Archive for the ‘Tyranny’ Category

Mainstream feminism rejects sex work as an acceptable choice.  So…I don’t describe myself as an adherent to a political philosophy that wants to eliminate me.  –  Mistress Matisse

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Almost certainly not:

They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper [is] more than 800 pages in length…Michael Maybrick was a hugely popular singer and composer in the Victorian era, who is virtually forgotten today – for reasons that Robinson believes are no accident…Maybrick was close friends with Sir Arthur Sullivan and the painter Frederick Leighton, among many other prominent public figures.  Both Sullivan and Leighton were Freemasons, as was Michael Maybrick.  He was…on the Supreme Grand Council of Freemasons, whose members also included the Prince of Wales…Maybrick was 47 at the time of the murders; a bachelor and, [author Bruce] Robinson believes, homosexual…

Yes, it’s a new version of the Masonic theory.

Above the Law rapist cop Jeff Sowers

When you’re a cop, rape becomes “official misconduct”:

A [Tennessee cop]…who resigned amid allegations of [raping prisoners]…pleaded guilty…to one count of official misconduct…Judge John Dugger sentenced Jeff Sowers to 18 months in jail…Dugger denied a request by Sowers’ attorneys for judicial diversion, which would have allowed for Sowers’ record to be expunged after his sentence…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Such a lot of stupid writing on something that not only doesn’t exist, but will never exist in the way and on the timescale these idiots are wanking to the fantasy of:

…a recent report claims intimacy between robots and humans will be more common than that between two people by 2050.  The work, written by futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson, purports that engaging in virtual sex acts will be as prevalent in 2030 as our engagement with porn today, and that the majority of people will own sex toys that employ an alternate reality in some way come 2035…

Storyville (#139)

Over the last 150 years, rights for sex workers have…diminished, according to West Virginia University journalism professor Alison Bass.  In her book Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law…Bass surveys the history of laws regulating prostitution in America and abroad.  In the past and today, Bass finds, sex workers have been marginalized by stigma that portrays them as immoral, dangerous, even diseased figures. B ut while the stigma hasn’t changed, the laws have—in many cases…for the worse…

Dutch Threat

Lawheads are completely unable to comprehend the bottleneck effect:

Entrepreneurs in Amsterdam who want to open a brothel must speak at least one common language with the sex workers they rent space to, according to a…ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice.  The court [claimed] the decision as…a way to guarantee the safety of the women, [reduce] human trafficking, and…help prevent pimping…and [pretended it] was…not discriminatory in any way…the court also noted the Council of State’s notion that the seeming overreach in authority was meant as a protection of public order, and that being able to converse with a sex worker allows a brothel owner the possibility of stopping child prostitution…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because nobody would care about a headline reading, “Man minds his daughter while mother works”:

A Michigan man held his 9-month-old daughter in a motel room while the baby’s mother had sex with another man for money…Derohn Wilburn…is charged with…felony promoting prostitution and misdemeanor child endangering…Melissa Coleman…is charged with misdemeanor child endangering and prostitution…police released the baby to a family member.  She was unharmed…

Played Out

I don’t know who Robert Fullinwider is, but I thank him for taking the time to read through Moran’s drek so as to be able to rip it to shreds:

…Moran is not content to offer her particular life-story…She also sets herself up as the Universal Prostitute, a woman whose experiences define prostitution and trump the “experiences” of anyone else — sex worker, academic, or otherwise — who views prostitution differently than she does. She is not content to let her story speak for itself but instructs the reader on the proper conclusions to draw, and engages in arguments based on her experiences and “research”…Moran writes: prostitutes are “coerced” into prostitution (pp. 49, 227); they have no “choice” (p. 161); they have no “free will” (p. 201); they act out of “desperation” and “destitution” (pp. 43, 96)…Moran…[claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because “it is not possible to consent to a lifestyle you don’t comprehend” (p. 50).  Yes it is.  People do it all the time.  “I didn’t know marriage was going to be like this!”  “I didn’t know how stressful being a parent would be!”  “I didn’t know military life would be this tough!”  [She claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because she wasn’t an adult and children can’t consent (pp. 50-51).  Yes they can.  Society frames laws that say people below certain ages can’t “consent” – to contracts, to mortgages, to sexual relations, and the like – but the “no consent” here is a legal fiction…a sixteen year-old girl who finds prostitution utterly repulsive, revolting, and disgusting, and who is “desperate to escape,” yet who passes up on an opportunity to get out of the trade because she’s unwilling to be bound by any rules, is a person who’s made a choice— a bad choice, to be sure, but a real choice…Moran…speaks of allowing herself to be coerced (an odd locution) into prostitution by her boyfriend.  What did her boyfriend do?  Did he beat her?  Did he threaten her?  No, he “suggested” that she turn tricks; he “encouraged” her (pp. 47, 186)…Moran seems to think you haven’t acted freely unless you are as happy as a lark with what you’ve chosen (p. 227); that you are not self-determining unless you are “controlling the totality of your life” (p. 175).  These are just fundamentally unserious engagements with the notions of freedom and self-determination.  We always act under constraints, we never control the totality of our lives, and we are often unhappy with what we’ve chosen, just less unhappy than with the alternatives…

Rooted in Racism (#429)

Sweden’s “liberal reputation” is bullshit:

…a recent report by the United Nations…concludes that a rising level of racist violence and “Afrophobic” hate crimes in Sweden are “an extensive social problem”.  “There continues to be a general Swedish self-perception of being a tolerant and humane society, which makes it difficult to accept that there could be structural and institutional racism faced by people of African descent,” says the report…The country’s official [lie] of equality and respect for human rights “blinds” it to the racism faced by African-Swedes, it says.  Hate crimes against the 200,000 or so black people…in Sweden increased by more than 40% between 2008 and 2014…with more than a fifth of incidents last year involving violence…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#505)

On Working It, the magazine at the center of the stripper labor rights movement in Portland:

…Each magazine brings together about 50 pages of writing and art by sex workers from around the country.  In addition to permanent sections including “Client Hall of Shame” “Best/Worst Tip$” “Tales from your Shift” and art, each volume of Working It has a theme…After Danzine went dormant, [Matilda] Bickers and Portland’s sex worker activism also went relatively dormant.  [SWOP] took over Danzine’s bad date list.  In 2005, Bickers and her friends tried to start a dancer union — “but that failed miserably, and I was really burnt out for a while,” Bickers says.  In the following years, Bickers worked at strip clubs and…graduated from Portland State University.  “I kind of never stopped doing sex worker activism,” Bickers says…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#550)

The history of the concept of sex addiction is a complex, somewhat contentious one…I’ve often cited the concept back to the initial writings of Patrick Carnes…Now, three New Zealand historians have contributed a wealth of astounding, rich and often surprising information to the issue…Sex Addiction, A Critical History…represents a remarkable detailing of the troubling, often hidden, history of this concept…Reay and his coauthors found powerful writings by Hatterer from the 1960’s and 70’s, where he blamed a sexually addictive process for sexual excesses. Powerfully, they detail [Dr. Lawrence] Hatterer’s disturbing history of treating homosexuality as an illness, and the way he treated homosexuality “like an alcoholic”…in his writings…from its inception, the concept of sex addiction has been applied to treatment of homosexuality as an illness…

If You Want Something Done Right…

I have the most awesome friends:

…Mistress Matisse…heard about Heather’s experience and was determined to help.  Through other sex workers she tracked Heather down, called her and booked a flight to West Virginia.  She showed up at Heather’s door…organized fund-raising, lined up medical assistance and connected Heather with nonprofit help.  This isn’t a new role for Matisse.  She’s worked as a sex worker in various capacities since she was 19.  But as she’s gotten established in Seattle, she says, “I have gotten to the point in my career where it is in many ways self-sustaining.”  As a result, she’s had more time to devote to activism.  Matisse was there to help Heather because she’s made it her business to help sex workers who are in crises.  I talked to Matisse about her activism, her work with Heather and why sex workers are the best ones to help sex workers…

Amnesty At Last

Here’s an NPR show which purports to present a “discussion” of the Amnesty International position statement on decriminalization, but which was designed from the get-go to promote prohibitionist propaganda by stacking the panel three to one (Swanee Hunt, Rachel Moran and Andrea Powell) vs. Maxine Doogan.  Unfortunately for the antis, Maxine had logic and facts on her side and acquitted herself quite well.  What you won’t hear:  Sol Finer of SWOP-Seattle called into the live show and Moran absolutely lost her mind, screaming and shouting at Sol in such a clearly unbalanced manner that the tirade was edited out of the archived version of the show.  So much for NPR’s commitment to the truth.

