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Your best strategy is to treat every encounter with [cops] as an encounter with a dangerous, unpredictable, rabid wild animal who may maul you for no reason you can adequately comprehend.  –  “Not For Any Reason Whatsoever

The existence of prostitutes required considerable cognitive gymnastics to reconcile with the Victorian view that women were intrinsically asexual.  –  “The Peril

I remember pain – whether physical or emotional – every bit as vividly as I remember facts.  Every laceration and every rejection; every broken bone, and every broken heart.  –  “The Actual Cost

Case in point one moral panic, a phenomenon in which people voluntarily relinquish their reason, their knowledge, and their consciences in pursuit of ghosts and shadows, and in doing so plunge themselves, their neighbors and those they believe they have cause to fear into a nightmarish, yet very real Twilight Zone.
–  “The Monsters Are Due

If I were a doctor, lawyer or other professional, nobody would bat an eyelash if I were to link my professional site to my blog.  But because my business involves touching people on parts of their bodies the witch doctors have deemed taboo, I am placed under restrictions that massage therapists, manicurists and hairdressers need not concern themselves with.  –  “Meeting Maggie

Prohibitionists, sophists, trolls, partisans and bootlickers can’t usually tweet me twice without being banished to the outer darkness where they can shout into their own arseholes all day long without the slightest chance of annoying me.  –  “First Impression

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If the government decides to point its finger at you, there’s really no question that they’re going to try to ruin you.  –  Jim Larkin

I never met Jim Larkin, but the unexpected news of his suicide brought tears to my eyes last Tuesday; those tears were not only for him, but for all of us living under the government that murdered him as surely as if he had been executed.

God help us.

His death was reported in many places online; of course the corporate media reports ranged from typical lie-parroting and bootlicking to outright grave-dancing, and the ghouls at the federal agency which hounded him to death had the jaw-dropping gall to “send condolences to his family and friends, and wish them sustenance and strength in a difficult time“.  As is not unusual these days, one needed to turn to the alternative press to read a truthful account, such as this one from Elizabeth Nolan Brown of Reason:

Lacey [and] Larkin built the Phoenix New Times from an anti-war student newspaper into a broad—and still-thriving—record of Maricopa County culture and politics…They [then] expanded their alt-weekly empire nationwide, eventually running 17 free papers, including the Miami New Times, Westword, the Dallas Observer, and The Village Voice…Collectively, the papers and their staffers were nominated for more than 1,400 national writing awards, won one Pulitzer, and were finalists for the Pulitzer six other times…Among the court battles they fought—and won—was one over infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio demanding data on New Times readers; Arpaio was eventually forced to pay Larkin and Lacey a $3.75 million settlement, which they used to establish the immigrant rights organization Frontera Fund.  Another…was waged over a 1971 New Times ad for a group that helped women in Arizona (where abortion was illegal) travel to California for the procedure.  The case eventually helped invalidate Arizona’s entire abortion ban…

And this one from Mike Masnick of Techdirt:

…contrary to the public narrative you may have heard, Backpage worked closely with federal law enforcement to actually stop sex trafficking…But they refused to do the same for consensual sex work and that is why the feds eventually came down on them like a ton of bricks, all while telling the media and politicians that it was for sex trafficking.   But that was all bullshit.  And the bullshit extended to the process of the federal case against Larkin and Lacey, including when the defendants discovered an internal DOJ memo stating flat out that Backpage was helpful, rather than harmful, in the fight against sex trafficking.  The DOJ successfully got the court to say that they couldn’t use that in their defense

His family made this statement in the paper he co-founded:

…Jim fought for voices and issues ignored by society.  He fought against police brutality, he fought for immigrant rights and, above all, he fought tooth and nail for free speech.  He wasn’t afraid to pick up the unmovable boulders of our society and shine light on the corruption beneath.  While many publishers abandoned journalistic principles in the face of pressure and harassment, Jim stood fast and fought for the truth…

But it’s Michael Lacey’s comments which are, unsurprisibly, the most poignant:

I never saw my friend do a dishonest or dishonorable thing in his entire life.

I had a four-decade friendship with a wonderful man.

Now I have only his memory.

