Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

By creating the impression that they are helpless slaves who need rescuing from the hands of criminals, [prohibitionists] propagate a myth that all informal work that helps migrants to survive is illicit and should be prohibited.  –  Mike Dottridge

Feminine Pragmatism 

Ruhama mouthpiece first admits women do sex work for money, then remembers their moronic “demand-driven” model:

Financial pressure will lead more women into prostitution over Christmas…[prohibitionist group Ruhama admitted].  There is expected to be a “surge” in women who will feel compelled to sell sex in the coming weeks to cope with the financial demands of the festive season…The majority of the women are involved in the so-called “indoor sex trade”…while one-third are involved in the on-street sex industry…Ruth Breslin…[of] Ruhama [kept her hand in her underwear while breathlessly panting about “pimps” and fantasizing]…that as it is a demand-driven industry, perhaps more men pay for sex at Christmas…”Most men don’t buy sex but there are some who see it as the same as paying for any other service, they are very much treating the women as products”…

Even ignoring this woman’s disgusting masturbatory fantasies about sex workers that she feels compelled to share in public, there is so much disinformation here it’s almost mind-boggling. Street workers make up only about 10-12% of all sex workers, not a third.  Business isn’t more plentiful at Christmas (as literally any whore could tell you); it’s slower because men are spending their money on gifts and year-end bills such as property taxes, etc. and also have less free time due to family obligations.  Most men have indeed paid for sex, and no they don’t treat women as “products”; in fact they treat us better than they treat amateurs like this silly wanker, which may be the source of her jealousy.  And so on…

Enabling Oppression

A good criticism of “slavery” talk from Mike Dottridge in Laura Agustín’s blog:

…a slave is defined as a person who is the legal property of another or can be treated as such: they can be bought, sold, traded or inherited.  A slave is a personal possession – a chattel…Using the term Modern Slavery precipitates us into name-and-shame mode, pointing the finger at governments and businesses which tolerate it…So, instead of the Development/cooperation paradigm that was dominant in the second half of the 20th century…we revert back to the 19th-century idea that some uncivilised countries require pressure from civilised ones to abandon unacceptable practices…In the minds of people in Western Europe and the Americas, the word slavery refers to the transatlantic slave trade.  Using the term for levels of exploitation which do not meet the legal definition trivialises historical chattel slavery and reduces any sense of responsibility in countries that benefited from it.  This fits neatly into the agenda of white supremacists who dismiss contemporary racism and discrimination against the descendants of slaves…

Moving Pictures 

I wonder how many of these Reefer Madness-style fakumentaries there will be before the hysteria ends?

On the Road explores the lives of the people who live and work alongside the Strada Bonifica, the ironically named “road of love”, on the Adriatic coast of Italy.  The nine-mile (15km) road has historically been a place of sex work and has recently seen a massive increase in the number of Nigerian women working alongside it – some of whom have been trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution.  The film moves between the women’s stories, the [NIMBY] Italians who live and work nearby…and the local NGO that attempts to [exploit] the women…Recruited from Nigeria…the women are tricked into leaving…They are saddled with an unpayable debt and are often terrified into silence by “Juju” voodoo rituals.  The women are beaten by their madams if they refuse to work.  On the Road is the name of a [prohibitionist group] that has been working to [profit from hysteria around] the sex workers for the last 20 years…

Nothing New

I called this one three years ago:

One Born Every Minute (#724) 

This scumbag might never have received his comeuppance but for the diligence of reporter Sydney Brownstone:

Matt Hickey, the former tech journalist who masqueraded as a porn scout to trick women into having sex with him during fake “auditions”…pleaded guilty to three felonies and fourth degree assault after six women came forward to accuse him of rape.  He faces up to 34 months in prison for his most serious conviction of indecent liberties, far fewer than he would face for his original rape charges.  Still, his guilty plea means that he will have to register as a sex offender.  Hickey has been in jail since October of 2016, after he was extradited from Las Vegas while on the run from accusations that dogged him here in Seattle…The Washington State Attorney General sued Hickey over the porn scam, and a judge fined Hickey more than $300,000 in violations of state consumer protection laws…

