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Diary #598

I was concerned my toy drive would be a bit sparse this year, but two gentlemen came through at the last minute, doubling my total donations!  What you see here represents only the first half of my shopping; I’m doing the rest this afternoon, then tomorrow I’ll be dropping off the entire collection at the Toys for Tots donation center in Olympia, which also covers Grays Harbor County (which is where I live).  As y’all may already know, this is my charity of choice; it’s been a part of my Christmas since 1997, so it’s very important to me that it goes well and I have a lot of toys to donate every year.  So for all those who helped, please accept my sincere gratitude once again!  And if you wanted to help but forgot or missed the deadline, please contact your local Toys for Tots campaign to make a last-minute donation (many will still accept donations through this coming weekend).  Giving to others, whether loved ones or strangers, is really what this holiday is about, and if you make it a tradition as I have I think you’ll find you get a great deal more out of the festival than you otherwise might.

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Sophia got carried away.  –  Brass Against

To commemorate the passing of one of the titans of musical theater, I present the opening number of the first production for which he wrote both words and music (still one of my favorites of his oeuvre).  The links above it were provided by David Ley, Scott Hechinger, Emma Evans, Mike Siegel, Walter Olson, Cop Crisis, and Scott Greenfield, in that order.

From the Archives

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[The Backpage] case is a hot mess.  –  Michael Piccarreta

The Punitive Mindset (#872) 

Much more of this, please:

I was incredibly disappointed when I recently learned that music artists are partnering with telecom corporations in the prison industryPrison telecom is a $1.4 billion industry dominated by just two corporations that charge families extortionate rates to communicate with their incarcerated loved ones.  One of these…is Aventiv Technologies, which [owns the]…notoriously predatory…Securus and JPay.  Securus controls roughly 40 percent of the prison and jail telecom market and charges as much as a dollar per minute for a simple call.  JPay charges similarly egregious rates for everything from money transfers to emails…And both…routinely face legal action for an extensive list of unlawful practices…including the unlawful recording of sacred attorney-client calls…As music executives and artists, we should…not [be] cutting back-office deals with…the prison industry…I’m making a pledge not to collaborate with corporations that profit from incarceration…And I urge my fellow music executives and artists to join me…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#957) 

“Porn addiction” is still being used as an excuse for violent crimes:

Two 11-year-old “porn addicts” have been arrested in India after they allegedly stoned a six-year-old girl to death for refusing to perform sex acts they had watched on their parents’ phones…Authorities arrested the two…along with another eight-year-old who is thought to have [stood guard while] the [others] murder[ed] the…girl…children are seen as having criminal responsibility from the age of seven in India…

Subtle Pimping (#1013)

While American cops favor VR porn games, Kazakh cops prefer LARPing:

A…week-long simulation exercise on combating…migration…started on 11 October 2021 in Almaty.  The simulation exercise [refers to this migration control as “]Combating Trafficking in Human Beings[“, following the racist European practice]…this training exercise offers f[antasies in place of]…real-life [situations], using actors to create [fantasy] trafficking scenarios.  A fictitious brothel..a[nd] massage parlor…were…created to…[indoctrin]ate c[ops in the fantasy version] of human trafficking…and sexual exploitation…

Torture Chamber (#1037)

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…a 23-year-old woman…committed suicide in a [Forks,] Washington jail [after] she tried to report sexual harassment by a guard, but her complaint was [ignored].  Months later, that same [screw] was sentenced to prison for [raping] four other women…the family of Kimberly Bender [is suing jail] officials…[for allow]ing Bender…[to] be…tormented by a [typical and representative screw] with a known misconduct record…John Gray…[repeat]edly tormented Bender at night, leering at her, making “vile” comments, and frequently waking her up.  Bender, “struggling with heroin withdrawal, was unable to sleep, rest, or relax because of…Gray”…wh[o was]…previously…fire[d from a different cage stack] in 2018 for m[oc]king…a training on the Prison Rape Elimination Act…[by making disgusting] “comments and sounds such as, ‘Here we go’ and ‘oooh…oh yeah baby…mmmmm'” during a [scene showing]…a woman [groping]…another woman [under the pretext of a “search”]…PREA is [well-known to be] largely toothless.  Since the reporting rules went into effect in 2012, reports of sexual assaults in prisons and jails have dramatically increased, especially at local and county jails…

