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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

As I pointed out yesterday, there are now a lot more sex workers writing articles debunking prohibitionist propaganda, sharing the truths of our lives with those outside the demimonde, and making powerful arguments in favor of decriminalization.  Eleven years ago, that wasn’t the case; while I certainly wasn’t the only one writing, there were few enough of us that I felt very driven, knowing that my words were helping a lot of people understand that which our enemies don’t want them to understand: that sex workers are as diverse as any other social group and have real lives rather than being the cartoon victims or villain of prohibitionists’ sick sexual fantasies.  Since Day One of this blog my primary intended audience has always been the general public; I’ve always been more interested in humanizing and destigmatizing sex workers in the minds of that public instead of preaching to the choir, which is why I’ve never felt any compulsion to restrict my topics to those of interest to activists.  And now that the heavy lifting is spread out among a far larger number of far younger shoulders than mine, I think it’s time to broaden my focus even more.  Some of you may have noticed it already: I’m ignoring news stories that feel too repetitive, and there are now too many good sex worker articles for me to call attention to them all.  And I’m using the time and energy I save to write about stuff that’s interesting to me, like philosophy, construction projects at Sunset, and science fiction shows.  But that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning my mission; I’m just going about it a different way.  Instead of merely telling outsiders that sex workers are regular folks, I’m showing them instead.  And I don’t plan to stop doing that anytime soon.

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Diary #566

Though autumn is my favorite season, spring is my second-favorite, and for some of the same reasons: it’s (mostly) neither too hot nor too cold, neither too rainy nor too dry (although the latter doesn’t really apply here in the vicinity of the rain forest), and best of all it’s colorful.  I like seeing everything turn green again after the winter brown, and flowers burst forth from both trees and lawn.  Hummingbirds and honeybees are everywhere, and while there are also a lot of flies that’s also true of summer (which lacks spring’s other beauties).  It does mean the days are getting longer, which increases my free-floating anxiety; however, part of that is the fault of the daylight mismanagement regime rather than the fault of spring itself, so I try not to judge her too harshly for it.  And besides, once it starts getting to be a problem I can simply start my cannabis a bit earlier in the evening so as to give it more time to soothe my central nervous system before bedtime.

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Drop the bike or you’re gonna get arrested.  –  unnamed cop

You may have noticed that I am rather fond of novelty songs; here’s one from my childhood that the writer/singer insists is not meant to be suggestive.  The links above it were provided by Glenn Kessler, Billy Binion, Mike Siegel, The Onion, Radley Balko, Cop Crisis, and Phoenix Calida, in that order.

From the Archives

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Every fictional universe has some set of stories and story-elements which are considered canonical while others are not.  Generally, most of the stories produced or authorized by the copyright holders are considered canon, while fan stories are not; however, in some circumstances some stories and plot development which were once “official” are later quietly disregarded (usually because they cause too many continuity problems, like the ridiculous “Warp 5 speed limit” introduced in a latter-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and promptly ignored by every other writer).  But it’s not at all unusual for fans of a sci-fi or fantasy series to also have a “head canon”, a set of stories and elements that they consider “official” in their own internal picture of that universe, which is separate from whatever the corporate owners might declare.  Such mental structures allow the fan to include or exclude elements which might affect his willing suspension of disbelief or otherwise alter his appreciation of the imaginary world.  For me, one of those elements is chronology; for example, I have absolutely no tolerance for the loosey-goosey sliding past of comic books, in which superheroes always stay the same age for decades and their origins keep changing to suit a contemporary framework.  So whenever I read or watch a series, it’s important for me to keep a timeline (on a notepad or computer file if it’s too complex to organize in my head) so that I can keep track of the order in which things happen, how long it was from x event to y, and so on.  That’s why I especially appreciate shows like Babylon 5 and novels like The Lord of the Rings, in which the creator maintains a close watch on dates and sequences of events, and characters age and change as they do in the real world; when the person or persons in charge don’t pay attention or even blatantly disregard such recordkeeping, this is what my head does.  So I think we can all agree that it would just be better if everyone plotted their stories with a calendar handy, so as to save Maggie’s brain all that extra work.

