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Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose. The censor-moron does not really hate anything but the living and growing human consciousness.  –  D.H. Lawrence

defend-the-1st-amendmentEvery year, the last week of September is designated as “Banned Books Week“; the name seems to imply the kind of top-down state censorship which was at one time very common even in the US, and is still common in many countries we generally think of as advanced ones with Western values.  But this kind of censorship is very rare now in the United States, and has been for decades; the majority of “challenges” now (despite the celebration’s name, it’s pretty rare that books are actually removed from public collections) originate not with state officials or other “authorities”, but with individuals seeking to “protect the children” from thoughts their parents don’t want them to have.  Nor are those thoughts only sexual ones any more, though obviously those are still the most common reason; nowadays, demands that books be burned controlled are just as likely to come from soi-disant “progressives” as from cultural conservatives, and the reasons may include “racism”, “sexism”, “religious viewpoint”, “violence” and so on.

In a way, the name “Banned Books Week” is far too narrow to encompass everything we should be talking about, and a week is far too limited a time to be talking about it.  As I wrote above, “banned” implies a top-down regime, while in reality the majority of censorship now is the result of morons trying to self-lobotomize our entire culture; the word also implies a governmental action, when in reality the rise of social media and mega-media corporations has resulted in a de facto delegation of the censorship authority to them.  And if you’re tempted to suggest that this isn’t as bad, I suggest you ask yourself how much distribution your book will get if Amazon & Wal-mart refuse to stock it and Google monkeys with your search results to make it difficult to find.  Furthermore, “books”, as much as I love them, are now only a tiny fraction of the ways information can be shared; people who would balk at the idea of censoring actual paper books suddenly feel very differently when the conversation turns to magazines, or movies, or pictures, or music, or video games, or public lectures, or articles, or blogs, or other social media postings, or (most especially) advertising.  The same “right-thinking” folks who would march in protest if a school library declined to stock And Tango Makes Three grow strangely silent when Twitter bans a member’s account for “hate speech”, and may even be willing to march in support of censoring escort ads on Backpage.  As I wrote last year,

We are living in the past of Fahrenheit 451, the early stages of a culture which values feelings above thought, the history of a world in which the solution to any troubling idea is to eradicate it.  Right now it’s going on in the universities, where sheltered young people who have been coddled by overprotective parents for two decades are declaring themselves to be “triggered” or “offended” or even “violated” by ideas – whether spoken or in print – that they haven’t encountered before, or that contradict their opinions, or that they find unpleasant, or that bear some superficial resemblance to any of the preceding.  Just as their parents “protected” them from these unpleasant thoughts by banning them from their homes with internet filters or “parental controls”, so they feel entitled to “protect” themselves – and every other person within their sphere of influence – from those bad, icky ideas by banning them…

The censor-morons are loose, and they’re coming after everyone who dares to disagree with them.  And the only way to stop them is to oppose every attempt to limit the free expression of ideas, even if you disagree with them or find them offensive.  Correction: especially if you find them offensive.  Because as always, tyranny starts with those nobody really wants to defend.think-for-yourself

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Chester Brown is one of the most renowned and respected cartoonists in the world; he and I first met online about four years ago and quickly became friends.  And while I did give him a little help with his revised edition of Paying For It, and he drew the cover for my book Ladies of the Night, his new book is the first one I’ve been privileged to see developed from the very first kernel of the idea (shared in a letter to me several years ago) all the way to distribution and book signings.  So once the initial release whirlwind had died down and I figured he might have some time, I asked him if he’d like to do a guest column introducing the book; he sent this the very next day.  Oh, and one more thing:  Chester now has a Patreon account, and if supporting outspoken allies of sex workers is important to you, you really should consider signing up to that.  Just sayin’.

While the subtitle of my new book is Prostitution And Religious Obedience In The Bible, and there are stories about several biblical prostitutes in it, Mary Wept Over The Feet Of Jesus is mostly about the connections that Jesus had to prostitution.  I’m proposing three interrelated ideas:

  • Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a prostitute.
  • Mary of Bethany, the woman who anointed Jesus as a christ, was a prostitute.
  • Jesus’s parables about The Prodigal Son and The Talents indicate that he didn’t see prostitutes and their clients as sinners to be forgiven but, rather, saw paying for sex as socially beneficial.