The Convergence of Censors

Vomit out the right buzzwords and you can censor at will:

The Waterloo Region District School Board is undertaking a multi-year review of its library collections to [censor] any texts deemed “[magically] harmful to staff and students.”  Graham Shantz, coordinating [bureaucrat, made a bunch of incoherent, pseudointellectual excuses about why stunting students’ intellectual growth and controlling their thoughts is actually a good thing, belching out words like]…”inappropriate…questionable and…pedagogical framework”…[to support plain old-fashioned book burning]…Earlier this year, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board removed William Golding’s classic Lord of the Flies from its curriculum after [bureaucrats vomited out the words]…white, male power structures [at librarians].  Other books recently removed from Canadian school libraries…in response to complaints [backed by fashionable pseudointellectual bullshit]…include Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

To Molest and Rape (#1130)

Imagine a non-cop child rapist staying free for decades like this:

A [typical and representative] New York [cop] who for decades has delayed facing [trial for]…repeatedly rap[ing] and molest[ing] his daughter’s 12-year-old friend was arrested in Florida…Leonard Forte, who is now 80…was [found guilty] in Vermont in 1988…[but] the judge tossed the verdict…[because cop]…and…Forte persuaded prosecutors to delay the retrial because he [claimed to be terminally ill]…A USA Today investigation in 2019 revealed how Vermont prosecutors had mishandled the case [for over 25 years]…and exposed Forte’s dubious claims about his health…[thus shaming] Vermont’s Attorney General’s Office [into] reviv[ing] the case…

Dangerous Speech (#1184)

After presiding over an evil clown show for months, Brnovich does what an ethical judge would’ve done a year ago:

…Judge Susan Brnovich today recused herself from the [Backpage] trial…[without providing a] reason…the case ha[s] been reassigned by lot to…Judge Diane J. Humetewa…Brnovich…previously refused to recuse herself from the case [despite obvious]…conflict [of interest due to]…Brnovich’s [being married to the attorney general of Arizona, a noted prohibitionist with a history of disseminating anti-Backpage propaganda]…Humetewa is…the fourth judge on the case…Steven Logan was first assigned to the case…[but] recused himself with no explanation in March 2019.  The case was briefly assigned to…Douglas Rayes, who immediately recused himself sans explanation…Brnovich was then assigned the case…Tucson criminal defense attorney and former Arizona State Bar President Michael Piccarreta [pointed out that]…“Someone’s going to have to take a look at the government’s overreaching issues…No judge wants to have to deal with that”…prosecutorial misconduct in this case…[includes] the [intentional] destruction of exculpatory evidence…and…the [armed robbery] of millions of dollars in assets, including…more than $10 million from lawyers for the defense…

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Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular.  –  “The Convergence of Censors

The last week of September is “Banned Books Week“; over the 11 years I’ve been writing this blog, my columns on the topic have changed as threats to intellectual freedom have dramatically increased worldwide.  As I said last year,

When I was a librarian, [this] Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.  But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular.  Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech…the censor-morons…are…multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power…

The links are all there for your perusal, but just in case you’ve been asleep for the past three or four years, here are a few stories from the past six months so you can see for yourself that I’m not exaggerating.  There’s still plenty of old-fashioned, bluenosed, school-based censorship conducted in the name of THE CHIIIIIIIIILDREEEEEEN!!!™, but now they’ve learned to pretend ideas they don’t like constitute a “crime” so as to threaten their enemies with police violence.  Furthermore, institutions writers could once count on to defend them, including libraries and publishers, now race to see who can kowtow most obsequiously to the censor-morons, sometimes even volunteering to act as censors themselves, and institutions which need free speech the most are lobotomizing themselves by peddling pro-censorship sophistry and even conducting literal book burnings.  Governments are increasingly claiming the “right” to declare which facts are “correct” and to suppress ideas they declare “disinformation” or “fake news”, and in our increasingly-connected world governments are increasingly able to cause trouble for people who say things they dislike far beyond their own borders (China is the worst offender, but is far from alone).  Soon, ideas the mob, the government, or other violent simian gangs dislike may become impossible to acquire outside of caches of virtual samizdat, at which point the censor-morons will pivot to criminalizing avenues of access to such caches while “intellectuals” cheer and pen screeds about how obedience and conformity are far better for “society” than imagination and critical thinking.

