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Archive for October, 2018

Halloween 2018

Happy Halloween, dear readers, and Blessed Be!

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Though it took longer than usual, my brain has now downshifted into autumn mode and I’m enjoying the lovely cool, dark, rainy Seattle weather. I’ve done two duos with Lorelei in the past week and we have another set up; I published a new story, have some friends coming over for my birthday tomorrow, and in a few days Daylight Mismanagement Time will be over and I won’t have to endure the sun while I’m eating dinner.  Paul Johnson is in the final stages of editing The War on Whores, and we’ll be shooting a cover image pretty soon; I think I have the energy to finally get The Essential Maggie McNeill out; and I’ll be announcing another big project pretty soon.  The “authorities” want sex workers to shut up and play the part of damsels in distress for their melodramatic morality play, starring cops and politicians as the heroes; instead, I’m going to proclaim the truth even more loudly, and pretty soon I’ll be asking for the help of all my readers to do it.

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This story is an exploration of some ideas that have haunted me since the year in which the story takes place, and have occupied an important place in my consciousness for most of this year.  As with “Bird of Prey”, I’m just going to tease you with a selection; if you want a copy, you can either buy it on Kindle or get a PDF copy by becoming a patron of my blog.  If you’re already a patron, you should’ve received a copy over the weekend; if you didn’t, please let me know.

The windows in the mural room faced west and south, and the reddish hue of the sunlight accentuated the predominant crimson, amber and bronze hues of the painting, making it look almost as though it were on fire.  He saw many more faces than he had on the first visit, and the feathers of the multiplicity of wings seemed to rustle and shimmer; he also saw hands where he hadn’t before, peeking out from the wings and juxtaposed with legs and horns and teeth.  In this light the eyes – hundreds of them of every shape and size, peering or glaring or watching from every part of the mural – seemed to all be looking back at him, glinting in various colors like gemstones.  But of all the odd features of the design, the most horrifying were the wheels.  Every other recognizable part of the painting was part of some living creature or another, whether bird or beast or human, but except for the eyes all around their rims, the wheels were most definitely not.  And while the way in which the various biological features related to each other made little anatomical sense, the way the wheels were depicted made no sense at all.  They were like things from an Escher woodcut, objects which could not have existed in three-dimensional reality, with spokes and rims that turned at crazy angles to one another and sometimes seemed to project outward from the wall.  Their perspective was maddening; from some angles they seemed close to the living figures, while from others they seemed far away, and when viewed obliquely they were both at the same time.  And somehow, at least in this hazy light shining through dingy windowpanes across dusty air, the ones in his peripheral vision seemed to be turning on themselves, rotating out of the plane of the design entirely.

A few minutes in that room was more than enough, and though he was a sophisticated and urbane man Bert decided to head back to the motel and to stay away from this room until he had both human company and the psychological comfort of full morning sun.  He locked the door and returned the key to its hiding place in the woodshed as the caretaker had instructed, then drove back to the motel at a rather higher rate of speed than was strictly prudent on a rutty backroad in a pine barrens.  He then proceeded to drink most of a bottle of cheap bourbon over the next few hours while not really paying attention to the television, and fell into a fitful sleep haunted by nightmares of huge wheels covered in eyes, slowly rotating toward him…

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Do you think I want to shoot an 11-year-old?…Don’t make me.  –  “Officer” Peter Casuccio

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I find the psychedelic videos from Sesame Street quite entertaining when I’m high; here’s another one, which was clearly inspired by Yellow Submarine.  The links above it were provided by Mike SiegelTim CushingJesse WalkerZuri DavisScott Greenfield, and Jacob Sullum, in that order.

From the Archives

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The paramilitary, bureaucratic structure [of police] produces a dysfunctional culture.  –  Norm Stamper

It Looks Good On Paper

Another story touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

After first being introduced in 2015, the Pennsylvania General Assembly unanimously passed Safe Harbor legislation that protects minors from being prosecuted for sexual exploitation…The bill…provides immunity to all minors for the crimes of prostitution and obstruction of the highway [and] provides alternatives to delinquency for sexually exploited children who could otherwise be charged with prostitution-related offenses… 

Unless this bill is very different from all the others, what it actually does is to give cops the power to indefinitely detain a minor they label as a “victim” while giving “immunity” only to lily-white “perfect victims” with no criminal record who go through a lengthy and complex expungement process.

