Posts Tagged ‘Parasites’

Denying that sex work is work means…talking over the very people who are most knowledgeable about their industry.  –  Tara Msiska

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Methinks Mr. Hendricks typed this one-handed:

…David Hendricks [said]…”we see…torture that we would see at a POW camp…the tattooing of victims…sends a message to other pimps, ‘This is my property’…”  Hendricks went onto explain that every facet of a…trafficking [victim’s life] is controlled, including if they can eat, when they can return home, and who they can communicate with.  A growing sector of the sex workers in Long Beach—largely affiliated with gangs…are usually in a group of about a half-dozen women under one dominating male, who then requires a set amount of dollars to be made per female, typically in the range of $500 to $700 per day…

A False Dichotomy

Take a look at the claims above, and compare with the reality:  “The 24-year-old Hungarian woman [willingly worked but]…when she told Istvan Toth she wanted to return to Hungary he…threatened her, causing her to fear for her family’s safety.  So she began recording conversations and taking photographs, and…confided in two of her clients,The Weird who offered to pay for her to stay in a hostel…”  So much for barcode tattoos, evil clients and “controlled communication”.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received Christopher Lee’s Omnibus of Evil as a late birthday present (delayed in customs) from Kevin Wilson, and The Weird as an early Christmas present from Daz.  Thank you both so much!

Because We Say So (TW3 #19)

Remember those low-caste Nepalese women who were criminalized at the urging of prohibitionists in order to “save” them?

…The government-pledged alternative livelihood programme…was never implemented…Badi women continue to work as sex workers.  Many of them go to India…“If the government cannot provide us jobs, education and health services then it could at least lift the ban on prostitution,” said Soni Badi, adding that they would vote [for] the candidate ready to legalise…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #36)

If only American celebrities were so principled:

The singer Antoine brought together over seventy [French] celebrities around a “simple statement to moderate tone…Without condoning or promoting prostitution, we reject the criminalization of…prostitutes and those who use their services, and ask to open a real debate without ideological bias…Why does the Special Committee…include so many abolitionists?  Why do they not consider…prostitutes’ choice?…It is time to give them the same rights as other workers”…

Here’s more criticism of the proposed law from Reason and Al-Jazeera.

Hard Numbers (TW3 #37)

on June 14, 2012, Rio’s…Police…rounded up prostitutes, staff and the owner [of Centaurus, and]…seized $150,000 in cash…police filmed the raid, threatening to leak the footage to the local media thereby exposing the women’s identities unless they handed over more money.  Thaddeus Blanchette, an anthropologist who has documented prostitution in Rio since 2004, is not surprised by this.  “Blackmail accompanying raids is not uncommon,” he reveals.  “It is one of the reasons why I am skeptical of using the police as neutral agents in the combating of trafficking.”  Centaurus was one of over 20 popular sex venues to be shut down in the period surrounding the Rio+20 Conference…Raids continue…as Brazil steps up its image-cleansing campaign ahead of the World Cup…despite the fact that exchanging sex for money is legal in Brazil and prostitution has been recognized as an official occupation…since 2002…

King of the Hill

Texas is so angry at claims it’s behind Georgia, California and New York in “sex trafficking” that it’s unveiled a new strategy to ensure its #1 position: claiming a bogus fraction of all “sex trafficking victims” rather than a mere ranking:

With an estimated 25 percent of the nation’s sex trafficking victims hailing from the Lone Star State, Texas [congressmen] John Cornyn and…Ted Poe led an effort…to punish “Johns” as harshly as “pimps”…proposed legislation…would impose penalties of 15 years to life on convicted customers…of sex slaves younger than 14 years old…Poe…[claimed] 300,000 sex trafficking cases [are] prosecuted each year….the proposal would [net the government] $15 million…a year from convicted traffickers’ seized assets and fines…

gold star for effortThere haven’t even been 300,000 “trafficking” prosecutions in the entire world since the panic started a decade ago; of course the reporter couldn’t be bothered to fact-check that.  An Illinois politician is also on the bandwagon, but all he can say is that his state is “a hub”, which is pretty pathetic if you ask me.  Still, he did inflate 3% to 33% and 14% to 62%, and insert a bogus “safe harbor” provision into the bill, so I suppose we should award him a little gold star for effort.

