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Seattle writer/professional dominatrix's personal musings, rants and life-trivia...
Thursday, November 27, 2008
And my deepest sympathy to all the people suffering in Mumbai. I am thankful for many things, but I am very thankful today to just be safe. Terrible.
And on a completely non-holiday-ish topic, here's the new Stranger column. I have a feeling I'm going to catch some heat about this one. Or maybe not? But I did get some extra word-count this week to talk about my view, which is great. Boiling that down to 500 words would have been extremely difficult. The Stranger page has comments, so you can talk amongst yourselves there, if you have an opinion...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I'm reading Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, and it's interesting. I liked Blink a great deal, and Tipping Point was also thought-provoking. I'm generally inclined to like Gladwell's ideas and think they have some merit, even though he certainly has his critics.
But I'd like to quote you a lengthy passage because it supports what I feel about being a truly high-ranking dominant. It's a neat refutation of that nonsense I occasionally hear about how So-And-So is a "natural" dominant, and thus doesn't need to educate themselves or practice their craft. It just happens, like magic. Hah. You may have talent, my friend, but the way you get to the Carnegie Hall of kink is practice, practice, practice.
"In the early 90s, the psychologist K Anders Ericsson and two colleagues set up shop at Berlin's elite Academy of Music. With the help of the academy's professors, they divided the school's violinists into three groups. The first group were the stars, the students with the potential to become world-class soloists. The second were those judged to be merely "good". The third were students who were unlikely ever to play professionally, and intended to be music teachers in the school system. All the violinists were then asked the same question. Over the course of your career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practised?
Everyone, from all three groups, started playing at roughly the same time - around the age of five. In those first few years, everyone practised roughly the same amount - about two or three hours a week. But around the age of eight real differences started to emerge. The students who would end up as the best in their class began to practise more than everyone else: six hours a week by age nine, eight by age 12, 16 a week by age 14, and up and up, until by the age of 20 they were practising well over 30 hours a week. By the age of 20, the elite performers had all totalled 10,000 hours of practice over the course of their lives. The merely good students had totalled, by contrast, 8,000 hours, and the future music teachers just over 4,000 hours.
The curious thing about Ericsson's study is that he and his colleagues couldn't find any "naturals" - musicians who could float effortlessly to the top while practising a fraction of the time that their peers did. Nor could they find "grinds", people who worked harder than everyone else and yet just didn't have what it takes to break into the top ranks. Their research suggested that once you have enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. What's more, the people at the very top don't just work much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.
This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice - surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.
"In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals," writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin, "this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years... No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery."
This is true even of people we think of as prodigies. Mozart, for example, famously started writing music at six. But, the psychologist Michael Howe writes in his book Genius Explained, by the standards of mature composers Mozart's early works are not outstanding. The earliest pieces were all probably written down by his father, and perhaps improved in the process. Many of Wolfgang's childhood compositions, such as the first seven of his concertos for piano and orchestra, are largely arrangements of works by other composers. Of those concertos that contain only music original to Mozart, the earliest that is now regarded as a masterwork (No9 K271) was not composed until he was 21: by that time Mozart had already been composing concertos for 10 years.
To become a chess grandmaster also seems to take about 10 years. (Only the legendary Bobby Fischer got to that elite level in less than that time: it took him nine years.) And what's 10 years? Well, it's roughly how long it takes to put in 10,000 hours of hard practice."
Now, that's not to say that ten thousand hours of practice automatically equals world-class expertise. But I will think about this next time I see someone who arrived in the scene about five minutes ago flouncing around - either virtually or in reality - styling themselves Sir Lord Master Domley-Dom of All He Surveys, or High Goddess Dominatchya Von Meanbitch, and scoffing at the notion that they might need to go to school and do their homework. If you don't like BDSM enough to do it a lot and really learn it, then why do it at all?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The restaurant I went to last night: ART, in the new Four Seasons Hotel. It's very good. True to it's name, it's artsy, and I usually view artsy food with suspicion. But given that I ordered a shrimp appetizer, a steak, and French fries, and little baby doughnuts with vanilla ice cream for dessert, I would say that my relentlessly middlebrow food tastes were more than amply satisfied. (There is trendier stuff as well, if that's your liking.)