New Excuse (#576)

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No one should ever report a rape to the police.  –  Lara McLeod

This week’s video was contributed by Mistress Matisse, who tweeted it with the message, “Be this goat.”  The vlinks above it were provided by Domina Elle  (“karma”, “don’t call” and “HIV”), Rick Horowitz (“more”), Cop Block (“protect”),  Clarissa (“headline”), Popehat (“reports”), and Cassandra Fairbanks (“reasons”).

From the Archives

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If we believe what we’ve heard, the sight of a female breast, either inadvertent or deliberate, immediately transforms men into raving sexual predators who rush to the nearest restroom and kidnap children.
–  Bob Stephens

The Scarlet Letter

It looks like Vice is slowly ditching the anti-whore bullshit and supporting our rights:

…Montreal sex worker support group Stella…says that…law enforcement’s crackdown on johns forces sex workers into isolation.  An environment where clients are trying to avoid police means sex workers are more likely to meet up with johns in dangerous areas, or get into cars without properly negotiating their terms…Client shaming isn’t a new tactic:  In the US, police have taken to sharing johns’ mugshots on Facebook or with the media…or they…send them letters that would be opened by their loved ones…

Public Service Announcement Jud McMillin

Are politicians actually stupider than other people, or does it just seem that way?

The controversial House Majority Leader in Indiana…resigned suddenly on Tuesday after a sexually compromising video was sent to all of the people on his “Contacts” list…After news of the mass-texting began to circulate, Representative Jud McMillin (R) claimed that his “phone was stolen in Canada and out of my control for about 24 hours. I have just been able to reactivate it under my control. Please disregard any messages you received recently. I am truly sorry for anything offensive you may have received.”  But his…defense apparently didn’t convince many of his “Contacts”…and so Tuesday night he released a statement in which he said that the “time is right for me to pass the torch and spend more time with my family”…McMillin has crusaded to “protect the integrity of the institution of marriage,” but the Advocate reported that the woman on the video he texted was not, in fact, his wife…


Are the sex rays produced by bestiality different from other sex rays?

[A Queensland] woman who was filmed having sex with a dog is appealing her conviction after she lost her blue card to work with children.  The woman…answered a Craigslist ad in 2013 from a man looking for a woman willing to perform sex acts online.  The pair had ­intercourse and she briefly had sex with the man’s dog…She pleaded guilty to bestia­lity…and received two years’ probation…the Queensland Court of Appeal was…told the conviction should not be recorded because it was manifestly excessive…

End Demand

The term for a symbiotic relationship between government and big business is “fascism”.

…[Members of] Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST)…have agreed to block websites where sex is advertised, update personnel policies and make it clear to employees that [their private sex lives are subject to their employers’ control]…King County…[and] the city of Seattle [are]…founding member[s]…With an estimated 27,000 buyers soliciting online sex through 130 different websites in King County every day, it wasn’t hard to deduce that a sizable number were likely on the clock and using work phones and computers to browse ads and connect with women and girls in the sex trade, [prosecutor Val] Richey said.  He said court cases and [interviews with a few prohibitionists]…bolster that supposition.  The BEST Employers Alliance is an extension of the county’s two-year, Buyer Beware program launched a year ago to increase the risk of arrest for men through street-level stings and undercover operations.  “No other jurisdiction in the country has tried this [collusion] with employers to [control private behavior]”…said Richey’s boss, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg…

King of the Hill

Remember, Feinstein thinks that the way to keep people “safe” is to spy on them and destroy their civil liberties:

Senator Dianne Feinstein…applauded the Department of Justice’s $1.5 million grant to the Los Angeles County Sheriff and Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) to create a new task force to investigate and prosecute [sex workers]…California is one of the top four destination states for trafficking victims and they are moved throughout California at an alarming rate…

Where Are the Protests? (#51)

It’s growing!