Misdirection (TW3 #40)

[American] public schools—even ones that teach comprehensive sex education—invite religious abstinence speakers to come in…and…spread [disinformation]…one…said, “If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you” and claimed she could tell which teenagers are promiscuous by looking at them…she also asserts that the HPV vaccine “only works on virgins”…[another] said…that if a guy gets sperm anywhere near a girl’s vagina, it will turn into a “little Hoover vacuum” and she will become pregnant…


More anti-guest-post-spammer genius from Popehat:

…[Teaching] children…to love and cherish and squeal over ponies…is like teaching [them] that whirling sawblades taste like Strawberry Quik…Children love games, particularly video games with eerie bug-eyed avatars and art styles out of the methadone nightmares of Japanese pornographers, so…in…our proposed dress-up game — tentatively titled PONIES LAUGH WHILE THEY KILL EVERYONE YOU LOVE…players could choose amongst different outfits suitable for a post-pony-apocalypse, including gnawed tatters, wretched tear-stained shifts, and gowns slick and dark with the blood of their cherished grandparents…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #51) Alyssa Brame

no criminal charges [will] be filed in the death of Alyssa Brame, who was arrested…for allegedly offering to perform a sex act…for $40 and died of alcohol poisoning in a jail cell.  The five [Massachusetts cops] who [arrested]…her…claimed she did not appear…overly intoxicated, but by the time she was taken to the police station she couldn’t walk on her own, and cops there debated whether she was too drunk to be accused of offering sex for money…

Little Boxes (TW3 #135)

Another example of the “limited hours for massage parlors” fad:

…”We’ve been able to identify in excess of 200 victims of human trafficking…in the massage parlors”…said Sgt. Curt Chastain…the new ordinance would…[force them] to provide a…license from the California Massage Therapy Council…it would also limit hours of operation from 7am to 9pm, prohibit doors from being locked during business hours and require visibility from the street into the massage parlor…

The City of Fresno claims to have “identified” more “sex trafficking victims” than several huge operations were able to find in the entire United Kingdom.


Another claim that disasters cause harlotry:

…an aide to…Britain’s international development secretary…said…”After previous emergencies…we have seen an increase in…the trafficking of girls”…after the earthquake in Haiti…sexual abuse and exploitation were widespread…because women and girls could not obtain the goods and services they needed to survive…during the 2011 drought in…Africa, families married off daughters…as young as nine to pay their dowries…before their livestock died…

So we have the conflation of survival sex with rape and child marriage, all boxed up together and tied with a “trafficking” ribbon.

Big Sister (Extra Edition)

The lawyer…for the…champagne club…closed…on suspicion of procurement of prostitution…has accused the Reykjavík police of entrapment…police reportedly spent ISK 800,000…in champagne and time with the women and offered them money and cocaine in return for sex but to no avail…

Remember, taking money for sex isn’t illegal in Iceland, but offering money is.  So the cops broke the law and spent $6,600 (€4,900) trying to entrap women into doing something that isn’t illegal.Daily Mail 11-18-13 (cheering for censorship)

Opting Out

Husbands who like to watch pornography on the internet will have to confess to their wives and ask for permission, David Cameron said today.  Under Tory “moral guidelines”, people who want to view pornography…will need to actively “opt-in” with their internet service providers…It is not just pornography…but also…material related to alcohol, drugs, smoking, and politically extremist material – in what many are describing as the Great Firewall of Britain…politicians and civil servants will decide what is pornography and…what political views are “extremist”…In order to push…censorship, Cameron has continually conflated…child pornography with legal adult material…[despite the fact that child porn is] shared on the “dark web”…and therefore…this erosion of digital freedoms will have no effect on the very problem it is being proposed to solve…

The worst part about loathsome ideas, though, is that politicians learn from one another:  “Joy Smith hopes to emulate…David Cameron’s web censor plan…and…is…suggesting a great Canadian internet filter…

Bad Girls (TW3 #339)

When will guys learn cheating hookers is a really bad idea?  And when will hookers learn to get the money up front?

…a…[Malaga] man…went to a…brothel…[and] decided to engage in an orgy with three prostitutes…[Afterward] the women demanded €70 each…but the man refused to pay one of them…[she then] pulled out a knife and slashed the man’s genitalia…“Everything went well but doctors told me I was very close to dying or being impotent for the rest of my life…”

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #341)

Another example of the real and ugly motive behind the Swedish model’s pretense of “protecting” women:  “The mayor of Oslo has called on the Norway’s new government to look at making prostitution illegal, after women were reported to be selling sex outside the parliament building…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (TW3 #342)

In Sanford, Florida, police are already sending…notices…[to] owners of cars that cops see ‘lingering in areas known for prostitution.’   The goal here isn’t to arrest would-be Johns…[but] to embarrass these guys should their wives open the letters.  That gets a lot easier with license plate scanners…”  And as Radley Balko explains, it gets much worse from there. San Antonio 4

Traffic Jam (TW3 #343)

The San Antonio Four are free at last:

Three women who served more than a decade in prison for allegedly molesting two girls were set…free…after…recent scientific advances undermined medical testimony pivotal to their convictions.  Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Elizabeth Ramirez were…released on bond…pending a decision…on whether to grant them a new trial.  If that happens, the…District Attorney…will decline to prosecute them, and their convictions would be overturned…

The fourth, Anna Vasquez, was already out on parole.

