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Savage Symposium: PAYING FOR IT (part 3 of 4)

Brian Hibbs

Question #4:

Question 4: Structure of the argument and choices of presentation.  I don’t know if I would have thought this if it weren’t for the appendixes, but it seems to me that Brown undercuts his own argument pretty deeply. I absolutely believe that the ending of the book really trumps much of what Brown was saying throughout, but that’s not even what I’m talking about. I’m thinking more of “most sex workers aren’t slaves” or “…aren’t on drugs”, yet as I was reading the book I thought “that woman is a sex slave” and “that one is clearly faced on something” — and this is Brown reinterpreting through comics a recollection he had based on a jotted note on his calendar, presumably intended to support what appears to be a conscious argument. So, like, if I’m getting this feeling at a fourth-hand distance, what must the reality be like? Further, I’m not even sure that Brown picked the best examples to support his own argument — if you really want to establish that these transactions are healthy and sane, then shouldn’t you be showing all sides of it? Most of the women were maddeningly not-people, and I kind of want them, not the customer, to tell me that they are safe. So, my question becomes: did the choices that were made of what and how to argue work for you? Not “do you buy the argument?”, mind — more that if the argument is well constructed.

ABHAY: I didn’t spend too much time with the appendices.  As a life-long Democrat, I’m rather predictably more favorable towards hearing about prostitution than Libertarianism. My family crest has “Prostitution, not Libertarianism” on it, with pictures of Gary Hart and Ted Kennedy underneath.  I got a big whiff of “the market” off the appendices and ran the other way.  Banging whores I want to hear about, but the elaborate rhetorical edifices that libertarians construct around their orgasms– no thanks.  That’s really not of significant interest of me. Especially not when Brown’s “argument” relies in part on Canada’s socialist health care system taking care of, e.g., the probably-underage hooker screaming “Ow” over and over while Brown fucked her.  The market and property rights didn’t make sure that her pussy was okay after whatever Brown subjected it to; socialist health-care did.

There’s one, though– Appendix 3. Which– I don’t judge Brown for having sex with women for money, at all, in the slightest– but I judge him for writing Appendix 3 because I think it’s some fucking astoundingly silly shit.  I think early reviews have been exceptionally kind maybe to the point of sycophancy with respect to Appendix 3.  Appendix 3 is the one about how Chester Brown thinks the universe might operate when prostitution is “normalized”– here’s just a tiny quote from it:  “The next day, Mary tells her friends about the date.  They all have sex for money too, so none of them are shocked.”  It goes on and on about Mary the Hat Clerk who Fucks For Money (Whose Mom is Also a Prostitute … Because, I guess, Hey, All Women Are, Deep-Down…???).  And it’s him describing this enchanted wonderland, Chester Brown’s Whoresylvania, this magical gumdrop land where everyone is thrilled to be selling their bodies for money, rainbows sell blowjobs to marshmallows, Snuggles the Dryer-Softener Bear will kick-fuck you to climax for $100 a half-hour, et cetera.  I was not sympathetic to Appendix 3, but I suppose I imagine freedom as being something more than letting poor women decide how much they charge people to fuck them– I guess I’m a dreamer, that way.

The other one that jumped out at me was Appendix 14 (“Exploitation”), where…Here’s a quote:  “Yes, some prostitutes are exploited when most or all of their money is taken by pimps, but not all prostitutes are exploited.”  That sounds reasonable– I’d like to believe that’s true, that “not all prostitutes are exploited.”  However– like Brian, I had the same reaction that…  at least a few of the prostitutes Brown actually fucked?  Exploited!  So exploited! I don’t think I agree with Matt Seneca’s argument that ALL of the women in the book are exploited– but the foreign women raised what I hope are obvious issues. Brown seems oblivious to the fact he’s promoting the benefits of being a white guy who has impoverished third world women chauffeured to his country to reduce the cost of his sexual degeneracy.  Maybe someone who worships the market blindly would be okay with the West literally ejaculating onto the faces of the Third World, but I don’t know if “some are exploited, some aren’t, derpdy-derp” even begins to acknowledge an iota, a sliver, a fucking fraction of the issues of consent that raises…?

Plus: I just think it’s ludicrous that Brown removing any indication of the race of the prostitutes, that people are buying this ad copy that he’s somehow “protecting the women” rather than himself.  Toronto’s maybe the most multi-cultural city on the North American continent– who the fuck thinks that anyone is out there saying to themselves, “Aah, the fact that Chester Brown drew the girl saying ‘No Speak English’ with Asian features means that it must be Susy Kwan, and I must punish her!  Your time is nigh, Suzy Kwan!”-?  That city is bursting with minorities– Chester Brown’s not outing any of them with “No Speak English.”  For me, removing the women’s races spoke to something darker than that.  He’s drawing this comic about him running around buttfucking all these whores, but then, like, oh, saints preserve us that anyone might think there are any racial implications to the whores he’s selecting.  Heavens forfend!  “Buttfucking the hookers, I applaud, but let’s not bring race into this.  That would offend my delicate sensibilities.”  I think doing that was a way of closing off any consideration that Brown was not just a heroic participant in the market, stabbing his property rights into dry vaginas with his half-erect penis, but also to prevent the reader from recognizing Brown as being the beneficiary/perpetrator of imperialism.