I'm pretty sure my friend enjoyed his dinner too, although he may have been distracted from the dining experience by my playing with this. Heh.
For those that asked about shoes: Nordstrom didn't have the shoes on their website, but here's a link to them on Zappos. So cute, just what I wanted for casual-but-feminine looks. And then we found some pretty black boots from Barney's.
Last week, Armani and I were here: Ummelina. It's a very nice spa, and the massage was divine. It's a bit woo-woo, but not to a point of complete absurdity.
I believe I'll not say where we had dinner, though. I think that's best. I did grab a quick phone-cam shot of the dress I was wearing, which does not really do it justice. It's a berry-pink satin Dolce & Gabbana number, and very low-cut. I have serious cleavage in this dress, and it's highly entertaining to wear it someplace swanky and observe the well-trained male staff very politely not stare at it. I would not be offended if they did, since I myself often look at women's cleavage. There's just something alluring about the curves.
And here's a bit of jewelry-porn for you: Armani gave me this for my birthday. Isn't it gorgeous?
Monday, November 24, 2008
Moving from text to video... You do not see too many realistic depictions of polyamorous people in media, so here's a new and welcome thing from a Seattle film company: "Family: Episode 1 of a Web-series". Not sure how exactly to describe it, but it's a comedy/drama about the lives of some poly people. About six minutes, has sound, work safe. Enjoy...
Friday, November 21, 2008
Now I'm going to be spoiled some more. Bye!
Labels: my non-kink life
Thursday, November 20, 2008
So yes, I’ve been reading about the busts at the tanning salon/brothels on Aurora Ave. I have some sympathy for the female manager who got arrested, seeing as how I once managed a “sensual touch” business myself. And just because you read something in the paper doesn’t make it true. However, if she and the owner really were running women in and out of other states, through three different locations, all I can say is: with an operation that size, you should have seen this coming. I hope you both have a good lawyer.
See, I have this thing about sex work. One woman working for herself? Great. A couple women decide to band together to share a space and perhaps swap clients back and forth? Fine. Anything where it’s a small group of peers working together - okay, I’m all down with that. But this kind of set-up makes me deeply suspicious.
Now, it’s possible those women wanted to be doing what they did, that it was a very safe and egalitarian workplace, no one ever felt pressured to do anything they didn’t want to, and they were paid as well as they should have been.
But… I bet not. I just don’t get a sense of that from places like this. They look like strip-clubs without the pole, if you know what I mean. And strip-club management works like this: use the women to get as much money as you can from the men, and then take as much of that money as you can from the women. In this situation, I’m betting they took a lot.
In the place I managed, the house supported itself by taking a set portion of the basic appointment fee – “the gate fee” we called it. My job was mostly to keep track of that, coordinate everyone’s schedule, and to deal with the new clients and the guys who needed, for whatever reason, a lot of wrangling. Occasionally I would have to pull rank and tell someone that, for example, leaving a large pink vibrator on the coffee table in the public area was really not okay. Showing up an hour late for the shift? Not okay. Coming out of the session room accompanied by a literal cloud of pot smoke? Not okay.
But I was by no means controlling the six women who worked there. (Hah. As if. Most of them were pals of mine.) And once the client and the woman were in the room together, whatever extra services were negotiated, whatever other money was exchanged, that was all strictly between them. We did not ask about it or monitor it in any way, and we did not ever, ever take any of that money. That was her money.
Once in a while the owner would wistfully mention how she wished the house could get a cut of that cash, and I would threaten to instantly quit before I’d participate in any such practice. That always put an end to that conversation, especially since half the staff would have quit with me, and the owner knew it.