Across the Pond (TW3 #343)

Delusional Scottish officials imagine that raiding saunas will force dirty whores to take menial jobs:  “A job club for sauna workers is being launched – to help women find work…the…proposal…is designed to cater [to] an expected flood of women away from the industry…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #345)

Another criticism of “sex ray” idiocy:

…For every…case…in…the press, there are many [former sex workers] who are fired…without us ever hearing about it…people…have been fired for camming, pro-domming, stripping and] phone sex [work]…people…[don’t list] sex work…on their CVs…because employers…don’t see sex work as work…by firing people for previous or current sex work, employers are making them unemployable, and actually forcing them to return to the very industry they have moral scruples against…

The More the Better (TW3 #345)

This follow-up to Business Insider’s quasi-review of Sheri’s Ranch is about as awful and tone-deaf as it’s possible for an anti-criminalization article to be; it leads off with the usual “heavily regulated” garbageArizona's tenacious laws against sex workers that (as regular readers know) never works as intended, continues with the vile “whores are too stupid and criminal to take care of their own health without being forced to by their betters” trope, and even throws in a “rent out their bodies” for good measure.  But at least they’re trying, and I suppose that’s something.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #346)

By the time last week’s TW3 had posted, Al-Jazeera had censored the article which was harshly critical of Arizona’s horrible treatment of sex workers; it was later replaced with this puff piece dishonestly back-dated to pretend it was the original.  Fortunately, nothing ever completely vanishes from the internet; I found a cached copy of the original and took this screenshot of it for posterity.  I guess it’s one thing to criticize bad data and a wholly different thing to question a police state, unless it’s France.

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Man is the only animal which esteems itself rich in proportion to the number and voracity of its parasites.  –  George Bernard Shaw

If you haven’t read yesterday’s column, do so before reading this one or you won’t really understand.  As I explained then, popular bloggers often get email from parasites asking to contribute guest posts; they always look something like this:

Hello Maggie,

re:  https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/were-not-done-yet/

I write for an online education website that is focused on providing information to current and prospective students looking to take some classes online.

Historically, higher education has been the realm of the bourgeoisie, but this is changing as more people gain access to education through online avenues and free resources. I recently read a piece by NPR that told the story of a girl, Naylea Omayra Villanueva Sanchez, who was wheelchair bound and living in the Amazon, but was still attending college through the free University of the People.

In light of this article, I would love to add to the discussion by contributing a post to your blog. I want to focus on the potential, and potential limitations, of free university education, keeping different fields of study in mind.

Here is a link to a writing sample and my resource, take a look and get a feel for my writing style.

Looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks in advance.



Though the letter pretends to be from an individual it was clearly sent by a robot; I receive many of these, all of very similar construction except for the topics, and though it pretends to have read my blog the referenced post was clearly chosen via keyword or some such strategy (it’s an update column, not a cohesive essay).  The follow-ups which come a couple of weeks later are all identically worded except for the signature, sending address and subject line:

Hi Maggie,

I wanted to follow up with you and make sure you had received my email I sent a little bit ago regarding my blog post idea.

Let me know your thoughts, I would love to work with you. Do not hesitate to get back to me with any questions!

Best regards,

{insert female name here}

As I explained yesterday, I was inspired by Ken White from Popehat to reply to these after receiving five of them in one afternoon; though I think Ken’s are much funnier, I still believe you’ll find my effort amusing.