…“car wash slavery” has become a major problem in the UK and other European countries in recent years.  Romanian gangs have been…trafficking men from their country into other parts of Europe and putting them to “work” in car wash businesses…Gangs can establish themselves on vacant lots which they rent for insignificant amounts of money and set up business with minimal outlay.  If the businesses attract attention from the authorities, they can be shut down with no losses incurred and re-established immediately in other locations at little cost.  Those familiar with the growing phenomenon say…scenarios to trap victims are fabricated by gang members…The victims’ passports are retained by their minders-cum-gang enforcers…

Hollow Claims

No, there aren’t a “growing number” of prohibitionists in Germany; they’re just being given more airtime due to the prevalence of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…former prostitute Huschke Mau has joined a politician and a social worker to found a new anti-prostitution organization – Sisters e. V. – to help prostitutes out of the sex trade…Hydra Berlin…already offers counseling for prostitutes – including, but not limited to those who want to get out…Sisters [is] a kind of missionary service that “rescues” prostitutes, working from a premise of moral judgment that closes the group to a broad range of sex workers…Sisters…volunteer supporters [are]…women…[who] think prostitution is terrible…”Anyone who wants to do something against prostitution can come to us” [said Mau]…

Little Boxes (#138)

A recent “Free the Nipple” rally in Springfield, Missouri, elicited swift action from the city—but not in the direction activists were hoping for.  Rather, the Springfield City Council voted that women should actually cover up more of their breasts in public than was previously required.  The new indecent exposure law prohibits women from showing too much of the sides and bottom of the breasts—aka “underboob”…The issue was contentious among city officials, passing the city council by just 5-4.  Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens voted against it, condemning proponents’ claim that keeping women’s breasts hidden is necessary so as not to encourage sexual assault…But the new law’s instigator, Councilman Justin Burnett, said it was important for protecting the city’s “family-friendly image” and ensuring “the safety of the most vulnerable among us.”  It is unclear who Burnett thinks is made unsafe by the public presence of underboob…

Under Every Bed 

This is jaw-droppingly stupid even by Washington state standards:

…”I have never seen nothing [sic] worse than I have in Snohomish County,” Charlotte said. “It’s all over…it’s constant”…forensic nurse Paula Newman-Skomski…[is] motivated by her own past of sexual abuse…[and] her daughter was kidnapped…for four hours…she’s specially trained to do things like…advocate for victims of sexual abuse and slavery…”Just being a teenager puts girls at risk for being…coerced into trafficking by pimps…A lot of times you won’t see the girls with their…pimps or controllers”…

Remember, this comes from the home of the infamous crusade against coffee stands.

Policing for Profit 

Anyone who thinks £166,000 ($250,000) a year is some tremendous amount for a small business is an ignoramus:

Mark Cass…registered his business…with the local authority and employed six staff who…[used] time sheets in order to keep track of their busy schedules…Cass netted an average of £166,000 a year and…[employed] his brother as a…manager…police are trying to [steal his] assets…[including] his £47,000 home…a BMW car worth £4,000…[and] £87,499 [in other assets.  The cops want Cass] rendered homeless…[carless] and unable to work…The prosecution [admitted] that [his employees] were not under duress, not corrupted and not imprisoned…Exotic Thai was [such] a popular place to work [that] Cass got calls from Thai girls in London asking for jobs…

In other words, he was a rather ordinary businessman running a rather ordinary business, but the cops want to steal his moderate middle-class assets because sex.

Catastrophic Consequences

Glasgow is the center of official anti-whore sentiment in Scotland:

Glasgow is to be named a White Ribbon City in recognition of the work it does to tackle violence against women…[including] the End Prostitution Now campaign, Sixteen Days of Action, the Routes Out of Prostitution project, the Trafficking Alliance Raising Awareness (TARA) project and ASSIST, the support project linked to Glasgow’s domestic abuse court…

Catastrophic Consequences (#430)

This sleazy tactic has spread from Canada to Scotland to England:

A pioneering new tactic could be launched in Cambridge to rescue sex slaves from city brothels…police are considering visiting brothels…to talk to sex workers to discover if they are consenting or have been trafficked and exploited by brothel keepers.  Police hope to both rescue the women from modern-day slavery as well as gain information about gangs operating in the city’s sex trade.  Detective Chief Inspector Lorraine Parker…said…”We would make regular visits to make sure a sex worker is not being forced and exploited and offer them support as well as refer them to agencies that can help”…

Because unannounced intimidation visits from cops are just so helpful to sex workers.

