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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

This is not about resolving sex trafficking; this is about a moral crusade to appease local NIBMYs who can’t stand the idea of whores operating in their neighborhoods.  –  Savannah Sly

The More the Better

Anything that helps demystify sex work is a good thing:

“Amelia” is a 50-year-old woman from China who has worked in massage parlors off and on for the last three years…“Most of the owners, they don’t have the budget to offer you a dormitory somewhere nearby.…  It’s the same thing for a restaurant.  When people work in a restaurant, you can’t give everybody a place to sleep somewhere nearby.  This is an additional cost.  And if you want to work longer hours, it is a good choice to just stay there.  I don’t think massage parlors are some kind of an underground corner in this society.  This is right there in the neighborhood; it’s in the plaza, it’s in the mall…what kind of a secret business is it if you walk in? You can walk into a barbershop, you can walk into a nail salon, you can walk into a massage parlor…The authorities [claim] you’re being trafficked…but when you go to a Manhattan restaurant, that’s the same workers behind the kitchen”…

To Molest and Rape

There’s no way this thug is going to be able to claim it was “consensual”:

A former [Georgia screw]…was arrested [Friday, March 8th] on rape charges…Kirk Taylor Martin…is accused of sexually assaulting a woman from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning…He faces charges of rape, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated assault…attempt[ed anal rape]…false imprisonment and hindering an emergency call…Martin…was fired [from his job as a screw] in April 2018…after multiple violations of jail policy…the scratches across Martin’s chest and neck, which are visible in his booking photo, are from the victim fighting back.  Both of his eyes are also swollen from the…struggle…

So Close and Yet So Far (#767)

It’s sad that even people who support decriminalization feel the need to promote myths, lies & insulting tropes:

…more than 1 million people engage in sex work in the United States…The vast majority of sex workers (80%) are female, and 90% of them depend on a pimp.  If sex work were decriminalized, prostitutes wouldn’t need pimps, who often steal their money and physically abuse them…government bans on prostitution and alcohol consumption have not eradicated these behaviors…proponents of legalizing prostitution include the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch…decriminaliz[ing] sex work…will…curb human trafficking by violent cartels…Prostitutes are far less likely to get tested for sexually transmitted infections because they’re afraid to tell healthcare workers what they do for a living…No one is arguing that prostitution is an ideal job that anyone would ever aspire to…

WHAT. THE. FUCK?  “90% depend on a pimp“?  “Violent cartels“?  “Far less likely to get tested for STIs“?  “No one would aspire to [sex work]“?  Using “legalization” and “decriminalization” interchangeably?  Please, Samantha Chang, either talk to actual sex workers before you write on this topic again, or just shut the fuck up, because you’re an ignoramus.

If Men Were Angels (#786) 

Churchy child molesters often seem to seek younger victims than other molesters:

[Jacop Hazlett,] a volunteer at the NewSpring Church campus in North Charleston, South Carolina faces charges for sexually abusing more than a dozen young boys in his care last year…volunteer [Leo LaSalle Comissiong]…was charged in 2016 for kissing and fondling a teenage boy at the NewSpring church campus [in Florence]…In Anderson…volunteer [Chaz Mckinsey Wood]…faced charges in 2016 after police say he fondled a 10-year-old boy…In early 2018, police arrested…youth pastor [Caleb Lide Jordan]…for sexual exploitation and solicitation of a minor…The Anderson…based megachurch NewSpring has 14 campuses around the state…Each time NewSpring reckoned with the fallout from these allegations, the church…offered nearly identical explanations…The accused individuals had been removed from their posts.  Evil was to blame…In the most recent case…Hazlett was caring for 3- and 4-year-old boys at the church when he was accused of performing oral sex on one of the boys in a bathroom…When a parent complained, church officials reviewed 90 days of video from the daycare room and found more than a dozen incidents with Hazlett assaulting the preschoolers…

Cops and Robbers (#794) 

Prohibitionist creeps move from stalking & harassing streetwalkers to stalking & harassing escorts:

