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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

By the time I woke up last Thursday morning, three of the books Chester sketched and signed for me had already been purchased; another followed that evening, and another has been spoken for but the buyer wants to let others choose their sketches first and will take the last one.  So far, the books containing the sketches numbered 4, 5, 8 and 10 have been bought and delivered to their new owners; the ones you see here are the ones which are left.  If you’d like one, make sure you speak up now before someone else gets your favorite!

Last week was pretty good for me financially, despite a couple of cancellations, but other than that it was  pretty stressful.  Having to deal with taxes was not a good way to start the week, and it didn’t really get better after that; there were a host of real-life annoyances small and large which continued to stack up until Friday, at which point I was so out of juice that I simply wasn’t able to go any more.  So I simply stayed at home, made myself an omelette, worked for a while, drank enough to thoroughly relax my body and brain and sent silly texts to friends.  Definition of a true friend: someone you can text drunk at 1:30 in the morning to tell her how beautiful you look in the mirror at that moment, and she doesn’t even make fun of you.  Much.  Anyhow, I didn’t even get dressed on Saturday, but on Sunday I had a lovely brunch with another friend I haven’t seen in a couple of months, then in the afternoon I went to Big Lots.  Don’t laugh; I love bargain shopping.  Virtually nothing I own was purchased full-price, unless somebody else paid it and then gave it to me as a gift.

Anyway, I’m rather hoping this week will be better; I had a lovely dinner with one of my favorite gentlemen last night, today I’m having my hair done, and then later this week I have a major professional engagement which should be a lot of fun.  In a few weeks, I’m going to be visiting Los Angeles for about a week; I need to test my new vertigo medications (fingers crossed & pray to Hermes for a good journey, please!), I want to visit some friends, and a special gentleman is taking me to Disneyland.  So if you’d like to see me while I’m there, please let me know; I should have my dates firmed up by the end of the week.  Oh, and while we’re on the subject:  I’ll be in New Orleans for the Desiree Alliance conference from July 10th-15th.  I’ll be offering my usual advance-pay special for both trips; contact me for details if you’re interested.  And yes, I can hand-deliver a book to you to save the shipping cost.

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Self-professed progressives fight for middle class utopias at the expense of the socially weak.  –  Cas MuddeMary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus

Book Reviews

An interview with Chester Brown about his newest graphic novel:

Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus may be the most provocative comic book published this year.  Beginning as a series of short Bible stories, many of them with a sexual edge—Tamar grappling with her husband, Onan, Bathsheba’s affair with King David—it gradually transforms into a polemic.  Drawing variously on academic scholarship, apocryphal texts, and his own keen interpretative eye, Brown argues that Jesus’ mother was a prostitute—and that Jesus’ own appreciation of prostitution was suppressed by later authors.  Though he tells familiar stories, Brown often pushes them in surprising—and sometimes even shocking—directions.  In one especially memorable sequence, he suggests that the anointment of Jesus described in all four gospels may have been sexual…Brown defends this conclusion in a series of lengthy exegetical endnotes that capture both the scope of his inquiries and the shape of his own fascinations…

Remember, Chester will be signing books in Seattle tonight!

Sales Pitch

The Swedish model has virtually eliminated prostitution in Sweden!

Streetwalkers have largely disappeared from the sidewalks but prostitution remains alive and well in northern Europe where laws criminalising the purchase of sex have been in place for years, illustrating the limits of legislation…Sweden was the first country to do so in 1999, and Norway and Iceland followed suit a decade later.  But prostitution is far from being eradicated in these countries, despite the fact that sex clients risk heavy fines or even prison sentences…Authorities…however [pretend to be] satisfied with the effects the legislation has had…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Laws banning alcohol in strip clubs are among the most Puritanical and asinine of all sex industry “regulations”:

For years, the city of Chicago has prohibited businesses from mixing alcoholic beverage sales with nude dancing.  Strip clubs within the Windy City limits have to choose between serving booze and featuring dancers that exhibit their “genitals, pubic hair, buttocks” or, if female, “any portion of the … breast below the areola”, though clubs may permit patrons to bring their own drinks.  But now some Chicago city lawmakers are trying to open topless establishments for alcohol business…of course the dispensation doesn’t come without strings attached: “If a would-be owner sought to open a new club with drinks and partial nudity, it could do so only if it obtained a cabaret license,” a new designation which would require meeting “strict zoning codes” and “a special-use permit that would require community hearings”…

Our descendants will view such laws with much the same horror as many Westerners view strict hijab laws.

The Course of a Disease

One can never have too many anti-Swedish model editorials:

…The so-called “Nordic Model” is a return to the darkest periods of left-wing paternalism, in which…the opinions of the “protected” are either ignored or dismissed by the “protectors”.  Sex workers, who in large majority oppose the criminalization of people who buy sex…are stripped of their agency, reduced to “victims” of the “sex industry” who suffer from “false consciousness”.  A recent editorial of The Guardian, the British standard bearer of the European progressiveness, gives an interesting insight into the increasing difficulties that progressives have with justifying criminalization of sex work.  It is a remarkable combination of confusion and desperation.  While it actually refers to some of the little reliable research that is out there, it largely ignores its implications and recommendations.  This is because most serious research shows that the “Nordic Model” has neither improved the situation of sex workers nor significantly decreased the “sex industry”…

Above the Law  

It’s hard to be sure, but this one may have really been an ex-cop:

A former Carolina Beach police officer is being accused of pretending to [still] be a cop and threatening to arrest women if they didn’t [submit to rape]…Joseph Adam Silva…[raped one] escort…on March 15…[but he] allegedly committed [others] between Jan.1 and Jan. 20…he reportedly told [one] victim he was a police officer investigating a prostitution sting…he is now facing a total of 18 charges.  [Six] women have come forward…and…Detectives [claim] that anyone who comes forward will not be incriminated…

I wouldn’t trust the cops, ladies; just because they don’t prosecute you now doesn’t mean you won’t go on a watch list for later harassment.