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[Prohibitionists] are to blame for the fear sex workers live with, and the deaths that follow.  –  Mary Moody

The Course of a Disease (#342)

Business As Usual

Wow, a headline writer without a boot permanently lodged in his mouth:

…[a typical and representative New Haven] cop [named] Gary Gamarra [claimed that his rapes of] two different…sex workers [were OK because they wanted it]…Gamarra resigned from the force after [lying about] the [rapes, but]…now he’s seeking to have the resignation rescinded [so he can] get…back [to raping again].  The police chief, meanwhile, is seeking to have the state bar Gamarra from ever serving as a police officer in Connecticut again.  And the state’s attorney’s office has decided…[not] to pursue a criminal case against Gamarra [because whores.  Other “officials” thought it was much more important to note that he was not wearing his magic clown costume at the time of the rapes]…

Disaster (#974)

It’s just going to keep getting worse:

…the gaming chat platform Discord [has] quietly updated its guidelines to restrict adult content, issuing a ban on users accessing NSFW servers…on iOS devices…entire servers, as opposed to individual channels, are…designated NSFW if the community “is organized around NSFW content or whose content is predominantly 18+”…It will still be possible for Discord users to access NSFW servers on its desktop version, and on Android…[because] the…policy shift was intended “to comply with Apple’s policies”…

See also “The Next Target” below.

To Molest and Rape (#1066)

Just protecting and serving:

…the Boston Police Department in 1995 filed a criminal complaint against [rapist cop Patrick Rose]…for sexual assault on a 12-year-old [boy], and…an internal investigation…concluded that he [was] likely [guilty, but he was allowed to]…ke[ep] his badge…for another 21 years, and rose to power in the [pig] union…his [victim grew up and lasy year discovered that] Rose [had been raping his daughter since she was 7]…The department’s cover-up]…left Rose free to [rape] again and again, from one generation to the next…

Quiet Genocide (#1118)

China is ramping up its propaganda campaign against those who tell the truth about the ongoing Uighur genocide:

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denounced more than a dozen [people who escaped]…Xinjiang…as liars, criminals, terrorists, and persons of “bad morality”…in a bid to undermine reports of abuses that have led…Western nations to [recognize that China is conducting] …a campaign of genocide.  [The propaganda also claims that of about 12,000 known victims listed in several]…database[s]…nearly 1,350 were “fabricated”…nearly 7,000 are “living a normal life,” while some 3,250 “have been convicted and sentenced for crimes of violent terrorism and criminal offenses”…[and] another 500 had either died of diseases or are living in foreign countries…

The Next Target (#1122)

The prohibitionist crusade against all adult material online continues:

Mastercard Inc. is “[tightening] the requirements it sets for banks that process payments for sellers of adult content”…the company will demand “clear, unambiguous and documented consent…[and] document[ation of] the age and [government-approved] identity of anyone depicted in pictures and videos as well as those uploading the content…the banks…will need to certify that the…sites have a review process prior to any content being published, as well as a system for complaints that addresses illegal or non-consensual activity within seven business days…[including] an appeals process that allows for anyone depicted in adult videos or photos to request that the content be removed”…

Predictable Consequences (#1126)

I’ve been pointing out the inherent violence of prohibitionism for years:

…While Exodus Cry has largely tried to get Pornhub shut down using political and social media pressure, its rhetoric is used by people who want to take matters into their own hands.  Sex workers and organizations targeted by those people believe that the rhetoric is going to lead to real world violence, and say that several high-profile mass killings can be traced back to anti-sex worker rhetoric more broadly…these groups have used extremist language and tapped into QAnon sentiment toward child trafficking, so it…is…not the least bit surprising, to see extremists using Nazi paraphernalia, death threats and photos of weapons alongside Exodus Cry’s Traffickinghub logo

It seems as though Vice is now trying to distance itself from this evil hysteria, which it has always tacitly supported via its credulous attitude toward “sex trafficking” propaganda.

