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Posts Tagged ‘left-right myth’

In the wake of the Atlanta sex worker murders, I’m again seeing partisans pretending that the War on Whores is only supported by one of their imaginary “wings”.  DO NOT BELIEVE THIS.  Authoritarians who label themselves “left” are 100% as invested in the oppression of sex workers as those who label themselves “right”.  It is impossible to overstate how wrongheaded is the notion that the drive for censorship and increased state violence vs sex workers (and everyone associated with us) is only a “conservative” or “right-wing” campaign.  “Social purity” campaigns have been a wholly bipartisan crusade since their invention in the late 19th century.  Just because soi-disant “conservatives” pretend their justification is “God” and soi-disant “progressives” pretend their justification is “gender equality” doesn’t mean their behavior is any differentEvery single law designed to “regulate”, “monitor”, “protect”, or otherwise interfere in the lives of sex workers is a wholly-bipartisan affair.  Ignore the partisans trying to pretend otherwise in order to divert your attention from half of schemes to inflict violence; no matter what their excuses, if they support state control over people’s personal lives, they are dangerous busybodies regardless what color hat they wear.

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I really am sick to death of the current popular childish obsession with people’s genes and genitalia.  The majority of modern Westerners appear completely fixated in a kindergarten level of ad hominem; their default criticism of anyone is to use some obvious feature of a target as an insult, just as young children resort to “fatty”, “four-eyes”, etc.  Now, of course there have always been bigots and racists and bullies; the difference is that we’re going through one of the benighted periods of history in which that kind of nonsense is accepted as adult discourse, and dressed-up versions of “cooties” and “yo mama” are presented as the serious rhetoric of serious thinkers, even in academia.  Anyone who has given more than the most cursory consideration to sociology and psychology understands that small-minded people are often upset by the mere existence of others who are different from them, and that racism, sexism, prohibitionism, anti-queer bigotry and other forms of collectivist hatred are all noxious fruit of the same poison tree rooted in a very dark, primitive part of the brain.  The neurological “us vs. them” program may have helped our distant ancestors survive in lean times, but it is now dangerous evolutionary baggage which we should be incinerating rather than enshrining in law or embracing as some kind of intellectual profundity.  Pseudo-intellectualism of this sort is hardly unusual in decadent cultures, but that doesn’t mean I need to like it or accept it.  And as anyone familiar with my work already knows, I’m sure as hell not going to tolerate it in silence.

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“Approved” voices rise to the top of [a social media] feed as if by magic.  –  Josephine Livingstone

Storyville

Half a year old, but since the events were over a century ago anyhow:

Willie V. Piazza, known as “The Countess,” was a successful Storyville madam who reigned relatively serenely over her mansion at 317 N. Basin Street. Hers was one of several so-called octoroon houses in the district which featured light-skinned women of color for white clients…The literature about her depicts a regal woman who lived up to her nickname: sophisticated, intelligent, elegant, and always fashionably dressed, she sported a monocle, smoked Russian cigarettes held in a diamond-studded ivory-and-gold holder, wore a diamond choker, and spoke four languages fluently…Piazza’s legacy grew further when she took a stand against racial segregation in the waning months of the district’s legal existence…Ordinance 4118, proposed in early 1917…decreed that Storyville would be entirely racially segregated…Piazza was disturbed by the prospect of being forced from her Basin Street property, which had been a considerable investment…the Louisiana Supreme Court, in City of New Orleans v. Willie V. Piazza (1917)…ruled in her favor, finding that Ordinance 4118 overstepped the original intent of the 1897 act regulating where prostitutes could live. The Countess and her ladies stayed put…

Permanent Record

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

Lonna Wells was [fired from an Arkansas Taco Bell because]…a customer had lodged a formal complaint that there was a woman working the drive-thru who was doing internet porn, and as a [hypocritical] Christian they didn’t feel comfortable [see]ing the [performers from the porn they watch in real life]…

Welcome to the Future (#977)

Everything I read about modern corporate work makes me happier I became a whore:

A…silicone wristband…called a Moodbeam…allows your employer to track your emotional state.  The gadget…[currently requires the wearer to] press the yellow [button] if [they] are feeling happy, and the blue one if [they] are sad…employees…can [currently] say no…[but obviously that will change]…Managers can then [snoop into the private feelings of their]…workers…[since they are] no longer able to [spy on them] in p[erson]…