Cops and Robbers (#764) 

If this BBC reporter wasn’t going to talk to any local sex workers, why even come here? He could’ve copied this prohibitionist propaganda from his fellow parrots without even leaving London:

You can find “her” number within fake messages placed alongside real ads on websites popular with those looking to buy sex…the bot will tell you she is nervous and check that her [supposed under]age [status] is “cool with you”.  If you say yes, that’s when it [starts vomiting disgusting prohibitionist fantasies all over you]…Robert Beiser from Seattle Against Slavery [shares his vile prohibitionist masturbatory fantasy that paying for sexual services is] “buy[ing] another human being”…

The rest of the article is mostly parroting of the usual prohibitionist fantasies and lurid stalking of the sex workers on Aurora Avenue, who aren’t advertising in the venues where these prohibitionists are hiding their wankbot.

Prudesville (#774) 

Everett, WA is trying to defend its sick need to control women’s clothing as “feminism”:

Baristas, whose uniforms consist of bikinis, are heading to federal court…to argue that their First Amendment rights have been violated by…officials in one Washington city who implemented two [censorship] ordinances aimed at [women making money in a way politicians dislike]…“The Constitution doesn’t allow the government to regulate the content of speech because the government disagrees with it,” [said] Derek Newman, an attorney representing one of the baristas..Everett lawmakers have been steamed about the coffee stands for years – arguing everything from obscenity to mob ties – officials are [trying] a new [bullshit] argument…“The male gaze on bikinied women is on the continuum of sexualization of women,” wrote [a prohibitionist hired gun]… “When you make the body a commodity, and sex a product which you sell, one outcome is sexual violence…If you can sell it, you can steal it”…

Yes, that’s the “feminist” version of “women who dress like sluts are asking to be raped”.

To Molest and Rape (#780) 

But bad cops are only a tiny, atypical minority, a “few bad apples”:

A group of NYPD cops showed up at the hospital where an 18-year-old woman was seeking treatment after…being raped by two Brooklyn detectives, in a bid to bully her out of bringing [rape] charges, her lawyer [reported].  “They came with nine cops to intimidate her and her mom”…[said] Michael David…One [pig] in particular…kept saying…”How do you know they were real cops?”…“Didn’t you make complaints about cops before?”…and…“You don’t know what you’re talking about”…The young woman…was raped [both vaginally and orally] by…[rapist cops] Richard Hall and Eddie Martins in the back seat of their police van while she was handcuffed…Hall…and Martins…admitted [raping] her…but [trotted out the typical ludicrous pig fantasy that] it was consensual…

All-Purpose Excuse (#783)

It’s refreshing to see so many questioning the “human trafficking” narrative, albeit cautiously:

…Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has stood by her decision to assign three [cops] to provide traffic control during a federal immigration operation…Kirkpatrick [pretends]…that the early-morning raid on Aug. 16 by…ICE…involved “human trafficking” and was not a deportation case.  However, the raid only resulted in the arrest of one person, Santos de Leon, for being an undocumented immigrant.  And HSI/ICE officials have publicly acknowledged that de Leon was not involved in human trafficking or any other criminal matter and is now facing civil deportation proceedings…ICE and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have never successfully prosecuted a human trafficking case…from Oakland during the past 10 years…As such, there is no reason to believe that the current HSI/ICE investigation will result in…a…conviction…In recent years, [prohibitionists and the government] have expanded the definition of human trafficking to the point that it no longer means what many people think it means.  The term “human trafficking” conjures images of people being transported in shipping containers and forced to do labor or sold as sex slaves…the…expanded meaning of “human trafficking,” in which people who help immigrants get into the country or provide them with a place to work or live are considered “human traffickers”…

Buried Truth (#793) 

Did he really think more than 30 bodies would stay buried?