The grim reality is that if I pulled out my phone right now, day or night, I could have a woman or even a child at my home or office within thirty minutes.  And there would be a strong possibility that, however willing she might seem, she would not be there by choice…our Reach Out Campaign in Tampa Bay, Florida…developed in partnership with Seattle Against Slavery, uses web scraping technology to obtain phone numbers off [escort ad] sites…and…mass texting blocks of these numbers with a phone number and a [prohibitionist propaganda] website…The 13 percent percent response rate we have received in only a matter of weeks, with just a small block of texts, has been extremely encouraging.  Seattle Against Slavery has been running Reach Out Campaigns in Chicago and cities throughout Washington State with similar response rates…Many…are victims of Stockholm Syndrome, held captive by a trauma bond with their trafficker…we [also]…target [men with]…fake [escort] ads…and then [threatens him with the pigs]…Many of these men suffer from sex addictions that can be treated…

Can’t you just hear the fapping?  I wish the moronic fantasy that a man can have an escort in 30 minutes was limited to prohibitionist wankers, but unfortunately it’s common among inexperienced clients as well.  Even in my agency days, it was rare that a girl could make it that fast, and nowadays it’s virtually impossible even for semi-pros who don’t screen.  As for the rest, these misogynistic idiots are spamming every escort they can find online; I even had one of them text me last month.  My guess is that their 13% “response rate” includes people replying with “Who is this?” or telling them off as I did, just as their “hotlines” count every single phone call as a “sex trafficking case”.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

The BBC produces evidence–free anti-sex propaganda, complete with “addiction” nonsense:

…six young Brits…travelled to Spain to explore the booming sex industry for BBC3 documentary Porn Laid Bare…Their journey takes them into the dark underbelly of the scene, where they hear tales of human trafficking, forced drug taking and violence…the group meet former porn addict Jesús Gomis…As a member of [the misogynistic anti-masturbation group] NoFap…Jesús now helps others to overcome their addiction…Jesús…recommends [one of the group] detox, including from porn stars he follows on social media…1 in 5 18-25 year olds think they might be addicted to porn…In Barcelona, they meet Ismael López Fauste, a porn magazine journalist turned [prohibitionist and] police informant [who claims] he…witness[ed] “human trafficking, drugs, lots of violence and a lot of prostitution”…[an anonymous] woman…[claimed] over the phone [to be] a former porn actress [and said] “In some scenes I was made to take drugs and if I didn’t I would be sent home without the money”…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#804)

Notice that there aren’t any men protesting or obsessing about this?

…The dildo has a butt.  And feet.  And huge hands, I guess so he can hold onto the ENORMOUS DICK that’s growing out of his torso?  Is this the natural progression of our old friend the Battery-Operated Boyfriend?  Has he grown into a… manchild?  Most arousingly of all, the dildo has a human face.  A custom, hyper-realistic, hand-sculpted bobblehead that will no doubt end up nodding at you condescendingly mid-thrust.  Customers are asked to first upload photos of various angles of somebody’s head, selecting hair color, eye color, and skin color…and the company then brings it to life, apparently checking in to get your approval throughout the process…the idea of having my boyfriend’s noggin on a dildo, grinning at me like that, and the notion that I would want such a thing…it all feels like a fucking zero on the Kinsey scale to me.  So heterosexual I can barely comprehend it..

Fallen Idol (#821)

I’d be much more sympathetic had these performers not tried to boost their claims with ugly whorearchy:

One of the porn industry’s top agents has been accused by women whom he represents of fraud, sexual abuse and links to an illegal escort business — accusations including coercing performers to pay off “unconscionable” fees and penalties either in cash or by performing sexual acts on him.  Derek Hay, the owner of LA Direct Models in Los Angeles…”coerces some of his performers into ‘escorting’ and then, should they seek to terminate their (illegal) contracts, threatens to ‘out’ them for performing illegal sex work,” says the complaint.  If they do not comply, Hay destroys their careers by refusing to book them for work, even if they have been requested specifically, it says…

Any sex worker who uses the word “illegal” pejoratively, as in this lawsuit, instantly loses my support.  There are living porn veterans who can tell you that not so long ago, their business was “illegal” too.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#897)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

…with the help of Working Washington, a grassroots bill…to improve the working conditions of exotic dancers has made its way successfully through the House…[the bill would] implement mandatory trainings for exotic dancers meant to educate them about their rights as workers and how they should be treated…The bill will establish an adult entertainer advisory committee with the Department of Labor and Standards.  Half of that committee will be made up of dancers…The bill also seeks to create…a list of [bad clients] and ban them from the club for three years…These safety problems are indicative of a strained and restricted industry in Washington state…[because] Seattle…is highly puritanical about sex and nudity…a 15-year ban on creating new strip clubs that started in 1988…created a virtual monopoly in the strip club business, something that’s shaped how the industry operates in Seattle to this day…Deja Vu has very little competition in the city and it’s been the dominant player since that morality crackdown in the ’80s.  That makes it so dancers have to accept the conditions in the workplace or face not being able to work…