The Prodigal Son (page 164)I’m not going to try to convince you that I’m right about all that here; that’s what the book is for.  Instead I want to talk about the issue of bias.  Some critics have dismissed my ideas because I have a bias; for example, see this piece in the A.V. Club.  It is true that I have a bias; I’ve been a client of sex workers for seventeen years and do happen to see the profession as socially beneficial.  I’ve made no attempt to hide that fact.  The question is, does having a bias on a particular subject necessarily invalidate one’s views on that subject?  Should Martin Luther King Jr’s views on civil rights have been dismissed because, being a black man, he had a bias?  I think it’s precisely because I have a bias that I was able to see certain things in the Bible that haven’t been obvious to others.  And it’s not like others who’ve written about Jesus and prostitution before me did not have a bias on the subject of sex work; in fact, I’d venture to guess that the vast majority of biblical scholars, past and present, had and have a whorephobic bias against sex work.

Let’s talk about two relatively recent examples that I came across while researching for my book.  Karen King is a biblical scholar whom I have a lot of respect for.  Her fascinating book What Is Gnosticism? transformed my understanding of that subject.  In 2003, she published a book titled The Gospel of Mary Of Magdala.  In it, King translates and analyzes an ancient text known as The Gospel Of Mary, which presents a woman named Mary as Jesus’s wisest disciple.  Most people assume that the woman is Mary Magdalene, and they’re probably right; I would recommend King’s book to anyone who wants to understand this difficult text.  On page 3, King writes that The Gospel Of Mary “exposes the erroneous view that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute for what it is — a piece of theological fiction”.  However, reading the text of the gospel, one finds no mention of prostitution; there’s no indication what Mary’s source of income was.  (Even a spiritual person in first century Palestine needed some sort of income, whether it was from begging or some other source.)  There’s no sign one way or the other in The Gospel Of Mary, as we have it, that Mary was or wasn’t a prostitute, nor is there any mention of sex; furthermore, King doesn’t interpret any of the material as relating to prostitution or sex.  Now, since there are many pages missing in the two surviving manuscripts of the text, it’s possible that one of those missing pages mentioned that Mary was a prostitute.  (I hesitate to get conspiratorial, but perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that certain pages went missing in both surviving manuscripts.)  But even if those missing pages didn’t mention that Mary was a prostitute, that still wouldn’t prove she wasn’t one.  So why does King think that the The Gospel Of Mary PROVES that Mary never had sex for pay?  King doesn’t explain her reasoning, but there can be only one reason:  The gospel presents Mary as the most wise and spiritual of the disciples of Jesus, and King whorephobically assumes that a prostitute could not be wise and spiritual.

In the 2006 book Secrets Of Mary Magdalene, edited by Dan Burstein and Arne de Keijzer, there’s an essay by the respected historian James Carroll in which, on page 24, he quotes Luke 8:2-3.  In that biblical passage, it’s mentioned that Mary Magdalene and several other women “provided for them [Jesus and the male disciples] out of their own resources.”  Carroll reads this as an indication that Mary and the other women must therefore have been “well-to-do, respectable figures.”  In other words, they could not have been prostitutes, because, of course, only well-to-do, respectable women had money — prostitutes had absolutely no way to get ahold of money.  This isn’t quite as obviously whorephobic as the Karen King example, but it does indicate a desperate over-eagerness to distance Mary Magdalene from prostitution.  Why wasn’t it obvious to Carroll that, while evidence that Mary Magdalene had money could indicate that she was “respectable”, it could just as easily be evidence that she was a prostitute?  There’s a probably unconscious bias going on there, and one sees it over and over while reading books about biblical prostitutes in general and Mary Magdalene in particular.