Disgraced Ohio state Rep. Wes Goodman…is being accused…of sexual misconduct…[by] over 30 individuals…many people have long been aware of Goodman’s…behavior that is very different than his…“family man” persona…Goodman has a reputation of reaching out to those involved in politics via Facebook Messenger — but things tend to quickly turn south, as he has been known to flirt with men, solicit sex, and even send pictures of his genitals…The majority of the people he targets are between the ages of 18 and 24 and have had very little interaction with him personally…Goodman apparently offered to be a “mentor” for those looking to get into politics.  Because of the power he had, his victims say they were afraid to report instances of abuse for fear of damaging their own political careers…

Read Full Post »

Predicating [the] entire argument on [sex workers] being victims…[is] increasing victimization.  –  Kate D’Adamo

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

The claim that “child sex trafficking” makes more money than pharmaceuticals, food, tourism, insurance, electronics & others is so absurd it defies sanity:

Texas has ranked number two in the nation, behind California, in reported trafficking cases…Lisa…with Harvest House [has the fucking nerve to pretend she needs anonymity as sex workers do because of the criminalization she promotes]…Lisa [tells masturbatory fantasies about “pimps” abducting girls off the street] and [fantasizes]…“In seven years…You’re so diseased that they don’t need you anymore.  The life expectancy of a trafficked victim is seven to ten years…Child sex trafficking…is the number two money maker in the entire world”…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

[New York City] bartenders are now competing with the strippers…[by] wearing provocative clothing and doing a little shake…they’re distracting patrons from the actual strippers on stage who are much more athletic, more trained and who are doing the job which they were hired to do.  Furthermore, as people who rely on patrons spending money on them, men giving it to the bartenders, who are already being paid and tipped for their service, is taking money out of their pockets…the bartenders are often lighter skinned women who are either racially ambiguous and not Black.  Colorism has affected virtually every other industry, it only makes sense it would show up in the adult entertainment world as well…

So Close and Yet So Far

If you want to write an article supporting sex workers, is it so hard to fucking talk to one of us first so you don’t write stupid garbage?

Laws that prohibit prostitution should be declared unconstitutional…In 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a Texas law that made it a crime for consenting adults to engage in private, consensual…sexual activity…Lawrence recognized the importance of sexual activity as an essential part of liberty and explicitly rejected Texas’ argument that it could make a moral judgment that homosexual activity was wrong…This same reasoning explains why laws that prohibit prostitution are unconstitutional.  They, too, restrict what consenting adults do in their bedrooms…For some people, purchasing sex is their only way to engage in sexual activity…If prostitution were legal, it could be regulated.  There could be required health check-ups, protecting health for sellers and buyers.  Trafficking is an enormous problem…Other countries’ experience shows legalization is preferable…There are mandatory inspections…

If this dimwit had bothered to actually do some research he would’ve learned that NOBODY who has actually studied the issue wants legalization, which is just a form of criminalization that creates a two-tiered system because over 90% of sex workers refuse to be monitored like criminals, subjected to insulting “inspections” while amateurs run around spreading STIs, etc.

Uncharted Seas

Though it’s good to see more talk of legalizing polygamy, it’s sad that people are so conformist they feel they need to justify it with “feminism” instead of simply respecting people’s right to make their own choices:

…I am suggesting that polygyny — when a man has multiple wives — might be the answer as long as we see it through a feminist slant…We’re always hearing about a lack of marriageable men…the lack…isn’t just about well-employed college-educated men; it’s that…there may be fewer [“egalitarian”] men around than there are women wanting those kind of men…There are more than a few upsides to a polygamous arrangement that women enter into freely and willingly because it suits their needs…

Skin To Skin

There can never be too many articles on sex workers for the disabled:

…”people with disabilities…feel…really lonely and alienated, as though their sexuality doesn’t get to exist,” said Heather Jarvis of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project…some sex workers refuse to take clients with disabilities, because they…are afraid they’ll inadvertently hurt the client…[but in general] sex workers…mak[e a big difference] in the lives of clients with disabilities…a lot of it is non-judgmental communication…and…plain old companionship…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma is suing to stop the state’s courts from sending people to “an unpaid labor camp disguised as a rehabilitation center.”  The suit accuses the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program (DARP) of federal labor violations and human trafficking…Participants…were told the program would be focused on counseling and addiction recovery.  “Instead, these plaintiffs were forced into a human trafficking scheme and remained under threat of prison sentences if they did not…provid[e] hundreds or thousands of hours of unpaid labor to…private corporations, doing such work as welding, plastic product manufacturing, and chicken processing”…any pay they earned from the companies went to DARP…they were fed one bologna sandwich and a Little Debbie cake for lunch and were often expected to make do on that for their entire 12-hour shift of manual labor; and that they were forced to sleep in bedbug-invested barracks and fed chicken from the plant that was unfit to sell…

New Excuse

Sometimes the War on Whores is the War on Drugs rather than its successor:

In Louisiana [last] week, the FBI helped arrest—and publicly ridicule—57 men who responded to fake (adult) prostitution ads.  Meanwhile in North Carolina, DHS has pitched in to help round-up people with small amounts of marijuana or cocaine on them.  Local media described the DHS efforts as a “human trafficking case.”  But the only offenses any suspects were arrested for were drug possession, driving with a revoked license, and parole violations—all state-level offenses, and mostly misdemeanors…no human-trafficking arrests, no children were found, and no victims of sex trafficking were rescued…

End Demand (#574)

It’s good to see articles critical of the “john school” scam appearing in trade publications:

…According to [Tennessee Assistant District Attorney Tammy] Meade, sex workers are women who lack control — women who are exploited by men — rather than women who make an informed, conscious choice to engage in the sex industry…John school is painted as a win-win for men and women alike…However…these programs, along with the narratives of victimization they perpetuate…harm women far more than they help.  The premise of john school and cracking down on “demand” is still driven by the idea that sex work needs to be policed in the first place, which creates barriers to safety and exacerbates stigma…and…there is no evidence to suggest that john schools actually decrease trafficking or prostitution.  Meanwhile, the classes fail to provide concrete resources — such as housing or access to childcare — and alternative job opportunities for the women they are [pre]tended to help…

Soap Opera (#628) 

The idea that Fresno, California, which isn’t on the way to anything else, could possibly be a “major hub” for any kind of business is so utterly stupid one wonders how even cops can believe it:

…Women and children are bought and sold every day in Fresno – online, in street corners, while at school.  They are raped, branded and beaten…Human trafficking casts a shadow on the central San Joaquin Valley, with thousands of victims both female and male, young and old, rich and poor, white, black, Hispanic, Asian.  It’s an industry that thrives on targeting your children.  And…it’s getting worse…High poverty and runaway rates contribute to the problem, as does Fresno’s central location between human trafficking hubs in the Bay Area, Southern California and Las Vegas…

Man, I can practically hear this guy’s fapping to his nasty fantasy; it’s really quite disgusting.

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of politicians:

…RISE Court, which stands for Resiliency Is Strength and Empowerment…participa[nts] are expected to make their first appearances before San Diego Superior Court Judge Carolyn Caietti…“A lot of kids have this horrible, nightmarish existence, and it’s going to take a lot [of punitive state action] to get them back so they’re going to feel [docile & obedient]” said Robert Trentacosta, presiding judge for the Juvenile Court…The special court is the county’s latest weapon against human trafficking…The court is modeled after a mental health court already in operation…as well as got input [sic] from [prohibitionists]…Trentacosta [masturbated furtively while fantasizing that]…“girls…are so fearful of their pimp [we have to brainwash them]”…[imprisonment] doesn’t necessarily [end] once they turn 18 [and could be indefinite]…

Too Close To Home (#701) 

Seattle’s rapist-in-chief has gone from slandering his victims as mentally ill to actually suing them:

King County Sheriff John Urquhart has filed a defamation lawsuit after a former deputy came forward with [a report] that Urquhart sexually assaulted him in 2014 outside of a Renton restaurant.  Brian Barnes…[reported that] Urquhart touched his crotch outside of the Yankee Grill after the two met for dinner…[local media claimed] Barnes [has]…a long history of…filing complaints and grievances against his superiors…Urquhart…[whose job is to terrorize the citizenry, un-ironically bloviated that] “Barnes has been terrorizing people…he doesn’t like for far too long.  It’s time for Barnes to be held responsible for his actions”…

Capricious Lusts (#720)

Another study shows what’s already been shown over & over again:

A new paper in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy by Bisschop, Kastoryano, and van der Klaauw looks at the opening and closing of…tippelzones…in 25 Dutch cities.  “Our empirical results show that opening a tippelzone reduces sexual abuse and rape…by a 30–40 percent reduction in the first two years after opening the tippelzone”…Cunningham and Shah studied decriminalization of indoor prostitution in Rhode Island and found very similar results…In addition a working paper by Riccardo Ciacci and María Micaela Sviatschi studies prostitution in New York and also finds that prostitution significantly reduces sex crimes such as rape…

Between the Lines (#784)

It’s mildly amusing to watch a self-declared “sex trafficking expert” fail to comprehend that the reason the conviction rate for “pimps” is so low is that the FBI & cops are mostly just making up lies about sex workers and our friends, associates and partners:

In the latest nationwide human trafficking sting known as Operation Cross Country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation [labeled] 120 [people as] child sex traffickers and [arrested or abducted] 84 [legal minors]…behind the headlines, the reality is much different than what the public is led to believe….[people] arrested [as] human traffickers are rarely convicted for these crimes.  Charges are often dropped [for lack of evidence] or offenders accept plea bargains…one [so-called]…rescue…victim…was placed in a juvenile detention center, where she was sodomized by two inmates with a toothpaste tube.  She was later held in detention as a material witness until she gave her testimony at trial.  Therapy was not provided because “she didn’t avail herself”…Stories of arrests are quickly shared with the media, leading [self-professed “experts”]…to…be[lieve]…in…a…human trafficking scourge…

Read Full Post »

Whenever I use the toilet, all the horses break down my door and rush into my bathroom so they can intently watch me.

In this video, members of the band The Academic take advantage of a flaw in Facebook’s livestreaming software to record a song with their own past selves; it’s really quite interesting.  The video was contributed by Kevin Wilson, as was “horror”; the other links above the video were provided by Radley Balko (“pigs” and “together”), Conner Habib (“promises”), Jesse Walker (“books”), and Clarissa (“surprise”).

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for awhile.  –  Tom Petty

I know that seeing all one’s favorite entertainers die off one by one is part of aging, but damn, Tom Petty now!  His video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More” is one of my favorite short films, but this video is the one that first made me realize that he was great rather than merely good.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“fascism”, “happens” and “wrong”); Tushy Galore  (“correction”); and Kevin Wilson (“rules”).

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

I think that is an interesting attempt to cover their butts.  –  Adam Frank

Here’s another song that I considered my favorite at some point in childhood.  There are several interpretations of the lyrics; any of them present an interesting coincidence, given that I was much too young to have any idea of their meaning (I just liked Freda Payne’s voice and the way the song sounded musically).  The links above the video were provided by Eddie J CunninghamPatrick Nonwhite, ClarissaJesse WalkerMistress MatissePopehat, and Nun Ya, in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

I don’t think it’s any secret to anyone who has read more than a couple of my essays, or known me in person at all, that I am profoundly independent, free-spirited and anti-authoritarian.  I consider the idea that some stranger has even the slightest “rightful” authority over me due to his birth, title, fancy costume, magical talisman, mob consensus or ability to inflict violence upon my person to be ludicrous at best and an abomination against the gods at worst, and the most efficient way to get me not to do a thing is to tell me that I “must” do it, or to “order” me to do it.  And yet, seemingly paradoxically, I rarely turn down a request for a favor from a friend, and if I love someone deeply enough I’ll do almost anything they ask.  As I recently wrote on Twitter, “If you’re sure I love you, you can raise your hand to me & I’ll roll over for petting. But if not, expect that hand to be bitten off.”  What’s the magic formula that transforms me from a tigress to a kitten, from an uncontrollable spitfire to a gentle, kind angel?  Consent.  People who demand, assume or don’t even bother to seek my compliance will never, ever get it, but those who approach me in a friendly and respectful way often will.  And if a person invests the time and effort to win my heart, my freely-given loyalty is extremely difficult to break.