New Excuse (#568)

Have I told y’all yet today that I love Liz Brown?  This was Reason‘s cover story this month:

…Lawmakers touted harsher penalties for drug offenses. The war on drugs raged. New task forces were created. Civilians were trained how to “spot” drug traffickers in the wild, and students instructed how to rat out drug-using parents. Politicians spoke of a drug “epidemic” overtaking America, its urgency obviously grounds for anything we could throw its way.  We know now how that all worked out.  The tactics employed to “get tough” on drugs ended up entangling millions in the criminal justice system, sanctioning increasingly intrusive and violent policing practices, worsening tensions between law enforcement and marginalized communities, and degrading the constitutional rights of all Americans. Yet even as the drug war’s failures and costs become more apparent, the Land of the Free is enthusiastically repeating the same mistakes when it comes to sex trafficking. This new “epidemic” inspires the same panicked rhetoric and punitive policies the war on drugs did—often for activity that’s every bit as victimless…

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All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.  –  Leo Tolstoy

I am really, really sick of being threatened with violence from “authorities” every time I turn around.  I don’t just mean the threat inherent in universal criminality, nor the implied threat of heavily-armed thugs cruising around looking for laws to “enforce”; I don’t even mean the paranoid uneasiness purposely cultivated by government actors through the use of security theater, mass surveillance and encouraging kids to turn their parents in for consensual behaviors.  No, I’m talking about direct, clear threats spelled out in plain English words on a large fraction of the flat surfaces in the United States.

seat belt threatReaders who live outside of the US may not have any idea what I’m talking about, and many American readers may have grown so used to these ominous warnings of dire consequences that they no longer recognize them for what they are.  So I’ll elucidate:  all over the United States, threatening signs are displayed in businesses, on merchandise, and especially along highways; filling stations in particular may present a wide collection of the ugly things.  For a few years, anyone pulling up at any gasoline pump from coast to coast would be greeted by the visage of a scowling cop, sometimes pointing at the viewer, threatening that one would lose his driver’s license if he drove off without paying.  The door of the attached convenience store might have a warning that loiterers will be abducted and caged, while on the counter within other placards promise wildly-disproportionate “punishments” for anyone who dares buy liquor or cigarettes for those below the magical Age of Shazam.  And after one escapes this minefield of threats and gets back onto the highway, he might see a billboard defacing the scenery with the asinine slogan “click it or ticket”, because the government is so very concerned with everyone’s safety that it steals money from people who can’t afford to lose it in order to “send a message”.

Signs threatening fines for certain behaviors, such as littering, are nothing new; they’ve been around for at least as long as I’ve been able to read them, and probably at least since the early ’50s.  But in the past few decades there’s been such an incredible proliferation of them that Americans are virtually immersed in a sea of threats.  Don’t believe me?  Try counting every one you see today.  I’ll bet there are at least 3 or 4 times as many as the estimate you’re making of the number right now, and maybe more than that; these threats have become like Shea & Wilson’s fnords, invisible to the masses yet producing a vague and pervasive sense of unease.  Because the more unsettled and fearful the populace, the more they’ll support politicians’ efforts to strengthen the police/nanny state using any excuse from “drugs” to “terrorism” to “sex trafficking” to “cancer”.  Nor are the “authorities” the only ones to profit from this society-wide anxiety; non-governmental malefactors will often use the fear the “authorities” have generated as a means of coercing compliance.  For example, non-cop rapists often disguise themselves as cops in order to intimidate sex workers into surrendering without a struggle.  And then there are these guys:

…[copyright troll] Rightscorp…gives its agents [this script] to use when people call in after receiving a [threatening] notice…[it] is quite something, with a few ridiculous statements…[such as] the following.  If the caller says that they’re innocent, here’s how Rightscorp has its agents respond:  “In order to cancel this matter without payment, you will need to go and get a police report and fax or email it to us.  The police may take your devices and hold it for ~5 days to investigate the matter.  You must be sure that it was not you, anyone in your household, including friends and neighbors or you will be breaking a different law with the police department.”  Every part of that statement is bullshit…it’s clearly designed to…frighten the caller into just paying uprightscorp threat…Rightscorp is in the extortion/shakedown business, rather than actually trying to stop copyright infringement…