But this looks like the kind of place where you’d get pushed to get as much money as you could from the guy, and then you’d have to give it all to the house. You’d think it would be easy to hide your tips and keep them, but it’s harder than you think. The trick of moving women around is that not only do you create variety for the clients, you prevent the women from forming alliances with each other. So you can’t trust the other girls not to rat you out if they find out you’re holding money back. And you don’t stay on one place long enough to get to know and trust the regular clients, so you can’t rely on them to not say anything, even as an innocent mistake. Some places like this are wired for sound – or even cameras, although not always – so management will see or hear if a girl gets more money in the session rooms.
If they were moving the women around, it’s possible that they were housing them, too. That’s not unheard of even in more legitimate sex work jobs – strip clubs in Alaska used to fly girls up there and put them in what we called “the barracks”. I don’t know if they still have those, but I stayed in one once. It wasn’t a bad place – it looked like a low-end college dormitory, or a hostel. But I got out and found my own place to stay after a week, because it was feeling strange to never be someplace really separate from my work. You need that, I think. But if these people were moving the women around and housing them – oh, that would look pretty bad to me. That would look a lot like trafficking.
Of course I don’t know that, it’s all speculation at this point, so I’ll be interested to see how this story develops. But from this perspective, they don’t look much like people I’d have much in common with.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I understand this completely. The thing I hate the most is when I have to call a service person over to my dungeon space to fix something. Naturally I always hide all the toys and throw sheets over the bondage furniture. But still, it looks a little... odd in there, and people always ask questions, or at least look at me really funny. I loathe dealing with it.
So if you know your way around washing machines, you're cool with an unusual atmosphere, and you'd like some occasional work, email Monk: Monk@twistedmonk.com.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
As Dakwallah pointed out, it's November sweeps time. I suppose they were bored with inventing excuses to get footage inside a strip club - that's the usual way to titillate people while making them feel that as though they're watching "news". Bah.
UPDATE: The link doesn't work because KOMO seems to have pulled the story. No trace of it can be found anywhere on the website. Isn't THAT interesting! Looks like a flood of negative responses cowed the station, as well it should have. Of course they can't un-show it to all the people who watched last night.
Here's the piece on YouTube, though...
Labels: kink/sex in the news
Monday, November 17, 2008
For an early birthday gift, I just received this: Proust Was A Neuroscientist, by Jonah Lehrer.
From Publishers Weekly: “With impressively clear prose, Lehrer explores the oft-overlooked places in literary history where novelists, poets and the occasional cookbook writer predicted scientific breakthroughs with their artistic insights… how Cézanne anticipated breakthroughs in the understanding of human sight, how Walt Whitman intuited the biological basis of thoughts and, in the title essay, how Proust penetrated the mysteries of memory by immersing himself in childhood recollections…”
I love stuff about how our minds work, so this looks fascinating to me. And I’m charmed that the sweet man who gave it to me knew it’s exactly the sort of thing I like.
In fiction, I just finished this: The Wolfman, by Nicholas Pekearo.
From Publishers Weekly: Marlowe Higgins, who's both a werewolf and a detective, lives in the small town of Evelyn, just outside the Tennessee border, flipping burgers by day and waiting for the full moon that will awaken the blood curse that has afflicted his family for generations. Higgins has hit on a way to alleviate the guilt he feels for having claimed countless innocent lives—he investigates vicious crimes that have gone unsolved by the police and targets the perpetrators in his lupine form. When a sadistic serial killer known as the Rose Killer for the flowers left in the victims' eye sockets appears in Evelyn, Higgins turns his attention to tracking him down.”
I got this book after seeing it reviewed on the Slog. I figured if those hipster book snobs had to grudgingly admit it was good, then I’d definitely like it. (I do not dig highbrow fiction any more than I dig highbrow films, or for that matter, highbrow food. Philistines, unite!)
And I did indeed like it. Pekearo’s prose is spare, and almost too terse for my taste - but not quite. He reminds me of a tightly edited Steven King, and also of the author who King says influenced him, Richard Matheson. It’s got the stark landscape – both inner and outer – of a lot of King’s horror novels, but with a flavor of the hard-boiled-detective genre, too. If I was casting this as a movie, I’d want someone like Nick Nolte or Nicholas Cage as the lead – a guy who’d taken some hard knocks and survived, but who had very little to lose and as a result, feared nothing.
(One quibble – this teensy little town in the middle of nowhere has not one but two flourishing multi-girl brothels, and one of them is very upscale? Oh please. I can believe in a werewolf easier than I can believe in that.)
The story unrolls smoothly for most of the book, wobbling only a trifle towards the end. Still, I liked the characters enough to shrug it off and enjoy it overall. Sadly, the author has died, so we’ll see no sequels to this book.
And now I have another twist-on-the-genre novel loaded on the Kindle and ready to go…
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setter.
From Publishers Weekly: “Former academic Setterfield pays tribute in her debut to Brontë and du Maurier heroines: a plain girl gets wrapped up in a dark, haunted ruin of a house, which guards family secrets that are not hers and that she must discover at her peril. Margaret Lea, a
bookseller's daughter…is contacted by renowned aging author Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Margaret travels to London Yorkshire, where she interviews the dying writer, walks the remains of her estate at Angelfield and tries to verify the old woman's tale of a governess, a ghost and more than one abandoned baby. Contending with ghosts and with a (mostly) scary bunch of living people, Setterfield's sensible heroine is, like Jane Eyre, full of repressed feeling—and is unprepared for both heartache and romance. And like Jane, she's a real reader and makes a terrific narrator.”
I like classic Gothic novels, and this looks like an entertaining twist on that genre. I’ll let you know what I think after I read it.
Friday, November 14, 2008
And I adore having my feet kissed and touched, so having lots of lovely people doing that was just delicious. I went to some of these parties a couple of years ago, and then they stopped happening for a while. I’m very glad they’ve been revived. There’s a story I wrote about one of the 2004 parties here. In retrospect, I thought the whole thing was somewhat amusing, because no one got into any real trouble. What’s also true is that the parties are now held in a very private location, not a hotel. The hotel was the problem. I am completely and totally confident that the awkward ending of this party won’t ever be repeated.
The coda to the story linked above is that the guy who I was with at the moment I realized the cops had showed up was actually at the party I went to last night. We laughed about it together. “You were the first one out the door,” he said. “You were out of there like a shot.”
Damn straight I was. I used to dance in clubs down south that got raided with annoying regularity, and I’ve seen a few strip-club raids up here too. They never arrested me – usually the girls they took downtown were women who had outstanding warrants or who had drugs on them, and I had neither of those things. But in strip clubs you learn that at the very first glimpse of a uniform, you vamoose. It’s bad enough that you’re going to lose the night’s earnings - you still don’t want to get stuck sitting there for hours and hours and hours while they run an ID check on every single girl there, search all your bags and lockers, and ask a lot of questions, before they finally let you go home. If you get gone fast enough, you can sometimes evade that. So I’m not suggesting you run from cops if you’ve done something wrong – but if I can discreetly leave a situation before they decide that I have done something wrong, it is my policy to do so.
I’m pleased that such things are no longer a big issue to me, though. Nice to have people and places that I know I can trust…
Thursday, November 13, 2008
See you at the Footnight party tonight!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
SUBJECT LINE: Hi, would like appointment and/or other info
I just wanted to know how to get started in this profession in a safe way. I figured group sessions were my best bet but I just don't know where to go or who to talk to about it. I feel like I'm going to lose my mind. I know I could get a lot out of this line of work and I don't mean a lot of money. I have fantasies that I want to act on but I know they could cost me a lot in the end. Please help me get in touch with someone in my area so that I can learn about being a mistress and see if it is the right thing for me. I'm young, five nine, one hundred forty pounds and attractive. Thank you for your time.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. What? I had to read this email about three times to figure out what this woman (at least I now assume it's a woman) is asking me. Because of the subject line, I started out thinking it was a request from a man who wanted to see me professionally, which made no sense with the body of the email. (Insert here my obligatory rant about the poor writing/communication skills displayed by people who want me to do something for them, but make it hard for me to understand what.)