This right to decide who to submit to and who to snarl at belongs not only to me, but to every sentient being.   We all own ourselves, body and soul, and absolutely nobody else has the right to claim ownership over us, to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies and lives, or to determine what is best for us; the concept that the “majority”, some “authority”, or the nebulous “state” has the right to use violence to abrogate our self-determination or punish us for our free choices is a moral abomination on par with slavery, and future generations will look back upon prohibition with the same disgust as we view the idea that one human being can literally own another.  Every free-willed being has the right to consent, to refuse to consent, or to revoke consent to any request or action of another, and nobody has the right either to force consent via threat or violence, or to overrule anyone else’s consent.  And yet, the evil, confused and morally retarded claim this right over others every single day; modern states have a vast apparatus of surveillance designed to spy on the private, consensual acts of sane adults and inflict violence upon them if those acts conflict with the diktats of the State.  And there is a vast and growing cult which plays a Kafkaesque game with the very concept of consent, attempting to turn it from the free exercise of free will by free beings into a convoluted and bureaucratic prison, in which “authorities” impose their will on individuals and negate their consent by pretending that it wasn’t “true” consent under byzantine, ever-changing and ever-expanding rules determined, naturally, by the “authorities”.  In other words, these evil hypocrites overrule the consent of others in the name of “protecting” it.  It isn’t enough that consent be given; we are told it must be explicitly verbal, ongoing, and “enthusiastic”, and that it must be bureaucratically and tiresomely re-ascertained over and over and over again no matter how clearly it was expressed in the first place.  Some “authorities” choose to add even more adjectives to the list, insisting that consent be “creative” and “honest” (presumably, the one seeking consent must cart around a polygraph machine to fulfill the latter condition).  Others insist that consent is compulsory under certain conditions, and those who wish to inflict violence upon others for sex acts they consider “deviant” (including sex work, BDSM and in the past, homosexuality) claim that people who make these choices are suffering from mental disorders such as “Stockholm syndrome“, “trauma bonding” or the Marxist fantasy of “false consciousness”).  Possibly the most bizarre of these, popular among neofeminists for years but now gaining momentum among tyrants pretending to be “progressive”, is the idea that if a person is paid to do something he wouldn’t do for free that constitutes “coercion” or even “violence”.  This dogma is, frankly, deranged; it sounds more like something that might be ejaculated from a Maoist circle-jerk than something an official in a Western capitalist nation (whom, we might note, does not do HIS job for free and is therefore equally coerced) would say in public with a straight face.

Consent is never absolute; it is always conditional and contextual.  But only the free individual has the right to determine the conditions for their consent; that could be anything from “if you say please” to “if you pay me x amount” to “if you do this other thing for me”.  And nobody but the individual has the right to add extra conditions to that, nor to forbid any particular condition from among the individual’s choices.  To do either is to negate the entire concept of consent, which is the same as negating free will.  And an entity without free will is not a human; it is an object, owned by whichever other entity can hold onto it.  The abrogation of consent doesn’t “protect” anyone, no matter what the fanatics claim; it merely disguises an ugly, savage system of might makes right.