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

The US finally decides to call a spade a spade:

With just one day left in President Trump’s term, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo…officially de[clar]ed that China’s campaign of [genocide]…in Xinjiang constitutes “genocide”…The U.S. has become the first country to…describe the Chinese Communist Party’s gross human rights abuses [as what they are]…The Biden campaign has previously [recognized] China’s…genocide….[as a genocide but] it had been unclear whether the Trump administration would make this formal determination before Biden assumed office…

You Were Warned (#1097)

The bipartisan war on the internet continues without even a pause:

Section 230′s untouched days may be numbered [now that] Joe Biden will be president.  [He has repeatedly stated that he]…think[s] the law should be [repealed]…that…is an extreme — and unlikely — option, but many [politicians]…on both sides of the aisle have introduced bills and pushed for change to the legislation…

From the subtitle link:  “Biden doesn’t like Section 230 and…doesn’t understand what it does…his…top tech policy advisor…published a bizarre and misleading “but think of the children!” attack on [it] that…suggests incredibly dangerous changes…citing FOSTA as a ‘good example’…

R.I.P. Margo St. James

What do you do when you’re a prohibitionist rag which pretends to quasi-official status when the most famous sex worker activist in the world dies?  You do a proper, detailed obituary which nonetheless subtly dismisses her achievements and intentionally confuses decriminalization with legalization.  Hey New York Times, would it have really hurt you to have actually consulted any of the people you quoted from other sources instead?

Traffic Jam (#1104)

Rashida Jones’ sleazy prohibitionism ties into a much bigger picture:

…Rashida Jones, Meryl Streep, and Laverne Cox had all signed on to produce a “documentary adaptation” of Sell/Buy/Date, a one-woman [prohibitionist] play…A few days later, Cox…quit because of pressure from her core fanbase, who took up and amplified the performers’ concerns on Twitter.  If they hadn’t, the complaints would probably have sunk without a trace.  It’s harder now than ever for sex workers to be heard on social media, but even easier for producers like Rashida Jones to tell their stories on mega-streaming platforms like Netflix…Big platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok use proprietary algorithms and shadow banning…to minimize a user’s reach to the community without alerting them…“Rashida Jones can post to her two million followers without worrying about her posts being invisibilized by a platform,” Danielle Blunt, dominatrix and Hacking//Hustling member explained.  “Sex workers can’t.  Jones can buy ads to promote her movie.  Sex workers can’t”…

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For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
–  Hosea 8:7

As usual, politicians and the mainstream media are pretending that a disaster they helped create, born from an evil they planted at the turn of the century and have lovingly tended and fed since then, has absolutely nothing to do with them.  As the internet meme expresses it, “But we didn’t think the face-eating leopards would eat our faces!”  So they point fingers and try to cover their tracks and repeatedly “explain” how an explosion happened while ignoring the powder residue all over their hands and clothes.  The Capitol riot was the direct result of hysteria that politicians of both major parties, aided and abetted by the US journalism establishment and supplied with propaganda by hordes of religious fanatics, violent thugs and sociopathic profiteers, have enthusiastically promoted for a generation in order to trick useful idiots into accepting ever-increasing levels of surveillance, censorship, and police violence.  Yet their reaction to this is akin to that of a lifelong smoker pretending that his lung cancer was due entirely to his most recent pack:

Sen. Ben Sasse…blasted GOP lawmakers who had…tacitly endorsed QAnon in an op-ed in The Atlantic…warning that the Republican Party risks destruction if it doesn’t repudiate the crackpot conspiracy theory…Sasse said the riot was a “blossoming of a rotten seed that took root in the Republican Party some time ago”…the…Party “faces a choice,” Sasse says: “Dedicate ourselves to defending the Constitution”…or be a “party of conspiracy theories, cable-news fantasies, and the ruin that comes with them…We have to repudiate people who peddle those lies”…

But Sasse isn’t the only one who refuses to recognize that QAnon is nothing more than the most recent flowering of the “sex trafficking” hysteria; look at the number of edits I needed to make to bring this Washington Post article into line with reality:

…the failed insurrection illustrated how the p[opular “sex trafficking” mythology]…has radicalized Americans, [justified extensive tyranny] and gained a forceful grip on [American] belief.  Born in [approved government anti-sex and anti-migrant propaganda], QAnon played an unmistakable role in energizing rioters during the real-world attack on Jan. 6.  A man in a “Q” T-shirt led the breach of the Senate, while a shirtless, fur-clad believer known as the “Q Shaman” posed for photographers in the Senate chamber…The [Evangelical Christian-] base[d narrative which has developed into a myth]…which imagines Trump in a battle with a cabal of deep-state saboteurs who worship Satan and [harvest] traffic[ked] children for [a magical life-extending chemical in their blood], helped drive the day’s events and facilitate organized attacks…The…movement’s evolution, from an [official fantasy intended to justify increased government surveillance, internet censorship, and oppression of sex workers] to a hallmark of pro-Trump violence, is a signal of the danger [moral panic, whether natural or synthetic,] poses to s[ocie]ty…“The takeaway from this is that [even government-approved] disinformation is a threat to our democracy,” said [psychologist] Joel Finkelstein…
Neither Biden nor Harris nor any of their cronies will ever publicly admit their complicity in this disaster.  But if we’re very fortunate, they may quietly distance themselves from the lunacy they’ve so enthusiastically promoted for many years, allowing it to at last die the natural death politicians’ sponsorship has to this point prevented.

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Pretending that ordinary incidents are dangerous and ordinary objects are toxic recalibrates reality.  –  Lenore Skenazy

I’m really pleased to see that others are beginning to mock the kindergarten pretense that there is some meaningful difference between authoritarians who call themselves “left” and those who take the label “right”.  We’ve seen these guys before, but this example was provided by Franklin Harris; the links above it are from Lenore Skenazy, Emma Evans, Cop Crisis, Walter Olson, Amy Alkon, and Emma again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Margo might be the single most important sexual liberationist and feminist revolutionary who ever slapped society upside its head.
–  Susie Bright

R.I.P. Margo St. James

The founder of the US sex worker rights movement, Margo St.James, died Tuesday at the age of 83; she had been in an assisted living facility in Bellingham, WA (her home town) for several years now due to dementia, but from the ’70s to the ’90s she was involved to one degree or another in practically every major national and international push for sex worker rights.  It’s impossible to overstate her importance to sex workers all over the world; you may get some idea of why by reading this essay I published on her almost eight years ago, and more in the linked obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle.  But so many 20th-century activists knew and loved her, there will no doubt be many articles and memories; I’m going to link every single one that comes to my attention over the next several weeks.  Farewell, Margo; not a one of us could have done it without your amazing example.

Dysphemisms Galore 

“The pimps who sell sex” may be one of the most clueless headlines ever:

Two…Southend [politicians bloviated about]…street prostitution…[with a plethora of ridiculous terms and phrases] in[cluding]…notorious hotspot…emotional effects of prostitution…“sexual harm”…urgent action to finally get street prostitution under control…“The psychological impacts of [consensual adult] sex are immense”…[they also bloviated about “the dangerous cycle of prostitution”]…high levels of anti-social behaviour…pimping…drug-dealing, hazardous litter and noise nuisance….end the harms caused by…sex…sexual exploitation and a form of violence against women and girls…trauma-informed support…and holding organisations [who actually assist sex workers] to account

I can’t help imagining these politicians wanking furiously while vomiting out these sexual fantasies.

Traffic Jam (#443)

This isn’t a “documentary”; the only thing it “documents” is Jones’ creepy fantasies about other women’s lives:

Sarah Jones is about to [present her ugly fantasies about] the sex industry…[in what she claims is a] documentary [even though it’s merely an expanded adaptation of her one-prohibitionist propaganda vehicle] Sell/Buy/Date…[s]he [dazzled a Deadline reporter with meaningless wokespeak about “]how the sex industry sits at the intersection of race, feminism, power and economics in our current cultural climate[” and dropped three big Hollywood names as executive producers:] Rashida Jones, Meryl Streep and Laverne Cox…[other idiotic belching included] “Is sex work exploitative or empowering?” [and “]The sex industry is hiding everywhere in plain sight during the pandemic[“]…

To her credit, Cox listened to sex workers’ complaints about this revolting propaganda (click on the subtitle link for a description) and has already withdrawn her support. The same cannot be said for the clueless Streep, and Rashida Jones is prohibitionist trash with a long history of endangering marginalized women with her videotaped hatespew.