What I'm reading here is that she wants to be a professional dominatrix. And I am not going to help her do that. Nope, sorry. Not for the usual reasons, though. Not because the email is badly written, or because the writer wants to be spoon-fed, or because she clearly doesn't know much about either sex work or BDSM.
I would not facilitate this person's entry into sex work because there's a dark thread in this email that bothers me. "I feel like I'm going to lose my mind?" Dear girl - no. Do not get into sex work when you're already feeling emotionally/psychologically challenged in some way. That will go badly, I promise. Whatever it is that's making you feel like you might go crazy, fix that first. If you get into sex work with your head in the wrong place, you will have bad experiences, and I don't want any woman have bad experiences.
"I have fantasies that I want to act on but I know they could cost me a lot in the end. " I don't know exactly what this means, but I sure don't like the sound of it. I have seen a lot of women use sex work as a vehicle for self-destructive behavior, and I'm getting a strong sense of that here. If you have self-esteem issues, there are plenty of people in the industry ready and willing to treat you just as disrespectfully as you think you deserve. Men and women both, clients, co-workers and employers. They will reinforce your negative feelings about yourself, you will make worse and worse choices, and yes, it will indeed cost you a lot in the end.
The challenge of sex work in our society is to do it while staying happy, healthy, safe and sane. Many of the difficulties are external and require only observation and cleverness to evade. But you also need a certain psychological makeup. The impression I have from this email is of someone who is really not wired to get up every morning, put out a lot of emotional energy to create intimate experiences for people she met five minutes ago, and whom she may or may not even like, and go home every night feeling good about that. I have very connected, ongoing relationships with my guys, but I'm unusual, and I think I've attracted some unusually cool guys to me and created something rare with them. Most sex work, especially at the entry level, demands much and gives little, emotionally. I think pro dommes have a slight advantage over other areas - our clients tend to be more loyal and long-term. As you build trust over time, the emotional balance can shift and the relationship becomes more mutual.
However, learning the skills to create mutually positive experiences/relationships takes time, and in the interim, you must have the emotional reserves. I don't think this person does. Not now, at least, and maybe never. If you want my advice about how to feel better about whatever is troubling you, you can ask me and I'll give you my take. But I cannot in good conscience give you advice about becoming a pro domme.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Foot-lovers, remember the Footnight party this Thursday!
There continues to be a fuss in certain sex worker circles about the whole Craigslist “erotic services” thing. In light of that, I’m composing a column about it, and I hope to get a quote from Craig himself. I am crafting an email to him with some questions, but as I’m guessing he gets a fair amount of email, I fear it may get caught in some filter or other. So just in case someone who knows him personally reads this blog: Hi Craig! I hope you get my note!
Also, if you’re a Seattle sex worker with an opinion about the matter, feel free to write me. I can’t promise I’ll use your quote, but I’m interested in what you have to say.
Edit: I just found some interesting blog posts on the subject. I agree with Mike Masnick, and the data shown by Kohler is also just what I'd expect.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
That may surprise you. But there's two parts to this, so let's break it down.
The first is the "Craigslist charging for ads that used to be free" aspect. To that I say: hey, that's capitalism in action, my friends. People who are selling sex - which many people would also prefer to get for free - should not get pissy that they'll no longer get to place free ads to do that. That's just the cost of doing business.
Then there's the law enforcement angle. The story says the Craigslist will supply LE with advertiser's billing information if they are subpoenaed. Well, yeah. I'm guessing any business that sells ads - The Stranger, The Weekly, Eros Guide - would have to do that. Regardless of what certain Republicans seem to think, when you get a subpoena, that means you have to comply. That being said, I am not aware of any of those places actually being subpoenaed.
Why not? Because if you want to arrest prostitutes - especially the type of prostitute who advertises on Craigslist - it ain't all that difficult. You call them up and you get in the room with them and when the time is right, you whip out the badge and take them downtown. I'm not saying I like it, I'm just saying that most of the time, getting a judge to give you a subpoena is unnecessary. Simple prostitution - one woman, working for herself - is a misdemeanor. Statistically, the majority of women who work for themselves do not get arrested, because unless there's a lot of complaints about her, LE has bigger fish to fry.
