Every year on her feast day, I honor St. Mary Magdalene; even though the Church does not officially recognize her as the patron of whores, she certainly is in the public imagination. And that recognition of sacred whoredom is far more important than any official designation by any organization.
Posts Tagged ‘holidays’
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. 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.
The apparent path of the sun reached its northernmost point at 22:34 UTC last night; this is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest in the Southern. Happy Litha, dear readers, and Blessed Be!
They’re losing, and they know it. They’re going to double down on their efforts, and the number of pogroms will increase in order to “teach us our place”. And that just means we need to hold the course all the more. – “Turning Point”
Forty-one years ago today, the sex worker rights movement began in earnest with the occupation of the Church of St. Nizier in Lyon, France. And though our momentum was destroyed when the anti-sex feminists took over the mainstream feminist movement during the initial AIDS crisis, support for sex workers’ rights slowly increased; by the turn of the century legal restrictions were being loosened in many countries, and decriminalization became an attainable goal in others. But as I wrote in “Awakening“,
Unfortunately, the prohibitionists are not stupid; they noticed that there had been a sea change in public opinion against interfering in private sexual arrangements between consenting adults, and so created the “sex trafficking” hysteria as a means of rallying the public behind criminalization again. As the “Nation Strategy” of Swanee Hunt’s Demand Abolition organization states, “Framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support and to stimulate stronger opposition.” In other words, “since people now recognize it’s wrong for the government to stick its nose into private bedrooms, we have to pretend this is really about something else.”
The prohibitionists’ strategy was wildly successful; in collusion with the US government they set off a moral panic which has gripped almost the entire world for over 12 years now, resulting in a reversal of many of the gains activists had made, and a cascade of increasingly-horrible laws clearly designed to implement a “War on Whores” to replace the moribund “War on Drugs”. But no moral panic lasts forever, and not everyone gets caught up the hysteria in the first place; as I predicted four years ago, wiser heads have slowly collected the evidence necessary to debunk every last prohibitionist claim. That summer the wind started to shift in our favor again as organization after organization came out in favor of decriminalization, and last summer we passed our watershed moment when Amnesty International joined those voices. Even the staunchly-prohibitionist New York Times has begun to see the light, and in the wake of Amnesty’s exhaustive pro-decriminalization report the prohibitionists are absolutely beside themselves with fury. Already, those both in and out of government are ramping up the persecutions against us, but these are nothing but the temper tantrums of frustrated authoritarians. On this 41st annual International Whores’ Day, we have more to celebrate than we’ve had in my entire lifetime: We are winning at last. And there’s not a damn thing the prohibitionists can do about it.
When the day at last comes that we win our right to live and work free from state violence, you will know that you helped that happen. – “Luck Has Nothing To Do With It”
Today is Friday the 13th, which as longtime readers know is the day I ask non-sex workers to speak up for us. Some years have as many as three of these special Fridays, but this is the only one this year; if you need suggestions on what to say, I suggest you consult this column I wrote for the occasion way back in 2012. And if you do write something, please let me know and I’ll add a link to it below (and tweet it as well). I do, however, recognize that some people simply can’t stick their heads above the parapet enough to write or speak openly about this, despite the fact that it’s quickly becoming more socially acceptable to do so; if you’re in that position, you can still help by donating money, something sex worker rights organizations are always in need of. There are such organizations in every country; since I firmly believe that charity begins at home, I urge you to donate to help sex workers in your own land first. In the US, SWOP can always use help, and I recently called attention to SWOP Behind Bars, which accepts donations of books for incarcerated sex workers. I don’t understand why she felt the need to adopt such a critical tone, but Melinda Chateauvert published a good list of sex worker organizations in need of all the funding they can get, and Red Light Legal is down to the last few days in its attempt to raise $15,000 to provide legal assistance to sex workers. Of course, there are plenty of individual sex workers you could assist, such as the heroic Heather Saul, who took out a serial killer who would otherwise have killed many other women. And if you can’t think of anyone else, you could always send me a little something via PayPal. It doesn’t so much matter what you do today, as long as you do something to promote sex worker rights; write, speak, donate, spread the word or all of the above. And I’m going to try to spend as much time as possible retweeting today, so if you write something or have a sex worker fund you want promoted, please mention me on Twitter so I can promote it for you!
Though most outside the Germanc & Scandinavian countries have forgotten, May Eve (AKA Walpurgisnacht) was once considered the springtime counterpart to Halloween. In fact, Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” describes a legendary occurrence on May Eve, the demon-king Chernobog’s summoning the spirits of the dead to dance for him. This legend is of course the basis for the last sequence in Disney’s Fantasia, but since Disney pursues “unauthorized” videos fairly aggressively I prefer not to deal with it; besides, I’m not really fond of the fade into an excerpt from Schubert’s “Ave Maria” at the end. So I’m just going to share some concept art from Fantasia with a recording of the unedited “Night on Bald Mountain” below. If you’d like to celebrate with some other creepy stuff, take a look at last year’s “Tricks and Treats“, my most recent thanatopsis “A Necessary End“, and the horror tales I’ve penned in the meantime, last month’s “Windows of the Soul” and this month’s “Knock, Knock, Knock“. And if you’ve never seen The Wicker Man (1973) or would like to rewatch it, now’s the time; it’s also set in the days leading up to May Day.