Read Full Post »

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage and plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We extort and pilfer, we filch and sack.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle and even highjack.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
 –  X Atencio

I often struggle to comprehend the incredible ability of the modern mind to not only reconcile cognitive dissonance, but to apparently function without even being aware of its existence.  Last week we had to endure the false “controversy” over Disney’s announcement that it was making changes in the animatronic figures featured in the 1960s-era Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  The story was covered in a number of places, but the writer from The Mary Sue made it easiest to zero in on the point I wish to make, so here she is:

Starting next year, Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride will no longer include the iconic Auction scene as we know it, in which animatronic “wenches” are sold as potential brides.  The pirates in the scene chant “we want the redhead,” but that redhead will now be reimagined as a pirate herself.  In a statement…Senior VP of Imagineering Kathy Mangum said, “We believe the time is right to turn the page to a new story in this scene, consistent with the humorous, adventurous spirit of the attraction.”  I took regular vacations to Disneyland growing up and absolutely loved the Pirates ride.  Yet I do remember, even as a child, finding something off about this scene.  I never tried to articulate it, and didn’t yet know terms like sex trafficking, but I did know that these women for sale weren’t in keeping with that “humorous, adventurous spirit” that permeates the rest of the ride…

So Vivian Kane, like so many puffed-up prudes, imagines she can project her adult feelings back into her child self, pretending that she “knew” there was something about the slave auction scene that “wasn’t in keeping” with the other activities of pirates.  Which other piratical activities, pray tell, is slave-taking “not in keeping” with, Vivian?  Robbery?  Kidnapping?  Arson?  Extortion?  Torture?  Murder?  I mean, it’s not like the famous song heard throughout the ride doesn’t list them.  In order: “We pillage, plunder, rifle, loot, kidnap, ravage, extort, pilfer, filch, sack, maraud, embezzle, hijack, kindle, char, enflame & ignite.”  Most of these are synonyms for “steal”, the last few connote arson, and though murder is basically cheated of a direct reference, it’s present as the warning “Dead men tell no tales” (intoned earlier in the spookier part of the ride).  But “kidnap and ravage” in the first verse there is pretty clear; it’s a nicer way of saying “abduct and rape”.  Because despite the weird 21st -century idea that pirates are somehow humorous, whimsical characters with ridiculous vocal mannerisms, they are actually (note the tense; they’re not mere historical figures) violent criminals, hijackers and robbers at sea with little compunction against mayhem, torture, murder and yes, rape.  But while nobody has yet managed to sell the idea of a humorous ride centering around terrorists, a kids’ movie series about carjackers or a “Talk Like a Rapist Day”, somehow pirates (bizarrely conceived as forever locked in the late 17th century) have been stripped of basically all of their realities (except maybe the ships) and re-imagined as lovable seafaring clowns led by strangely gender-and-sexual-orientation-ambiguous performance artists with highly idiosyncratic fashion senses.

Now, I’m not arguing against black humor; I’m actually a fan of it, and plays like Arsenic and Old Lace are among my favorites.  I see absolutely no problem with using very nasty subjects such as theft, murder, insanity, war, tyranny and yes, even rape and slavery, in entertainment (even humorous entertainment), provided it’s done competently (“dead hooker” jokes are badly overused & I’ve never seen one act as anything but a cheap laugh).  And the historically-illiterate man-children who have a problem with the existence of female pirates can sit and spin; here are two articles to start the rotation.  My problem is the neo-Victorian pretense that rape (and by extension, sexual slavery) is one topic that is absolutely off-limits, even when depicting fictional characters who joyfully commit every other crime of violence imaginable, including murder and torture!  Another example of the same asininity is provided by “feminists” who moan lugubriously about the lyrics of the Rolling Stones songs “Under My Thumb” and “Brown Sugar”, while failing to notice that the narrator of “Sympathy for the Devil” is boasting about having caused murder, war and genocide (because clearly, sexual exploitation of one single woman is much worse than the Holocaust).  This is the old “fate worse than death” argument writ large across the face of our whole decaying culture; it’s worse than ridiculous, it’s completely deranged.  If murder, piracy and the sack of whole cities are fit subjects for a “humorous, adventurous” amusement-park dark ride, so is “sex trafficking”; and if Disney’s going to start removing all subjects of moral panic from its properties, I’d like to see how it’s going to replace all of those witches.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »