Thursday, April 10, 2008

Still Futzing W/ Computers

Still dealing with the aftermath of the disk crash. I don't have a personal computer set up for myself yet.

More T-shirt philosophy:
Goddess of bossy underlings, Normality!
What murders are committed in thy name!
—W. H. Auden

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

T-shirt Philosophy

I had a hard disk crash today. I wasn't backing up that computer because it didn't have anything important on it. Of course, now that the crash has occured, I'm realizing how much stuff crept into that hard disk that should have been backed up. The work I was doing for the new blog, for example.

I'm not sure how long it will be until I post again. Just to post something, here's some random T-shirt philosophy.

1) Criminalizing work is violence against humans.

2) Sex work—because it's illegal to pay for play.

3) Supporting families, paying taxes, selling ass.

4) Johns pay for their own fantasies. Prostitutes pay for abolitionists' fantasies.

5) Spitzer was right! A naked prostitute is better than a career in politics!

6) Sex work—helping women stay independent since 1,257,305 BC.

7) Strippers—support your right to bare charms!

8) A man is not a plan, but twenty male clients and a web site is a good start.

9) Condom-free means H-I-V, but well protected gets your joint connected.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Client #9 Is...

Client #9 is

1) The masculine answer to Chanel #5. Gives men the aura of the populist crusader, protecting the common people from Wall Street crime and prostitution rings. For the steamroller in your life.

2) A great name for a punk rock band. With songs like "How much to skull fuck you" and "I'm too broke to buy blow jobs", these drinking class heros have built a loyal following among horny, angry, immature young men.

3) The last of nine contestants on the TV game show "Who Wants To Be A John", in which married middle-aged men compete for the affections of pretty young women by asking for unprotected sex.

4) What Miss Moneypenny called Agent 007 behind his back.

Monday, March 24, 2008

To My Further Embarrassment

After the post I made in which I claimed that men who are opposed to prostitution don't see prostitutes, and the follow up in which I pointed out that that was an assumption with no empirical data backing it up, science has undermined my claim even further. It seems that peoples' actions often don't match their attitudes. I know, I know, that's not exactly news. Here's an article from PsychBlog.

The Attitude-Behaviour Gap: Why We Say One Thing But Do The Opposite

The article says that one of the reasons attitudes don't match behavior is that attitudes tend to reflect our prejudices, while actions tend to reflect realities. Relating this to prostitution, a man may be opposed to prostitution because he has a stereotype of prostitutes as streetwalkers. But when faced with an escort, he may temporarily set aside his prejudice. Or, since not everyone has the same prejudices, a man may be in favor of prostitution because he sees nothing wrong with making use of lower class women, but become squeamish when faced with an educated middle-class escort who reminds him of his own female relatives.

As the article says, we really don't know all the reasons we say one thing and do another.

In another post I said that neuroscientists study other peoples' brains, but not their own minds. Wouldn't you know it, here's a link to an article by a neuroscientist who suffered a stroke and recorded his mental reaction to the experience.

Shock Waves: A Scientist Studies His Stroke

I think I'm going to ask my congressman to withhold federal funding for science until it stops proving me wrong.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Foreign Language Sex (work news)

I'm working on some blog posts about the expected criminalization of sex purchases in Norway. I'm reading a bunch of old articles from Aftenposten and Verdens Gang for background information.

I've been reading Isabella Lund's blog. Maybe "reading" isn't the right word. My Swedish sucks, so I've been doing a lot of staring at words and wondering what they might mean. I understand enough to get the impression that she has interesting things to say, but I'm missing a lot.

That led me to start wondering about a volunteer sex work foreign news service. If you have competence in a language other than English, pick one information source and do a short summary whenever something appears in that source. Translating entire articles probably isn't a good idea, since it probably violates the author's copyright. Also, that much translation is a pain in the ass and may lead to burnout. But a brief synopsis along with a couple of translated quotes under the Fair Use principle would allow those of us who don't speak that language to keep up with that particular information source.

I'm thinking about tracking Aftenposten during the lead up to the sex purchase ban, which will take place in January 2009 if the law is passed as expected. I think Lund's blog would make a good project, since it's written by a Swedish sex worker and reports on relevant news in Scandinavia. If other people take on similar projects in other languages, we'd need a central place to post notices whenever we do a new synopsis. Or Amanda Brooks may want to post the notices with her News Bits posts on the SWOP-East blog. I haven't talked to anyone about this. I'm just throwing it up on the blog to see if I get any response.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Norwegian Crown Princess Visits Prostitutes, Ticks Off Feminists

My information comes from this article in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. It's interesting because the crown princess's visit ties into the unique ways in which the politics of sex work work themselves out in Norway.

According to the article, dated March 8, 2008, the Norwegian crown princess Mette-Marit visited the Pro Senter in the capital city of Oslo during the center's Open Day. The Pro Senter is a government funded organization that provides services for prostitutes, including help for men and women who want to continue as prostitutes, and help for men and women who want to leave prostitution. In addition, it does social research and provides information on prostitution to anyone who asks for it. In other words, in addition to providing help to prostitutes, it also functions as a de facto advocacy and rights group. During the visit, Mette-Marit saw woman of various nationalities preparing food, listened to music, and viewed some art installations.

This promptly ticked off the feminist group Ottar, which strongly supports banning prostitution. Norway is considering a ban on the purchase of sex, similar to Sweden's, and in fact it appears to be a done deal; it will most likely take effect in 2009. However, it is still being hotly debated. Under the Norwegian constitution, the royal family is required to remain neutral in political debates. While the article doesn't mention Mette-Marit expressing any opinions, and the visit has the general air of a royal gracing a charitable event with her earnestly well-meaning presence, Ottar demanded that the crown princess take part the following day in a yearly march in support of womens' issues; specifically, that she support the criminalization of prostitutes' customers. According to Ottar's spokeswoman, this was necessary to restore balance.

While the crown princess never expressed an opinion on the criminalization issue, she may have been involved in some subtle advocacy. When she and the crown prince met, she was a waitress. Before they met, Mette-Marit lived out of wedlock with another man who is the father of her first son. Prior to her wedding, she admitted to using drugs before meeting the prince, and there are rumors of one or more sex tapes with her and her ex-boyfriend. Since marriage, she's been behaving like the ideal royal wife, but she still seems to identify with and sympathize with people whose life styles are frowned upon. So her visit may have been intended as a tacit show of opposition to the criminalization of sex purchases. I haven't seen any articles that indicated that she met Ottar's demands and showed up for a pro-criminalization event, or otherwise tried to "restore balance".

Monday, March 17, 2008

To 5150

You wrote in a comment here:
...I kept doing it...over and over again...and I'll probably do it sometime in the future. Why? I haven't quite figured that part out yet.

St. Augustine wrote that he committed the same sins over and over. He also said that it was possible that he could commit them again.
When my mind speculates upon its own capabilities, it realizes that it cannot safely trust its own judgment, because its inner workings are generally so obscure that they are only revealed in the light of experience...
— Augustine Confessions X:34

In Zen we say that the eye doesn't see itself. The mind doesn't ask how it perceives, or why it makes certain decisions. Even neuroscientists don't investigate their own minds; they stick their electrodes in other peoples' brains.

People whose lives go well will probably never give any serious thought to this. It's the fuck-ups who notice that we are not what we think we are. With sins and failures comes the realization that we have no special knowledge. Without knowing who or what we are, without possessing wisdom or holiness, we have to allow the mind to operate blindly, trusting the act itself and accepting the consequences.
If a man wishes to be sure of the road he is traveling on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.
— St. John of the Cross, The Dark Night of the Soul

Not that we have any choice.