Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

The problem with abusers is that they’re often extremely charming; after all, if they weren’t, who would stick around to be abused?  –  Maggie McNeill

Yesterday, Fault Lines on the Mimesis Law site (which you’ve often visited if you actually click on the links in my Links columns) published an interview with me as part of their “Cross” series.  I don’t often do email interviews any more because they take so much longer than telephone ones, but Scott Greenfield has been an online friend of mine for years and I’ll do things for my friends I won’t do for others.  I honestly think it was a really good interview, and he gave me leave to cut loose, be snarky and swear, so I thought I’d share it with y’all here, too.  Not the whole thing, mind you; I want you to see it as presented.  But here are a few excerpts from my replies; you’ll have to go there to see the questions and the rest:

…I was never exactly conventional, despite the efforts of parents and nuns; I was always a freethinker and never managed to absorb any negative attitudes about sex. I was fascinated by whores from the time I understood what the word meant, and as a young teen I counted several famous courtesans among my heroines. My very first D&D character at the age of 14 was a cleric who was a sacred prostitute, and I took money for sex for the first time just a little over two months after turning 18…

…while I probably made less money than the young girls while on the stage, I absolutely cleaned up in the VIP room. There’s not really a support network for new strippers; in fact, a lot of the girls are very competitive. But though I’ve never done pageants, I’m the type who would’ve often been named “Miss Congeniality” if I had; I make friends easily, and it didn’t take long before the more experienced ladies were showing me the ropes…

…Sex workers’ ads take advantage of the fact that paying for company isn’t illegal, only paying for sex.  Now, you and I both know that the line between those two isn’t remotely a bright, clear one such as the law pretends it is; lots of clients don’t want what most cops would call “sex”, and lots of sex doesn’t involve the body parts prudes code as “sexual.”  And by the letter of the law in most places, it isn’t “prostitution” unless there’s an explicit agreement to trade x sex act for y amount of money, which absolutely no whore in her right mind will ever do.  So in a sting the cops either lie and say that such an agreement was reached, or else rape the sex worker and use that as “evidence of prostitution”…

…I am continually amazed that over a century after the end of the Victorian Era, supposedly educated adults, especially people who call themselves “feminists”, actually believe (and expect others to believe) that all women are passive, childlike creatures with such a naïve, romanticized view of sex that our fluffy, pink little brains couldn’t possibly conceive of doing it for any reason other than loooooooooooooove or animalistic pleasure.  This is especially absurd given that these same “feminists” pretend that it’s better for women to be valued for our intelligence than for our beauty, while at the same time pretending that sexual motives deriving from the hindbrain (love & pleasure) are morally superior to those deriving from the frontal lobes (profit motive).  It’d be quite a fascinating case study in cognitive dissonance if it weren’t for the fact that these Froot Loop notions are used to justify sending armed thugs out to deceive, rape, brutalize, rob & cage people…

…[The Nordic model] stated that a minor boy is morally superior to a woman of any age. This is called “feminism”…

…If nobody actually complains about something, the cops shouldn’t be driving around looking for trouble. Firemen don’t rove around looking for fires, and paramedics don’t rove around looking for injuries, yet we don’t see huge numbers of buildings burning down & accident victims dying because nobody got there in time.  Let the cops stay in their fucking police stations until called out, and they’ll have a lot fewer opportunities to murder black men, execute dogs, rob bodegas and rape women…

…Prohibitionists only accuse me of dishonesty because I won’t support their ridiculous wanking fantasies of international cartels of magical ninja pimps with mind-control powers abducting screaming white girls from shopping malls and bus stops, transporting them around the country in dog crates, and serving them up to hundreds of salivating sex maniacs per week until their genitalia collapse and the diabolical monsters then dispose of them, presumably by flushing them down hotel toilets like unwanted goldfish…

Go read it, and enjoy.

Maggie black couch

 

 

Read Full Post »

An Apology

unrung bellEvery writer, especially when first starting out, writes a few things that, on looking back, cause her to say something like “What the Hell was I thinking when I wrote that?”  In fact, there are a LOT of things I wrote my first year that make me feel that way.  However, I’m a big believer in transparency; before the Internet, one couldn’t just “un-publish” embarrassing articles, and I don’t think it’s ethical or even wise to try that now just because one can.  You can’t un-ring a bell, and you can’t unsay hurtful things, and to attempt to do so by shoving mistakes – even ugly ones – down the memory hole is to attempt to rewrite the past, a favorite pastime of censors and tyrants through the ages.  I’m a real, flawed human being, and though I believe racism and bigotry are deeply wrong, sometimes things don’t really come out like I wanted them to.  In September of 2010, I published a post explaining why some sex workers refuse to see black men, and it soon became my most controversial; a lot of people called me a racist and worse because of it, but because I also received a lot of mail from black men thanking me for explaining it (even if they sometimes rightfully chastised me for the crappy, sloppy, careless, insensitive, amateurish, assholish, and unnecessarily hurtful way I expressed it), I’ve always felt it was best to leave it up.  However, the essay has recently become a major bone of contention in the sex worker rights movement, and some people whose opinions and feelings I care deeply about have told me that they are offended or upset by it.  As many of you know or have surmised, I consider loyalty to those I love to be among the highest of virtues, so when a loved one says that something I did – even inadvertently, and even six years ago – hurt her in some way, you can bank on the fact that I’m going to try to correct that in any way I can.  And so, though I know the decision will annoy or upset some people as much as the original essay did, I have decided it’s time to take it down.  I am not doing this in order to pretend it never existed; as I wrote above, I own my mistakes as much as I own my accomplishments.  And even if I wanted it to vanish completely, the internet has made that impossible.  The reason I am doing this is, quite simply, because some people I respect and some people I love and respect asked me to, and that is reason enough for me.   I apologize to any readers who may have been offended by my language, or who may be offended in the future by copies of the essay which exist elsewhere; please believe that any hurt I caused was wholly unintentional.

Read Full Post »

There are two futures, the future of desire and the future of fate, and man’s reason has never learned to separate them.  –  John Desmond Bernal

Some astute readers have pointed out that it sometimes seems as though I’m contradicting myself when talking about the future.  On the one hand, I am optimistic that sex work will eventually be decriminalized, that prohibition as a concept will be tossed onto the ash-heap of history, and that future historians will look back at our ugly, warped, fear-haunted culture with wonder and pity.  On the other hand, I say that the United States is a decaying fascist empire which has already passed the point at which future historians will declare it a different entity than the American republic which came before, just as they consider the Byzantine Empire a separate entity from the Roman even though the Byzantine rulers themselves made no such distinction.  But these two points aren’t contradictory at all; I think the confusion derives from a kind of chauvinism which can’t conceive of a future in which the US either does not exist or doesn’t play a major role.  But that’s not realistic, and I certainly don’t imagine the world that way; quite the opposite, in fact.  I not only recognize that the US, like every single country which has preceded it since the invention of the nation-state and every single one which will follow it until that concept is itself tossed onto the aforementioned historical ash-heap, is mortal and will one day die; my optimistic predictions are predicated upon it.

I am an American, and I love the ideas that the American government was founded upon:  minimal government, individual liberty and justice for all.  But those ideas were neither understood nor believed nor practiced by the vast majority of Americans even at the time when the Constitution was drawn up; even the Founders themselves, the men who codified those concepts and built institutions upon them, made plenty of exceptions, compromises and caveats to their high-sounding principles (chief among which was tolerance of the odious notion that one human being could own another).  And as time marched on and successive generations inherited the machinery of government, the safeguards installed by the Founders were undermined, abrogated, annulled, ignored and repealed to make way for laws and practices based upon the real beliefs of the majority of Americans: fear, hate, superstition, intolerance, greed, violence, control-freakishness, lust for power and, above all, prudishness.  The intersection of all of these vile principles is the crowning achievement of the warped American mind:  Prohibition, the deranged belief that some ruling elite has the right and duty to decide what’s best for everyone else, to ban everything that the elite decides is “bad”, and to dispatch an army of violent thugs to enforce those prohibitions by any means necessary, including (but not limited to) mass surveillance, witch hunts, perjury, robbery, rape, mayhem, murder and mass enslavement.  The last, at least, was predictable; if even the men who so fervently believed in liberty for all that they founded a country on it were unable to let go of slavery, how could their barbaric inheritors be expected to?

I’m sure some of you will object that legal prohibitions have existed since the beginning of civilization, and you’d be right; however, isolated bans on this or that are no more equivalent to capital-P Prohibition as it exists in the United States, than isolated murders are equivalent to War.  The idea that vast social resources should be devoted to warring upon the country’s own citizenry in order to stop them from consensual activities that the rulers disapprove of is a distinctly American form of collective madness, and the powerful influence American culture has exerted on the world for the past century (since the advent of mass media & American domination of same) is the only reason it has become at all prevalent in the rest of the world.  After the United States dies, the evil of prohibition will (albeit gradually) follow it into Hell.  The United States is but the latest in a long succession of great Western empires, each descending from the one before; it was originally a colony of Great Britain, which was in earlier times a province of the Roman Empire, which borrowed much of its culture from Greece, which previously conquered Persia, which rose to prominence after destroying Assyria, which had generations before conquered Babylonia, which had ruled over the cities that once made up Sumer.ruins of Washington  The next inheritor of this legacy probably already exists in one form or another; it will be up to that people to take the next step in the evolution of human civilization.  And when they do, they will admire America for the ways in which she was great, and criticize her for the ways in which she was awful, just as Americans do the civilizations which came before her.  And tourists from that future nation will one day visit the ruins of the great American cities, fascinated by the quaint customs of the locals, and enjoying the immense buying power their healthy currency has in the economically-devastated remnant of what was once the greatest power on Earth.

Read Full Post »

None of woman born, coward or brave, can shun his destiny.  –  Homer, Iliad (III, 120-121)

If you’re unfamiliar with Aella, I strongly suggest you read the previous chapters in her story before proceeding with this one; they’re listed & linked in the introduction to last year’s episode.

Since I live alone, it was both startling and disorienting to be roused roughly from sleep by someone shaking me.  But when in response to my groggy queries, I heard a less-than-familiar voice say, “Wake up girl, for I have need of thee,” I sat bolt upright and strained my eyes to make out the figure looming over my bed in the dark.  The meager light filtering in from the front windows glinted upon metal, and I soon realized my nocturnal visitor was clad in ornate armor; she carried a helm under her arm and a sword with jeweled hilt hung at her side.

“Aella?” I asked.

“Show some respect, child,” she said gently.  “Though I am not wont to stand on ceremony, it would behoove thee to address an honored ancestor with something more than her common name.”

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled; “you did wake me up from a rather sound sleep.  Would ‘grandmother’ do?  We’ll be here all night if I have to list all the ‘greats’ which should precede it.”

She laughed, a strong but weary laugh that seemed to come from someplace deep inside her.  “Aye, it will do.  Dost thou always awaken so sluggishly?  What if enemies attacked in the night?”

“It would make little difference; my enemies are cowards who always attack with overwhelming force.  They fear a fair fight.”

She was not impressed.  “Any descendant of mine should be ready to at least give a good account of herself in battle.  Her enemies should long remember how dear a price they paid for their victory over her.”

“I’m sorry, honored grandmother.  Though I am a warrior in my own right, I’m afraid you would not recognize my battlefield as such.”

“So I am told.  Yet thou hast shown tremendous courage.”

“Well, that’s what some people call it.  It’s really just tremendous stubbornness.”

She laughed again.  “Then it is certain thou art of my blood, for my excess of pigheadedness was also lauded as courage both in my day and after it.”

“I’ve wanted to ask you about that for some time, but you’re not exactly easy to reach.  I’m guessing the legends about Amazons and Scythians settling in Galicia have a basis in fact?”

“Aye.  My son and his wife were unable to adapt to Amazon culture, and I was unwilling to let them return to Crete knowing full well I might never see them again.  So I recruited a group of colonists, Amazons and Scythians both, and we sailed toward the setting sun and settled north of Tartessos.”

“I seem to remember that you hated sailing.”

She shrugged.  “One does what one must.”

“Yes.  We all need to do things we hate and fear to accomplish the goals that are important to us.”

“Aye, child, that we do.  But make not the foolish error I did, of thinking that thy destiny is thine to command.  Thou hast a task to perform, and thy course was charted for thee by the blessed goddesses long before thy birth, even as mine was.  We are but the tools by which they accomplish their goals, which are not for the likes of us to divine.”

I replied quietly, “I like to think I have free will.”

She laughed once more, a soft chuckle tinged with pain.  “I, too, enjoyed that belief.”

“And what of Phaedra?” I asked, trying to change the subject.  “Did you ever see her again?”

“Nothing could have stopped me save the goddesses themselves; had I been told she was dead I would have battled my way down to the Styx to find her.  Her ships carried our colonists forth, and kept us supplied until my death.”

“I reckon loyalty runs in our bloodline, too.”  She nodded.  “Honored Grandmother, you said you were here tonight because you had need of me.”mounted Amazon

“Ah, that.  Well, truth be told, child, I’m here because thou hast need of me.”

“Oh.  Will the coming years be that difficult?”

“I am no soothsayer, granddaughter; I know not what lies in store for thee.  I know only that I was sent to remind thee of who and what thou art, to admonish thee not to forget the warrior blood that runs strong in thy veins, and to tell thee that though I lack the wisdom and learning to understand thy struggle, I am filled with pride for thy steadfastness and refusal to surrender. Thou hast done well, and I am certain thou wilt continue to do so.  Because if thou should dishonor my legacy by cowardice, I swear by our common ancestresses that I will return and beat thee to within a hairsbreadth of thy life.”

“Thank you, grandmother.  I think.”  She smiled, and laid her hand upon my shoulder, and then she was gone, leaving behind nothing but the weight of her millennia-long shadow upon me.

Read Full Post »

The Cool Kids

Suddenly some subtle entity
Some cosmic energy, brushed her like shadows.  –  Chris Stein, “Shayla”

barstoolWhen I was a child, I was definitely not one of the cool kids; I was a weird little know-it-all who saw things that the adults said weren’t there, told strange stories, and preferred to read rather than do anything else.  I was chubby, homely, had frizzy hair and a terrible overbite, didn’t have a lot of friends and was relentlessly teased by both boys and girls, including some of the ones who claimed to be my friends when the more popular kids weren’t around.  All in all, I was probably one of the last of my classmates one would’ve picked out as a future sex symbol.  An author?  Sure.  A public intellectual?  Maybe that too.  But a stunning beauty, respected activist and all around cool kid?  Anybody who would’ve predicted that would’ve been laughed out of the conversation.

I guess things started to change in my freshman year of high school.  I remember a picture my mother took of me with the girl across the street (who was the same age as me) on our 8th grade graduation night, and the difference was striking.  But a few weeks after that I got my braces, and by the time they were off about 16 months later my fat had vanished, my facial contours had changed completely and puberty had done some indefinable something to my self-confidence.  I was still fairly plain, but by my 14th birthday my figure (with the exception of my tits) was almost exactly the same as it is today: 5’5″ tall, 125#, 25″ waist, 36″ hips.  I could still fit into the clothes I wore then if I still had them (assuming they could stretch over my enhanced bosom).  By the time I was 15 some people of both sexes clearly seemed to find me attractive, and by the time I reached UNO a few months before my 17th birthday I could count on frequent passes from both guys and girls.  And yet, nobody ever referred to me as a beauty; I heard “cute” very often, and even “hot” or “sexy”.  But something deep inside me just couldn’t accept that, or maybe I thought it was because I was willing to put out; I jumped at the first marriage proposal I got at the ripe old age of 20, and paid for that bad decision for the next seven and a half years.

And though my self-esteem had taken a severe beating during my time with Jack, when I emerged on the other side and moved into my thirties, I noticed that something had changed.  My confidence, though above average in my late teens, had now become palpable.  People were now describing me with word like “striking” and “stunning” instead of “pretty” or “hot”.  And though I had been able to demand money for sex before, now I could depend on that for a living.  The effect snowballed, and though my confidence in my writing and speaking abilities trailed that in my looks by a number of years, that eventually built up as well.  But while people who’ve always been attractive and popular are very often not the nicest of folks, there’s a part of me that still believes I’m a homely weirdo that nobody would ever actually want, and she’s still enchanted and flattered and delighted by compliments and attention.  She tries to be kind and gentle to everyone who is nice to her, because she still clearly remembers what it was like when people were rough and unkind to her.  And though she’s still not quite sure how she got to be one of the cool kids, she’s absolutely determined never to use the perks of that status to hurt others.

Read Full Post »

Let me grab that pee-pee!  –  “Officer” Risel Martinez

Brooke Magnanti called my attention to this wonderfully dark, bizarre little music video, so here I am sharing it with you on account of I’m just that kind of gal.  The links above it are from Scott Greenfield, ClarissaCarol FentonWhores of Yore,  Lucy SteigerwaldRadley Balko, and Mike Crawford, in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

The Best Part

Screenshot_2016-05-26-22-35-30On Tuesday morning I picked up a rental car in Anaheim and drove for almost four hours to Fresno, where I did a photo shoot with Rick Horowitz which I hope will be the first of several I do for my nude photo project.  I then stayed the night at his home, where I shared a delicious dinner and hours of lovely conversation with him and his wife.  The next morning I set out for the long drive back to Los Angeles (specifically, Long Beach Airport) for my flight back to Seattle, and as I was leaving Rick said, “That was a really long way to drive for photos.”  I replied, “I could’ve gotten the photos in Seattle; I drove here for the experience.”

I’ll be reaching the half-century mark pretty soon, and I’ve met a lot of people in that time.  I’ve talked with them, argued with them, loved them, and fought with them.  I’ve hired them to do jobs and been hired by them; I’ve fucked them, been fucked over by them, played with them and feared them.  I’ve learned from them, taught them, helped and been helped by them, ignored them, missed them and avoided them and done many other things far too numerous to list.  And for the majority of my adult life, I’ve made my living by interacting directly with them on a one-on-one basis.  And as time has gone by, I’ve grown to realize that the most enjoyable, rewarding and memorable moments of my life have always involved other people.  Nor do I mean exciting, cinematic adventures in which I happened to have companions; I just mean conversations, shared meals and other simple one-on-one interactions.  As I sit here writing I can open the vault of memory and find a wealth of experiences from months, years and decades in the past; I can see their faces, hear their voices and even tell you where we were and what we talked about.  Some of the people with whom I had these treasured interactions are still dear friends, and some I haven’t seen in many years; many of them were with people I met only once, and whose names I have long forgotten.  And many others fall somewhere between those two extremes.

I’ve said many times that the most rewarding part of my book tour in 2014 was the human interaction; just to present one single example, I spent last weekend at the home of a friend I made on that tour.  And though the past year has been very difficult for me, the one thing that has helped me through it most was the support of my friends.  I look forward to shared meals like some people do to rock concerts and enjoy conversations like some people do Hollywood blockbusters.  You know how some people think it’s perfectly reasonable to wait for days in line to see a movie, concert or parade, or to be among the first in the door at a sale?  Well, I think it’s reasonable to travel long distances to visit friends.  And that has only become more true as I’ve grown older.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,075 other followers