The Prudish Giant (#897) 

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

When [Facebook-owned] Instagram introduced [censorship] guidelines aimed at stopping “sexual solicitation” in December, sex workers were the first to raise the alarm…But [of course they] aren’t the only ones with cause for anxiety.  A whole swathe of sex-related accounts, including those of certified sex educators and sexual wellness brands, are now being [censored]…sex educators [who couldn’t be bothered to stand with sex worksers now realize] censorship on Instagram has gone too far, with some calling it an all-out ban on sex

Pyrrhic Victory (#1030)

Useful idiots destroying any possibility that the facial recognition djinni can ever be rebottled:

After the Capitol riot, Clearview AI…has seen a spike in use…The F.B.I. has posted the faces of dozens of [rioters] and has requested assistance identifying them…Clearview, which is used by over 2,400 [cop shops to violate citizens’ privacy]…relies…on a database of more than 3 billion photos [stolen] from social media networks and other public websites…

Social Distancing (#1080)

I’m sure you feel safer now:

…a…woman [was brutalized and abducted] by four [costumed thugs for] sitting on a bench.  [Video shows] the woman…protesting…”I was sitting on a bench” as she is surrounded by [pigs]…in Bournemouth, Dorset…A furious woman filming the…disgrace…shout[ed] at [pigs]: “What side are you on?”…

Between the Ears (#1081)

“Smart” devices are not, part umpteen:

A hacker took control of people’s internet-connected chastity cages and demanded a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin to unlock it…a security researcher [who] goes by the name Smelly…obtained screenshots of conversations between the hacker and several victims…he…demand[ed] a payment of 0.02 Bitcoin (around $750 today) to unlock the device…These hacks show once again that just because you can connect something to the internet, it doesn’t mean you have to…It’s incidents like these that make some people think the Internet of Things is just a marketing term for the Internet of Hackable Things, as we call it, or even the Internet of Shit, as others call it.  Qiui, the Chin[ese] manufacturer of the device…did not respond to a request for comment…

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While we’re waiting for the rain to slack off enough to do some more work on the bathhouse, here are some of my recent Twitter musings:

 

 

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I think the ideal philosophy is to only care about the fact that you do your job with integrity.  –  Kiran Deshmukh

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Cops think they can never have enough pretexts to harass people:

Dallas [cops]…arrested 88 people in [just the first half of this year for]…driv[ing through a particular neighborhood, claiming they committed the thoughtcrime of]…looking for sex…All but one of those arrested were people of color.  [And now] Dallas [politicians want to make it easier for them to dramatically increase the score by]…allow[ing them] to [arrest people for the “crime” of] passing through [that neighborhood three times]…in…two hours…[using the all-purpose excuse of] trafficking women for sex.  The penalty is a fine of up to $500…[if pigs claim they] suspect[ed their victims]…of being pimps…

An Example to the West (#329)

An interview with Kiran Deshmukh, president of the National Network of Sex Workers in India:

I still remember Meena Seshu…telling us that we had to band together…to fight back.  I still remember that exact day this realization sunk in:  A gangster was on the streets making a scene and threatening us with knives.  All the women who’d usually shut their doors and sit tight poured out into the streets.  One woman undid her saree on the road, and the others used it to tie the gangster to a nearby pole.  The women beat him up so much and so badly that not a single gangster has created a scene in our area since then.  Once women band together, they become formidable opponents…Sex workers…work put food on the table and feed their children.  Society, on the other hand, views the world in a moral–immoral binary…Society will point out how our work is related to our bodies and how many men we “sleep” with…two people having consensual sex is justified but if you attach sex to money, it’s completely immoral.  Why?  You’re all saying it’s totally fine to have sex for free?…As for tragedy, if a woman enters sex work due to a tragic situation, but eventually decides to continue in the same profession, why would you bother her with the circumstances that influenced her choice 30-40 years ago?…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#934) 

Remember, this is not slavery, but lucrative, flexible, voluntary work is:

Most [drug] rehab programs that require work act essentially as temp agencies, farming the [pati]ents out to…third parties, such as tree trimming services, dairies, poultry processing plants or oil refineries.  The wages are remitted not to the workers but to the rehab centers…the…workers…receiv[e]…no pay, no Social Security credits, [and] no unemployment insurance payment…Other rehab-affiliated programs, notably the Salvation Army, have their patients perform grossly underpaid work for their commercial enterprises — if they did not have this captive workforce, they would have to seek [fairly-paid] labor from the open market…