As in the case of the bogus-cop rapists, Rightscorp is using the fear of police violence to intimidate their victims into surrendering without a fight.  And given that a large portion of that fear was created by the government, both intentionally through constant threats and incidentally via its refusal to punish cops who inflict violence on peaceful citizens, the government is itself complicit in these crimes.

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Registration is a pretext to persecution.  –  Matthias Lehmann

Check Your Premises

Res ipsa loquitur:  “Police officers in central Florida say they’ve rescued eight women from a prostitution trafficking ring…the eight women were charged with various sex crimes…

Legal Is as Legal Does

As is typical for outsiders, this reporter just doesn’t get it:

In Hong Kong, as in England and Wales, the buying and selling of sex is not illegal, but brothel keeping, organising prostitution, living off the earnings of prostitution and soliciting in a public place all are…The police have certainly focused more on human trafficking and the evils of the sex trade…sex workers from elsewhere…must expect strict enforcement action, there will often be cases when they can be given an immunity from prosecution in return for testifying against their pimps and traffickers, who, after all, are the real villains…By and large, Hong Kong’s approach to sex work is aligned with Amnesty International’s policy…

His “realistic” legalization in Hong Kong is not “aligned” in any way with decriminalization, and still allows cops to harass sex workers at will.Vanity Fair February 1994

The More the Better

Here’s an interesting listicle of 7 famous people who did sex work in their youths; it includes Maya Angelou, Roseanne Barr, Rupert Everett, Kathleen Hanna, Amanda Palmer, Dee Dee Ramone and Malcolm X.  Hanna & Palmer were strippers, but the other five were all prostitutes; it’s a damned shame that Barr has turned prohibitionist in the last few years, but Everett did exactly the opposite.

A Whore in Church 

The internet allows extreme specialization:

…Sprinkling one’s erotica with its fair share of Yiddish and Hebrew takes a fair bit of ingenuity and chutzpah—especially when the person behind the sexy prose is not only an Orthodox Jewish woman but one committed to following halacha, a collection of Jewish religious laws…But Shosha Pearl (not her real name) has been writing specifically frum (a term to describe religiously observant Jews) erotica since 2012—and has never found it in conflict with being an Orthodox Jew…

Broken Record 

Much of the “sex trafficking” hysteria has descended into self-parody:

Not everything is fun and games with the start of the Kern County Fair.  Advocates against human trafficking say, during this time there an increase in prostitution and soliciting…the big annual event draws in traffickers and customers…

King of the Hill

Every so often, “Cuckoo Clock” McCain skitters out of her nest in Arizona to vomit poison on some other state:

This scourge is especially evident in Ohio…one of the worst regions in the U.S. for sex trafficking…1,000 juveniles are forced into the sex trade each year in Ohio…There is no such thing as a child prostitute.  We must call child sex trafficking what it really is: rape…The charges for the buyers of child sex should be statutory rape, child endangerment, or sexual assault of a minor – charges that “johns” are now rarely arrested for…

And you know why?  Because “child” prostitution is actually quite rare.  Only about 3.5% of sex workers are under 18, and the great majority of that already-small segment are either 16 or 17.

An Example To the West (#133)

But not, unfortunately, despite the orders of Seoul’s masters in Washington:

…A…rally and march, marking the 11th anniversary of Korea’s anti-prostitution statute, was organized by the Hanteo National Union, which represents some 15,000 sex workers and business people in red-light districts.  Sehee Jang…said that her group…“focuses on abolishing the prostitution ban”…When South Korea made prostitution a punishable offense in 2004, the decision reversed many decades of de facto (if unreliable) decriminalization…Now, according to Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, “prevention, protection and prosecution” are the correct approach to prostitution, despite contrary recommendations from public health experts and human rights groups…

Traffic Jam (#318)

How many moronic prohibitionist plays can the market bear?

