Archive for August 27th, 2012

An author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.  –  Benjamin Disraeli

Just over a year ago in “Top Ten” I listed the most popular posts at that time by number of visits and number of comments, and also shared those I thought deserved more attention.  I’ll do an update on the top columns in my annual summary in January, but today I’d like to discuss the ten columns with which I’m most pleased.  As is my custom with these lists, I’m going to restrict it to only one representative per column type; I’m also going to exclude all miscellanea-type columns, list columns and those built around large extracts from others’ writings (such as news stories).  With those rules in place, it was a little easier to whittle 779 posts down to this list, arranged in chronological order.

1)  Painted Devil  (August 23rd, 2010)

It was really difficult to choose a favorite “fictional interlude”, and the two runners-up are mentioned as honorable mentions below.  But this one, the second I wrote, was very special to me because of the way it came into being.  The idea first occurred to me in the late ‘80s, but I was very dissatisfied with the resulting story and it rattled around in my brain for over two decades; though I tried many times to put it together it just never quite jelled.  But once I realized the missing ingredient was that the heroine had to be a courtesan, it came together in just a few hours; the result made me realize that I really could write a story every month, as long as I continued to employ that common factor.

Honorable mentions:  “Concubine” (July 19th, 2011) and “Pearls Before Swine” (October 13th, 2011)

2)  Amazingly Stupid Statements (October 10th, 2010)

What makes this one a favorite is very simple:  it contains the most concise responses I have ever written to a number of common prohibitionist arguments, all of which have been addressed at greater length in other columns.  But for simplicity and convenience, I think this column deserves greater exposure.

3)  Plaçage (November 22nd, 2010)

I’m very happy with most of my historical columns, but since I can only choose one it would have to be this treatment of the system of concubinage which was so prevalent in early New Orleans that it actually gave rise to an entire culture which survived until very recently.  Several of my historical columns cast light on obscure aspects of history, but this one seems to have become an important internet reference on the subject.

Honorable mentions: “Honolulu Harlots” (July 5th, 2011) and “The Ouled Nail” (September 11th, 2011)

4)  Harm Reduction (January 13th, 2011)

Though the topic of harm reduction often arises with respect to the way society treats prostitution, few of those who talk about it acknowledge that the trade is itself a harm reduction mechanism.  This essay explains what is meant by “harm reduction”, gives a brief history of the concept and explains how whores practice it.

5)  Numerology (January 24th, 2011

This column’s place on this list was a given because it was the one which first “put me on the map” by capturing the attention of many people outside the sex worker rights ghetto.  But even if that had not been the case, it deserves the position as the most important exercise in applied math I’ve done here to date.

6)  Godwin’s Law (March 5th, 2011)

I’ve written a number of essays on why police states are a moral abomination, but I’m so proud of this one I even reposted it on The Agitator during my guest blogging there last month.  In it, I discuss the titular internet principle, point out the danger of the pretense that nothing like Nazi Germany could ever happen again and argue that “sometimes Nazi analogies are entirely appropriate.”

Honorable mentions:  “Creating Criminals” (January 15th, 2011) and its sequel “Universal Criminality” (January 15th, 2012), and the Star Trek-themed “The Fourth of July” (July 4th, 2012)

7)  A False Dichotomy (June 22nd, 2011)

Prohibitionists and sex worker rights advocates alike often subscribe to the fallacious belief that all whores are either free-willed “happy hookers” or “trafficked slaves”; this essay explains why that idea is incorrect and how belief in it is harmful to the cause of human rights and dismissive of the experiences of most of the world’s prostitutes.

Honorable mention:  “Thought Experiment” (December 16th, 2011)

8)  Frightful Films (October 28th, 2011)

At the time it was published this was the farthest off-topic I had ever wandered; it also had more pictures than any other, and some of them are the largest ones I ever uploaded to the blog.  It also took longer to post than any other column before or since (due to formatting issues), but it was worth it as a labor of love on a topic near and dear to my heart.

9)  Objectification Overruled (January 31st, 2012)

Of all the numerous criticisms of feminist theory I’ve written, this is my favorite.  That’s partly because I find “objectification” the most absurd, indefensible, offensive and pie-in-the-sky of all feminist notions, yet it’s achieved widespread acceptance in popular discourse and is almost never questioned despite the fact that its asininity should be obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together.  So as you might imagine, I took particular pleasure in demolishing it with the help of Rene Magritte and Captain Kirk.

Honorable mention:  “My Body, My Choice” (November 19th, 2010)

10)  Imagination Pinned Down (June 12th, 2012)

It’s bad enough that the Great Unwashed accept lurid and unproven anecdotes as valid arguments against demonstrable facts, well-supported statistics and a very large number of anecdotes which contradict the lurid ones.  But when those stories strongly resemble other outrageous “survivor” tales, and violate both common sense and physical laws, somebody needs to stand up and call a trafficking victim a UFO abductee; this essay does exactly that.

New readers will probably find these an excellent introduction to my back-catalog, and even regular readers may find some titles they don’t recognize.  But I hope even those of you who remember all of these appreciated this month’s look into my own aesthetic sensibilities.

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