Archive for September 1st, 2012

Do we really need to create a black market for burgers and fries?  –  Jeff Stier

Coming and Going

Texas is finally beginning to realize that it has better ways to spend millions per year than locking up whores:

…a 2001 Texas law…allowed prosecutors to charge prostitutes with a felony…after three misdemeanor prostitution convictions…but now, with more than 350 prostitutes…occupying bunks in the state prison system, and dozens more serving time for drug and theft charges…questions are being raised about…the…waste of money.  For about one-fourth the cost, such nonviolent, low-level criminals could be rehabilitated in community-based programs aimed at curing their addictions to alcohol and drugs…

The tone of the article can be judged by the fact that it describes Melissa Farley as “a recognized national expert on prostitution.”  This Agitator guest post on the subject by Eric Sterling of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is far more satisfying:

…Consider the utterly unseemly entrapment of women by members of a vice squad.  Think of the state of mind of the undercover police officer doing this work.  Actually don’t think on this too long, it is disgusting…Assume that many prostitutes don’t like the work.  So what?  I know lots of lawyers who don’t like the work, too — renting their mind for thousands of hours a year for clients they find disgusting…Why do we judge this work to be illegal, other than on the basis of legal tradition?  How are these women…[their] families…[or] society benefited by sending prostitutes to prison?  How are their…employment prospects improved by arresting them?…

Thinking With the Wrong Head

Actually, I do believe they’re telling the truth; pathetic attempts to get it for free aren’t Vitter’s style:

Sen. David Vitter’s spokesman…denied the Louisiana Republican was responsible for sending and quickly deleting a message from the senator’s official Twitter account to a young woman…Joel DiGrado [said]…Vitter “never personally tweets — in fact, he doesn’t even have the Twitter account set up on his Blackberry…The only explanation would seem to be an inadvertent staff button hit, perhaps related to the fact that, at various times the senator’s account has automatically followed whoever follows his account”…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark

Second sign that a human behavior is natural rather than cultural:  it’s observed in other primate species:

When offered the choice of playing with either a doll or a toy truck, girls will typically pick the doll and boys will opt for the truck.  This isn’t just because society encourages girls to be nurturing and boys to be active, as people once thought.  In experiments, male adolescent monkeys also prefer to play with wheeled vehicles while the females prefer dolls — and their societies say nothing on the matter.  The monkey research, conducted with two different species in 2002 and 2008, strongly suggested a biological explanation for children’s toy preferences…

The article goes on to discuss other studies which demonstrate that infant testosterone levels correlate with the amount of time they spend looking at balls or trucks vs. dolls, and even baby girls exposed to abnormally-high androgen levels in utero (a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia) prefer the “male-typical” toys.

Thou Shalt Not

Clearly, prohibitionism is a kind of mental illness:

…Deborah Cohen…suggests that some of the policies we use to control alcohol consumption could help beat back obesity.  “People realized…that alcohol was a problem…so they developed all kinds of regulations to make it less convenient…Perhaps now it’s time to rein in our easy access to food,” Cohen said…[measures] could include warning labels for foods high in fat and sugar, or maybe restrictions on where in the grocery store foods are displayed to curb impulse buying…Cohen [also] likes New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the sale of large-sized sugary drinks…


There’s nothing wrong with this in theory, but it will take much more than a week to have any effect:

The female wing of a civil rights group is urging women in Togo to stage a week-long sex strike to demand the resignation of the country’s president…Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the women’s wing of the group Let’s Save Togo…said…her group is following the example of Liberia’s women, who used a sex strike in 2003 to campaign for peace…

The Rape Question

A Swedish booklet from 2007 (described in Oscar Swartz’  A Brief History of Swedish Sex) helpfully explains that begging equals rape:

…The…144 page booklet…gave a message that could not be misunderstood:  Girls should always and only think of themselves…[and] boys…should only think of the girl and her emotions and wishes and never of themselves.  Girls are encouraged to put on provocative clothing, drink, flirt, fool around, join boys from the pub, lie down in their bed, excite them – but at the last second say no.  She must never question whether…[it is OK] to act in such ways, since it is her legal right…If something did not feel good, girls are reassured that they must report their boyfriends, dates or lovers to the police…“If sex is achieved through begging and pleading…then it is rape”, says…psycho-therapist Monica Mardell…

In other words, if a Swedish man does anything other than mutely and passively submit to a woman’s sexual advances, he is a rapist.