You Were Warned (#1007)

But please, tell me more about the “wings”:

It is now broadly recognized that Joe Biden doesn’t like Section 230 and has repeatedly shown he doesn’t understand what it does…[now] his…top tech policy advisor, Bruce Reed, along with Common Sense Media’s Jim Steyer, have published a bizarre and misleading “but think of the children!” attack on Section 230 that misunderstands the law, misunderstands how it impacts kids, and…suggests incredibly dangerous changes to Section 230..[among] its myriad problems…is…citing FOSTA as a “good example” of how to amend Section 230…

Rotting Fruit (#1015)

Why are men with so much to lose so goddamned stupid about sex?

[Paul Alexander,] the owner of a charter-jet company…has been charged with sex trafficking after [NYPD cops claim he]…offer[ed them] sex with a 12-year-old girl and 14-year-old girl for $300…In March, an underage girl went to the police and told them Alexander…had been…pimping her out…An undercover cop posing as a customer met with Alexander—who showed him nude photos of the girls, charged him $300 for sex with them, and suggested he ply them with drugs and pot so they would be more cooperative…Alexander…has…a 1996 sexual assault conviction…and in 2003 he was convicted of possession of…child [porn]…

Dangerous Speech (#1092)

Backpage case judge claims it’s OK her husband has publicly attacked Backpage because the Backpage case “isn’t about Backpage”.  Seriously.

…the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals…[has] ordered federal prosecutors to respond to the defense’s request for a “writ of mandamus,” which would order U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich to remove herself from the case.  The order…[comes only days after] a hearing in…[which] Judge Susan Brnovich claimed that inflammatory comments made by her husband, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, about Backpage.com’s alleged guilt in facilitating illegal sex work, were unimportant and did not warrant her recusal.  “This case is not about Backpage,” she contended at one point…an assertion that might come as a surprise for anyone familiar with the federal government’s superseding indictment in the case, which mentions Backpage more than 600 times[it also] seem[s] a startling statement given that the prosecution’s theory of the case from jump has been one of vicarious liability, in which the government seeks to hold Lacey and Larkin responsible for alleged illicit acts supposedly connected to 50 ads cited in the indictment — ads never seen by Lacey and Larkin and posted by persons unknown to them, among the millions that once existed on the site…

The Next Target

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

Pornhub has released…statements about…Visa and Mastercard [announcing] their cards would no longer be accepted on the platform, following…Nicholas Kristof[‘s spurious]…allegations against the company…”These actions…come just two days after Pornhub…[banned] unverified users…from uploading content — a policy no other platform has put in place, including Facebook…Any assertion that we allow CSAM is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue…Pornhub’s safeguards and technologies have proven effective:  while…Facebook reported that it removed 84,100,000 incidents of CSAM over two and a half years, Instagram reported that it removed 4,452,000 incidents…over one and a half years, and Twitter reported that it suspended 1,466,398 unique accounts for CSAM over two years, the Internet Watch Foundation…reported [only] 118 incidents of CSAM on Pornhub in a three year period”…

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I’ve got a new article out in Reason; you can read it on their website, but here’s a taste to get you started:

Mastercard and Visa…announced that they will no longer let customers use their cards on the adult video site Pornhub.  This new policy was prompted by political pressure, making it the latest government victory in a long, censorious quest.

Governments can define actual actions as “crimes” and threaten dire consequences for those actions, but the intangible contents of the human mind are forever out of their reach.  So officials covet the next best thing:  the power to stop individuals from sharing the products of those minds—ideas, fantasies, art—with others.  In America they are constrained by the First Amendment, and so for centuries they’ve dreamed up ways to circumvent that restriction.  The courts have rejected most of these attempts, but one has had remarkable staying power:  an exception for the nebulosity called “obscenity.”  This used to be a fairly hefty cudgel; most big publishers, movie producers, and so on were unwilling to be dragged into court for a principle, and most of those who were willing were too puny to put up much of a defense.  That started to change in the 1980s, when cheap video equipment made it possible to churn out shoestring productions for the new and rapidly-growing home video market…

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Every so often I like to present a short collection of tweets that you didn’t see unless you follow me on Twitter.  If you enjoy them, you may wish to rectify that situation.

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