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Diary #459

Though my Bay Area screening was a success, several things definitely did not go smoothly.  The screening audience was very engaged and I was joined in a Q&A afterward by veteran activist Kristen DiAngelo (American Courtesans); before the show I also recorded a podcast interview for my hosts, the Prostasia Foundation.  The next day I met one of my regular readers for a coffee date, then had a lovely overnight with one of my favorite gentlemen.  Also, the problem with my fundraiser was resolved, so at least I didn’t have to use personal money to pay my hotel and all (if you’d like to help me in future travels, please donate).  Those are the parts that went well; it was all the nonhuman factors which gave me trouble!  As regular readers know, I fly for free thanks to Ghost Rider, but that means flying standby and sometimes getting bumped to steerage, and if things are really overbooked it can mean getting bumped off of a flight entirely.  Well, last Monday I flew first class to LAX, but it looked like I was going to be bumped off of my flight to SFO until the very last minute (when they managed to get me onto the flight, apparently due to someone else’s missed connection).  At the screening Tuesday, we had some kind of glitch wherein the sound got about a second out of synch with the picture and the projectionist apparently could not resolve it; the theater made up to us by refunding part of our fees, and if you were in the audience and felt distracted, we will give you a free download (just email me for details).  Then on Wednesday afternoon, Ghost Rider (who keeps an eye on flight loads when he knows I’ll be traveling) let me know that it didn’t look good for the next day; we decided the best bet was for me to try to follow through with my original itinerary, but to understand it might not work out.  That turned out to be an understatement; by the time I got to the airport, my standby position for the flight had dropped from one to nine, on an already-overbooked plane.  Consulting with the gate agent revealed that, partly due to spring break traffic and partly to the genius who decided to repair a runway during the day (thus resulting in dozens of cancelled flights), there was no way to get a seat out of San Francisco for love or money.  Every flight on every airline out of SFO, San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento, flying to Seattle, Portland and even Everett (on Alaska Air) through every hub in the US was overbooked for both Thursday and Friday.  But I was in a good mood and mentally prepared for the eventuality; Priceline gave me a one-way car rental, SFO to Seattle, for only $130; I booked it, drove out of the parking garage about 2 pm, and I pulled into my driveway in Seattle at 12:45 (that included two refueling stops).  Definitely not an ideal situation, but in the days before I learned how to control my vertigo I did a lot of long-distance driving; the worst part about it was losing a whole day of writing time.  And it takes more than stupid bureacrats & drunk students to stop me from getting where I need to go!

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I’ve noticed an annoying trend of late:  people including my screen name on Twitter so as to summon me into an argument they’re having with prohibitionist wackos.  Please don’t do that.

No, that isn’t nearly strong enough: Don’t Fucking Do That.

There are a number of reasons why this is a colossally bad idea, but I’m just going to list a few of them.  First, I don’t debate prohibitionists because it lends them credibility and gives them a platform from which to regale people with their nasty “sex trafficking” wanking fantasies, yet accomplishes absolutely nothing positive because the head of a prohibitionist is “so stuffed with the reality-denying rubbish of his belief system that there is no room for facts“.  Next, I’ve already been over all this territory hundreds of times, and it’s an obscene waste for me to even be asked to “restate the content of my entire professional oeuvre in convenient 140-character sound bites” when it’s all right here on my blog.  I’m not a fucking monkey to dance for the amusement of internet randos with absolutely no power to change bad laws, nor am I an attack dog to be whistled up to dispatch annoyances you could easily just mute as I do.  It isn’t just that these people aren’t offering to compensate me for my valuable time, though obviously that’s bad enough; it’s also that (and this may be the most important point) I don’t fucking accept being told what to do by anybody, and the best way to get me not to do something is to demand, order, threaten, or attempt to trick, shame or intimidate me into doing it (and don’t even think of using reverse psychology on me, either).  I’ve always been this way; it’s one of the reasons my mother and I never got along, and why I so often ended up in the principal’s office despite being a straight-A student and a basically well-behaved kid, why no square job other than librarian ever lasted more than six months, and why every husband, boyfriend & male friend I’ve ever had has yelled at me at least once for flying up in a cop’s face.  I do not acknowledge that anyone has “legitimate” authority over me, so the second anyone acts as though they’re entitled to my time, energy, resources or (especially) obedience, any chance of their getting what they want goes down the toilet.  You want something from me?  Ask nicely, in private, and offer to compensate me.  But if the request is “please come beat up these idiots for me”, I’ll most likely just point out that it’s impossible to reason someone ought of a position he didn’t reason himself into, and suggest you mute them rather than letting them steal your time and energy.

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Back Issue #69

If a woman takes any form of compensation from a man that he would not have given but for their sexual relationship, she is a whore whether she admits it or not.  –  “How to Be a Stupid, Greedy Whore

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Last week I drove  up to Vancouver for the Canadian premiere of The War on Whores.  Though the screening was Wednesday evening, my producer, Paul Johnson, suggested I drive up on Tuesday in case of some delay at the border.  There was no substantial delay on the way there, but on my return trip Thursday I was delayed for almost two bloody hours at the border because…who knows?  The line was absolutely motionless for almost an hour, then finally started to creep forward in the way such lines are wont to do.  But that nuisance couldn’t ruin my mood, which was high due to the success of our screening and panel discussion afterward, in which I was joined by veteran Vancouver sex worker activist Kerry Porth, and Svend Robinson, Canada’s first openly-gay MP (who retired from Parliament in 2004 but is now running for office again).  Friday was a day of catching up, and then on Sunday I started my new GoFundMe to help cover the movie’s promotional costs!  My next screening will be at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA at 7:30 pm, Tuesday, April 9th.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance.  I hope to see all of my Bay Area fans there!

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No sooner was SASS over than my travel schedule began to populate!  As of right now, the next two public screenings of The War on Whores that I know of are 7:30 PM March 20th at 151 W Cordova St in Vancouver, BC; and 4 PM April 29th at the Centennial Student Union, Minnesota State University, Mankato MN.  For the Vancouver show, tickets are $15 at the door and you can reserve seats by email.  I don’t know the details for Minnesota State yet.  Immediately after that appearance I’ll be speaking at the Libertarian Party of Illinois convention on May 4th; while in Chicago I’d like to do a screening, so if you can help with that please let me know.  We’ve also got irons in the fire for Washington, DC; New York City; Providence, RI; Orlando, FL; St. Louis, MO; and some other places, and if you’d like to see a screening in your city please let me know so we can get working on it.  Well, so Paul Johnson can get working on it, anyhow; he’s better than I am at that sort of thing.  In case you’re wondering what this picture has to do with all this, the answer is “nothing”; it’s just a picture Grace took of me with my late, beloved Friday in late June, 2012.  I was thinking about her last week, so I decided to share it.

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Harris’s contempt for sex workers lies at the heart of her hypocrisy.  –  Stephen Lemons

Feminine Pragmatism 

Wherever there are men making money, there will be enterprising women working to get some of it:

Mongolia’s mining boom started in the early 2000s and mining now accounts for around 20 per cent of Mongolia’s gross domestic product.  The growth…has created a spike in internal migration to mining areas – most notably Ömnögovi…The coal route from the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit to the Chinese border is synonymous with sex work fuelled by the mining industry…In contrast to the stigma…in the city…the border area [i]s accepting and open…four or five women travel to the border area with a driver and rent a ger (a traditional round felted tent) to stay…If [truck] drivers don’t have cash, they pay in fuel: 40 or 50 litres of diesel for one act, 100 litres for one hour.  The women then resell the fuel when they can…Ulaanbaatar…is [by contrast] a harsh environment for women working in the trade…sex [workers] in…sauna[s] in the capital…[are beaten by] police and customers…ultra-nationalists target sex workers on the street and shave their heads to disgrace them…

Despite the obligatory “sex trafficking” disinformation and nonsense sprinkled throughout, the article is not a bad look at sex work in a part of the world few Westerners know anything about.

See No Evil (#25)

Are the Japanese the only people left on Earth who can tell fantasy from reality?

The United Nations has proposed an international initiative…to tighten…restrictions and prohibition of…child pornography…However…child pornography…”is defined…as ‘any representation of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities…includ[ing]…visual material such as photographs, movies, drawings and cartoons…including when…such material represents…non-existing children”…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

One South Carolina [politician] is working to shut down massage parlors…Mandy Powers Norrell proposed legislation that could close those places for good.  “It will give labor, licensing, and regulation the authority to close them down and prosecute any [women] found there,” [she bloviated]…

Policing for Profit

Cops will never stop doing this as long as the state keeps giving them pretexts:

…In case after case, [motorists were robbed by cops claiming]…the cash was found near drugs.  Yet few…ever were arrested.   They were caught in one of the most aggressive [robbery] operations in [South Carolina, where the]…police…[stole] nearly $50,000 from…motorists over a two-year period…$135 for every person living in Nichols.  That’s six times more per resident than any other police department in the state…

An Example To the West (#636)

Ugandan sex workers demand their rights:

