cater to one’s audience, and her audience for this article is composed of holier-than-thou “progressives” now looking for ways to pretend they aren’t anti-whore by blaming everything on holier-than-thou “conservatives”, and, naturally, those nasty old clients who provide sex workers’ income.

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