…Part social commentary, part experiment, The Game will enlist the help of five male volunteers for each night of its run.  The men in question have no idea what they will be asked to do by the play’s cast members…what the volunteers can expect is to re-enact scenarios that have come directly from the experiences of Irish sex workers.  [Grace] Dyas’s objective, she says, is to give the audience pause to consider their own views on sex work in Ireland, for better or worse…”The men are here to redress misogyny and give a voice to these women’s stories”…Dyas and her cast have spent weeks immersed in both sides of the story…she says…“Maybe you have to legislate to protect the most vulnerable people, and maybe the right to sell sex is trumped, ultimately, by the right not to sell sex”…

The phrase “both sides” is prohibitionist code for “Swedish model”.

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Another jurisdiction officially classifies women as passive objects without agency:

Indianapolis…plans to create a prostitution court…police will still arrest the men and women who engage in prostitution…[bureaucrat] Julie Fidler [said]…”They need mental health counseling…if we are ever to get them out of the life”…”People think it’s just about punishment,” said Sgt. John Daggy…Experts say more than 70 percent of women who engage in prostitution have been sexually molested as children…

Every time his name comes up, I remind readers that one of Daggy’s jobs is to make excuses for cops who rape sex workers.

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

Michelle Chen takes another look at the prohibitionist shitshow that is New York’s “sex trafficking court”:

Jenna Torres was about to start college on the day she was arrested for prostitution.  Then she became a criminal…a lawyer…urged her to plead guilty and participate in the city’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court (HTIC) system…“I never agreed to the things they charged me of, but they arrested me anyway.”  And she agreed to cop a plea and attend court-mandated “treatment” sessions in exchange for having the charges dismissed.  But the criminal procedure cost her more than she imagined.  After cycling through holdings, which left her hospitalized with a urinary-tract infection that Torres attributes to the unsanitary facilities, she wended her way through a few weeks of mandatory counseling sessions…[classes were]…made nearly impossible by her court intervention.  She scrambled between court dates and counseling sessions…By the time she “graduated” from the program, she had dropped school…the city’s scheme to divert sex workers from the criminal-justice system has often further criminalized them, by treating all people arrested for prostitution as one-dimensional victims—presuming that they are undeserving or incapable of asserting power or self-determination over their labor or their bodies…red umbrella ball

Sex Work is Work (#507)

It looks like Huffington Post is slowly turning away from prohibitionism as the wind changes direction; here’s a recent article by Katherine Koster of SWOP offering “a few tips to the media about how to ethically report on sex work“.  The list includes “Stop publishing the mugshots, full names and addresses of people arrested for prostitution”, “Check your source’s stats and research”, “Ask questions, especially about race, class and collateral damage”, “Use multiple sources, and don’t omit relevant information and/or counterpoints”, “Quote people involved in the sex trade, and publish letters and op-eds by current and former sex workers”, and “Stop mis-gendering sex workers, and stop relying on racist and sexist stereotypes”.

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#537)

Three of the five sex workers who publicly alleged that A&E reality series 8 Minutes lied to them filed a lawsuit against the network and Relativity Media…The show purported to help sex workers leave “the life,” but…the show never delivered on its promises, which they said included assistance with employment, housing, and medical needs…Kamylla, Gina, and Jazzy claim breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  In addition, Gina and Jazzy claim invasion of privacy; although she was filmed for the series, no episode with Kamylla was ever broadcast…

A Load of Farley (#570)

Mark Draughn wonders what it would matter if Farley’s latest nonsense claims were true:

…The moral and ethical aspects of specific actions should not be confused with the general moral and ethical tendencies of the individuals who perform them…A bad person doing good things doesn’t make the good things bad…asking whether clients of prostitutes have good attitudes toward women is missing the point.  Prostitution is labor if the women get paid and choose to do it of their own free will, it’s abuse if the women get abused, and if the women are forced into it, it’s rape and human trafficking.  We don’t need to do social surveys to get this right. What we need to do is make sure that sex workers are free to choose, and then we need to trust that they will make the best choices about who they accept as clients.

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You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred.  Ask yourself, What do we want in this country above all?  People want to be happy, isn’t that right?…Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo.  Burn it.  White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Burn it.  Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs?  The cigarette people are weeping?  Burn the book.  Serenity, Montag.  Peace, Montag.  Take your fight outside.  Better yet, to the incinerator.  –  Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

books cause thoughtThough Ray Bradbury was much more a fantasist than a writer of science fiction, in many ways his predictions about the society of the future have proven far more prescient than those of his contemporaries whose writings are more grounded in hard science.  One striking example is his depiction of future homes and cities as being constantly inundated by music, synthetic voices and fast-changing video images from huge screens and loud speakers in every conceivable location; the TV screens which start playing commercials when one passes them in a store are straight out of Bradbury, as are the video players we carry in our pockets and the earbuds and bluetooth sets in our ears.  Most science fiction writers depicted future people as being better-informed and more scientifically literate; Bradbury realized they would, if anything, be less so.  And while typical 20th-century literary dystopias featured top-down censorship by totalitarian governments who wanted to wanted to keep their citizens in the dark for political reasons, Bradbury alone understood that the censorship of the future would be lateral, grass-roots efforts pushed by ignorant citizens who wanted to remain ignorant and unchallenged by ideas which unsettled them.

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.  And just as they may have been shamed as children for “bad” thoughts, so they seek to shame others who originate such thoughts; sometimes these censors go beyond mere shaming to the desire to punish the Bad People, and often that punishment can be career-destroying or even life-wrecking.

But it’s not completely limited to universities, nor to insular corners of social media; as I wrote in last year’s essay for Banned Books Week (which in case you hadn’t figured it out from the topic, starts today):

…the urge to censor actually is [not]…limited to those traditionally labeled “social conservatives”…nowadays, the most belligerent, aggressive and effective proponents of censorship are those who…describe their targets with words like “sexist”, “racist”, “homophobic”, “objectifying”, etc…promoters of this chic form of censorship very often don’t call for the direct government suppression of their targets; that would, after all, be censorship, and every thinking person knows censorship is bad.  So instead, they just “critique” the things they want banned and sling ad hominems like “misogynistic” at their targets’ creators, hoping to make them so radioactive in the public mind that risk-averse corporations will refuse to fund them…this isn’t technically censorship in the strictest traditional sense of the word, because it isn’t being forcibly executed by a political authority.  Neither is Operation Choke Point direct criminalization of the businesses it targets; that doesn’t change the fact that those businesses are as effectively suppressed as if they had been criminalized…while [such methods] lack the violence associated with actual criminalization of forbidden ideas, they are still very effective in creating an intellectual soil highly toxic to free expression…

It doesn’t matter whether the excuse is “sin” or “feelings”, or the injured party is conceived of as an individual or collective, or the suppression comes from above or below, or the method is violence or economics; the suppression of thought and speech is evil, tyrannical and socially self-lobotomizing.  As Ryan Holiday wrote in The Observer,

Your feelings are your problem, not mine—and vice versa.  Real empowerment and respect is to see our fellow citizens…as adults.  Human beings are not automatons—ruled by drives and triggers they cannot control.  On the contrary, we have the ability to decide not to be offended.  We have the ability to discern intent.  We have the ability to separate someone else’s actions or provocation or ignorance from our own.  This is the great evolution of consciousness—it’s what separates us from the animals…

Up until recently, Western society was built upon the premise that citizens were self-owning adults capable of self-determination and self-regulation, but as citizenship has been expanded over the last century and a half, the rights associated with it have been dramatically curtailed.  As detailed exhaustively in this blog, modern governments believe they own citizens’ bodies and can control what we do with them to a terrifying degree; now our fellow citizens are trying to control what we can do with our minds.  That is a two-pronged recipe for cultural suicide, and though it may be much too late to avert that, I consider it the duty of every freethinking, self-owning individual to do his or her best to at least go down fighting.Fahrenheit 451 woman

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We have to send a message to our kids.  –  politician Ann Rivers

Now that Jae’s in a proper hospital in Seattle, I had a little more time to work on my blog and I’m going to try my best to get ahead a little if possible.  The video below is not recent, but it just came to my attention this wek and it’s so weird that…well, see for yourself.  The links above it are from Carol FentonCharles Hill,  Mike SiegelRadley Balko, and Lenore Skenazy in that order, less “slow torture”.

From the Archives

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