Human and women rights activists have appealed to Members of Parliament not to criminalise prostitution as they debate and pass the pending Sexual Offences Bill of 2015…”These arrests are mostly carried out to solicit bribes from sex workers and harass them.  Few of them get to trial.  The provision, is therefore, unnecessary since it is unenforceable,” [said] Macklean Mary Kyomya…of Alliance of Women Advocating for Change…activists brandished placards reading…”outlaw poverty not prostitution…rights not rescue…my body, my business”…

Secret Squirrel (#686)

Conditioning squares to accept intrusive monitoring of every aspect of their lives:

Devices worn on employees’ bodies are an increasingly valuable source of workforce health intelligence for employers and insurance companies.  It’s fueling a boom in the use of wrist-borne health and fitness monitors such as those made by Fitbit, Garmin and Apple…the information is not covered by federal rules that protect health records from disclosure.  And when it’s combined with data such as credit scores, employees are giving up more insights about themselves than they realize…In general, employees in such programs [“voluntarily”] sign up for digital health monitoring.  They are lured by cash, reduced premiums, or reimbursements for co-payments and deductibles…Fitbit is moving aggressively to sign up companies.  It added a call service that [nag]…workers…via text messages and phone calls…whose data shows they are falling short of their [assigned “fitness goals”]…

You amateurs really think being spied on like this is OK?  No wonder fantasies of whores “enslaved” by exploitative bosses who spy on their every move are so popular; it’s just amateurs projecting their work conditions onto us.

Pyrrhic Victory (#697)

The dystopian future of Minority Report has arrived:

The use of PredPol—a predictive policing software…is far more widespread than previously reported…PredPol claims to use an algorithm to predict crime in specific 500-foot by 500-foot sections of a city, so that police can…surveil specific areas more heavily…PredPol [has] contract[s or] negotiation[s]…with…South Jordan, UT; Mountain View, CA; Atlanta, GA; Haverhill, GA; Palo Alto, CA; Modesto, CA; Merced, CA; Livermore, CA; Tacoma, WA; and the University of California, Berkeley…Los Angeles, Elgin [CA], Oakland [CA], Richmond [CA]…Milpitas [CA]…Santa Cruz, CA; Morgan Hill, CA, Fairfield, CA, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, CA; Campbell, CA; Salinas, CA; Alhambra, CA; Lansing, MI; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Columbia, SC…Manhattan, KS…Little Rock, AK; Kent, England; Reading, PA; “and many more”…Predpol explicitly encourage[s] police departments to dedicate their resources towards petty crime…Shahid Buttar, the Director of Grassroots Advocacy for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)…[explains] it’s impossible to expect unbiased results from predictive policing technology, because the data it analyzes is structurally biased.  Predictive policing is “driven by…data that itself reflects longstanding and pervasive bias…If you overpolice certain communities, and only detect crime within those communities, and then try to provide a heat map of predictions, any AI will predict that crimes will occur in the places that they’ve happened before”…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists are still masturbating to the fantasy that emojis are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

Bay Area prosecutors were trying to prove that a man arrested during a prostitution sting was guilty of pimping charges, and among the [supposed] evidence was a series of Instagram DMs he’d allegedly sent to a woman…with high heels and money bag emoji placed at the end…[a hired gun claiming to be] an expert…in sex trafficking…[fantasized under oath that] the high heels and bags of money supported the interpretation that the defendant was accused of sex trafficking, essentially translating to “wear your high heels to come make some money.”  Another message from the defendant included the crown emoji, which was said to signify that the “pimp is the king”.  Ultimately, the ruling didn’t hinge on the interpretation of emoji, but [that didn’t stop prosecutors from trying to destroy lives based on the masturbatory fantasies of people who’ve never done sex work in their lives]…

Uncommon Sense (#745)

Yet another registration regime fails miserably, as we keep telling y’all:

Only 76 of the reportedly 200,000 women (0.038%) who work as prostitutes in Germany have registered for state services [and of course politicians can’t understand why]…sex workers [can] register for state-run health insurance, pensions and unemployment benefits…[but the price after a new and paternalistic] law was enacted…in 2017 [is] regist[ration with pigs, mandatory “counseling”, prying into their private lives by social workers and compulsory] regular health [inspections]…most prostitutes…register under some different professional category in order to continue working anonymously…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#848)

Never underestimate the human capacity to obsess about things that don’t exist:

…sex robots are rapidly becoming a part of…national [fantasies] about the future of sex and relationships….a number of companies are currently developing [human-shaped sex toys]…with a few already on the market…A 2017 survey suggested almost half of Americans think that having sex with robots will become a common practice within 50 years [the same fraction who think Donald Trump is intelligent and genetically-modified foods are dangerous].  As a [pompous windbag]…I’m interested in the legal and policy questions that sex robots pose…How will [masturbating] with a sex [doll]] affect the human [soul]?  Would sex with a child[-shaped toaster] be ethical?…

These articles are so deeply stupid, I just can’t take them at all seriously any more.  Despite the claims in the title, “sex robots” are not here, and never will be in the form envisioned by both fetishists and prohibitionists.  And the dolls (that’s all they are, silicone dolls) which people insist on incorrectly calling “robots” are inanimate objects which raise no more “ethical issues” than a Baby Alive or a tablet computer.