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Diary #561

Whenever a person expresses surprise upon discovering that I’m a colossal nerd, I have to wonder if they’ve actually been paying attention for the past decade.  I mean, it isn’t like I’ve made any effort to hide it; I made a Star Trek reference in my very first column, and I have frequently mentioned sci-fi stories and TV shows, comic books, horror movies, Dungeons and Dragons, and many other nerdy things here, on Twitter, and in real life (this column was inspired by my glancing up at the tiny Dalek atop my desk).  And really, it’s important that I and other “out” sex workers not hide our nerdiness (or academic brilliance, or any other trait not generally associated with hot chicks), because showing the world what we’re really like makes it harder for prohibitionists to depict us as two-dimensional victims, vixens, or villains.  Social media does a lot more for sex workers than act as a vehicle for marketing; it allows people who might never have thought much about sex worker rights to recognize us as real, complex human beings like themelves, worthy of rights and respect.  And if Maggie Fucking McNeill can admit to owning enough stuffed animals to fill a good-sized display case, I doubt it will hurt your business to ‘fess up to writing Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic.

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From what I can tease out of the moralistic, hyperbolic language in the statement quoted in this article, plus online comments by others, a computer programmer who helped develop a modification for a popular video game intended for adults posted some animated cartoons on his own personal website that might potentially upset extremely sheltered people who have neither heard of Fritz the Cat nor paid much attention to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and his employer has as a result censored the modification.  Though it’s difficult to tell from what I’ve linked, the material that the company claims is “deeply disturbing to the entire team” of adults who not only play but program a post-apocalyptic game full of violence and gore, and which a company dedicated to profiting from such games feels it must “condemn…in the strongest sense” and “conduct…dialogue” about, was “furry cub porn”, ie cartoons depicting imaginary sexual behavior of wholly imaginary anthropomorphic animal characters who within the fictional universe depicted in the cartoons are “underage”.  In other words, though most people believe it’s OK for kids to watch cartoons depicting violence, mayhem and even murder of imaginary characters, it’s not OK for adults to watch cartoons depicting sexual behavior of such characters, presumably because doing so emits dangerous “sex rays” which can transcend time and space to contaminate a game intended for adults.  Said game must therefore be censored to “protect THE CHILDREN™!!!” (who aren’t supposed to be playing it anyway), despite the fact that the cartoons in question neither appear within the game, nor are attached to it in any way.  Of course we’re told the content was “pedophillic” [sic], a word intended to override the reader’s critical faculties so that he doesn’t stop to consider that despite being depicted as human babies, Maggie Simpson is 34 and Baby Herman at least 40.  And those are “human” cartoon characters; how would it work for imaginary anthropomorphic animals?  Since real dogs and cats are sexually mature at 1, full-grown at 2 and usually dead of old age before 18, what the hell would “underage” look like, assuming one were deranged enough to care?  People who actually think that the make-believe sexual activities of make-believe characters belonging to make-believe species in a make-believe society warrant serious real-life consequences are clearly detached from reality, so maybe what these folks need is to stop living in their make-believe game world for a while and reacquaint themselves with the one where each player only has one life and the make-believe “innocence” of creatures who do not actually exist is not generally viewed as a valid reason for moral condemnation.

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You don’t find out what it’s all about, but you have a lot of fun being extremely confused.  –  Douglas Adams

Here’s a really unusual cover of a familiar tune, played on a most unusual instrument.  The video was provided by Inspireland, and the links above it by Lenore Skenazy, Boatfloating, Gustavo Turner (“Cardin”), Lucy Steigerwald, Jesse Walker, and Scott Shackford, in that order.

From the Archives

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Why are you in my home?  –  Kawaski Trawick, last words

Though there are rarely any decent holiday videos on YouTube any more (and when there are, they appear only a few days in advance), Christmas has long been a time for celebrating via mind-altering substances.  I therefore present this video, provided by Jesse Walker, who also supplied “corpse” and both obits.  The other links above the video are from Mike Siegel, Walter Olson, Mistress Matisse, Phoenix Calida, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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He’s mine now.  –  “Officer” Michael Fattaleh

It’s only been two months since animation great Joe Ruby died, and now he’s been followed by his partner Ken Spears.  The duo created many cartoons, but their most famous and enduring creation was Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, and since it hasn’t been long since Halloween I decided to pay tribute with this 1999 parody of The Blair Witch Project which Cartoon Network created as bumpers for a Scooby Doo marathon.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Cop Crisis (x2), Brooke Magnanti, Franklin HarrisWalter Olson, and Kendra Holliday, in that order.

From the Archives

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