Archive for April 8th, 2013

I rolled my eyes so hard, I think I saw my brain.  –  Aspasia Bonasera

The typical American news article on sex work is astonishingly ignorant, repeats police idiocy and “sex trafficking” hysterics without a hint of skepticism, focuses on the lurid and is sprinkled liberally with either New York Post-style tabloid inanities such as “sexcapades” or pearl-clutching Victorianisms such as “illicit” and “selling their bodies”.  A minority are written by old-school skeptical journalists who see through most of the propaganda and generally advocate prostitution be “legalized, taxed and heavily regulated”.  Then there are the Chicken Lickens who seem to believe hooking was a rare aberration until the appearance of Craigslist, the “feminist” journalists who couldn’t be more uptight if they had been educated in a convent, the would-be allies who yet insist that no woman does sex work voluntarily, and the rare (usually but not always libertarian) journalist who really does get it.

Abby NormalBut every so often one encounters a chimera seemingly stitched together out of spare parts from all the other types by some journalistic Frankenstein, and one is forced to wonder if the author A) really believes all of his seemingly-contradictory positions simultaneously; B) actually has some coherent set of beliefs and is just incredibly bad at expressing himself; C) is trolling his readers or playing an elaborate practical joke; or D) typed his article under the influence of some pharmaceutical substance which may or may not have been criminalized yet.  I recently encountered one of these in Huffington Post, and as I read it I alternated between confusion, annoyance, painfully severe eye-rolling and open-mouthed incredulity.  So I saved the link and halfway forgot about it, then a week or so later asked myself “Why did I save this?”  And then I read it again, and answered, “Oh, yeah, that’s why.”  Judge for yourself; I have tried to distill it down somewhat into a more concentrated Essence of Bewilderbeast, but if you have masochistic tendencies you might want to read the whole thing.

…there’s always going to be a demand for prostitutes willing to sell their bodies for a fee.  Like illicit drug use, until it becomes legal, prostitution will continue unabated, unregulated, uncontrolled and untaxed…there [also] will [always] be occasional, much publicized sweeps of prostitutes and johns in some seedy section of a city…[and] righteous state legislators…introducing virtuous bills targeting some aspect of this socially unacceptable behavior.

…Florida’s Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who has been described as not “just a local enforcer of laws but a more universal arbiter of morals,” announced that a four-day prostitution sting had netted 78 arrests that included porn stars.  He…said, “We seemed to have every thug and reprobate in central Florida under arrest… Let the word go forward, this is not our last operation, because we like it”…Those morality raids are time tested…political “tricks” for politicians…to remind the public how well they are protecting the community from morally [sic] depravity.  And in this virtuous state of Florida, the latest moral flavor of the month is a new campaign…to crack down on…massage [parlors]…where virtual sex slaves, many of them children, are alleged to work long hours…while being held captive on the premises…human trafficking is a serious problem that, unlike prostitution per se, deserves much more sophisticated action than the ineffective political gimmickry used to address pimps and street walkers [sic]…While prostitution is a moral crime that will always continue in one form or another and should be legalized, sanitized, taxed and controlled, human slavery…can’t be tolerated at all…Human trafficking in the U.S. is exploding, and Florida, along with Texas and California, are hotbeds for human slavery…leaning on massage parlors is neither the answer nor a good start to free Florida’s slaves…

The author is a lawyer and a “communications strategist” (whatever the hell that means), and is apparently paid real money to write incoherent rubbish (assuming this is a typical example of his “work”).  I know that Florida has essentially become the madhouse for this local region of the multiverse, but I had no idea it was this bad.  Still, perhaps that’s a good thing; as potty as America has grown it could only be worse if the Florida Froot Loops were evenly distributed across the rest of the country rather than concentrated on a long stretch of un-submerged continental shelf getting skin cancer together.Detail from "Hell" panel of "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1500)

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