What subpoenas are about is busting the people who run large-group operations. And if you're running a whole bunch of women on Craigslist, then chances are, you're a pimp. And I don't mean the honest and fair owner of an escort service, I mean a pimp. That's what I see on Craigslist. I don't like pimps, in case that wasn't clear. To me a pimp = a bad person who exploits and coerces women into sex work, or even flat-out forces them. I would not be a bit sorry to see someone like that get arrested.
I believe that there are probably a few honest escort-service owners who use Craigslist. To them I say: You are dealing in felony territory here, so I hope you have a lawyer on retainer, and I hope you understand the risks inherent in the business that you're running. It's my opinion that on the list of ways you might get busted, Craigslist giving up your data is probably the least-likely scenario. But I'd get off there anyway, it's not doing your business image any good.
I think this decision by Craigslist will also help keep under-18 people off the site, and that's also good. Whether they want to be sex-workers when they grow up, they should not be doing it underage.
I think it will also calm down the citizen's complaints, because Craigslist is the place where people who are not looking for sex workers are most likely to stumble across them, and be all outraged about it. It's the online equivalent of soliciting in front of a neighborhood flea market, with families coming in and out. That's just not what you should be doing. It gets people all upset and draws down the heat. Would it be nice if prostitution wasn't illegal so we didn't have to worry about this? Yeah, that would be great. But that's not the reality.
The people who really have my support in sex work are the independent businesswomen like myself, and people who run honest and professional businesses arranging dates between adult contractors and clients. I think those people are unlikely to be strongly affected by the Craigslist's decision.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Now, don't get me wrong, I've always been pleased that I was American, in a calm and rational way. But it was a passive sort of feeling. I don't recall ever feeling quite so actively happy about it.
I would not say I was a cynical person. But I do tend to be, shall we say, skeptical and analytical. I'm suspicious of anything that looks like a cult of personality, and I am not prone to going along with the crowd just for the sake of it.
But he's really gotten to me, Mr Obama, because I feel hopeful, in a way I haven't felt for a while. And while a tiny, stubborn part of me still says "Don't get your hopes up, don't drink the Kool-Aid, that way you won't be disappointed if it fails..." the rest of me says "No, I'm going to trust this feeling." So I am.
It's interesting to me, too, that I don't recall feeling this way when Bill Clinton got elected. And you know how much I like Bill. I like him a lot. Bill is on the very short list of men who could booty-call me, and I'd go. He wouldn't have to buy me dinner or anything. I think Bill is that hot.
(Who else is on the list? Christopher Walken, John Stewart, and Jason Statham. If any of those guys ever call me, I'm there, no questions asked, boom. I have already cleared this with Monk. Just in case.)
Obama does not turn me on sexually, although I suppose you could say he excites me intellectually. Frankly, in spite of the fact that I once made up some stuff about what he would be like in bed, I do not get a sexy vibe from him at all. Maybe it's different in person. Then too, I'm guessing he has not been feeling all that sexy the last little while here, on account of being under just a teensy bit of stress.
But Obama is an iconic figure in a way that Clinton, for all his skill and charm and accomplishments, is not. I suppose as we get used to an Obama presidency, and his inevitable flaws and shortcomings begin to show, that may wear off some. But until then, I doubt I'm going to be able to think of him sexually. To me, it's the little flaws that make someone feel three-dimensional and thus, human. Icons aren't sexual to me because they're one-dimensional.
However, I'm guessing Mr. President-Elect can get along just fine without me being sexually attracted to him. And if he's just as good a president as we need him to be, I'm fine with that too. I hope he will be.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
What a big change is coming - really coming - in our world. I'm not someone who thinks Barack Obama walks on water, heals the sick and raises the dead. He's just a man. But he's a good man, and he's a smart man, and I think he's honest and has integrity, and I think he really wants to lead us well, and make the country a better place than it currently is. I haven't felt that way about my president for eight years, so it makes me very happy that I now do.