The Notorious Badge 

I don’t own a TV set, so I won’t be watching this show.  But Lux Alptraum’s review jibes very well with my impressions from watching the trailer, including my opinion that the lead was dreadfully miscast:

The Girlfriend Experience…is a strange beast.  Despite being made seven years after Soderbergh’s Sasha Grey vehicle, it feels, weirdly, more regressive in its attitude towards sex work.  The film sought to draw comparisons between escorting and other service industries…In contrast, the show seems determined to double down on the “exotic” nature of the industry…at no point does Christine seem like a woman who would be drawn to escorting.  I don’t mean that she’s “too smart” or “too driven” or that she has “other options” (many of the sex workers I know are smart, driven, and with plenty of career options). It’s more that she seems to completely lack any of the basic skills that are necessary for the job.  Escorts who cater to wealthy gentlemen tend to place a great emphasis on being able to blend into expensive environments, something Christine seems incapable of doing even in her straight life.  Most notably, she’s not very good with people — in most of her interactions throughout the episode, she seems distant, disengaged, and bored. In other words, she’s the exact opposite of what a good sex worker needs to be: empathetic and able to connect with other people…

With Friends Like These…

Janet Street-Porter basically argues that whores are passive animals who should be harvested by the state:

…the sex industry is thriving – and a huge amount of money changes hands every day, none of which is subject to tax.  This means millions of euros that governments could be profiting from…The vast majority…who offer sex for sale…are poor migrants…controlled by organised crime and a large number are addicts…Please don’t…tell me there are happy prostitutes who love their job…every time a massage parlour is raided in the UK, who do you see cowering in the police vans?  Vulnerable women who have been trafficked…Women regularly get beaten up by clients, they are rarely in control and abusive clients can make their lives a misery…

Apparently, Porter believes that people of other professions who are arrested by cops and know their entire lives may be destroyed go happily smiling, singing and dancing into the police vans.

Backwards Into the Future (#408)

Malawi continues to do what the US won’t:

Sex workers in Mwanza district have received a boost as the district’s council has revealed plans to recognise them and help improve their trade…the council hopes the female sex workers alliance will give the sex workers opportunities to find solutions to problems they face…Mwanza District Aids Coordinator, Pearson Mphangwe said the move will help curb the spread of HIV and AIDS…

The Rape Question (#409) Yes To Sex app

Considering the doctrine that consent can be retroactively revoked months or years after the fact, I sincerely doubt an informal contract without  a lawyer witness  would really offer much protection:

…A mother of three aims to…confirm mutual consent before sexual intercourse via Yes to Sex, an app…for both iOS and Android.  In less than 25 seconds, partners can whip out a smartphone, fire up the app and flash through a series of one-touch agreements that culminate in a request to record a short audio confirmation that the parties have agreed to intercourse.  A safe word is generated.  Both parties agree to stop having sex if one partner says the word.  The app essentially amounts to a technological record of consent.  Once a user closes out of the app, no information remains saved on any phone.  The date, time, place and voice recordings are stored on Yes to Sex’s secure servers, which according to a company news release…”can only be retrieved with court-endorsed orders, ensuring anonymity”…

Full of Themselves (#414)

Even though “massage therapists” are pushing back on this idiocy, they just can’t resist anti-whore posturing:

Owners of some of Evanston [Illinois’s] estimated 50 massage therapy businesses turned out…to protest a proposed city licensing ordinance that they said could force them out of business…James Specker…[of] the American Massage Therapy Association…said city staff had failed to reach out to the profession before developing the new regulatory scheme.  That failure to consult with affected businesses also marked a city effort four years ago to impose zoning restrictions on massage businesses — a proposal ultimately defeated after the massage therapists turned out in force to oppose it.  Sarah McLaughlin…said the ordinance’s definition of prohibited areas for massage is overbroad and raised objections to other provisions, including one that would forbid locks on the doors of rooms where massages were given…She suggested…prohibiting overnight operating hours, when, she said, no legitimate massage business would be operating, as ways to address the prostitution problem.  Steve Rogne [fantasized] a need for more regulation to protect against human trafficking…

Guinea Pigs 

Remember: they say it’s about “pimps”, but really it’s about sex workers and clients today, and about everybody once they get it perfected:

…21-year-old Emily Kennedy trawls through hundreds of online ads offering up women for sex.  The ads are posted publicly online, and they’re endless.  Emily’s trying to find patterns in ads posted by pimps in the illegal sex trade – consistent phone numbers, spelling mistakes, syntax, phrasing; any clues to link handfuls of ads together.  It’s 2011.  By 2016, those nights…have paid off.  Emily’s senior thesis research has become the basis for Traffic Jam, a piece of software that finds patterns in ads posted by pimps.  Those patterns now help detectives – even in agencies like the FBI – to figure out who’s behind each post.  Traffic Jam has helped detectives rescue hundreds of victims of human trafficking in the US, Emily Kennedy [claims]…

Dating Game

I don’t date outsiders except for money, but I think the way everyone just assumes breaking off with a woman because she’s a sex worker is the “right” thing to do, is kind of revolting:

The [UK] culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is facing calls to withdraw from his role in the regulation of the press following the disclosure that he had a relationship with a sex worker.  Whittingdale, who is divorced, was forced to explain…how he had a six-month relationship with a woman who he did not realise worked in a brothel.  But campaigners for tighter press regulation have claimed his position is compromised after it was reported that a number of newspapers had investigated the claims but decided not to run the story…Whittingdale described the situation as embarrassing…“Between August 2013 and February 2014, I had a relationship with someone who I first met through Match.com…She was a similar age and lived close to me.  At no time did she give me any indication of of her real occupation and…As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship.  The events occurred long before I took up my present position and it has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as culture secretary”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#625) 

“Sex addiction” is the defense of choice for non-violent sex offenders:

Jeffrey Zapora…avoided jail, and was instead sentenced to four years of probation for three counts of indecent exposure…Zapora [claimed]…increasing stress in his life…led him to act out…[by using] masturbation and sexual behaviors as a coping mechanism, and the flashing was an extension of that…Zapora said he attends a 12-step program for sex addiction, as well as counseling, and started going to church again…Before his arrest, Zapora was a first-year plastic surgery resident with Lehigh Valley Health Network…he was terminated from the program following his arrest…

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The unhealthy alliance of medicine and government…blesses all sorts of unjustified limits on liberty.  –  Thomas Szasz

bootlickerEven though I live in the same world as the bootlickers, they are somehow unable to see what’s going on all around them, or else they see it but can’t correlate it.  To them, this news story (for example) appears as something other than an abomination:

…once every three weeks, [Marziya] won’t be working the streets of Qurgon-Teppa as a prostitute…Those days are reserved for the morality classes she was recently enrolled in by local police…to turn…sex workers away from their profession.  The main goal…is to “help these women to get themselves on the right path”…The speakers…lecture…their audience on moral values…

Yes, this is Tajikistan rather than the US, but the US-based website for which the story was written is clearly blind to the mind-boggling hypocrisy of  women being forcibly subjected to “morality lessons” from the police.  You know, the same people who do this kind of thing, also in the name of “morality”:

…Kimberlee Carbone was pulled over by [Pennsylvania] police in November 2013, ostensibly because “she did not apply her turn signal at least 100 feet before the intersection.”  She was then subjected to a degrading five-hour ordeal that included a bogus DUI arrest, a search of her person and her car, a strip search at the county jail, and multiple probings of her anus and vagina at a hospital…Carbone was forced to remove her clothing, “bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough”…two [jailers], April Brightsue and Niesha Savage, [pretended] they saw a plastic bag protruding from her vagina, so they repeatedly instructed her to “prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina” in the hope of dislodging the imaginary item.  Then they…[took her] to Jameson Hospital in New Castle for “an internal examination of her body cavities”…the cops found a doctor, Bernard Geiser, who [played along]…Carbone “was restrained to a bed by her wrists and ankles” as Geiser “performed an internal inspection of her vagina and rectum.”  He did not find anything…she was [then] subjected to an involuntary CT scan, which found no foreign objects…[District Attorney Joshua] Lamancusa…told her the ordeal would end “if she helped him by provid[ing] information regarding drug-related activity.”  He also asked her “if she knew what prison felt like.”  The lawsuit says Lamanusca and…cops [David Maiella & Chief Robert Salem] added insult to assault by making “derogatory remarks about her compromised position”…

Naturally, Carbone is suing, and naturally, a judge has already dismissed the majority of her claims.  I hope this other woman fares better, though I sincerely doubt she will because “sex trafficking”:

A Minnesota woman who spent four years in jail after she was accused of participating in a sex trafficking ring has filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Paul and a key police investigator…Hamdi Ali Osman [reports that]…Heather Weyker framed [her] as the “madam” in the sex ring of mostly Somali-American immigrants and refugees…in 2010.  Last month, a federal judge reversed convictions for several people…after concluding that Weyker was repeatedly caught lying, and that the sex trafficking claims by…the alleged victims…were fictitious…Osman…and other inmates spent 23 hours a day locked in their cells…for four years and on home arrest for two years…She’s also suing three unnamed supervisors who…allowed Weyker to continue fabricating facts…

I’ll be very surprised if Weyker and the other monsters involved in this suffer any consequences at all; the function of modern judges is to lend a veneer of legitimacy to the arbitrary brutality of “authorities”, while shielding them from the consequences of their behavior:

A Cook County judge…cleared a…[cop] of the sexual assault of a colleague’s young daughter, convicting him instead of misdemeanor battery…[and ordering him] to undergo up to two years of sex offender counseling…Judge Charles Burns [pretended] prosecutors had failed…to prove…that Dennis Barnes fondled the girl for his own sexual arousal…The girl was 9 at the time of the…assault in [which]…he…reached into her shorts and attempted to sexually assault her…When her mother entered the room, the girl began crying and told her what had happened.  “(Barnes) told the victim that he was her mother’s boss,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Senica told the judge. “And…she didn’t scream because she didn’t want to get her mom into trouble”…

I suspect the prosecutors in that case weren’t trying any harder than they absolutely had to in order to maintain the illusion that they weren’t all on the same side; take this other prosecutor, for example:

Stuart Dunnings III…remains a crafty lawyer already planning for what will likely be a plea bargain on multiple prostitution and pandering charges.  For those with resources…the “seeking treatment” tactic is widely practiced as a way to lessen fines or jail time…For Dunnings, establishing an “I’m in treatment defense” is no less calculating than his very public get-tough on prostitution proclamations…One of the oddities in this case…is the ease with which Dunnings has managed to delay court proceedings so that he can seek out treatment.  Prosecutors usually aren’t so willing to let [defendants] enroll in programs to buttress their defense…The very notion of sex-addiction treatment has a hollow ring.  Unlike drug, alcohol and even gambling, sex addiction seems more a punch line than a serious condition…

Though that reporter does seem to get that “sex addiction” is bogus, he spouts the usual anti-whore nonsense and seems remarkably naive about the way “authorities” all scratch each others’ backs while slamming everyone else as hard as they can.  He also misses the bigger picture, the way in which the medical and psychiatric bureaucracies have become part of the machinery of oppression, in what dissident psychiatrist Thomas Szasz referred to as the “therapeutic state”.  Doctors and hospitals assist pervert cops in sexually violating people on the grounds that they might be using substances the State has decided are not permitted.  Sex crimes are redefined as psychopathologies, allowing the well-connected to substitute “treatment” for prison while simultaneously providing an excuse for indefinite detention of the marginalized; meanwhile ordinary, non-problematic sexual behaviors are defined as both crimes and pathologies, thereby allowing the state to choose between various control strategies as it pleases.  One of the most terrifying ways in which this is being done is by redefining behaviors once considered “vices”, “crimes” or “moral turpitude” into “public health issues”, allowing religious fanatics to don the white coats of doctors and disguise their Puritanism as something akin to epidemiology.  So while just about everyone recognizes this as absolute barking madness:

A Christian author is warning women that “masturbation is a direct path to Satan.”  Mack Major of Eden Decoded wrote on Facebook that “too many Christian women are losing their salvation because they masturbate…Dildos and all of those other sex toys have been used for thousands of years in demonic sex rituals…those sex toys are an open portal between the demonic realm and your own life”…Another post…warned…“The danger in masturbating is that one could inadvertently summon a sex demon…And once that demon attaches, it…will drive you to masturbate, even when you don’t want to.  You’ll be hit with urges to play with yourself so powerful that only an orgasm will allow you some temporary relief”…

…most don’t recognize this lunacy from Gail Dines as the exact same “sin, degradation and possession” rhetoric dressed up in modern psychobabble:

…As the evidence piles up, a coalition of academics, health professionals, educators, feminist activists and caregivers has decided that they can no longer allow the porn industry to hijack the physical and emotional well-being of our culture…Culture Reframed, an organization I founded and currently chair, is pioneering a strategy to address porn as the public health crisis of the digital age…if porn is not discussed in a research-based, age-appropriate sexual health curriculum, its effects will surely show up as sexual harassment, dating violence and inadvertent “child pornography” on students’ phones.  Pornography can cause lifelong problems if young people are not taught to distinguish between exploitative porn sex and healthy, safe sex.  As the research shows, porn is not merely a moral nuisance and subject for culture-war debates.  It’s a threat to our public health.

Note that Dines doesn’t disavow the idea of porn as sinful (“a moral nuisance”); in fact, it’s central to her narrative.  Dines, like other authoritarians, wants human sexuality to be defined as both a moral and a psychiatric/medical problem, so the police state can feel thoroughly justified in violently subjecting individuals to whatever “therapy” or “morality lessons” it wishes in order to “correct” them.

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Faith prefers the absurd to the plausible.  –  Mason Cooley

Walt Disney & Disneyland sketchesI will never understand the compelling human desire to believe in fantasy.  As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time is well aware, I love fantasy and science fiction; my favorite books, stories, movies, TV shows and other entertainments fall into those genres or closely-related ones, and most of my own writing is firmly ensconced in the realm of the fantastic.  But that’s entertainment, not life; as those who know me in person can tell you, I’m deeply pragmatic and firmly grounded in reality.  The idea of expending more than a token portion of resources on fancies is completely incomprehensible to me; I have never understood the appeal of window shopping, and I have often been heard to snort derisively at asinine platitudes about “following your dreams”.  Yes, some people are wealthy enough to build themselves amusement parks, and others fortunate enough to be able to pursue something more or less resembling their ideal lives.  But for most people, efforts to ignore reality are doomed to failure.

Fantasies which only involve things (such as building one’s “dream house” or writing a bestseller) may be unattainable, but when they are they’re still generally harmless to others.  Unfortunately, many individual blueprints for Utopia demand that other individuals conform to the dreamer’s moronic fantasies about “proper” human behavior, and while those are always doomed to disappointment, they have considerable potential to wreck the lives of others.  If the person suffering such a delusion has money, political power or social influence he can wreak havoc on anyone who gets in the way of his impossible program of social engineering, and even those who don’t have access to such resources are dangerous when they share the mad fantasies of those who do.

One such fantasy, popular for roughly the last century and a half, is the idea that prostitution can (and should) be “abolished”; people who adhere to this particular pipe dream always pretend to some sort of moral high ground, generally involving a deity or deities and/or some apotheosized principle of “equality” or “purity” or “intimacy” or other Utopian vacuity.  What their actual motives might be they usually won’t say, though it’s easy enough to guess.  Sometimes, as in the case of the “sex robot” nonsense I’ve mocked so often, the desire is rooted in the rather sad desire of socially-awkward men to be free of what they see as the “burden” of having to give money (or anything else) to women in order to get sex:

If internet porn leaves you cold, and you can’t manage the hassle of finding a real, live, woman to have sex with, a Japanese company has an attractive offer for you…Tenga has introduced a virtual reality bodysuit that simulates sexual intercourse, and takes partners out of the equation…The Illusion VR bodysuit comes equipped with a Tenga masturbation device that stimulates the penis, and with grope-able fake breasts.  The suit sends “impulses all over the wearer’s body to make it feel like another human being is touching them”…The device was created for use with Illusion’s Oculus game “Sexy Beach,” which lets players customize female avatars and have sex with them in virtual reality, while being stimulated to orgasm in actual reality.  The suit costs $400 and is already sold out…the technology might also be used “for intimate cyber meet-ups with those you may or may not know personally,” and even threaten the livelihoods of sex workers down the line…

Yeah, no.  Just in case the video isn’t enough to convince you, please let me assure you that until virtual reality reaches the Star Trek holodeck level, only men who are basically satisfied with a blow-up doll are going to find this toy a replacement for real live whores, despite the fact that the device’s price tag would buy only a single hour with me.

Whether you sympathize with, feel sorry for, or giggle at such goofy schemes to eliminate harlots, I think we can all agree that they’re harmless.  Even if you think fixating on such a device is “unhealthy” (an analysis with which I would disagree, but that’s a discussion for another day), surely you must admit that it’s only unhealthy to the user and nobody else.  Unfortunately, there are many other people whose fantasy of a whore-free world is not satisfied by merely removing themselves from the equation; these sociopaths will not be satisfied until the last whore is dead of starvation or confined in a sweatshop, and the last man who might even think about purchasing her services is locked in a cage.  Obviously, this warped idea is even less moored to reality than that of “virtual sex”, because instead of trying to satisfy men’s needs with robots, its proponents want to terrorize people into celibacy:

France is to make it illegal to pay for sex after MPs finally approved new legislation…following more than two years of rows and opposition by senators…There would be a €1,500 (£1,200) fine for a first offence, rising to €3,750 for a second, which would also be put on the person’s criminal record.  The offender would be forced to attend [brainwashing sessions]…the final vote was delayed after several hearings owing to sharp divisions between the lower parliamentary chamber and the senate…Socialist MP Maud Olivier…said the aim was to “reduce [prostitution]…and to change mentalities”…

If you don’t find the find the concept of a law designed to “change mentalities” (via forced propaganda sessions packed with lies) about a basic human activity to be utterly horrifying, you’ve probably been watching or reading about too many fictional dystopias.  Unless humans eventually abandon physical bodies altogether, there will never be a world in which people don’t trade what they have for what they want, and that means there will always be people willing to pay for the fulfillment of their sexual fantasies.  But if I do cling to one unrealistic dream, it’s that the human race eventually arrives at a point where nobody has the power to use violence to force their own evil sex fantasies on everyone else.

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Arrest is not a service and it doesn’t help people.  –  Tara Burns

Sales Pitch

The indispensable Wendy Lyon has for several years been looking at Swedish police reports which reveal the truth about the country’s much-ballyhooed “model”; the most recent one contains this bomb:

…On page 43, we find what may be the single most heinous thing I’ve ever read about this law. Discussing penalties (and why the doubling of them doesn’t seem to have worked as well as expected, although of course that’s not stated in so many words) the report says:  “classification of the offence by several severity levels could bring more disadvantages for the fight against [sex work]…Police…fear that graduation would lead to resources being exclusively devoted to crimes considered more reprehensible and that the investigation of the crime of purchase of sexual services would therefore not be prioritised“…One of the arguments that has been made against the introduction of this law in Ireland is that it would divert resources away from serious offences (like actual trafficking and exploitation) because the police would need to use those resources going after just any man who pays for sex.  So, here the Swedish police are confirming that that’s exactly what they want it to do.  As with the increase in stigma against sex workers, the reduced ability of the police to focus on “more reprehensible” crimes against them is a feature, not a bug of the law

Rooted in Racism

Danish prohibitionists claim sex work is “spreading”.  You know, like a disease:

There are now so many foreign women working as prostitutes in Copenhagen that the sex trade has expanded beyond its traditional locales in the city and into more visible and tourist-packed areas, [prohibitionists claim]…“When it spreads this much, there is clearly not enough being done to fight prostitution and to help these women, who are controlled by organizers in their home countries,” [bloviated] Sisse Marie Welling of the Socialist People’s Party…[prohibitionist] Kira West…said that most of the prostitutes…come from either Nigeria or Eastern Europe.  They are often brought to Denmark by financial backers who they then need to pay off…

Profit from Panic 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists’ ignorance is exceeded only by their delusions of grandeur:

…marketing professor Tammy Crutchfield is passionate about fighting sex trafficking in Middle Georgia.  She said parents should be wary of their younger daughters’ older boyfriends…[who will] lure the girls into prostitution…”All you have to do is get on Backpage and see how many young girls are offered,” [salivated] Crutchfield, who teaches a yearlong capstone marketing course based on Traffick Jam, a student organization that [indoctrinates] high school students…[in] sex trafficking [propaganda]…The group…created its own brand to market…T-shirts and jewelry…Their goal is to establish similar Traffick Jam groups on college campuses across the country…

Challenge

How convenient for the State:

A court case that would have tested the right of sex workers to offer services together…to protect themselves has collapsed after a police officer refused to give evidence.  Three women appeared before a crown court after the brothel they had run together in Greater Manchester was raided in July 2011.  Jane Young, Deborah Daniels and Catherine McGarr had all been charged with keeping a brothel and faced up to seven years in jail if they were found guilty…the women were planning to argue that under the Human Rights Act it was against the rights of sex workers not to allow them to work together in safety…[but] DC Philip Anderson, who had brought the case against the women, [claimed he] would not be able to give evidence…due to his “worsening health”…

Mumbo Jumbo Casper the pimp

Oooooh, it’s a SPOOOOOOKY hub!

…human trafficking is what Angels of Hope founder Cristina Scarpellini calls a “ghost crime,” for its hidden nature and the slipperiness of its largely male perpetrators.  “It’s so hard to prosecute, because the girl is your evidence — and try keeping the girl all the way up until trial,” she says…the victims also become ghosts to their family members…disappearing without a trace…”I deal with a lot of young girls who will tell me they’ve been approached to be sold” she says…Sudbury is even “a hub” for human trafficking…trafficked girls and their oppressors will often “ask for a hotel room near an exit, so they can make a quick escape if they have to”…a girl who is naive or needy will simply be swayed by a Svengali…

In case you missed the reference, there’s the “magical pimp mind control” again in the last sentence there.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#342)

Eyes gouged out for insolence, moms selling daughters to pimps, girls showered with maggots — if it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe.  These tales, all propagated by fundraising charities in Cambodia, depict the nation’s sex trade as an otherworldly hellscape…most of these women aren’t so clueless and weak, says…Heidi Hoefinger…an anthropologist and Berkeley College professor who’s spent more than a decade befriending, interviewing and, at times, living with women who work in Cambodia’s hostess bars…Her research has produced a counter-narrative that is strikingly different from the “trauma porn”…churned out by fundraisers…[like the now-disgraced] Somaly Mam…one of the more authoritative studies, published in 2011 by the United Nations’  top human trafficking agency, estimated only 1,058 sex trafficking cases in Cambodia; 127 were underage. (An estimate from Somaly Mam’s foundation? A whopping 40,000 Cambodian “sex slaves”)…

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Chantawipa Apisuk is tired of hearing…that…”free sex” with [a] lover is morally better than an encounter with a professional sex worker.  But to Apisuk, it’s all just sex, whether money exchanges hands or not…For three decades, Apisuk has challenged conventional beliefs about the sex industry.  Through educational services and international summits, Empower provides support to the 250,000 women estimated to work in Thailand’s…sex trade without pressuring them to leave it.  One day, Apisuk hopes to see sex work treated with the same respect as other professions…Now, she has opened This Is Us, an appointment-only museum that celebrates Thailand’s centuries-old reputation as a hub for brothels.  Housed in an innocuous building on the outskirts of Bangkok, it “brings a different perspective to the issue of sex work”…

Not for Everybody (#411)

Even most women who really were coerced into sex work know criminalization is horrible:

The reason why trafficking works so well is because there are no resources that could exist to help victims out of their situation.  It is majorly fear and conditioning that traps [them]…Telling a sex worker they are naive to their own exploitation feels like another way to assert control over them and dismiss their autonomy.  It can’t help them…Nordic model supporters…think victims of trafficking are silent and that they have a right to be our voice, saying criminalisation is best for us and that it’s what we would want…they really couldn’t be more wrong.  My experiences have been treated with much more sensitivity and respect by sex worker rights activists than those opposing them…I’m pro-legalisation on a political and personal level.  I know that for traffickers, it would be really, really bad for business, and I’d love to see how fast their empire would crumble…

Habitable Room

Molly Smith debunks Swedish model proponents’ claims that their pet tyranny “decriminalizes” sex workers:

…the…Irish…”Swedish Model” Bill omitted to decriminalise soliciting…the most clear and direct form of criminalisation that sex workers in Ireland are subject to.  Then, in January 2016, [Justice Minister Frances] Fitzgerald amended her Bill to increase the penalties for [solicitation, yet]…A press release from CATW…lauded Irish policymakers for…“decriminalizing prostituted individuals”…In Scotland…Trish Godman [used Swedish rhetoric]…while launching a Bill titled Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex [bold mine]…MSP Rhoda Grant attempted…to introduce…a Bill presented as the Nordic Model….[which] did not include repeal of the soliciting law…

Sex Rays (#549) 

Sex Work is Work (#575)

Tara Burns with a guide on reporting about “sex trafficking”:

…Words mean things.  Sex trafficking is a legal term with many different definitions in different states and countries.  The legal term has become confused with the common mainstream usage—which tends to involve people being forced into prostitution—and this has led to a lot of confusion all around.  As journalists, our job is to be precise with language and provide accurate information to the public.  When reporting on sex trafficking, or sex trafficking cases, consider describing what has been alleged or what the statute the person is being charged with actually says—because it rarely refers to people being forced into prostitution…

Too Close To Home

The Seattle Times continues its revolting badge-licking; though this reporter seems to be struggling to be more fair, the story is still full of nauseating cop pontification like this:

“I haven’t seen a lot of people who are not damaged in this life,” [a vice pig vomited out]. “If you’ve got prostitution, you’ve got drug dealing.  And if you’ve got those two things, you’ve definitely got gang activity, and that fuels other crimes.  It’s all connected.”

Because clearly, the first word anyone thinks of when they meet me is “damaged”, and my drug-dealing is well-known.  The most revolting part?  Somebody in this story is part of a violent criminal “gang”, all right, but it ain’t the whores.

Saving Them From Themselves (#613)

A Colorado bill that would reduce the criminal penalties for teenagers who exchange nude images of each other has run into opposition from critics who say it still treats such behavior too harshly.  Under current law, consensual sexting involving anyone younger than 18 qualifies as “sexual exploitation of a child“, a felony that triggers registration as a sex offender and a penalty of up to six years in prison, even for teenagers who take and send pictures of themselves.  H.B. 1058 would make underage sexting a misdemeanor known as “misuse of electronic images by a juvenile,” punishable by three to 12 months in jail, with no registration requirement.  Although that sounds like a big improvement, lighter penalties are apt to encourage prosecution, and it is not clear why this sort of activity should be treated as a crime at all.  In Kansas, where the state Senate last month approved a similar bill, its chief sponsor explicitly argues that it will lead to more prosecution…

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[Prohibition] directly and indirectly contribute[s] to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice and the undermining of [human] right[s].  –  Johns Hopkins/Lancet Commission

Bad Girls 

Better headline: “Sex worker kills drunk, violent client who tried to fuck her bareback“:

A Cook County [Illinois] judge sentenced a 23-year-old prostitute…to 15 years in [prison]…for the murder of…Al Filan…[Alisha] Walker and another woman who was not charged went to Filan’s home on Jan. 18, 2014…It was Walker’s third encounter with Filan…[but this time he was drunk and] insisted on unprotected sex, the women refused and the three got into a heated argument…Filan punched [Walker] when she tried to retrieve [her] $300 [fee]…Filan’s autopsy reports revealed him to have a .208 blood-alcohol content.  She…stabbed him in self-defense and left his bloody body on his kitchen floor without calling for help…

I’m not going to defend killing somebody (she stabbed him 14 times) over $300, but this kind of violence is the inevitable result of all criminalization of consensual behavior.

The Last Shall Be First 

There are so many of these toilet bills being flung about now*, it’s hard to keep track of them all:

The American Civil Liberties Union…Lambda Legal, and Equality NC…[announced] a federal lawsuit…challenging North Carolina’s HB 2…passed…last week in a rushed special session…[to]…ban…all…nondiscrimination ordinances statewideThe…measure…[also]  requires restroom access in public facilities…[be] based on birth assigned sex regardless of a person’s gender identity and lived gender.  It also jeopardizes the more than $4.5 billion in federal funding that North Carolina receives for…schools under Title IX, which prohibits…discrimination against transgender individuals…The North Carolina League of Municipalities, Attorney General Roy Cooper, and [a number of] major companies…have announced their opposition to the law

*Exactly in the way monkeys fling poop.

Change a Few Words

They’re advising a “gradual” shift.  Because it wouldn’t do to stop murdering and caging people and destroying lives all at once:

A group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet have called…for the decriminalization of all nonviolent drug use and possession.  Citing a growing scientific consensus on the failures of the global war on drugs, the experts further encourage countries and U.S. states to “move gradually toward regulated drug markets”…Their report comes ahead of a special UN General Assembly Session on drugs to be held next month, where the world’s countries will re-evaluate the past half-century of drug policy and, in the hope of many experts, chart a more public health-centered approach going forward…the last time the UN held a special session on drugs, in 1998, it set itself the goal of a “drug-free world” by 2008…The commissioners cite research showing that “of an estimated 246 million people who used an illicit drug in the past year, [only] 27 million (around 11%) experienced problem drug use..The idea that all drug use is necessarily ‘abuse’ means that immediate and complete abstinence has been seen as the only acceptable approach”…

Above the Law  

A pig rapes an extremely-drunk woman, but journalists still won’t call it rape:

A Baton Rouge [cop] has been [given a paid vacation]…after a woman accused him of [raping] her in August following a traffic stop…Brad Bennett…[pulled] the victim and her roommate…over…[and arrested] the…roommate…on a DWI…the victim was not allowed to drive herself home [because she was drunk, so]…Bennett drove…her home…[and raped her while] she was impaired…she [was drunk so she] remembers little of what happened…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It never stops with us, ladies:

A teaching assistant has been sacked by a primary school after parents discovered photographs of her modelling underwear.  Gemma Laird, 21, says she was told the school did not want pupils “thinking it is acceptable to be a model”…the headmistress said…”people would lose respect for the school if they found out…She made me feel dirty and like I was a prostitute.  It’s ridiculous”…

Still think it’s a good idea to draw those lines between you and us?  Because once you do, there’s nothing to stop somebody else from moving them so you’re on the “bad girl” side.

The Widening Gyre

Another “stripping causes sex trafficking” wankfest:

…The Portland metro area has become a hub of child sex trafficking in part due to the large volume of legal adult entertainment venues…Northwest Family Services’ “Deceptions” curriculum was created at the request of law enforcement in Vancouver, Wash.  Vancouver Police realized that sex trafficking had become an epidemic in Pacific Northwest…middle and high schools…

This is modern policing: scaring kids with bogeymen and lies, and representing their sexual fantasies as “realizations” about objective reality.

Lower Education

The indispensable Liz Brown takes a long, thorough look at how the US government is attempting to regulate sex under the guise of “fighting discrimination”:

…Not so long ago, the U.S. criminalized pretty much all sex outside of marriage.  As these laws have been struck down by courts or allowed to settle into obsolescence, it would seem that sexual liberty has been vindicated as an important American value.  But while the courts have been busy ushering the government out of our bedrooms, it’s been creeping right back in under new pretenses.  Gone is the language of morals, tradition, and order—the state now intervenes in our sex lives bearing the mantles of safety, exploitation, and sex discrimination…

Paint By Numbers

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

Models were walking and dancing down the aisle, each wearing shirts that said “One less,” as lively tunes played…Foundations for Freedom [founder] Dana World-Patterson…said she…felt the show is a fun way to raise money for eradicating human trafficking…She explained the meaning behind the “One Less” t-shirts they wore, saying children enter the sex trade as young as age 10…journalist Eric Von also emceed, saying…Milwaukee has experienced a large increase in child sex trafficking cases and the average age is 13.  “An article recently described Milwaukee as the ‘Harvard school of pimpism’”…

From “the Harvard of sex trafficking” to “the Harvard of pimp school” to “the Harvard school of pimpism”.  “Sex trafficking” tropes just get more and more hilarious with each iteration.

False Witness

Still think you don’t live in a police state?

…teachers and school administrators [are being taught]…an abbreviated version of the Reid Technique, which is used across the country by [cops, rent-a-cops]…insurance-fraud investigators, and other people for whom [accusing people of crimes] is part of the job…trainees [are taught that] patterns of body language—including slumping, failing to look directly at the interviewer, offering “evasive” responses, and showing generally “guarded” behaviors…supposedly reveal whether a suspect [is] lying…Reid teaching materials [never] refer to “students” or “kids.”  They [are] always “suspects” or “subjects”…The training [includes] tricks to provoke a response that might [be interpreted as] guilt…John E. Reid and Associates has been marketing its methods to school systems…in eight states…Young people tend to be…vulnerable to false confession…[a study showed]  forty-two per cent of the juveniles who were exonerated had falsely confessed, compared with only eight per cent of adults.  Nearly twice as many eleven- to fourteen-year-olds falsely confessed as did fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds.police misconduct poster  Other research has shown that Reid training influences the perception of juveniles by the people who use it…Reid-trained police [are] less aware of the developmental differences between adolescents and adults than police who did not receive the training…Reid-trained [cops] tend…to believe that adolescents [are] just as capable as adults of withstanding psychologically coercive questioning, including deceit…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#450) 

“Sex addiction” is the defense of choice for upskirt photo takers who get caught:

[Steven Johanowicz]…was convicted of felony crimes…for recording an upskirt video, and secretly videotaping a woman in a shower, and was sentenced to three years probation…[cops] also found three hundred [self-recorded] upskirt videos in Johanowicz’s apartment…Johanowicz says he lost his long-time position at Chazen Museum as a result of his actions.  He’s in therapy for…sex addiction…

Birth of a Movement (#526)

An Italian city copies France by criminalizing “looking like a whore”:

Scantily-clad prostitutes in Salerno will now face fines of up to €500 for “violating urban decorum”, a move ushered in by mayor Enzo Napoli following a spike in the number of sex workers in the city centre…The fines are also a way of trying to deter prostitutes…By encouraging the scantily dressed women to cover up, it is hoped that they will become less attractive to clients and be less visible to citizens and tourists…

Lying Down With Dogs (#539) 

All the most enlightened, free countries use US-type anti-sex work rhetoric:

Several provinces and cities where prostitution is popular were chosen for a pilot project that aims to prevent the crime and reduce its effects on the community…all establishments that traditionally draw prostitution – hotels, bars, dance halls and massage parlors – will be relegated to a specific area.  Lê Văn Quý, deputy director of the HCM City Social Evils Prevention Department…[said] it made the businesses easier to manage, and would help ensure public order…The intent of the project was not to encourage prostitution, but to gradually eliminate it…

Too Close To Home

King County prosecutors aren’t yet done destroying people’s lives for having consensual sex:

King County prosecutors contend…Phillip “Skip” Dehennis was an active member of [TRB]…Investigators contend hundreds of women brought to the United States to work as prostitutes…[an undercover pig paid sex workers, then wrote reviews cops now claim were] fake…[in order to get] himself invited to “meet and greet” parties…

So now 12 supposed “victims” have mushroomed into “hundreds”; I guess the cops figure that since they can’t produce even one “victim”, they might as well go for broke.  They’re also now claiming the reviews used to get into good standing on the boards were fake, an impossibility on this particular board because the ladies in the fake reviews would’ve raised the alarm.  No, this rapist just fucked escorts under false pretenses in order to exploit them in an evil scheme to harm their customers and destroy their livelihoods, and all with the blessings of the sheriff’s office.

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Raymond Surratt will die in prison because of a sentence that the government and the district court agree is undeserved and unjust.  –  Judge Roger Gregory

Every so often I see a “how-to” video that reminds me of my old friend Walter, who was a walking encyclopedia of these kinds of things; if anyone could be trusted to do something like start a fire with a lemon, it was Walter.  Alas, I haven’t seen him in years, so this video had to be provided by Radley Balko (who also gave us “banality”, “reason” and “burn”).  The other links above the video are from Tim Cushing (“consent”, “2001” and “drugs”), Popehat (“nope”), Thaddeus Russell  (“crossing”), and Dave Krueger (“laws”).

From the Archives

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