Tamar (page 27)On the question of whether Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, I don’t have a definite opinion one way or the other.  It’s true that none of the biblical books link Mary Magdalene with the profession, but Jesus was close with Mary of Bethany, who definitely was a prostitute, and it could be that Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany were the same person.  It’s also possible that they were two separate women, since the name Mary was popular at the time. (See pages 245 to 253 of Mary Wept for more on this.)  A basic rule: when a scholar claims with certainty that Mary Magdalene absolutely could not have been a prostitute, that scholar probably has a bias against sex work.  That doesn’t mean that all of that scholar’s conclusions should be dismissed, any more than my pro-sex work bias means that my conclusions should be dismissed.  All it really means is that readers should keep authorial bias in mind when reading any book.

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Long dormant claims have more of cruelty than justice in them.  –  Halsbury’s Laws of England

Principal SkinnerAs children, we were told that serious infractions might go on our “permanent record”, which certainly sounds ominous to a misbehaving ten-year-old.  But despite being the subject of jokes by generations of comedians, there really was no such thing until some alliance of sociopaths decided it was a good idea to put armed thugs in grammar schools to arrest children too young to spell the word “arrest” for offenses that when I was a lass might’ve been punished by writing lines, staying after school or (at worst) having one’s parents called by the principal.  Oh, there might be a formal disciplinary record in the principal’s office of that school, and in more recent times it might even be shared with other schools in the same district or diocese.  But all that was required to escape its baneful shadow was a move to a different town, and in any case its effects would have no influence after graduation.

Until recently, the adult world was rather like that as well; cops and other lawmen were constrained both by borders and by time, and one might escape their clutches either by crossing into another country or by staying out of trouble long enough to exceed the statute of limitations.  The latter is one of the most noble, sane ideas ever conceived by rulers, ranking not far behind presumption of innocence; such statutes are intended to encourage those with just complaints to report them in a timely manner, while evidence might still be found and witnesses might still have strong memories of the events in question.  In the English common law tradition, the only crime which usually has no statute of limitations is murder, because A) the effects are both severe and permanent; and B) because “murder victims can’t report the crime committed against them, and hence have no control over when it is discovered.”  Another good argument for such statutes is the same one I’ve used to argue that it’s better a thousand criminals go free than one innocent person be wrongfully imprisoned:  if a true criminal is unrepentant, he will provide the state with numerous opportunities to catch him again, and if he regrets his crime and lives an exemplary life afterward, what would be the point of punishing him when one of the supposed purposes of the “corrections system” (its Orwellian name in many countries) is reform?  If a person who is truly guilty of a crime spends the entire period of a statute of limitations living an exemplary life, society is far better served than it would’ve been by bearing the considerable social and economic expense of trial and lengthy incarceration, resulting in an unemployable outcast who often has little choice but to commit other crimes to support himself (and, if he has children, inflicting damage on them as well).

And yet in recent years, we’ve seen the schoolchild’s “permanent record” nightmare become a reality.  Computerized records can be shared internationally, making it far more difficult to escape the clutches of vengeful “authorities” whether the charges they allege are just or not.  Even after sentences are served, those upon whom they were inflicted are burdened with lifelong consequences as impossible to escape as a brand on the forehead; they may be forever denied jobs and excluded from social institutions, and if their crimes were supposedly “sexual” (a loose distinction indeed in the US, considering that even public urination can fall under its umbra) they may be consigned to pariah status forever, unable even to live among their fellow humans.  Anti-sex hysteria has become so severe that California is now trying to do away with the statute of limitations for rape; given the difficulty of proving even recent rape accusations, this will help absolutely nobody.Nate Parker  All it will do is allow a stain to be thrown on people’s reputations long after any evidence is gone.  And lest you think this isn’t that big a deal, consider the case of Nate Parker, who was tried and exonerated 17 years ago, and yet is being called a “rapist” in the national media because some “feminists” can’t stand the fact that a woman’s unproven accusation wasn’t enough to completely destroy his life forever, and now he’s become an acclaimed filmmaker.