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They will still be criminalizing…our landlords, friends, drivers, and customers.  –  Maya Morena

R.I.P. Tempest Storm

Tempest Storm, the legendary burlesque star who blazed a trail for strip-tease artists for more than a half-century, has died.  She was 93…Storm had been struggling after surgery on her right hip on April 8…In 1956, she became the highest-paid burlesque performer in history when she signed a 10-year contract at $100,000 a year with the Bryan-Engels burlesque production company.  Soon after signing that deal, Storm married Herb Jeffries, the singer in Duke Ellington’s Orchestra known as Hollywood’s first singing black cowboy.  Seen as scandalous at the time, Storm would say the marriage cost her a potentially lucrative film career…Storm first performed in Las Vegas in 1951…and as late as 1987…She was 59 at the time…

Disaster (#925)

We did warn y’all that this wouldn’t stop with actual sex workers:

…it’s become increasingly clear…that the World Wide Web is…[no longer] a particularly hospitable place for…sex that deviates in any way from social norms.  Polyamorous dating app #Open…was removed from the Google Play Store for allegedly violating Google’s “Sexual Content and Profanity policy”…for including the words “threesomes,” “3some,” “DTF” and “kinky dates”…[because] they “imply sexual gratification.”  After removing the offending terms…the app was eventually reinstated…“without any notice…from Google,” following a nine-day suspension…[Creators Amanda] Wilson and [David] Epstein claim the suspension significantly damaged their business, costing #Open an estimated 2,000 potential new members…as well as causing the app to lose its position as the number one dating app to appear in searches for “polyamory”…

Oh noes, it damaged their business!  Surely that has never happened to the millions of sex workers Wilson & Epstein don’t give a shit about, thanks to these terrible policies they never opposed until they were harmed.

Stalkers in Blue (#989)

Another sexual predator specifically targets traumatized women:

A [typical and representative cop] who [stalked] four vulnerable domestic abuse victims has been dismissed for “appalling” gross misconduct…Colin Noble…[of] West Midlands Police…[was] secretly recorded…[by one woman aking her for] nudes…He a[sked another to show him]…her breasts…other complainants [produced]…a “catalogue of completely inappropriate comments” [he made] between 2014 and 2017…he turned up at [one victim’s] house unannounced up to 30 times, telling her she was “too pretty” for her boyfriend…[and] asking…if she had “ever slept with a black man”…[another] lied about having moved away from the Midlands to stop his calls…

Welcome to the Future (#1092)

In a just world, every politician in Pasco County would be jailed & the cop shop shut down:

The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into…Pasco [County, Florida] school [bureaucrats’ violation of] federal law by sharing private student information with the…Sheriff’s Office…the school district shared information on student grades, discipline and attendance with [pigs, who then] used the data to compile a secret list of s[tudents] it [targeted for harassment based on claims that they] could “fall into a life of crime”…The school district has…repeated[ly lied, claiming that giving thugs information they could use to ruin young people’s lives is] a…“proper use of student information”…The Sheriff’s Office…[lied] that the program does not label kids as potential criminals, despite what its own manual says…

Castle on a Cloud

Putting stock in what politicians only say is like trying to build a castle on a cloud:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office announced…it would no longer prosecute prostitution and unlicensed massage…Cyrus R. Vance Jr….[claimed] his office had fully shifted its approach to prostitution [but this is a lie, because]…The office will continue to prosecute other [consensual] crimes related to prostitution, including [giving] sex workers [money] and sex [workers working together, keeping incalls, and other mundane practices demonized by prohibitionists as “trafficking”]…Vance’s move [appears to be intended to confuse voters who support his political opponent Eliza Orlins, who is calling for the actual decriminalization of sex work rather than Vance’s de facto Swedish criminalization]…

Guinea Pigs (#1108) 

Lest you think this is strictly a Chinese pathology, follow the subtitle link:

China’s Communist government has launched a new app that encourages citizens to report [others] for expressing “mistaken opinions” on the Internet…The new platform will target anyone who criticizes the dictatorship’s ruling CCP, disputes the official version of the country’s history or engages in “misinformation…and denying Party, national and military history in an attempt to confuse people’s thinking”…China already operates an onerous social credit score system that bans people from using transportation and engaging in other basic functions of society if they commit minor [sins] like jaywalking or buying too much junk food…

The Last Shall Be First (#1128) 

