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Archive for the ‘Obituary’ Category

It’s a good day for a chokehold.  –  “Officer” Reuben Carver

Dr. John, the legendary New Orleans musician, died this week.  Actually, “institution” would be a more apt term; in many Crescent City circles, saying you didn’t like his music would be fighting words.  Those of you who never lived there will probably recognize this song (suggested by Jesse Walker), which was his biggest hit.  The links above it were provided by Kevin Wilson, Furrygirl, Christian Britschgi, Mirriam Seddiq, Cathy Reisenwitz, and Amy Alkon, in that order.

From the Archives

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Some days are grumpier than others.

Beloved comedian Tim Conway died last week, but I decided to hold off reporting it until this week so I could share a video from The Carol Burnett Show (provided by Franklin Harris) in which Conway demonstrates one of his favorite pastimes, ad-libbing bits so funny they made Harvey Korman piss himself on live television.  The links above the video were contributed by Amy Alkon, Tim Cushing, Glenn Kessler, Jillian Keenan, Radley Balko, and Clarissa, in that order.

From the Archives

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The war on guns, like the war on drugs, is primarily waged on poor people.  –  Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg

Doris Day, who passed away this week at the ripe old age of 97, was probably my mother’s favorite singer; I remember her singing “Que Sera, Sera” so often when I was a child that I knew the lyrics by heart before I started school (and it’s one of the few popular songs entirely within my rather-limited vocal range).  So it only seems appropriate to feature a recording of that song as this week’s video; the link above it were provided by SWOP Behind Bars, Tim Cushing, C.J. Ciaramella, Elizabeth N. Brown, Radley Balko, and Tim Cushing again (in that order).

From the Archives

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Every president should be remembered as an infamous and immoral rogue who unjustly claimed to rule many millions by arguments no better than magic.  –  Anthony Comegna

Last week we lost Peter Tork of the Monkees (Davy Jones died in 2012), so I thought it appropriate to feature this song, which was not only written by and named for him, but was the closing theme of the second season of the TV show.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Eddie J Cunningham, Mirriam Seddiq, Lucy Steigerwald, Franklin Harris, and Scott Greenfield, in that order.

From the Archives

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You’re learning today boy.  –  Crystal Towns

This early animated film, with a very aptly-chosen modern soundtrack, was called to my attention by Jesse Walker, who also provided the second link.  The first was provided by Jillian Keenan, and the others by PopehatLenore SkenazyScott Greenfield, and Franklin Harris, in that order.

From the Archives

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Excelsior!

The big news this week was of course the death of Stan Lee, the face of Marvel Comics for 6 decades.  This video is slightly outdated because it doesn’t contain the cameos from this year’s Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Infinity War, but you can see those here (without sound) if you like.  The links above the video were provided by Jesse WalkerPhoenix CalidaScott GreenfieldTim CushingElizabeth Nolan Brown, and Tim Cushing again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Dennis Hof, owner of half of the brothels in Nevada, died early Tuesday morning, apparently of natural causes; he was 72.  I have never hidden my deep dislike for the man, who is still the only male member of my Hall of Shame; that dislike is inextricably bound up with my deep dislike for the exploitative fascist system which made him both wealthy and infamous (and it’s impossible to say which of those he relished more).  The state of Nevada, as I’ve written before,

…is [no] more whore-friendly than any other American state…unless one considers a poultry factory-farmer to be a “friend” of chickens…[it] allow[s] a small number of politically-connected cronies to run brothel ranches (switching from one kind of livestock to another) out in the desert far from human habitation (so the “sex rays” from diseased harlots don’t contaminate real people)…like a collection of mummified monsters and pickled curiosities in a roadside tourist trap, and to harshly persecute any who dare show themselves in town.

Now, it’s absolutely true that there would be nothing immoral about the Nevada system as long as whores had a free choice whether to work there or not; furthermore, the restrictions of the Nevada system are largely state-imposed and not the fault of Hof or other brothel owners.  I’ve never worked in one of the Nevada brothels myself because I refuse to submit to being treated like a criminal, so I have no firsthand experience in what Hof was like as a boss (and the varying opinions I’ve heard from women who have basically average out to “he was no worse than the others”).  So my revulsion has nothing to do with the brothel system itself or what he was like as an employer, but rather with his opportunistic promotion of “sex trafficking” hysteria (which he privately admitted to me that he knew to be bullshit), the “dirty whore” myth, and the notion that women are too stupid, weak and incompetent to be trusted to manage our own sexual behavior.  I was also disgusted by his deep hypocrisy (claiming to be a libertarian while participating in a crony system, supporting Donald Trump, cuddling up to the vile Joe Arpaio, and revering the word “legal” as though it were a cultic totem) and his relentless and distasteful self-promotion.

That having been said, it’s also true that Hof’s participation in the reality series Cathouse probably served to demystify at least one kind of sex work to hundreds of thousands of people; that his businesses provided jobs to hundreds of sex workers and support staff; and that regardless of my personal opinion of him, he was liked and even loved by many of his employees, business contacts and others, including several people (such as my friend Christina Parreira and 1st amendment powerhouse Marc Randazza) I like and respect very much.  Furthermore, though some of the recent attacks on Nevada brothels were obviously retribution for his political activity, others had nothing to do with him personally and his notoriety and local popularity may have helped fend them off; now that he’s dead the whore-haters may redouble their efforts, and there’s no telling what effect Nevada’s deeply weird licensing laws may have on the fate of many, many people’s livelihoods.

There are people I know who are celebrating his death, and others who are mourning it; personally, I’m glad we won’t have to endure his signal-boosting of prohibitionist lies, but I’m also worried about the future of the women who work in brothels in general and his brothels in particular.  In short, Hof was a complex, often maddening man in life, and his death has left a situation that’s equally complex and maddening.

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