Disaster (#909)

The sweet smell of schadenfreude:

Tumblr’s ban on adult content  has cost the sharing platform  over one-fifth of its users in its first month of being instituted…Visits to…Tumblr…fell from 521 million in December to 437 million in January…In defending the [censorship] Tumblr [absurdly claimed] it still wanted to still be a platform for LGBT conversations…“Tumblr has always been home to marginalized communities and always will be,” Tumblr wrote…

Click on the title link to see which “marginalized communities” the site is now “home” to.

Pyrrhic Victory (#916)

The dystopian future of Minority Report has arrived:

Police [and other government busybodies] in Canada are using shared databases to track the behaviour of…people…with little oversight and…without [the subjects’] consent…at least two provinces—Ontario and Saskatchewan—maintain a “Risk-driven Tracking Database” that is used to amass highly sensitive information about people’s lives…[this] is part of a [fascist] approach to policing called the Hub model that…[lets] cops [conspire with other busybodies to surveil and control people.  Those pretended]…to be “at risk” of becoming criminals or victims of harm is shared between…agencies [without their consent] and [allows] police…[to] evaluate…[subjects]…for a rapid intervention…[which] can range from a[n attempt to intimidate their way into homes without a warrant]…to forced [institution]alization or arrest…officials [pretend the] data…is “de-identified” by removing details such as people’s names and birthdates, [but]…scrubbing data so it may never be used to identify an individual is…impossible [and would invalidate the whole point of the surveillance system]…

Safe Position (#919)

At long last, anti-sex “feminists” are being revealed as the bigots they are:

…Members of the National Organization [Against] Women, the Coalition Against…Women and other anti-[sex worker] organizations teamed up to oppose [a] bill, slated to be introduced in the New York State Senate this session, which would remove all criminal penalties for the consensual sale of sex between adults.  The participants [vomited out nonsense about “]pimps and johns[“]…But…[were] interrupted by two current sex workers who shouted, “Listen to sex workers!”…NOW New York President Sonia Ossorio [pompously mansplained]…that [sex workers know less about our own lives than she does and]…“haven’t thought [our desire to not be raped by cops and starved via persecution of or clients] through”…Rally participants…included [a prohibitionist politician and] members of OBJECT, a U.K.-based [anti-sex worker] organization that [also blovi]ates against…“transgenderism”…Both NOW and [the politician tried to distance themselves from]…OBJECT…on Twitter…[even] though they were prominently featured in the crowd of supporters behind the podium…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#921)

While the Seattle Times obediently parrots porcine propaganda, The Stranger gives us this instead:

…the five people arrested in these raids aren’t actually charged with human trafficking or any other human rights violations; they’re being charged with money laundering and promoting prostitution.  Why?  Maybe it’s because there’s no evidence that trafficking was actually taking place…In Florida, police took six months to shut down these massage parlors, and this was after multiple undercover visits from detectives working the case (and, yes, they did engage in sex acts with the “victims” they later “rescued” themselves).  In Seattle, the sting took three and a half years.  The SPD [claims] that their officers didn’t engage in sex acts during the investigation and made up an excuse to leave when it came time to drop their pants…but…if they actually were being held and forced to perform sex acts against their will, why in the world would the police wait three years to rescue them?…According to Butterfly, an organization that is run by and works to support migrant sex workers in Canada, “Asian migrant sex workers are perceived to be at risk of abuse from their ‘traffickers,’ who are often in fact their colleagues, partners, or friends.  In fact, Asian migrant sex workers who are being targeted through these policies are rarely (and based on current data, never) trafficking victims, and become at risk through these anti-trafficking policies which allow them to be exploited, locked up, abused, and violated by law enforcement officers”…Savannah Sly told me in an email. “The narrative that all Asian women working in massage parlors [are trafficked] is racist, infantilizing, and lacks any realistic understanding of how the sex trade actually works”…