Amazing to live through history being made.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
So off I go, to happily vote for Obama, and somewhat resignedly for Gregoire. She's not that great of a governor, but at least she's better than the anti-choice, Christian-fundy Dino Rossi.
The Death With Dignity measure? I'm voting for it, we should have the right to die when we're terminally ill.
And then I'll be watching the returns tonight, although... it seems like curtains for McCain. It's not over, of course. But Nate Silver assures me that a McCain win is quite unlikely.
I've been highly amused by this site - I bet they have something fun in store for the finale!
Now I'm just wondering what should I do with the very large chunk of time and brainpower I have been devoting to reading and processing tons of political information. (And ranting about it.) Wait, never mind, I seem to have a very dusty "To-Do" list here. I think I wrote it six months ago. Perhaps I'll get started on it!
Monday, November 03, 2008
It’s hard to describe what kind of book Thy Neighbors Wife is. “Narrative nonfiction” is the best way to say it, I think. It’s an exploration of the emergence of certain kinds of sexual outlaws in America from about the 1940’s to the 1970’s, with a few dips further back in history. Much of it is about a time we’ll never live again – after the Pill, but before AIDS.
Talese doesn’t cover much gay culture, and there’s not a lot about BDSM, either. This is mainly interweaving stories about straight nudist/swinger culture, some sex work history – massage parlors and porn modeling - and very personal biographies of influential people in the alternative sex culture like Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, and a number of others. If you’re an American swinger, or a polyamorous person, or a sex worker, or a sex writer/publisher, this is a piece of your history. The people in this book have all had – and in some cases, continue to have - a strong influence the alternative sexual culture we have now.
It’s a thick book, and it’s complex and absorbing reading, but Talese keeps you engaged. The wealth of detail he provides gives one a sense of really knowing these people.
Talese also tells a lot of stories about government’s very active censorship of sexually oriented materials in that period. People now take for granted their access to educational sexual materials, erotic literature, and unabashed pornorgraphy, but it wasn’t that long ago that many, many people couldn’t get those things. Some of the details of the Supreme Court cases aren’t super-sexy reading, but I think it’s important to know where your rights came from. People – actual live people – got arrested, stood trial, lost their livelihoods and their freedom, and fought back, so that you could read and look at whatever you liked. Pay them a bit of homage by reading and knowing about them.
Note on the subject of books and reading: several nice people have invited me to join Goodreads. Thank you for thinking of me, and it’s a cool idea, but I simply cannot handle contributing to even one more social website. It’s the same reason I haven’t signed up for FetLife, which I am also regularly told I should do. So I fear I must decline…
Saturday, November 01, 2008
However, there are exceptions to that. This is one of them, because I am angry, and these people do not deserve thoughtful refutation.
So, Carl Prine of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review? Fuck you, asshole. Your snarky piece about how prostitutes and their clients tend to vote Democratic is tacky, clumsy, uncalled-for and offensive. It’s an obvious attempt to smear Democrats, because after all, if dirty filthy hookers and “johns” like them – not to mention pimps and transsexual sex workers - that’s bad, right? You’re a leering prat and I hope you get crotch rot.
(You’re also a lousy investigative reporter. “Johns” ? No one says johns anymore, you idiot. That term was out-of-date back in the eighties. And putting it in McCain-esque quotes like that, as if it’s a new and daring bit of street-slang, makes it even lamer.)
And Kathryn Jean Lopez: Fuck you, you sanctimonious bitch, for linking to the piece on The National Review Online by saying: “What Sells in Pennsylvania: Some Pennsylvania prostitutes are clear which party they want to go to.”
I suppose when one’s party is flailing as desperately as yours is, you need to clutch at anything you can to make yourself feel one-up. Or – as I look at pictures of you - maybe it’s evidence of a deeper type of insecurity. Either way, you lose.
You don't see as many of these types of sneering put-downs of sex workers as you used to. But man, it really makes me mad when I do.
Labels: kink/sex in the news