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Sex workers…should have access to the same legal mechanisms to enforce their agreements as any other service provider.  –  Jessica Rose

The Prudish Giant (#1104) 

The headline writer omitted the word “temporarily”:

A days-long ban by Instagram on dozens of kink and sex-positive creators [has been] lifted [for now]…Those impacted by the bans, which lasted from June 22 to June 28, still…[somehow can’t understand why the compulsively-censorious Facebook, which owns] Instagram…blocked [their accounts again as it did two and a half years ago], and [naively expect] explanations of how those involved in the sex-positive community can safely interact on [the] platform…without [being lumped in with those dirty, bad sex workers Facebook has repeatedly censored for years without a peep from the “sex positive community”]…

Property of the State (#1133) 

Pregnant women & new mothers are uniquely vulnerable to state coercion:

…in 2016…Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act…[which] included a one-word change to…federal law…requir[ing] newborns vaguely identified as “affected by” illegal drugs to be flagged to child protective services.  In this new iteration, [politician]s removed the word “illegal”…[so] hospitals…were required to [snitch to pigs] any time a newborn was “affected by” any substance, legal or [otherwise]…Many [states] responded by expanding child abuse reporting requirements to include the use of prescription medications during pregnancy…States such as Arizona…doubled down on investigations…women [have been] reported after taking antidepressants, anxiety and ADHD medications, and even over-the-counter cold medicine…some…were reported after testing positive for the fentanyl in their epidurals.  States are even less forthcoming about how many…newborns are [abducted under this pretext]…

Whither Canada? (#1256)

I’m happy to have been proven wrong about her chances:

A Halifax sex worker has won her small claims court case over an unpaid fee from a client in what her advocates say is a huge step toward strengthening the rights of all sex workers…On Jan. 26, 2022, Brogan Sheehan…[agreed] to provide companionship services to a man named Bradley Samuelson…at a rate of $300 per hour.  Seven hours…later…after [a great deal of hassle]…he finally paid her $300, leaving a balance of $1,800…Samuelson [bizarrely] argued that a contract for sexual services is not enforceable in law because it’s an illegal contract…[but adjudicator Darrel] Pink ruled that the contract was enforceable…because sex work is not illegal, [therefore] it follows that normal commercial law benefits afforded by civil law should be available to sex workers…Samuelson voluntarily hired her, agreed to pay for her services and communicated intent to pay…[he] was ordered to pay Ms. Sheehan $1,800 plus interest and costs, which he did on May 24.  Ms. Sheehan said she’s relieved and proud that the victory now clears the way for other sex workers to seek a legal remedy when clients refuse to pay, which happens often…

To Molest and Rape (#1278)

It’s rare that a rapist cop stops at only a few victims:

A [typical and representative] Philadelphia [cop] already [caged] on child sex assault charges is now charged with dozens more sex crimes that stem from his [long career as a rapist cop]…Patrick Heron…has [been]…charged…in 19 new cases…from 2005 to 2019…the 233 new counts…include kidnapping, [anal rape, child molestation, rape, witness intimidation]…sexual assault, child sexual abuse, indecent assault, and [rape of a caged woman]…

I Spy (#1315)

When it comes to surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

Numerous government agencies, including the FBI, Department of Defense…[NSA, and] Treasury Department…have purchased vast amounts of U.S. citizens’ personal information from commercial data brokers…a partially declassified…report released on June 9…shows the breathtaking scale and invasive nature of the consumer data market and how [it] directly enables wholesale [unconstitutional] surveillance of people.  The data includes not only where you’ve been and who you’re connected to, but the nature of your beliefs and [highly-flawed] predictions about what you might do in the future…[this] information, coupled with the now-ubiquitous decision-making a[lgorithms]…like ChatGPT, significantly increases the threat to privacy and civil liberties by giving the government access to sensitive personal information beyond even what it could collect through court-authorized surveillance…

Thou Shalt Not (#1347)

Crypto-moralists believe people enjoying something is enough reason to declare it “unsafe”:

“The dose makes the poison.”  That’s always what you have to bear in mind when you hear any claim about whether some substance…is “toxic”, or even “causes cancer”.  Many “poisons” only do…harm at very high concentrations, and even water can be toxic if you drink enough…the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is about to declare that aspartame…is “possibly carcinogenic” …[despite being] repeatedlydeclared safe by multiple health authorities over the years after dozens of studies…the IARC [has]…four categories…Group 1 is things they think definitely cause cancer.  Group 2A is things that are “probably carcinogenic”.  Group 2B is “possibly carcinogenic”.  And Group 3 is “not classifiable”.  Aspartame isn’t currently…on the list, but [IARC wants]…to add it to Group 2B…[along with] aloe vera…working as a carpenter…joiner…[or] dry cleaner…[and] pickled vegetables…Group 2A…[includes] red meat…working night shifts…[and] drinking hot beverages…At a certain level, all of these things might be hazardous to our health – but what is that level?…

You Were Warned (#1351)

It’s too bad politicians don’t always end up with egg on their faces after issuing stupid authoritarian diktats:

Google has followed [Facebook] in announcing it will block Canadian news content from its search engine in Canada after [Canadian politicians refused to back down from foolish demands it pay for the “privilege” of linking to other websites]…The Liberals say the law is meant to end tech titans’ dominance of the digital advertising market [by reversing the centuries-old traditional advertising relationship (where companies pay to have their products advertised in mass media) via magical proclamation]…platforms would face fin[es on top of the extortion fees] for failing to [dance in the way politicians demand, so the only way for these companies to win is not to play]…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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When something is typical in an environment, it quickly becomes invisible.  Now, I don’t mean camouflage or protective coloration, but rather the tendency of the mind to ignore what it sees regularly.  I mean, after a while objects on one’s desk, kitchen counter, or workbench begin to fade into the background until one actually goes looking for them, even if they’re largish or brightly colored or the like, because if they didn’t one would constantly be focusing on them rather than on whatever else one was supposed to be looking at.  That’s why every so often I like to remind my readers that I rely on your financial support, even though this appears at the bottom of my column three days a week:

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

This isn’t to say things are especially tight right now; since as most of y’all know I’m nearing the end of my annex project, I don’t have as many expenses on that account as I’ve had in several years, and I’ve figured out a number of ways to trim my household budget to give myself some breathing room.  But inflation is higher than it has been since I was a teenager, my property taxes were dramatically hiked this year (because Washington politicians think of homeowners as inexhaustible cash cows), and disasters are always a possibility no matter how carefully-planned the budget.  Plus, I do occasionally lose a subscriber, probably because their budget is getting tight.  So this is just a more direct request for support; if you can manage one of the higher levels, that would be especially nice.  But if you can’t, the regular subscription levels in the right-hand column will do nicely.  And if that’s still more than you can commit to, a one-time gift from my Amazon wishlist is always appreciated.  Thank you for reading!

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Ibuprofen usually helps with the disembodied voices screaming in my mirror.  –  Kacey Ellis

Another example of, “If you want me to watch your commercial, make it funny or interesting”; I first saw this a while back, but Nun Ya recently tweeted it at me again.  The links above it were provided by Mark Bennett, The Onion, Cop Crisis, Scott Hechinger, Radley Balko, Ed Krayewski, and Joe Lancaster, in that order.

From the Archives

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Inner Circle

After I published “I Couldn’t Do It Without You” last month, a couple of readers asked how they could make larger recurring donations.  As it turns out, both of these readers were already long-time donors who have repeatedly demonstrated their generosity for years, and both already carry on correspondence with me in various ways.  But it occurred to me that in general, most of my readers have only my email, blog, and Twitter as points of contact; that’s just fine for most folks, and as I check my email frequently it’s certainly not an inadequate means.  But there’s a certain immediacy and a kind of quasi-intimacy that comes with texting, so I’ve decided to add two higher subscription levels in the zone between reader and client; both of these come with texting privileges.  NO, I don’t mean sexting; that would be much more expensive even if I were offering it, which I’m not because I’m not any good at it.  Now, it would feel strange and even creepy to me to set some frequency or number of texts a week, and I honestly don’t think I have to; my patrons, both readers and clients, have never made a habit of trying my patience or pushing my boundaries, and I hardly think it likely y’all are going to start now.  So the only real difference between these two is, which one can you afford?  Maybe I should have some strict delineation, but that’s over the line into salesmanship and, as I’ve pointed out before, I’m not really comfortable with that.  I’ve made it this far without paywalls and bribery, and I’m too old to start using those tactics now even if I wanted to, which I don’t.  At all.

Anyhow, the two new levels are $10 per week and $25 per week (converted into monthly sums of $45 and $110 respectively so you’re not getting pinged every damned week).  Those are PayPal links, and there’s nothing wrong with going that route if it works for you; however, I find Zelle a lot more trustworthy and it doesn’t take a percentage of your donation.  The only catches are: 1) Not every bank is part of the network, and I don’t believe it’s international; and 2) The only way to do a recurring Zelle payment is to set it up from your end, using my email address (maggiemcneill@earthlink.net).  Of course, if you’re setting it up yourself you needn’t use those specific amounts; as long as you’re donating at least $31/month (the long-established “$1 a day” subscription level), I’ll be happy to text with you (and yes, that definitely applies to those of you already at that level; just email for my contact number).  If you want to tease me a bit you could even make it some weird arbitrary number just to irritate my OCD.  And if you’re affluent enough and think my work is important enough to go another price step higher; email me and we’ll discuss an arrangement with regular (conversation and advice) phone calls.

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When you opened this page, did you notice the big paywall notice blocking your entire screen and demanding you pay to remove it?

No?


How about the huge popup bragging that my content is FREE if you’ll give me your information so I can constanty pester you with spam and sell your data to other spammers?

No?

Surely you saw the big autoplay video at the top of the page blaring out a commercial, which when you hit “stop” merely shrunk down, moved to the corner of the page, and immediately tried to play again?