Do you really want to live in a world where everyone must suffer the consequences of every mistake, act of desperation, bad decision, foolish choice and even false accusation forever, without any hope of escape no matter how blameless his life is after that?  Because I don’t.  I’ve been raped, several times, and you know what?  I DON’T FUCKING THINK THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON RAPE SHOULD BE REPEALED.  Nor do I think every man accused of the crime should instantly be presumed guilty, nor that the shadow of one accusation should follow him forever no matter what he does (multiple accusations spanning years or decades are a different matter, to be discussed another day).  Not only is this vile and unjust; not only does it increase the power of the carceral state; it also sets an extremely dangerous precedent.  Men aren’t the only ones who can be accused of rape, and rape isn’t the only “sex crime”; what if some sociopathic politician decides to out-California California by removing the statute of limitations on all sex crimes (which, as we have seen, can include prostitution, “sexting”, teen sex and pissing by a dumpster)?  Once a precedent is established there is no stopping power-mad lunatics from taking that and running with it.  The dismantling of laws that protect individuals from tyranny needs to be stopped at the beginning if it’s going to be stopped at all, and when it’s you being arrested for something somebody claims you did sometime during the Reagan administration, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me:
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold always, may God us keep
From single vision and Newton’s sleep!
 –  William Blake

William Blake constructed an elaborate artificial mythology full of original concepts, gods, places and terms.  One of these concepts is Ulro, an utterly fallen state divorced from all abstraction and transcendence; he imagined four states of being, with Eternity (also called Eden) being the highest and Ulro being the lowest.  Beings in Ulro have “single vision”; they see only mundane physical reality uncolored by imagination, inspiration or even fully developed eroticism.  Ulro is the state occupied by the dullest sort of human, who is unable to see any of the complexities of the world around them; it is a kind of spiritual sleep, dominated by the stomach and intestines, and people who exist this way can be visualized as going through the world with one eye closed, seeing everything flat and without proper perspective.  The second state, Generation, is the one in which more intellectually & spiritually aware humans exist; it is dominated by the genitals and can be imagined as seeing with both eyes.  The third state, Beulah, occurs when the individual is open to the spiritual or imaginative dimension; it is dominated by the heart and characterized by “threefold vision”, which one might think of as the “third eye” of mysticism, the “altered consciousness” experienced by psychedelic drug users, an ecstatic religious state or even a transcendent erotic experience.  Finally, Eternity, dominated by the head and characterized by “fourfold vision”, allows connection to the entire universe; it is a condition of total bliss which few humans can reach, and even then only for very short periods of time while existing in this plane.

I’ve been fascinated by Blake’s mysticism ever since I first studied it while working on my bachelor’s degree in English; my major concentration was on the Romantic Period, and Blake was the subject of at least one major term paper and a number of lesser ones.  I wove many of his concepts into the D&D universe I created, and I often find myself looking at the world through a Blakean lens, especially when thinking about the incredible, half-blind ignorance with which so many people view the world, especially when the topic is sex.  Traditional religions, authoritarian governments, power-hungry collective entities and the popular media all work  –  separately and in conjunction  –  to immerse the population in a dense fog of obfuscation, a Veil of Ulro which allows them to be just awake enough to serve their masters, but not awake enough to actually penetrate that fog and see the world around them as it is.  They believe in the most ridiculous nonsense about sex, imagining men to be such eunuchs that they can simply be ordered to be celibate by churches, military officials, prison officials or prudish wives, and women to be so asexual that the only possible reason they might engage in pragmatic sex is because some evil man forced them to.  They are “shocked” when government actors behave exactly like other men would under the same conditions, and refuse to understand that interesting costumes don’t magically make men into paragons, but rather make them much worse.  They actually think that the leaders they have chosen to follow are better and more noble than those on the evil Other Team, and obediently close their one open eye whenever those leaders order them to ignore spying, brutality, looting, racism and even mass murder.  And they’re willing to believe in grandiose fantasies utterly divorced from all known facts about statistics, economics, psychology, sexuality, anthropology and plain common sense rather than accept that some women can have pragmatic sex, that most men are willing to pay them for it, and that many people are happy to strive for truly Pinocchian levels of dishonesty in order to make a profit, seize power, get rid of people they’re bigoted against or even seek petty vengeance.  Even Blake himself only claimed to have fourfold vision in moments of “supreme delight”, and most of us need drugs, meditation or superlative sexual experiences to get our “third eyes” open.  But is it really too much to ask that people just wake the hell up and open the second eye that’s waiting and ready right there on the fronts of their heads?

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Fireworks

I’m looking for a way my wife can learn the ways of seduction.  We married at 19, had our first child at 23 and have been married for 27 years.  When we were young she did not have to do anything special to keep my attention, but as I’ve aged I’ve grown to desire sexually confident women.  In recent years I’ve been living and working in a developing country and had an affair with a much younger woman; it isn’t that the sex with her is dramatically better, but rather her confidence in her beauty and sexuality, and all of the little subtle seductive things which I long for.  My wife is a good woman who is kind, thoughtful, and caring, but we have very different love languages and have grown apart over the years.  I confessed the affair to her and we’re talking very openly about the situation; we both want things to work, but I need the things I mentioned, which do not come naturally to her.  How can my wife learn such things so we can connect?  Or am I just being a selfish ass?

fireworks heartTalents of any kind, from music to leadership to skill at a sport, start out as natural aptitudes and are then shaped by a person’s environment and education; such skills grow if encouraged and atrophy if discouraged, and if pursued diligently can be developed to a professional level.  And yes, that includes the talent you’re calling “seduction” but which I would call “sensuality” or “lovemaking”.  People in the modern West like to pretend that sexual interaction is like some kind of magical energy field which arises instantly, spontaneously & mutually when two people are “in love”; romantic stories and Hollywood movies pretend that all two people under the influence of the temporary neurochemical derangement we incorrectly label with the exalted word “love” need do is get naked together and POOF! Fireworks.  The “abstinence only” form of sex miseducation even teaches this idiocy as fact, lying to young people that suppressing their natural sexual urges and denying all sexual expression for the better part of a decade (or more) will magically result in the best sex imaginable when the two of them clumsily grope each other in the dark without either of them having the faintest notion of what they’re doing.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking I mean mere technical proficiency, though; there’s a school of thought diametrically opposed to the spontaneous-generation dogma which is equally absurd and ignorant.  You might call it “Cosmo sex tricks” thinking: the idea that the human body is a machine not dissimilar to a power tool or electronic gadget, and that if one just turns the right knobs and sets the dials correctly, POOF!  Fireworks.  And I’m here to give you a big ol’ NOOOOOOOPE on that idea.  The art of sensuality starts with a natural aptitude which is then shaped by environment, education and practice; lots and lots and LOTS of practice.  It doesn’t magically appear after a lifetime of repression because a preacher says “I now pronounce you…”, and it can no more be learned from a book, magazine or video than “Learn Guitar in Ten Easy Lessons” will turn you into the next Jimi Hendrix.  Given equal aptitude, a woman with a better formative environment and more practice will still excel over one with worse and less; given the same environment and amount of practice, a man with higher aptitude will still surpass one with lower.  We can’t all be master chefs, basketball stars, or prima ballerinas.

But here’s the good news:  We Don’t All Have To Be.  Your wife doesn’t have to be Maggie McNeill; she just has to demonstrate love and affection as you need it.  And though we only have your side of the story, your very first line is “WE married at 19…”  We.  She and you.  I suspect that neither your natural aptitude for sensuality nor your early experience was very different from hers, or else neither of y’all would’ve done anything as foolish as getting married at 19 (no offense; remember, I got engaged at 20 and I’m supposed to be the wise one here).  You say, “we have very different love languages”; I certainly believe that, but why is she the one who needs to learn a new language on the near side of 50?  It seems to me that both of you could stand to acquire some new skills in that department.  You both need to try to demonstrate love and sensuality in a way the other can respond to, and you both need to try to appreciate what the other is trying to demonstrate.  It’s not going to be easy; nothing worthwhile ever is.  But there are counselors and workshops and the like who may be able to assist you; you’re going to have to find them in your area, and you may have to try a few before you find the right one.  You say y’all both want this to work, and after investing 27 years in each other that sounds like a good idea to me.  There is no Royal Road to proficiency in anything, but a burden shared is a burden halved, right?  If you work toward being her ideal lover as hard as she works toward being yours, y’all may be within hailing distance of each other sooner than you think.The Mysterious Distance Between Man and Woman by Valeria Giachetti (2009)

(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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Increasingly…governments have criminalized more and more behaviors that are part of everyday life, adding harsh fines and possible jail time to misdemeanors and crimes that weren’t punished so harshly or even at all before.  –  German Lopez

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying us fairly that isn’t:

…Orange County [Florida] Sheriff Deputy [Mike Asbury] quit while he was under investigation for allegedly paying a prostitute for sex…the woman’s house was…under surveillance…after [nosy] neighbors complained of too many people going in and out…and…took pictures of men going inside the home…Investigators checked the license plate of Asbury’s car and it linked back to the Sheriff’s Office…

Peeping Toms

Trying to turn Lawrence into a “monogamous vanilla gay amateurs only” club:

In Sandy Springs, Georgia…“[a]ny device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs is obscene material…”  A marital aid shop…[argued] all the way to the 11th Circuit that a ban on sex toys interfered with the right to “[p]rivate, consensual intimacy” provided under the 14th Amendment…Flanigan’s…[tagged] out for a more sympathetic plaintiff mid-way through the process:  “Davenport suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses sexual devices with her husband to facilitate intimacy“…Another plaintiff claimed that he wanted to use sex toys in his artwork…Unfortunately for non-artsy couples and frisky singles in the Sandy Spring area, who doubtless strictly observe the prohibition, the 11th Circuit found that, per its previous opinion, there is no right to buy or sell…In fact, per its 2004 opinion, there is no right to sexual privacy…This is a surprising outlier opinion in a country where even Ted Cruz couldn’t persuade the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to keep a sex toy ban…the 5th Circuit didn’t hesitate to note that Lawrence v. Texas was pretty explicit about letting people be explicit, especially when the law banning “immoral” conduct was only sporadically enforced, suggesting that it was more about making a moral statement than actually fixing any sort of problem…

Droit du Seigneur Richard Silverthorne

Most politicians are a bit more careful when indulging in drugs with hookers:

The mayor of the City of Fairfax [Virginia] was arrested…for distribution of methamphetamine in an uncover sting…Richard “Scott” Silverthorne…was allegedly distributing meth…through a website used to arrange for casual sexual encounters between men…an undercover detective made contact with the…mayor after creating a [fake] profile… “Undercover detectives agreed to meet the suspect for a group sexual encounter in exchange for methamphetamine”…[a news] release said…

It Looks Good On Paper

This is, as we’ve seen before, pure bullshit; only a few sex workers even qualify to be considered for the “safe harbor”, and it’s usually contingent upon her producing a “pimp” to sate the bloodlust of cops and prosecutors…even though, as we well know, very few whores have anyone who could be thrown under the bus even if they wanted to do that.  The so-called “services” these big talkers claim to be able to “connect” people with are just ordinary welfare services anyone could apply for, and the so-called “connection” is rarely more than giving them a phone number.  What I find interesting, though, is the apparent move away from “end demand” tactics, possibly due to low conviction rates but possibly due to something more important such as legal liability from lawsuits from sting victims.  I can’t think of another reason a cop would say something as moronic as “The johns are very reluctant to respond to ads” while simultaneously claiming that “the situation has gotten worse”.

Universal Criminality

This is what happens when cops are allowed to “enforce” laws against acts that hurt nobody:

…low-level offenses can trap someone for life — and even to death — in the criminal justice system…It begins with one ticket or a traffic stop.  But if someone can’t afford to pay that fine, police might try to stop or arrest him or her again to get the person to pay up.  This can lead to someone getting fined again for not paying up the first time.  And again.  And again.  One ticket leads to a vicious cycle that can sink someone for life.  With each of these encounters, someone’s record piles up — giving [cops] more reason, in their view, to stop him or her, because they recognize the person, or perhaps see the person’s record when running a license plate…And with each of these stops, people are exposed to more instances in which a police encounter could go tragically wrong.  And it happens disproportionately to poor people of color.  As those who are already heavily policed, they are the ones who are more likely to catch a cop’s eye if they run a stop sign, fail to signal on a turn, have a broken taillight, or sell untaxed cigarettes…

Scapegoats

Pig invents new excuse for criminalization of sex with goats:

A Georgia man…was arrested and charged with bestiality…for engaging in inappropriate relations with a goat…neighbors of Freddie Wadsworth [ratted him out]…Bestiality “is the single greatest predictor of people who will molest children,” Detective Jeremy Hoffman, of the Fairfax County, Va., Sheriff’s Office [oinked, presenting no evidence whatsoever in support of this fantasy]…

Standard Operating Procedure

{Yawn}.  See me yawning there? Lots of other whores reading this are, too:

Malia Litman of Dallas TX describes herself as a stay-at-home mom…[who] has spent $100,000 suing the U.S. government to turn over 3,900 pages of secret records about widespread sexual abuse and misbehavior by the U.S. Secret Service.  “A culture of ‘wheels up; rings off’ meant even married agents could party on foreign trips…A [sic] agent who missed his flight later showed up drunk with two prostitutes.  He was not disciplined…Agents “engaged” with prostitutes in Amsterdam’s red-light district during an advance team trip…A supervisor took a subordinate to a sex show while on duty…A male agent’s gun was stolen by a male prostitute he solicited online.  The gun was never recovered“…Litman has had to pay $100,000 for the records out of her own pocket because [she is a dingbat]…

Amateurs who read this, be honest with me…does this kind of stuff actually shock y’all?  Seriously?  None of this is even good enough to share in shop-talking sessions.  Except for the stolen gun, this is all pretty typical.

Counterfeit Comfort (#52) Pokemon GO squirtle

New York is obsessed with the fantasy that people condemned to the “sex offender” registry use video games to abduct children:

New York state officials think Pokemon Go might be a great tool for sex offenders to kidnap children—gotta catch ’em all!—and now the governor himself, Andrew Cuomo, is calling for legislation…[which] would prevent sex offenders on parole from playing the game in which animated creatures—from Nintendo’s Pokemon universe—appear on your phone screen while you walk around.  The legislation…also calls upon the game’s creators to eliminate any Pokemon within 100 feet of a registered sex offender’s home…

Stupor Bowl

Yes, August is indeed “before the Super Bowl”.  It’s also before the year 2100, the collapse of human civilization and the heat death of the universe, and this sting is linked about as closely to those events as it is to “sex trafficking” or football:

A prostitution sting at a high-end Houston area hotel has resulted in ten arrests…Constable Alan Rosen…[lied that] the goal was not to make arrests, but rather to highlight the problem of human trafficking and see if his team of [sadistic perverts] could [get publicity]…It’s a huge issue as we get closer to the Super Bowl next year in Houston. That game is one of the busiest days for human trafficking all year, according to [thoroughly debunked prohibitionist propaganda]…Rosen knows he’s not going to rid the world of prostitution…To him, this effort is about [getting himself re-elected by ignorant morons]…

Hard Numbers (#426) 

Exactly like the World Cup two years ago.  Why can’t people learn?

…the expectation of earning more money during the Olympics has been frustrated in Brazil…Prostitution Observatory of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, working with hundreds of prostitutes, estimates that, broadly speaking, the scenario that happened in the World Cup in Brazil 2014 will be repeated…The movement of customers fell by around 15% during the World Cup…and now, many of the local “fast and cheap” brothels are closing their doors during the Games.  According to anthropologist Thaddeus Blanchette…some of the local sex workers are even thinking of going on vacation during the Games…In [Blanchette’s] opinion, there are many prostitutes who end up believing the “expectations inflated by the media” and put much hope that the Olympic Games are a good deal but then find that this is “a myth”…it is also not expected that a large flood of prostitutes from other parts of Brazil will move to Rio, which researchers Prostitution Observatory say is another myth…

Bait and Switch

Whenever you see claims that a sting “caught pedophiles” or is “fighting the demand for child sex trafficking”, refer back to the original article in this heading:

As part of “Operation Someone Like Me” undercover agents posted ads on…Backpage.com, to find people [they could frame for seeking] sex with juveniles, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said…They got 485 responses [yet somehow only arrested…41 [victims]…18 [were] men [the cops successfully tricked]…Also arrested were six women and a juvenile…[the other 16 were]…charged with either patronizing prostitution [or] prostitution…One of the women was [jailed]…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Because naturally a politician can’t recognize that a consensual activity should just be let alone by the government; that boot has to be on somebody’s neck:

Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan…said he strongly disagreed with criminalisation calls, saying that sex workers should be regulated and subject to regular health checks…“Why would we want to fine somebody or make it a criminal offence for two consenting adults to have sex?…would there not be lonely men out there?  Would there not be men who have a disfigurement or who are disabled?…So, there’s an opportunity for them maybe to pay for it and we’re saying ‘no’!  That’s cruel”…the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland said it was happy that a Government Minister was questioning the “dangerous proposals” contained in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014…but [does] not support the type of “overly regulated” legalised sex industry which exists in Germany and the Netherlands…[where] “only the very privileged few workers who can jump through all the hoops and work independently”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#651)

Slowly but surely, we’re forcing them to listen, and prohibitionists’ responses are showing them for the authoritarians they are:

…messages [from sex workers] came in response to a June article [about an anti-sex work propaganda campaign]…that featured billboards, radio spots, posters and videos aimed at [indoctrinating the public in] sex trafficking [mythology]…The…readers who contacted me about the story told me they were bothered because it was missing voices from sex workers.  Because prostitution is illegal in…California, I didn’t think the…article needed to explore that particular issue.  But the criticism was not lost on me, and the points [Norma Jean Almodovar & Maxine Doogan] raised struck me as worthy of further consideration…Summer Stephan, a chief deputy district attorney, said she has heard the criticism, but she remains proud of the San Diego campaign, which aims to “inform (human trafficking) victims that they are victims”…

Cut. Print.

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Diary #319

Tristar handLast week was a busy one, but in a good way; very few of the things I was kept busy with were unpleasant.  I always enjoy visiting my beauty doctor, and I saw several regular clients whose company I always enjoy (plus several meals with friends).  And we made some progress on a major project for my ranch, the first one in a very long time.  But of all the things that brought me joy last week, one of them may surprise or amuse you:  I got my TriStar back.  Well, not back exactly, because this isn’t the same one I was forced to sell 20 years ago, but it’s the same model.  Some or most of you are probably scratching your heads or checking to make sure that you’re on the right blog; Maggie McNeill is delighted because she bought a used vacuum cleaner?  Huh?  Some of y’all are probably thinking something like, “No offense, Maggie, but you’re not exactly known for your housekeeping skills.”  And you would be right.  But this is different; this is one of those little victories that mean nothing to anyone but oneself.  Jack bought me a TriStar back in ’92 or ’93; they’re really expensive, but I’m very hard on vacuum cleaners because it makes me crazy to have to go over and over the same damned spot and yet have it NOT GET CLEAN.  I want a vacuum cleaner that would be at home in a cartoon, a vacuum that needs to be turned off if the drapes get caught in it because there’s no way to get them out otherwise.  In this picture, that heavy hose is being held to my hand by the power of suction alone, and the circular mark is still visible on my hand as I type this over 30 minutes later.  This is a sho-’nuff, no-messin’-around vacuum cleaner, y’all, and its air filtration is so good that the exhaust is cleaner than the air already in the room (suck that, Kirby).  But after my marriage broke up and the bills started to get overwhelming, I had to be sensible and sell it to cover them.  And as the years have gone by and I’ve been forced to clean filthy rugs with crappy Hoovers and Electroluxes and Dirt Devils, I’ve often missed my good old TriStar and vowed to get another one day.  Then last week I was in a vacuum cleaner repair shop helping a friend to get a refurbished one, and I said to the guy, “You wouldn’t happen to have a TriStar for sale, would you?”  He named a price higher than most of you probably paid for your new vacuums (but still less than a third of what my new TriStar cost over 20 years ago), and I said “Sold!” and peeled the bills off of the roll in my purse.  Then I took it home and vacuumed all of my rugs, which were visibly brighter after the treatment.  And though that’s great, and I’ll certainly vacuum much more often now, the really important thing for me is that after 20 years I managed to undo one minor example of the countless humiliations and defeats that life has saddled me with more than my share of.  And that gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to undo at least a few of the others.

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