Feet of Clay

Welcome to our world, chemists:

Last May, Deborah Blum…published a column pleading with…Nick Kristof to stop writing about chemical risk…[now] Kristof is at it again, [claiming]…“Big Chem” is preventing the Federal Government from protecting Americans from dangerous, endocrine disrupting chemicals…it appears that [Kristof] only reads [research] produced by a very, very small group of scientists – all on the farthest reaches of the environmental left.  He applies no statistical or experimental criticism to these studies:  they always “really” find what they claim to have found; and he seems unaware of the many non-industry funded studies or regulatory agency assessments that contradict them…

Naked Truth

If you’re anything like me, one Kristof-bashing session is never enough; so, here’s Melissa Gira Grant in Jacobin:

…“True, many of the prostitution ads on Backpage are placed by adult women acting on their own without coercion,” writesprofessional prostitute savior Nicholas Kristof.  But, he continues…“they’re not my concern.”  He would like us to join him in separating women into those who chose prostitution and those who were forced into it; those who view it as business and those who view it as exploitation; those who are workers and those who are victims; those who are irremediable and those who can be saved.  These categories…fail to explain the reality of one woman’s work, let alone a class of women’s labor…But happy hookers, says Kristof, don’t despair, this isn’t about women like you – we don’t really mean to put you out of work.  Never mind that shutting down the businesses people in the sex trade depend on for safety and survival only exposes all of them to danger and poverty, no matter how much choice they have…


A Tale That Grew in the Telling in October Updates (Part Three)

The claims of “sex trafficking” fanatics get more outlandish all the time:

The Internet has created the golden age of the sex industry.  It’s an $87 million a day business and it’s growing…Working in the commercial sex industry is the most dangerous job in the world.  Most of us think we understand the business of sex:  what it is and what (if anything) should be done to control it.  But the reality is complex and sinister.  Caught up in it are young men and women who are trafficked…Some opt in by choice.  But most don’t.  Unsuspecting victims fall prey to the elaborate schemes of predatory pimps who…know that a girl can generate upwards of $300,000 a year…

For perspective:  I used to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and I owned an escort service in addition to my own work, yet I still never made $300,000 in one year.  In fact, I think that all the living whores who can reliably exceed that every year could comfortably fit in my house.  But I guess for a mind stupid enough to believe that a hooker can see 50 men a night, $300,000 a year is quite reasonable.

The Crumbling Dam in TW3 (#20)

All over Canada, support for decriminalization continues to grow:

Giving the children of Vancouver’s missing women financial compensation and decriminalizing sex work, heroin and cocaine are just some of 37 recommendations set out by a new Missing Women inquiry report…the Independent Counsel recommendations detail a comprehensive list aimed at stopping another serial killer from preying on marginalized sex workers…“At the core of the difficulty is a set of police attitudes that are influenced by the unlawful status of sex work and drug use,” said the report’s author, lawyer Jason Gratl…“Sex workers and drug users are afraid to approach police because they fear persecution and arrest, even if they’re victims of serious physical or sexual crimes.”  When investigating the missing women, police rarely interviewed victims’ friends or family because…[they believed] the sex workers didn’t have friends or neighbours…

Reading Between the Lines in TW3 (#26)

Oklahoma City police joined with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and the FBI to arrest 44 people in a prostitution and human trafficking sting.  The arrests include people accused of prostituting themselves, aiding a prostitute and soliciting the services of a prostitute. This is part of an ongoing nationwide investigation into human trafficking called Operation Cross Country…”  Total number of minors or “trafficked persons” arrested:  zero.

The Pro-Rape Coalition in TW3 (#30)

This was already a done deal, but now it’s official:

A Monday press release from faith-based advocacy group Morality in Media celebrates the Republican Party’s platform as now targeting all…pornography, not just illegal child pornography…“Distribution of obscene or hardcore pornography on the Internet is a violation of current federal law,” explained MIM’s President Patrick A. Trueman.  “Yet, most children in America have free access to obscene pornography as soon as they learn how to use a computer.  The average age of first exposure to obscene Internet pornography is now eleven.”  Trueman also suggested that…the federal government should police “obscenity,” not only…on the Internet, but also on hotel…TVs, cable or satellite television, and in retail shops…

Eleven as the average age of first exposure to the sex industry…now, where have I heard that before?

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#31)

Apparently, prohibitionists have a very weird idea of what words like “support” and “help” mean, and have learned absolutely nothing from the catastrophic failure of the “War on Drugs”:

A new poll…has indicated that only 20 percent of the Danish population supports the government’s proposal to outlaw sex purchases, while a full 67 percent…are against it…But despite [this] politicians like Rasmus Horn Langhoff…contend that it must be done in order to support the women in the sex industry.  “…We must send a clear message that it is not okay to buy sex because of how negative it is for the women,” Langhoff [said]…“If we target the customers then we help the prostitutes who don’t need to go underground”…But…law group Gadejuristen (the Street Lawyer)…painted a…different picture.  “It’s completely wrong if you think that you can solve serious social issues by criminalising them.  Doing this will only worsen the situation,” [said] Nanna Gottfredsen…“You push the sex workers further into a grey zone.  They will hide themselves and their activities and social workers will no longer be able to contact those in need of help.”

This Week in 2011

Maslow’s Hammer; the inevitability of Nature getting her way; the counterfeit comfort of “sex offender” registries; how reality can only be fit into simplistic belief systems by ignoring most of it; questions on polyamory, penis size and racial preferenceslanguage patterns of New Orleans; and Michael Weinstein’s campaign to turn porn movies into commercials for his product.

This Week in 2010

Several of my most unusual calls and my favorite New Orleans eateries; three columns about very special girls who touched my heart; the original “sex trafficking” hysteria of a century ago; and my first column on the “condoms in porn” controversy.

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