Held Together With Lies (#858)

We haven’t seen this concentration of ludicrous claims in a couple of years now:

[The rescue industry] is the business of stealing freedom for profit.  [Sex workers labeled against their will as] victims of trafficking are deprived of their basic human rights, dehumanized, brutalized and objectified [by police]…Human trafficking business is [fantasized] to generate $100 billion annually, more than Apple, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Nike combined…there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally…we [masturbate furiously while fantasizing] that there are countless victims, some only young teens…in our own communities…Sex trafficking data is scarce and has many gaps, due to [our making it up as we go]…

As usual, ridiculous numbers are slung about in self-contradictory fashion, mis-citing sources (the 40.3 million fantasy is from the NGO “Walk Free Foundation”, not the ILO as claimed) and claiming knowledge while admitting there is none.  So naturally I had to correct the wording a bit.

Top Cop

Another example of the odiousness of the police-state operative Hillary fans have anointed as their savior:

It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.  That’s what pundits from The Nation to the Washington Post fail to grasp about the onetime romance between former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and California Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris.  Harris’s apologists would have people believe that discussion of the relationship, which occurred two decades ago when Brown held the powerful post of Speaker of the California Assembly and Harris was a lowly deputy district attorney in California’s Alameda County, is sexist, racist, or both.  Viewed in light of Harris’s ongoing war on sex workers, however, her advantageous liaison with Brown indicates that she has no problem applying different rules to herself than she does to others…Maggie McNeill [said]…“I have absolutely nothing against the fact that she used her sexuality to get by in the world…What I do have a problem with, is that having gained that power, she used it to attack other women for doing the same thing”…

Disaster (#909)

The successors of Tumblr:

…with Tumblr’s strict adult-content ban…kinky bloggers fled the site–searching for, and trying to build, new communities.  One of the fastest growing of these sites is relative newcomer newTumbl, which has gained about 40,000 blogs since it launched on December 31.  True to its name, the site closely resembles Tumblr–at least the NSFW parts that are now banned…MojoFire, a site created by members of the BDSM community but aspiring to host all types of content, has not yet launched.  Yet others were already in the works before the Tumblr porn ban and have seen a large influx of refugee bloggers.  For instance, Pillowfort–another site meant for a broad community–has been straining with the arrival of former Tumblr users, forcing it to limit new sign-ups…MakeLoveNotPorn…[has] provided a hub for user-generated “social sex” videos since 2009…

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Diary #452

I thought last week seemed slower than it should’ve been, since the snow was over and the weather is warming up.  So I checked my Eros ad, and discovered that it was not online because someone over there decided my ad (which has been on the site in much the same form for years) violated some of their new and ever-changing “publishing standards”.  This has become the new normal for US escorts; all of our advertising sites are being murdered, committing suicide, dropping dead of sheer terror or else lobotomizing or castrating themselves.  Eros is in the latter category; although it has periodically installed some new and ninnyish changes over the past few years, ever since FOSTA it has gone completely bonkers, inventing new and increasingly-incomprehensible rules and then declining ads for failing to adhere to them, yet refusing to tell advertisers what rule was broken other than “it’s a picture” or “it’s text”.  So all one can do is to guess, make changes based on the guess, resubmit the ad and then wait a day or two for Eros to either post it or decline it again.  I’ve been watching friends deal with this for the past year, and I reckon it was finally my turn; luckily, I’m a good guesser and got it right in only two tries (taking almost a week).  If you’ve had this problem yourself and can’t understand why they won’t tell you what’s going on, I suggest you familiarize yourself with both the text of FOSTA and the prosecution’s rhetoric in the Backpage persecution.  The law now prohibits “knowing” faciltation of sex work, and the government has claimed that Backpage’s telling advertisers WHICH words and pictures were prohibited constitute “knowing” facilitation (this is phrased as “Backpage told pimps how to disguise their sex trafficking ads”).  So Eros is whistling past the graveyard, thinking that the government won’t simply change the rules again when they feel like it.  And the sooner I can broaden my media exposure to the point where Eros (and every other ad platform) is superfluous to my income generation, the happier I’ll be.

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