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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

A lot gets said these days about “representation” in popular media, by which people mean that it’s a good thing for children or adolescents to see people like themselves among their heroes in TV or movies.  Usually, this is used to mean obvious characteristics like gender, skin color, or disability, and sometimes less-obvious traits like queerness.  But for me, none of those traits meant anything if the characters displaying them were law-obeying, apartment-dwelling, boring-job-having authoritarian squares of the type television has always been infested with, and whose lives mine was never, ever going to resemble even if the character could’ve been my doppelganger in every superficial “representative” way.  By 1980 I couldn’t find a single network TV program which interested me in any way, and even before that the characters who interested me most were always outsiders, weirdos, and outlaws such as vigilantes, monster-hunters, and fugitives, or else characters who had figured out how to fit in while still doing things in their own idiosyncratic fashion.  Anyone more perceptive than I was at the time could probably have figured out that I was going to end up living outside of the law and at odds with the Establishment, so it’s no surprise that one of my favorite shows since my mid-teens has followed the adventures of an eccentric, anti-authoritarian outlaw who stole a spacetime ship from his people and proceeded to wander about the universe, following his conscience rather than some set of arbitrary rules, and teaming up with a long succession of other misfits to ruin the schemes of tyrants, bureaucrats, psychopaths and other violent busybodies while freely associating with weirdos and freethinkers who rarely get along with their local “authorities”.  Yes, representation is important, and never more so than when the type being represented is those who refuse to allow themselves to be sorted into herds and driven to build up power for those who would rule others.

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Diary #577

Since I’ve been less preocupied with construction this year, my summer anxiety is back to its typical levels; I find it difficult to focus and find myself worrying about things that there’s little if any cause to worry about.  Today I’ll be headed back to Seattle, and early tomorrow morning I’ll be flying to South Dakota for Freedom Fest, and I’ve been stressing about it for weeks.  Not about the actual speaking and all that, because that stuff comes naturally to me and never makes me nervous.  No, it’s all the stuff around the trip, such as the actual flying (which regular readers know always stresses me out), making sure my books arrive on time for the conference, getting back in time for my appointment in Seattle on Sunday evening, worrying about how Grace will get along while I’m gone, and probably a dozen other things I can’t even enumerate.  Fortunately, over the weekend I seem to have mostly come out of it, and by a week from today I should be finishing up in Seattle and getting ready to return home to my roses, my animals, my friends, my projects, and the routine which will help me make it through the Dog Days to the time of year when the sun sets at a more reasonable hour and stops getting in the way of my ability to think clearly.

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You’re about to die, my friend.  –  Tyler Longman

Here’s another Doctor Who novelty song, recorded as a publicity tie-in for the 1965 Doctor Who and the Daleks movie starring Peter Cushing; the singer, Roberta Tovey, played Susan in the film.  The links above it were provided by Mike Siegel, Cop Crisis (x3), Walter Olson, and Mistress Matisse, in that order.

From the Archives

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Some escorts in my area insist I pay with an Ebay gift card instead of cash because they believe that this will protect them from prosecution if I am a cop.  Is that true?

Nothing protects anyone from prosecution; prosecutors can basically do anything they like, and pretending otherwise is just whistling past the graveyard.  As the expression goes, “you can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride”.  A competent lawyer might be able to use various things as part of a defense to win a dismissal or “not guilty” verdict, but cops can arrest anyone they like without any valid reason, and since the invention of plea bargaining, prosecutors have no reason not to file charges against anyone (except violent cops, of course).  The only relatively-sure way to avoid prosecution is not to end up in a room with a fantasy role-playing cop in the first place; from the escort’s side that means good screening practices, and from the client’s side that means sticking to established providers with good reputations.  There are no magic words, practices or talismans that will ward off the evil of state violence any better than carrrying a rabbit’s foot or making the sign of the cross.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Diary #576