Not that either, eh?

But you must have noticed the box telling you that I use cookies to IMPROVE your reading experience and demanding you accept them?  Or the adblocker blocker?  Or the barrage of blinking, flashing, jumping, sliding, up-popping ads that make it difficult to concentrate on what you’re trying to read even when they don’t block your view?

The reason why you don’t see any of these is of course because I DON’T USE THEM.  That doesn’t mean I’m independently wealthy and can comfortably provide content every day for free, yet still pay my bills out of some endless pot of cash; it means my principles won’t allow me to hold your wish to read my work for ransom.  So please consider subscribing via one of the handy plans in the right-hand column, or contact me using this link to custom-design an arrangement that works for you.  Because though I’ll never actually put a block between your eyes and my pages, I may soon need to start letting advertisers share the screen with my thoughts in order to keep the lights on.  As of right now, I’m $3000 short of my operating budget for this year; from now until the last day of Christmas I’ll be displaying a little fundraising thermometer in the right-hand column.  I won’t be harping on it, but I do want to keep a reminder around for awhile that while you aren’t billed for a resource like this blog, that doesn’t mean it costs nothing to produce.

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Levels of Support

Most of y’all have probably noticed the new postscript following most of my columns:

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so very much!

The four levels spoken of in that paragraph are visible in the right-hand margin under “Become a Blog Patron”; 10¢/day takes the form of an annual payment of $36.50; 25¢/day takes the form of monthly payment of $7.75; 50¢/day takes the form of monthly payment of $15.50; and $1/day takes the form of monthly payment of $31.00.  But as two gentlemen pointed out (though not quite in these words), there’s a fairly wide gap between my highest subscription rate and my lowest “arrangement” rate of $400/month.  And since such a gap is rather irritating to my OCD, I’ve decided to create two new categories to bridge that gap, $70/month and $165/month.  I’m not going to do these via PayPal buttons like the subscriptions, because they’re a new status, more than a reader but not quite a client; I’m also not going to rigidly define the privileges of those higher tiers, because everybody is different so I want to keep it flexible (but think phone and text based rather than in-person).  So if you think you’d like to support my work at higher than a regular subscription level, and would enjoy regular social interaction with me, but don’t live near enough for us to regularly meet in person, just use this link to email me and we’ll custom-design an arrangement to fit your needs and preferences.  And you don’t even need references or screening!

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I finally figured out why I haven’t started a Substack or otherwise paywalled my writing: it’s a conflict between my whore ethics and my librarian ethics, and the librarian ethics are winning.  It’s no secret that I find paywalls distateful; their existence is one of the reasons most of the links on my blog are now archived versions of the originals (because archive sites circumvent about 95% of paywalls).  I’m not saying I don’t think people should be paid for their writing; not only is that completely untrue, I’d be a hypocrite for claiming it because I do charge for my writing, in book form.  Maybe it’s just that I’m old-fashioned; a book feels like a thing to me, whereas my thoughts seem like…something else?  Look, I didn’t promise you this would make sense; I’m just telling you how I feel, and I only recently figured it out myself.  But at the same time, I obviously need to pull in more money from my writing, since my semi-retirement income has been eaten into by inflation (and other factors I’ve discussed before).  So other than getting a wealthy patron to underwrite me (and if you have a large amount of money you feel like bestowing upon me in order to enable me to keep doing what I’m doing, please let me know), I think the best bet is to start taking advertising.  Here again, there’s a conflict; due to my principles I find the idea of letting just anybody advertise on my blog without my approval (am I misunderstanding how “ad delivery” services work?) utterly revolting, and though my principles won’t pay the bills I refuse to be a hypocrite and allow my readers to be attacked by the same blinking, flashing, jumping, drifting, popping ads which I find necessary to eliminate via an adblocker lest they assault my vertigo and aggravate my anxiety.  So if you know about an ad service which displays static ads that don’t intentionally harass and irritate the viewer, and further can help me get connected with them, please email and let me know.  Please don’t contact me to say, “Oh, you just Google it” or “go to Cash4u.com and sign up” or anything like that, because if I were capable of doing it myself I’d have done it over a year ago.  I know it’s hard for some (many? most?) of y’all to grasp that there are some things I’m really just not good at, but it happens to be the truth; if I’m going to do this I’m going to need my hand held through the whole process.  So if you think you have the knowledge and inclination to help me through this; and you’re willing to take the time and spend the effort to walk me through it step by tiny step (despite the fact that the difficulty of the task will likely fall somewhere between “teaching a cat to swim” and “teaching a gibbon to drive”); and you really respect my work and want me to continue being able to do it, please let me know ASAP.  Or alternately, if you want to play Medici to my Leonardo, that would work too.

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