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Diary #455

Today I’m heading for Vancouver BC for the Canadian premiere of The War on Whores, which will be tomorrow night at 7:30, at 151 W Cordova St. (tickets are $15 at the door and you can reserve seats by email); if you’d like a special visit with me before I leave town Thursday afternoon, let me know ASAP.  My next screening will be in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 9th; I will let you know the details as I receive them, possibly as early as next week.  After that, I’ll be at Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN on April 29th; at 4 PM in the Ostrander Auditorium in the Centennial Student Union; that event is free to students & faculty.  I’m also trying to set one up in Chicago a few days later, and we’ve got possible future screenings in the works for Washington, DC, Austin, TX, Providence, RI, and Orlando, FL.  So I took advantage of one of the few slow weeks I’ll have for a while to take Lorelei to a special Doctor Who episode screening (of “Logopolis”) last Wednesday, then went for a short visit to Sunset over the weekend.  Because I really have learned that this poor mortal body and brain really do need at least a little downtime.

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I’ve written several times already this year about my desire to make my life easier by spending more energy on the things I’m good at, and less on the things I’m not good at.  And as I’ve explained before, one of the things I’m not good at is keeping up with advertising, especially in the post-FOSTA world of ad malls playing stupid games with women’s livelihoods and unschooled clients wasting my time in a way I’m not temperamentally equipped to handle.  In “Diversification” I talked about creating new income streams and farming out some of the tasks I’m not good at, but there’s another strategy I plan to implement that I’m sure y’all want to know about:  by the end of the year (if possible) I’d like to be off of formal escort advertising sites entirely.  This doesn’t mean I’m going Under the Radar, which would be impossible anyhow; it just means I want to increase the fraction of my business which does not come from traditional ad malls such as Eros and Slixa to 100%.  I am moving toward all of my business being either regulars or people who approach me via my blog, Twitter, other writing, my public speaking, TV interviews, etc.  Then next year, I want to tighten it up even more so that by the end of 2020 I’m no longer taking new clients without a direct recommendation from one of my friends.  I have no plans to stop working any time soon; I enjoy my work and I like making people happy.  What I don’t like is having to constantly deal with advertising, screening and all that jazz.  If you’ve already seen me or plan to soon, you’ve got nothing to worry about; once you’re a proven client you are “in” unless you start acting like a flake or a danger.  But if you want to be in that select group, I suggest you not wait much longer; I have a good special going for five more days, which you can take advantage of as long as you book by Tuesday (even if the actual session is later).  I’ll also be trying out a new newsletter-type system for touching base with my gentlemen; if you’ve already seen me professionally you should be getting an email from me soon.  And if you haven’t, there’s only one way to get onto the list.

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I was a sex worker in the 1980s.  My abusive ex-husband used this against me to legally kidnap my two daughters, and of course poisoned them against me.  Well, my now-middle-aged daughter contacted me recently after many years; she is angry at me for “bringing disgusting men into our apartment” and wants to know how I could “do such a thing”.  At the same time, she expressed concern and compassion and practically apologized for hurting me.  I know this comes from my ex and the cultural stigma around sex work, but I don’t know what to say to her.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

This is a very tough situation, and I’m sorry you are having to go through this for a chance at healing the rift with your daughter.  I think the best way to start a dialogue with her would be to write her a letter or email, briefly explaining that because of stigma a lot of lies are told about our work, and it’s actually not the horrible thing she imagines.  You can then include some links to a few good resources, so if she really wants to understand she can read or watch those resources in her own time and without all the emotion that would certainly result if you tried to explain it yourself, especially since she does not trust you.  Tell her that you have never stopped loving her and would like a relationship with her, and that you think this is the best way to help her understand.  If you try to explain it yourself, she’ll just keep interrupting and you will get upset, and nothing will be accomplished.  But if she is at least introduced to the idea that sex work is not what she thinks it is, I think you’ll have a lot better chance of getting her to listen to you.  The initial message has to come from someone she doesn’t know, who has no motivation to lie.  My blog is one resource, but I’m sure you can find others (videos and such) which will help.  If you need, I can suggest resources that specifically focus on the issue of courts abducting sex workers’ kids.  Also:  this has got to be stressful for you; do you have any friends who know your past, who can support you through this?  You need to have someone you can trust close by.

