Posts Tagged ‘holidays’
The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts. They shoot for the baroque. – Philip K. Dick, Valis
For years, many of y’all have been urging me to get more rest, take a few breaks, maybe even not post every day. And while the latter is out of the question, the more observant among you (especially those who have been hanging around here for years) have almost certainly noticed that I’ve done a lot to lighten my workload. The time and energy I used to use to prepare one weekly news column now produces two; my weekly diary is often quite short and requires little effort to write; Q&A columns flow naturally in response to reader questions and are thus comparatively low-effort; links columns grow from scanning Twitter and thus almost write themselves; I no longer do research-intensive essays (partly thanks to Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who has become the Queen of Debunking); fictional interludes have become occasional rather than monthly; and holidays are now represented by the online equivalent of greeting cards. But there was still one holiday I always poured considerable effort into, and that one is today, April Fool’s Day. I’ve always enjoyed gently hoaxing y’all, and longtime readers may remember that some of the pranks were fairly elaborate. But at least for now, I feel it’s time to retire that six-year tradition.
It’s not only to reduce my stress levels, however; it’s also because hoaxes just aren’t fun any more. The internet is full of parody news sites which, unlike The Onion, Clickhole and Reductress, make no effort to be amusing or witty; they just print stupid shit that isn’t true and yet isn’t silly enough to be distinguished from the actual absurdities published by the mainstream news sites. Furthermore, even the “real” news media are positively riddled with idiotic nonsense about “sex trafficking”, the “War on Cops”, supposed “epidemics” of things that are actually less common than they’ve ever been, and other tall tales that could be easily debunked by ten fucking minutes on Google if reporters actually cared to practice journalism rather than stenographically reporting every moronic, impossible and self-serving lie vomited out by cops, politicians, prohibitionists and all the other bipedal vermin who glut themselves on others’ suffering and profit from human misery. Mathematically-impossible, scientifically-illiterate and sociologically-absurd poppycock too ridiculous for a ’50s science fiction B-movie is routinely presented as fact even by “respected” sources like The New York Times, and politicians base laws on fantasies roughly as credible as the contents of Malleus Maleficarum, complete with penalties that would’ve found approval from those who employed that book. Clowns are widely presented as objects of terror (and are the subject of a recurring moral panic), which perhaps makes sense given that our rulers are themselves violent clowns who send forth armed thugs in clownish costumes to terrorize, rape, rob and murder the populace based on excuses Caligula himself might recognize as mad. And their cringing subjects attempt to impose order on a world gone completely insane by artificially dividing their overlords into teams, swearing fealty to one of those teams and then obstinately ignoring all the evil done by “their” leaders while blaming the other side for everything no matter what the facts show. In short, we live in a world in which the highest points are all occupied by professional full-time fools, and it seems pointless for a sane person to even attempt to compete with them.
The apparent path of the sun crossed the equator moving northward at the moment this column posted, 10:29 UTC, signaling the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern. Enjoy the milder weather to come, and Blessed Be!
I told you that I was going to be doing a lot more hands-on activism, and…you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. – “The ‘Active’ in ‘Activism’”
In the two years since I moved to Seattle, I’ve been a lot more hands-on in my sex worker rights activities; whereas in the past I mostly just wrote about the subject, now I also speak in public, give lots of interviews, participate in protests, speak to politicians and try to amplify as many other voices on the subject as possible. And when I sat down to write this year’s column recognizing Sex Worker Rights Day (which is today), I realized that it’s no longer possible to cleanly divide my private life from my activism. Whereas seven years ago most of the people I dealt with regularly had no idea I was a sex worker, now it would be much easier to count the number who don’t than the ones who do. Those few friends who aren’t whores themselves certainly know I’m one, as do the majority of the professionals I deal with (my accountant, my hairdresser, my doctors, my manicurist, etc, etc), and even when strangers ask what I do for a living I generally tell them; the few exceptions are usually when I’m in a social situation with a friend who isn’t out to the others in that situation, or when dealing with people who might hassle me if they knew the truth (like officials). Indeed, very few people now call me anything but Maggie; it was actually a little odd to hear Grace using my legal name when she came to visit at Christmas. But this really isn’t surprising; if anything, it’s the natural outcome of the mission I took on when I started this blog. I wanted to demystify the demimonde, to shine light into the shadows that let prohibitionists spread their lies about us so successfully. As I’ve said so often in interviews and speeches, the movement for gay & lesbian rights didn’t start to gain traction until enough queer people were “out” that most people realized that they knew and perhaps even loved someone queer; it will be the same for sex worker rights. And while I don’t blame any sex worker living under a criminalized or “legalized” regime for keeping her silence, it’s imperative that those of us who have less to lose be as “out” as we can manage under our individual circumstances. I have no spouse to embarrass, no children who could be taken from me, no family I’m not already estranged from, no future career plans that could be torpedoed by an employer discovering my history of harlotry. And while no sex worker is safe while any of us are considered criminals, I have less personally to lose than many others and so I’m proud to be both visible and respected for my work, without shame or fear. The tide has turned and the wind is shifting; sex workers are more visible than we’ve ever been, and nobody without power hunger, profit motive, or a personal ax to grind is in favor of criminalization any more. In a way, the “sex trafficking” hysteria was an early symptom that we’re winning; since our opponents couldn’t credibly portray us as villains any more, they turned to casting us as victims. And now that narrative, too, is failing, as reasonable people everywhere realize that criminalization makes things worse for those in bad situations. The day is coming when the prohibitions will start to fall like dominoes, and when it does I’ll be even more proud to know that I was one of those who helped knock that first one over.
As longtime readers know, Valentine’s Day is my least favorite of holidays, and I’m not particularly fond of the typical iconography associated with it, either. So every year I try to share an exception, like this Robert Patterson calendar girl from 1952. Enjoy!