Uncommon Sense (#528) 

Sex workers in Indonesia form an association to fight together:

…the Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (Perhimpunan Perempuan Pekerja Seks Yogyakarta, or P3SY)…was formed in 2010, facilitated by the Indonesian Family Planning Association…in Yogyakarta.  It has other branches in places with small communities of sex workers, which are run by the women themselves…the…union was established to deal with the threat of HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases…the community is working with local public health centres (puskesmas) to provide voluntary blood tests and counselling for the sex workers on a quarterly basis…women who test positive [for HIV] can gain access to free antiretroviral drugs provided by the regional government…P3SY…has persuaded almost all of its members to require their clients to wear protection…P3SY gives the women a platform to engage with and lobby the authorities.  Such advocacy proved useful when, in 2012, the authorities threatened to close down Bong Suwung.  P3SY and the PKBI managed to prevent it from happening by holding discussions with the local government…

To Molest and Rape (#797) 

It’s good to see this problem finally getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…US [cops] were charged with forcible rape 405 times between 2005 and 2013.  That’s an average of 45 a year.  Forcible fondling was more common, with 636 instances.  Yet experts say those statistics are, by no means, comprehensive.  Data on sexual assaults by police are almost nonexistent…”It’s just not available at all,” said Jonathan Blanks, a research associate with the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice.  “You can only crowdsource this info”…No one…[can] give an estimate, even ballpark, on how underreported these types of crimes might be…Unions…work hard to protect [cops from the consequences of their crimes]…[as do] some states’ laws…some jurisdictions include nondisclosure agreements in victim settlements.  “The system is rigged to protect [cops] from outside accountability,” Blanks said…for every sexual assault that makes the news, there are almost always more victims — on average, five more.  About half of the victims are [legal minors]…

Standard Operating Procedure (#814)

Remember, what these pearl-clutching loons mean by “predators” is actually “people who bring money into the local economy by hiring local entrepreneurs”:

Time is up for sexual predators in the aid sector, Britain’s development minister said…as she announced new measures to clamp down on sexual abuse and exploitation after a series of scandals…the British government will announce details of a joint initiative with Interpol to stop sexual predators from getting jobs…Revelations earlier this year that Oxfam staff [hired sex workers] in Haiti snowballed into widespread reports of misconduct in the aid sector…

Cooties (#845)

This popular UK cop masturbatory fantasy has crossed the Irish Sea:

Vulnerable women are being exploited and abused in “pop-up brothels” around Dublin…Labour senator…Kevin Humphreys [panted while publicly masturbating]…He ad[mitt]ed that one [so-called “gang” was actually]…two young women [working together for safety as sex workers have explained many times]…

Rooted in Racism (#858)

Note how the myth of Nigerian “sex trafficking” has grown more outlandish as European governments try to keep out black migrants while pretending not to be racist:

A new report by Europol shows that international criminal groups, particularly from Nigeria, are using established trafficking networks and the cover afforded by the migrant crisis to smuggle minors into northern European countries like Ireland for sale into the sex trade and other criminal enterprises…crime networks of “large family clans”…traffic children for the purposes of begging, criminality and sexual exploitation, with those clans operating in multiple countries at any one time and rotating their victims on a regular basis…people engag[e] in the trafficking and exploitation of their own children…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#866) 

Y’all didn’t stand up for professional whores, and now they’re coming for you dabblers:

A Wyoming woman running for city council is defending her panty-selling alter ego, confirming…that she will remain in the race.  Deborah Reno…has sold used panties and “dirty gym shorts” online for the past year.  She’s also seen stripteasing in videos…A handful of [busybodies complained] to other [politicians] following the discovery of what Reno thought was her secret identity.  The candidate said she no longer sells used underwear and has since deleted all her accounts, saying “Mystee is dead.”  Councilwoman Wendy Schuler said…that Reno is probably no longer electable as result…