Good luck, and please let me if I can help in any other way.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Be wary of people in the media trying to sell you on the idea that sex traffickers, hate criminals, migrant caravans, and Momo are coming to get you.  –  Robby Soave

Surplus Women

Naturally this monster preyed on whores; the state put them directly in his path:

A [North Carolina] jury sentenced Seaga Gillard to death…for the hotel-room fatal shootings of a pregnant woman and her boyfriend…Gillard…and co-defendant Brandon Hill targeted [sex workers]…robbing and sexually assaulting them…across the Triangle…prosecutors placed a long string of victims on the stand, nearly all of whom described the same scenario:  advertising themselves on Backpage or PlentyOfFish, expecting a single customer but finding two at the door, being tied up with phone cords, robbed and sexually assaulted…Details that spun out of that testimony painted a cruel picture of Gillard: ordering a woman to remove her clothes and then twirling a gun inside of her, instructing another women to show her teeth and then putting his gun to her mouth…

HIV Cure (#31)

For just the second time…a patient appears to have been cured of infection with H.I.V…The news comes nearly 12 years to the day after the first patient known to be cured, a feat that researchers have long tried, and failed, to duplicate.  The…success now confirms that a cure…is possible, if difficult…Both milestones resulted from bone-marrow transplants given to…treat cancer…Bone-marrow transplantation is unlikely to be a realistic treatment option in the near future.  Powerful drugs are now available to control H.I.V. infection, while the transplants are risky, with harsh side effects that can last for years.  But rearming the body with immune cells similarly modified to resist H.I.V. might well succeed as a practical treatment…

Out of Their Tree

While some politicians are beginning to side with sex workers and others are pretending to, the majority are still unreconstructed prohibitionists and a few, like Los Angeles councilwoman Nury Martinez, are dangerous authoritarian fanatics.  Last week, this nut bar talked about going on a whore hunt with the pigs, then vomiting out her totalitarian wanking fantasy that all sex workers should be considered children under the law:

…What became very apparent to me is that the girls they were calling prostitutes were children…the women we were…actually children…we need to stop calling them women…they’re children….[and] victims…We want…to…help prosecutors go after these guys and…put [sex workers] away for good…

This is not the first time Martinez has spoken in favor of legally nullifying the human rights of people who have consensual sex, which she has called “sickening”.  Martinez is pro-universal surveillance, pro-censorship, and pro-asset seizure, and supports the State treating the poor who dare to go out in public as though they were plague rats, so I’m sure she has a long, bright political future ahead of her as a “progressive” political star.

False Witness (#752)

Those who wish to manufacture “sex trafficking victims” can use exactly the same methods:

For years, a group of outcasts in Beatrice, Neb., were convinced they had brutally raped and murdered an elderly woman named Helen Wilson one night in February 1985, even though they couldn’t remember any of it.  That was only [the fantasy dreamed up] by the detectives and [pushed on them by] the police psychologist at the Gage County Sheriff’s Office…[who claimed the group had magically] repressed the traumatizing memories.  The [pig-enabling] psychologist, Wayne Price, assured them the memories of the murder would probably come back in dreams…[eventually he brainwashed] three of the six suspects — [Ada] Taylor, Debra Shelden and James Dean [into] wholeheartedly believ[ing] in their [nonexistent] guilt.  But for at least one of them, Joseph White, it was a different story.  Convicted on nothing more than his friends’ false memories and dreams, he would spend the next 20 years seeking to prove his innocence — a pursuit that finally came to an end [last] week [when]…the Supreme Court upheld $28.1 million in damages to the wrongfully convicted, now known as the Beatrice Six.  The judgment comes as a result of a civil rights lawsuit that White filed in 2009, the same year the group was pardoned and declared innocent beyond all doubt after DNA evidence exonerated them.  They had collectively served more than 70 years in prison…

Uncommon Sense (#774)

The GMB follows up on the support for sex worker rights it first announced 18 months ago:

The GMB union has launched a new adult entertainment branch, which will invite members from across Scotland…The sex workers who fought for the creation of the branch now hope to shape future prostitution legislation…Rhea Wolfson, GMB organiser for Glasgow, was instrumental in setting up the branch.  She [said]…”Sex work is work and it should be safe…People are waking up to the reality that if sex workers are treated differently then that is discrimination”…The GMB’s adult entertainment branch is open to anyone in the adult entertainment industry, including strippers, burlesque and go-go dancers, video cam workers, people who make pornography – any form of sexual labour…