Rachel Higgins [rachelhiggins711@gmail.com]; Charlotte Kellogg [charlottekellogg10@gmail.com]; Sarah Wenger [sarahwenger97@gmail.com]; Samantha Porter [samantha.porter99@gmail.com]; Alexa Thompson [thompsonalexa6@gmail.com]; Estelle Shumann [Estelle.Shumann@gmail.com]

RE: A Request to Contribute a Blogpost

Dear Rachel, Charlotte, Sarah, Samantha, Alexa and Estelle,

When I first started receiving emails from you and others like you I patiently explained that I’m perfectly capable of writing my own blog posts; in fact, I’ve managed to produce one a day for over two years now, more than 800 in all.  What’s more, an awful lot of people tell me that my writing is exceptional; now, it’s possible that some of those are just trying to get in my pants, but considering the sheer number of such compliments, I think it’s safe to assume that at least some of them are sincere (especially since I happen to share their opinion).  So as you might expect, I really don’t need any help from complete strangers, especially since there is an extremely high statistical likelihood that said strangers’ writing isn’t remotely of the same level of competence as mine.

But the letters just kept coming, so I started to ignore them and continued to do so until today, when five of you emailed me within three hours of one another; you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that all of your emails were exactly the same except for the subject line and signature!  Clearly, this kind of synchronicity cannot be the product of random chance, and since you all have different names and email addresses and certainly wouldn’t try to deceive anyone about being real individuals, I am forced to conclude that the universe is trying to send me a message.

So I have wonderful news for y’all; I have decided that I will indeed allow your guest posts on my blog!  Of course, there are a few minor conditions that I’m sure you’ll understand and will be happy to accept.  Read them over and get back to me, and if you agree to them we can get started at your earliest convenience!

1) Since I know you must have extensively read my blog before sending your kind offers to help me via guest posting, you’ve noticed that its appearance and characteristics are very uniform, and that also goes for guest posts; I haven’t had very many of those, but you will note that when I did I still picked the titles and illustrations myself, and that I provided commentary on each.  I’m sure that, being modern and egalitarian sorts of ladies, y’all wouldn’t want any special treatment, so obviously it won’t be an issue for me to say that I get to entitle each guest post as I see fit, to illustrate it with whatever pictures I think best, and to insert whatever comments or words of explanation I think necessary before, within and after the body of each of them.

2) I schedule tightly and plan my posts weeks ahead of time; furthermore, I have no desire to bore my readers and therefore consider variety very important.  Just as I only publish one of each special feature per month, so I will only publish one guest post per month; however, I will expect all of the posts and the appropriate payment for each as soon as possible, but no later than October 31st in any case because I’ll need them for a special Halloween ritual I have in mind.

3) About that payment:  it’s against WordPress rules for me to take money in exchange for access to my space, but I’m sure you’ll agree that my time and skills are valuable.  In my last job I charged $300 per hour, and obviously you wouldn’t want me to settle for less than that.  It should take roughly two hours to format, illustrate, publish and index each of your posts; sometimes, though, it takes a while to find a really fitting epigram, and on top of that I have to moderate any comments made on the post (which might trickle in for weeks afterward).  So really, I think 3 hours would be a conservative estimate; therefore I’ll ask $900 per guest post, paid in advance via Paypal or Green Dot Card.  This money is only for time and effort, and no other offer is implied nor should it be inferred.

4) One more thing:  I’m sure you’ll understand that my safety is important, so I’ll need to screen each of you; please provide your full legal names, addresses, telephone numbers and places of employment so I can make sure you are who you say you are.  Don’t worry, I’ll be very discreet; you won’t even know I checked.

Well, that’s about it; let me know your thoughts, because I would love to work with you.  Do not hesitate to get back to me with any questions!

Maggie McNeill
The Honest Courtesan

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And what would you have me do?
Seek for the patronage of some great man,
And like a creeping vine on a tall tree
Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone?
  –  Edmund Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac

I really, really hate parasites; there’s just something inherently revolting about creatures that feed off of other beings not by openly and honestly attacking and devouring them, but by insidiously creeping onto or into their bodies, attaching themselves, draining blood or other vital essences and perhaps even multiplying until the unwitting host is dead.  Nor is that death the quick, comparatively-merciful one afforded by a hungry hunter, but instead a slow, lingering, debilitating descent into sickness, weakness and eventual expiration which in the end leaves it a pathetic husk of its former self.  I’ve never been disturbed by the sight of a carnivore killing its prey, but stray animals literally crawling with fleas and ticks, or biology-text photos of intestines jammed full of ascaris worms, are to me the stuff of nightmares.

That being the case, I’m sure you can guess how I feel about blog parasites, those creatures who attempt to derive their sustenance by infesting healthy, thriving blogs like mine.  I don’t mean “scrapers” or plagiarists; though I certainly understand why some bloggers are very incensed by them, they don’t really bother me because their use of my material neither harms my reputation nor decreases my traffic (though I might feel differently if they were making money from my content when I wasn’t, and without acknowledging me).  And I have no idea why some commercial entities have tried to frame quoting and linking as “copyright infringement”, nonsensical claims about “deep linking”  notwithstanding; links and references are advertising and help a site to grow, and the vast majority of my traffic comes via deep links.  In fact, linking is so good for a site that it’s precisely the raison d’être for the most common and debilitating form of blog parasitism, namely comment spam.

Those of you who don’t have blogs yourselves may be blissfully unaware of this plague, which pours into popular blogs every day like a veritable river of leeches.  Some of it looks like real commentary, though extremely vague (“Thank you for sharing superb informations”), completely inappropriate (“I’ll be sure to order from you!”) or even composed of inapplicable criticisms (“You should proofread more carefully, this post is full of typos.”)  What marks it as spam is that the website link in the poster’s name goes to a commercial site of some sort or to the client of an SEO scammer.  Another common type contains nothing other than a number of links, and the most odious form is a gigantic wall of links for various pharmaceuticals, knockoffs of designer accessories, or things advertised in languages I can’t read (most often Russian or Polish).

Fortunately, the Akismet program monitors all comments and shunts spam into a folder for later review and discard; it’s extremely rare that it misses one, but even that goes into the moderation queue where I can catch it and throw it back into the spam folder.  If it weren’t for the fact that it’s sometimes too aggressive and mistakes legitimate comments (even from regular posters) for spam, I would simply empty the folder without looking at it because scanning the contents of that folder now takes up a measurable fraction of my time here.  But even though that is a drain on my resources, it’s nothing compared to the damage this blog would suffer if it got through; 72% of all attempted comments over the life of the site have been spam, which will give you some idea of how repellent and uninviting the comment threads would be if they got through.  Considering that a large portion of the success of this blog comes from the stimulating and entertaining discourse in those threads, I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that these parasites have the power to severely weaken a site by making it look ridiculous and unprofessional and rendering its comment threads virtually inaccessible.

Another (though fortunately vastly less common) kind of comment-thread parasite is one we might call the “Missionary”; this is a guy who searches the internet for comment threads on which he can post long, repetitive and link-filled rants on the topic of his one track (and he never has more than one).  For example, there was the guy who tried to post seven column-length comments  about the Whore of Babylon on “Harlots of the Bible”, and the more recent lunatic who attempted a couple of dozen long, viciously misogynistic, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory posts on “Pendulum”.  One might suggest that perhaps these people might simply get their own blogs, but they don’t because nobody would read them; a blog has to be interesting and to consist of more than one single endlessly-repeated (and generally hateful) idea in order to attract readers, so the missionary sallies forth on his one-man crusade, with the intent of feeding his ego on other bloggers’ hard-won audiences.

The last type I want to talk about today is one I’ll call the “Self-invited Guest”; this comes in the form of an email from some entity representing itself as a woman who asks if “she” could please write a guest post on one’s blog.  Keep in mind, this isn’t a famous person or one connected to one’s general topic; I mean, it isn’t Dolly Parton offering to write about her views on decriminalization or something like that.  No, this is an endless succession of similarly (not to mention poorly) worded emails offering to make guest posts about industrial organization psychology in the workplace, the great shortage of nurses, the rigors of today’s marketing programs or the joy of free online university courses.  At first I replied to them, politely explaining that I’m quite capable of writing all my own posts (thank you very much), and that on the rare occasions when I have a guest blogger it will be someone I know and respect.  When they started coming more often I just ignored them, only to find that they would ask repeatedly like a poorly-raised child begging for candy at the supermarket.  When Ken White of Popehat receives this sort of trash he replies with absolutely hilarious letters, always about ponies in some way or another; until September 26th I never felt inspired to adopt Ken’s strategy, but on that day I received five identically-worded follow-ups, and soon discovered that Ken had also heard from them (her? it?) again.  So I wrote my own response and sent it to all five (plus a new one I had received three days earlier); though I despair of ever reaching Ken’s level of genius in this area, I’ll share my humble attempt in tomorrow’s column.

The thing all these have in common, and what differentiates them in my mind from scrapers and the like, is that they not only want to feed on my work, popularity and traffic, but damage and weaken my blog in the process.  Imagine comment threads full of pointless sentences alternating with enormous, ugly ads and hateful crackpottery attached to dreary, inane, inarticulate posts on subjects you couldn’t possibly care less about; how long would you stick around for that?  Spammers, hacks and nuts lack the ability to compete with other internet content or to draw an audience on their own, so they attempt to worm their way into a healthy site, drain it for all they can get and then move on to the next victim.

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