Disaster (#873)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

If you’re wondering why you see so many prostitutes openly working Seattle streets, cops contend you should blame it on City Attorney Pete Holmes [rather than the government’s destruction of their advertising venues].  Cops complain that his office generally refuses to pursue charges against prostitutes.  Consequently, prostitutes are flocking to Seattle from out of town and [poor little piggies] feel powerless to attack the[m]…Some are there willingly, others are forced to by abusive pimps, who also ravage the neighborhoods with drug dealing and petty theft…But cops want to arrest pimps, as they’re often nearby in [an invisible] car waiting for their prostitutes to drop off cash from a client.  Without being able to use jail time as leverage over the prostitutes to turn on their pimps, it’s a futile effort…It could also explain why some sex workers refuse [fingerpainting classes] offered to them by the city [which take up time they could be earning money]…Even if they decided to [rape a few women] they’ll face scrutiny so unrealistically high, it’s not worth it…their complaints return to the Office of Police Accountability, an independent office within the SPD that cops [whine] is over-zealous…

The saddest thing is that Holmes, and probably most Seattle detectives, know this “pimps and hos” and “cleaning up the streets” malarkey is total bullshit, but they’re locked into it due to years of taking Swanee Hunt’s blood money.  “It’s a futile effort,” all right, but not because they can’t arrest sex workers; it’s because these invisible “pimps” don’t actually exist.  Also note the vile and sinister “we could make these whores go away if we didn’t have to follow all these rules.”  You know, the rules that were imposed by the feds because of all the police brutality.

Topping from the Bottom

Amateurs publish another public bad date list; Katie Herzog uses that as springboard to discuss Stephen Elliott:

…Elliott said that his behavior both in and outside the bedroom can be both atypical and unprofessional…A longtime friend of his told me that Elliot (who, as a child, was a ward of the state and lived in group homes) was “raised by wolves” and has “zero boundaries”.  He’s the kind of guy who will talk about sex in front of your grandma.  It’s easy to see how his behavior could be construed as—or could be—sexual harassment…

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Back Issue #64

Sexuality is a thing of the mind, not of the genitalia.  –  “Rope of Sand

As more and more of my daily columns fell into categories, there was less need to specifically mention them in these “Back Issue” features; right now each week has on average two news columns, a links column and a diary, and many of the other three days are taken up by monthly features like this one.  In October 2015, we had a Halloween column and a special feature called “Tricks and Treats“; a guest column featuring a client survey; a fictional interlude (“Athena“); and five Q&A columns (“Methods of Payment“, “Of Horses and Water“, “Buying Time“,  “Confidentiality“, and “Out of Bounds“).  That leaves only four columns:  “Threat Level“, on the ubiquity of threats of violence in American public life; “Rope of Sand“, on the impossibility of drawing a bright, clear line between the sexual and the non-sexual; “Against the Tide“, on the shift of public opinion about sex work; and “Between the Lines“, on that year’s “Operation Cross-Country”.  But describing that took only 157 words, which hardly even qualifies as a column; I’ve therefore decided to change the format of this feature slightly, as signified by the change in the title format.  Starting next month, I’ll add another look back at columns from 2010, one week per month; eventually I’ll convert the feature into looking at blogging from ten years past rather than only three.  And after that…I’ll cross that bridge when and if I come to it.  

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Why, in discussions about monogamy, do you use the words “harm reduction” or “pressure valve” to characterize the act of seeing a sex worker within an outwardly-monogamous marriage or partnership?

Every person has the right to control their own sexuality and no one else’s.  What this means in a monogamous marriage is that if a partner (nearly always the wife) loses sexual interest, she has the right to refuse sex; she does not, however, have the right to stop her husband from procuring what he needs elsewhere.  But while this is ethically true, most marriage laws take a dim view of so-called “infidelity” even if the only alternative is celibacy.  And even in jurisdictions where the court isn’t supposed to consider “fault”, in fact many judges do, and a husband who is caught “stepping out” is likely to get an even shorter end of the stick than he otherwise would.  Furthermore, marriage is primarily an economic and social arrangement, despite the popular lie that it’s about love and romance; even a sexless marriage may have many benefits, and the husband may wish to remain with his family rather than weather the pain and upheaval of divorce.  So if he’s going to get his sex elsewhere, it’s better for all parties if he does so discreetly, from a qualified professional practicing safe sex who has no interest in him romantically and is highly motivated to keep his secrets, rather than from an unpredictable amateur with questionable hygiene who may get pregnant, become emotionally entangled with him, start making extracontractual demands and otherwise making a mess out of what should’ve been a simple business transaction.  In simpler terms, I call sex work a harm reduction method for monogamy because it is.

(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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