Wise Investment (#779)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

…Sandipkumar Patel was wrongly accused of soliciting sex from a massage parlor during [the recent]…prostitution…busts in South Florida….the Martin County Sheriff’s Office [maliciously pretended] Patel…was connected to the operation because [they claimed] he owned a blue, four-door Porsche [parked] in the parking lot…Patel…doesn’t own a Porsche.  Later [pigs admitted] the car actually belonged to a woman with the same last name….Patel…says his life, and his family’s life, has been turned upside-down [due to pigs’ releasing names and pictures for the specific intent of publicly shaming people who by law are presumed innocent]…The David Golden Law Office [is representing Patel] to sue the Martin County Sheriff’s Office…

Stalkers in Blue

With modern surveillance and data processing, no woman is safe from cops:

Adrian Trevor Moore was a [cop in Western Australia who]…pleaded guilty to 180 charges of using a secure police database to access the information of 92 women he had met, or interacted with, on dating websites including Tinder and Plenty of Fish.  A third of the women were checked by Moore multiple times over several years…Defence barrister Mark Andrews [claimed]…Moore[‘s violation of almost a hundred women’s privacy was OK because he] was motivated by “curiosity”…But…Magistrate Geoff Lawrence…said a jail term was necessary…”people can’t trust the public officials…they [should] lose confidence in the system”…

Saving Them From Themselves (#846)

Another bad law giving prosecutors more ways to charge teen sexters rather than simply exempting them:

…a bill that would [offer prosecutors less punitive charging options for]…teen sexting passed off the floor of the Washington State House, but not without resistance from Republican representative Brad Klippert, who spent a lot of his time screaming about the depravity of anal sex and other acts after legislators rejected his amendment…Noel…Frame’s bill would prevent kids from being charged with a felony for possessing naked photos of themselves.  Minors sharing..photos…could [still] be charged with a…misdemeanor [unless the subject is]…12 and under [even if the sharer is the same age]…Brad Klippert, a school [pig] and Pentecostal preacher…[wanted to] only…protect…kids who sent nudes that didn’t offend his delicate sensibilities…

Take a look at the video, and consider that this screaming lunatic is both a fundie preacher and a pig, whose job is (no surprise) spying on and lording it over high schoolers.  McNeill-Rule examples like this are the ones who decide whether to hurl life-destroying charges at teens for normal adolescent sexuality:

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#918) 

Robby Soave correctly classes “sex trafficking” as an absurd moral panic:

Palm Beach County finally unblocked Youtube on its school computers…after falling for the…Momo…hoax…[that] a shocking number of journalists are guilty of spreading…but this should surprise no one…people of all ideological persuasions should beware the frequent spread of nonsensical, sensational, conspiratorial, and utterly false news stories—everything from obvious fakes like Momo to the slightly more robust yet equally absurd contentions that sex trafficking and hate crimes are ever-worsening epidemics…the media, particularly local media, falls for these kinds of hoaxes all the time.  Every year around Halloween, news outlets prey on parents’ unreasonable fears of sex offenders abducting their kids, or malicious strangers feeding them poisoned candy, even though neither of these things ever happen…Sometimes the hoax gets an assist from the police or schools…Trump promoted a Washington Examiner article about ranchers finding prayer rugs at the souther border, an indication that…Muslims…were entering the country illegally…At the Conservative Political Action Conference…Sara Carter…[repeated] a reboot of something called a pharming party; Politico‘s Jack Shafer has debunked its existence over and over again…the so-called sex-trafficking epidemic…has been carefully refutedover and over again…

Top Cop (#918)

Could it be that sex work decriminalization will actually be an issue in the next presidential election?  Though Swedish model devotee Copmala Harris is lying through her teeth when she claims to support decriminalization, the very fact that she thinks claiming to support it will get her votes says something.  Believe it or not, the chronically-stoned Rolling Stone actually seems to have hit on one of the reasons:

…Given the newfound visibility of sex workers’ rights, and the overlap the movement has with women’s rights and workers’ rights as a whole, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are in the position of having to address an issue that has previously been on the margins of the national conversation.  But it’s unclear how many of them plan to do that…A major driving force behind this increased visibility has been the backlash to SESTA/FOSTA, a controversial piece of legislation that was [pre]tended to combat sex trafficking on websites like Backpage…[but] had the opposite effect…