Our sapphire gem hens have started laying, but on Sunday I found something I’ve never seen before.  Usually, pullet eggs are small, and sometimes they lack yolks.  But I’ve never before seen one whose shell wouldn’t harden at all.  For those unfamiliar with poultry, eggs are very soft (something like gelatin) when laid, but within about a minute after contact with air the shells harden.  But this little one did not do so; I gently scooped it up and put it in a ramekin in the kitchen, but it still hadn’t hardened after hours; I think it must lack the enzyme or whatever causes the shell to harden.  I’ve got two other eggs in this picture for size comparison; the one at top is what would be called a “large” egg in the US, in other words a pretty typical egg one would buy at the grocery.  The one at left is a typical pullet egg from one of the other young hens, and the one at lower right is the softie; if you zoom in you will be able to see that the texture of the soft shell is visibly different from the more typical pullet egg beside it.  This is one of the things I like about keeping animals; one gets to see fascinating little things about the world that are invisible to the average city-dweller.  It’s kind of like Mr. Wizard Goes to the Country (for you youngsters, Mr. Wizard was like Bill Nye the Science Guy from the ’50s-’80s).  And that’s fine with me, because as I’ve mentioned before, what I wanted to do for a living at the time I entered university was science popularization.  And though that’s not where life led me, I still love talking about that sort of thing as an amateur.

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Ten years is a long time for one human to do anything without a break, much less publish a blog post without missing a single day.
–  “Tenth Anniversary

I’ve always been an outsider, even among outsiders.  I’m an atypical intellectual, an atypical writer, an atypical sex worker, an atypical bisexual, an atypical nerd, and even an atypical blogger; I came to the internet later than most of the bright kids, started blogging sometime after the peak of the medium had passed, maintained an atypical level of consistency, formality and sheer volume, and have continued blogging long after most of the sort of people who would have blogged in the Oughts have now moved on to vlogs and/or podcasts.  And though I’ve aged and tired, I haven’t stopped posting content every single day for eleven whole years.  Oh, I’ve gone from a full-length essay every day to less time-intensive features, and in the coming year I’m going to try to limit myself to one high-effort feature per week.  There are four main reasons for the change:  First, because I’m doing a lot of other things (both personal and professional) which take up increasing amounts of my time; second, because in the time I’ve been publishing The Honest Courtesan I’ve aged from “still able to see 40 in the rear-view mirror” to “just able to make out 60 on the horizon”; third, because censorship keeps increasing with no end in sight, and I’d rather not be going full speed when the Establishment drops a wall in front of me; and finally, because I’ve already published over 4000 posts and I feel as though I’m starting to repeat myself a little too often.  Furthermore, I’m no longer one of a very few voices crying out in the wilderness; there are now lots of sex workers publishing a lot of powerful content in more mainstream venues than I ever had the patience and humility to approach, and our message finally appears to be penetrating the thick skulls of politicians, the soft ones of reporters, and even the empty ones of the American public.  In short, my work is no longer as vital as it once was, and since I was one of the loudmouthed harlots who helped create the social climate which made all this possible, I think I’ve earned at least a little rest.

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Partisans are so hampered by the blinders they’ve voluntarily allowed their “leaders” to strap to their heads that they often come up with truly bizarre interpretations of anything involving members of the enemy tribe.  At the moment, the reigning emperor’s troubled son is one of those:My response to this on Twitter was, “‘Buying a person’? This looks to me like he’s trying to hire a sex worker.”  As it turned out I was wrong; the pictured exchange was apparently with a cousin who was trying to set up an amateur or semi-pro date for him.  But there were apparently a large number of fetishists and nitwits who looked at this and fantasized about “sex trafficking”.  And as is usual for True Believers, the idea that someone with actual experience in the topic at hand might know more than someone without such experience was like some kind of abstruse and esoteric branch of mathematics; a number of these butt-scratchers hastened to tell me that sex work really is the literal buying of a human being.  Now, I’ve taken a flamethrower to this absurd canard more times than I can count, and even speculated on the sexuality of anyone who could believe anything so deeply stupid.  But a new metaphor leapt to mind, so I mocked the imbeciles thus:

So you truly believe that everyone who pays a sex worker has that sex worker to keep, presumably in a hatbox in the closet?  How do you think that works when the average sees about a client per day?  Are they split up into increasingly-smaller fragments that yet retain the appearance of the original, like holograms?  Do you really believe that I am a godlike being, existing in 6 or 7 thousand places all over the planet simultaneously?  It’s a fascinating fantasy; you ought to write it up as a Doctor Who story.  I’m also trying to figure out where “hobbyist” clients, who might see a couple of dozen different workers a year, hide all the women they “buy”.  It must get to be a real strain on storage space; presumably they rent storage facilities in which to store all these holographic harlots.  Or maybe they just flush them down the loo like unwanted goldfish?  Seems like it might be an awful strain on the plumbing.

Twitter is an inherently volatile medium, though, so I thought it best to preserve in a place I can find it again the next time I want to mock the ludicrous beliefs of some prohibitionist chucklefuck.

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Holy shit. This guy is going to kill me now.  –  Tristin Goods

Last weekend a heat wave hit the Pacific Northwest; on Sunday it reached 43o C at Sunset, and hotter than that in Seattle.  So naturally this song came to mind.  The links above it were provided by Scott Greenfield, Jesse Walker, Radley Balko, Mark Bennett, Elizabeth N. Brown, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.  –  Frank Herbert, Dune

On Saturday, my Twitter account was locked for twelve hours because a mindless censorship algorithm could not tell the difference between mocking an idea and professing that idea; said algorithm was given power to judge human thought for “acceptability” because Twitter (at the insistence of legions of nitwits) has decided that it’s a good idea to silence wrongthink in the first place.  I’ve already pointed out the deep foolishness and simian stupidity of censorship in many other essays, and I’ll be doing so again this year on the last Monday in September, as usual; today I’d like you to think about just how incredibly dumb it is to give machines that kind of power without human supervision or functional appeals process.  Now, I’m not a Luddite; I certainly recognize that there are certain circumstances in which computers can be trusted with limited power (such as controlling an aircraft in flight) provided there is a human around to supervise.  Computers are, as Isaac Asimov once expressed it, high-speed morons; they do whatever they’re told to do, exactly as they’re told to do it and for as long as they’re told to do it, very very quickly.  The problem, of course, is that they are completely incapable of anything even approximating actual thought, which means that they will follow the most mind-bogglingly stupid (or even self-destructive) orders with the same degree of speed and efficiency as they would obey more sensible directives.  Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to have their computer infected with a virus should know this, yet people keep happily entrusting more and more of their lives to hopped-up pocket calculators they insist on pretending are “smart”; many of them even think it’s a good idea to let these overcomplicated abaci drive their cars at highway speed or tell them how to write.  Computers are useful tools and (usually) dependable servants, but apparently generations of science-fiction writers have failed to pound into the heads of the intellectually lazy what a colossally bad idea it is to accept them in positions of authority.

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Lorelei was very cautious during the pandemic, so the only time we’ve seen each other since March of last year was when I went over to borrow her Doctor Who collection a few months ago, and that was just a masked chat at the door.  But once she was fully vaccinated, she helped me arrange mine (because she’s a lot better at stuff like that than I am) and, despite a few side-effects, I’m all done now.  So we arranged a Who night (also for general catching-up) for the night I got back into town last week, and it was so good to see her again!  The best thing about really close friends is, even when it’s been a while since one has seen them, things just fall right back into place as though no more than a week had passed.  The next night I went to see Matisse, and same thing; the bond of such relationships does not really weaken with time.  But all the same, I hope there are no further obstacles to in-person visits in the near future.

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