Since their “bathroom bills” kept getting struck down, transphobes are now trying to accomplish their goals by criminalizing doctors:

The mother of a transgender boy made a powerful speech [to] Texas [politicians], urging them not to pass legislation that would criminalize parents who allowed their children to receive [gender] affirming procedures…There are more than 10 [current] bills in Texas that specifically target transgender youth…Two [of them] would classify a medical practitioner helping a [legal minor] to transition as “abuse”…[another] would prevent liability insurance coverage for gender-affirming surgeries and treatments for [minors]…Several other states are considering anti-trans legislation [including]…Missouri

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Diary #565

I had only a few days back at Sunset before heading back out again, but at least it was only an overnight to the east side of the Olympic peninsula, namely the convention of the Libertarian Party of Washington over in Port Orchard.  I was on a panel on sex work decriminalization early Sunday afternoon and it’s only a two-hour drive, so I could’ve just gotten up early Sunday and driven over.  But since I didn’t really know where I was going and wanted time to schmooze (such interactions are useful in building coalitions and making contacts), they covered a hotel room for me Saturday night and I drove over after dinner.  I was glad I did, not only because Sunday morning was less hectic, but also because it gave me a chance to talk to some other awesome sex worker activists.  The audience was really receptive to what we had to say, which is especially important now that things are finally starting to move (albeit with glacial slowness), because we’ll need all the allies we can get.  Alas, I never sleep well when I know I have to get up, so I got home pretty exhausted Sunday night and then wrote this; if it’s a bit short and blah, at least I have a good excuse.

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You’re fixin’ to ride the lightning.  –  “Officer” Joe Gutierrez

If Western culture emphasized composer over performer in popular music as it does with orchestral music, Jim Steinman would be recognized as one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.  In honor of his passing, here’s a video of the one hit he had as a performer; compare and contrast with Meat Loaf performing the same song a little over a decade later.  The links above the video were provided by Lucy Steigerwald, Franklin Harris, Tim Cushing, Jesse Walker, Cop Crisis, Radley Balko, and Nun Ya, in that order.

From the Archives

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Diary #564

The more complicated a plan, the more there is to go wrong with it.  So I was very relieved when I touched down in Seattle on Sunday afternoon without any major hitches.  Oh, there were a few minor ones of course, mostly invoving the drive down, but nothing infuriating or catastrophic.  Of course, I was pretty exhausted by the time I arrived; the van was unfamiliar and not nearly as maneuverable as I prefer in a vehicle, and every time I drive into the Bay Area I forget how large it is and continually need to re-adjust my time estimates.  But I arrived only half an hour over my ETA, and Matt now has his stuff, and I had a lovely visit with my gentleman on Saturday, and my flight back on Sunday was both short and uneventful. I’ll be returning to Sunset tomorrow, then this coming Sunday I’ll be speaking at the convention of the Libertarian Party of King County, which is starting to put more energy into promoting decriminalization.  I’m glad that’s only a short drive away; I hope to have at least a little recovery time before taking another flight.

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What is it going to take to get all of this to go away?
–  “officer” Josh Barlow’s swineherd, to his victim

It isn’t often that I see a good short film nowadays, much less a good sci-fi short, but this one is a masterclass in what one can do with a small budget and some excellent writing.  It was provided by Mike Siegel, and the links above it by President Dawg, Jesse Walker, Dave Krueger, Franklin Harris, and Cop Crisis (x3), in that order.

From the Archives

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Bathhouse 28

I’ve been frustrated about our lack of progress on the bathhouse for quite a while now, but unfortunately we’re at a bottleneck; the next step requires brackets which Grace has to make herself, but she’s been ailing for some time and so her progress has been very slow.  But she says she’ll finally be done next week, so we’ve started staging materials and maybe we’ll be getting underway again soon.  I’m hoping that the warmer, drier weather helps, and that once we get going we’ll be able to pick up momentum again.  If we’d been able to get the roof in place before the monsoon season, we’d have been able to work on the walls under the shelter.  But such was not to be, so now I’m hoping to get it done by at least the beginning of summer so we can work in the shade during July and August.  After the walls are up, we can get to work installing our second full bath.  And once that crappy old awning is out of the way, the little lady in the background of this pic will finally get to stand someplace where she can do her job alongside the hot tub.

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