Meanwhile, in Vice, sex worker Liara Roux wrote:

…you can’t be upset at people for being single-issue voters when that issue is their literal survival.  If Democrat[s]…are worried about our complaints, they would be better served by making sure there is better policy around sex work in the Democratic platform than by asking sex workers to stop fighting for their survival.  We are asking to stop the bleeding.  Hell, we are asking for people to even acknowledge the wound.  This shouldn’t be considered a high bar…a Democrat who believes in increased criminalization will sign the death warrant for countless sex workers.  A Democrat willing to examine their mistakes and work towards decriminalization, decarceration, and destigmatization will help just as many people survive…

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If you aren’t already familiar with “Ode to Billie Joe”, the song I featured in yesterday’s column, do yourself a favor and listen to it before continuing to read this one.  For over fifty years, listeners have speculated just what it was that the narrator and Billie Joe threw off of the Tallahatchie Bridge, and Bobbie Gentry – a woman almost as enigmatic as the song that made her famous, who abruptly stopped performing at the height of her fame forty years ago and has barely been heard of since – has steadfastly refused to explain it, or even to comment on the disappointing “solution” used by screenwriter Herman Raucher in the 1976 movie inspired by the song.  Given that she is approaching 80 and is more reclusive than ever, it seems likely she will take the secret to her grave, just as her character in the song apparently did; rather than share her grief with others, the narrator “spen[t] a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge/And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge.”  As a young teen, the general consensus among the girls in my circle was that the object thrown into the water was a self-aborted fetus which had resulted from the narrator’s relationship with Billie Joe, and that the overly-sensitive boy had killed himself in a fit of inappropriate guilt, possibly due to being seen by the “nice young preacher, Brother Taylor”.  And while a number of other possibilities have been proposed, and good arguments could be made for some of them, it’s the one from my adolescence that inspired this essay upon my re-listening to the song last week.

Not everyone wants to “shout her abortion” as the activists urge; some prefer not to talk about it, and some may feel shame, sorrow or some more complex mix of emotions and prefer not to discuss the subject at all.  Similarly, while sex workers like me are almost belligerently open about it and others are only out with close friends, still others prefer not to admit their history of sex work to anyone.  Some LGBT people are “out and proud”, some more quietly queer, and some still deeply closeted.  The same range of coping strategies (if that’s even the right phrase) can be seen in relation to kinks or fetishes; mental health issues; a history of rape or sexual abuse; drug use; a criminal record; family issues; and nearly anything else for which guilt or shame, appropriate or not, can be heaped upon an individual by society, family members, or even one’s own psyche.  And while it’s certainly true that repressed shame can lead to all sorts of harmful outcomes (like jumping off of bridges or letting one’s life be consumed by bottled-up grief or anger), and that talking about taboo subjects certainly helps to normalize them, not everyone has the psychological mechanisms or social tools required to “shout” her abortion, discuss her whoredom on television, march in pride parades or display family skeletons in the front yard.  Some people have the psychic anatomy necessary to be honest about subjects that were or still are considered shameful, and some don’t; some may feel comfortable displaying some skeletons and not others (for example, being open about queerness but not about sex work).  And the only person who is qualified to make decisions about which laundry to air and which to pack away in the cedar chest is its owner.  While I would like it if more sex workers were “out”, I have no right to pass judgment on anyone who isn’t; their lives are theirs to live, not mine, and they are the ones who will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of their decisions.  And the exact same thing is true of every other such secret.  To drag someone’s secrets into the open against their will is an act of psychic violence which could potentially trigger physical violence in some circumstances, which is why outing, “doxxing”, and tattling are condemned by all ethical adults.  Minding one’s own business is a virtue, locked closets should be respected, and sometimes silence really is golden.

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You’re gonna get tased, get on the ground now.  –  murderer Joshua Wang

I’ve been thinking about the Southern Gothic aesthetic a great deal lately (probably because my thoughts often turn to New Orleans in Mardi Gras week), and I realized that though I’ve mentioned this song before, I’ve never featured the video.  It’s probably one of the saddest and most enigmatic of all American popular songs, by one of the most brilliant singer-songwriters the country ever produced.  The links above the video were provided by Franklin Harris, Jesse Walker, Emma Evans, Scott Greenfield, and Phoenix Calida (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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