(Plus, on just a I’m-a-Creep level: I guess I was curious what kind of girls he sought out once given a level of choice that he’d not had in his life previously?  After the Knives Chau character dumped him, did he seek out young Asian girls to obtain a weird sort of revenge that he couldn’t admit to himself?  Maybe I was the only one that had that question, but …)

But do I think any of that “undercuts his argument?”  Oh, I don’t know.  I don’t know that I care too much because I’m not especially invested in the argument-side of what Brown was doing. I certainly don’t care if guys go to see prostitutes– I guess based on the foregoing that I’d prefer for people to buy local, though, as it turns out.  And I don’t care if it gets decriminalized or regulated– though I think I’d probably wind up preferring regulated since I live in the actual real world, and not Brown’s Whore-Epcot, where we’ll all get paid by the Canadian government to draw comics and we can pay the checkout girl at Anthropologie $100 for a half hour of analingus.  The city I live in decriminalized marijuana but failed to regulate it, and that’s had pluses & minuses– based on that experience though, I suspect I’d prefer some efforts at regulation. There’s something to be said for zoning, at the very least (though I did enjoy when drug dealers converted the KFC in my neighborhood into a “pharmacy”). But besides that, I guess since I didn’t need persuading to Brown’s point-of-view, the question of whether his arguments do or don’t hold up to the reality he’s presenting didn’t really matter to me, as I viewed this 40-something year old guy’s need to even “make arguments” to feel good about the lifestyle he found for himself as maybe being the true tragedy of the piece, far moreso than the peculiarities of how Brown obtained sexual gratification.  It’s a comic about a guy who keeps telling himself he doesn’t care what other people think and then spends the entire comic proving otherwise.  It succeeds for me maybe despite Brown, not because of him…?

TUCKER: I don’t know how much further I can go down the “I think this book is crap evidence for anything serious” road without seeming like I hate Brian, Chester Brown, comics and myself. I don’t! And yet, the appendixes are curdled with stuff where Chester just says “nah, it ain’t that bad” and then he footnotes some book he read that he introduces by explicitly saying that it agrees with his point of view, and I’m left wondering: what the fuck? Guys like Steve Coll make sure to footnote page numbers and present actual quotes when they’re writing about war and corporate crime, hell, the guys who wrote the Kurt Cobain bios I read in high school even took the time to tell you where the actual words “Kurt really loved shooting up heroin” came from. Chester writes things like “human trafficking: not a big deal” and his footnote says “the best book I read about how human trafficking wasn’t a big deal is called ‘human trafficking is not a big deal’ and you should read it”. Man up, dude. Where’s all this information coming from? Who said it? Why are they right? What page is that line you’re quoting from? Take this appendix and compare it to the backmatter of any serious non-fiction book on anything–the superrunners of Africa, the original Friday Night Lights, a book about the collapse of AT&T–and you’ll see a pretty major difference in terms of what rules you’re supposed to follow when you’re playing the research paper game.

JEFF: Although I feel like I’ve been the designated Brown apologist throughout this discussion, the appendices are indefensible, plain and simple.  Everything Tucker says should be printed on a slip of paper and inserted into every edition of the book.  Unlike in the cartooning section of the book where I think Brown is in control of every choice he makes and presents exactly what he wants, I really can’t imagine Brown wants to present himself as a sloppy researcher truly uninterested in being challenged on what he thinks (or giving people the materials to do so)…and yet that’s precisely how the Brown of the appendices comes off.  They are, to put it lightly, a horrible misfire that undercuts the majority of the book.

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24 Responses to “ Savage Symposium: PAYING FOR IT (part 3 of 4) ”

  1. If anything has really put the nail in the coffin of my not reading this book, it’s this roundtable.

    And thanks to Tucker for going down the “use references/citations/quotes” angle as I haven’t seen that mentioned in relation to this book and it’s a really valuable point for a book like this.

  2. I need a vacation. Ugh.

  3. Okay. I get it. All women are prostitutes, even our moms. Fuck this asshole and his deprived Canadian way of life. Here’s the secret Brown, we’re all whores. Especially those amongst us who feel we’re enlightened. Such as yourself, who needs to broadcast to the world, through literature and art, what a fucked up asshole you are. Arrested development is not just the name of a funny show.

  4. Thanks, Abhay. I was thinking the same thing.

  5. You leave my mother alone, Chester Brown! That woman was a Saint! A Saint!

    Indeed, Abhay’s was a tour de force to savour but each of the SavCrits has done their best to ensure that after wavering during the craft discussion I once more want no part of this book.

    That (cough!) argument appendix sounds like it is more revealing about the possibly damaged personality that birthed it rather than indicating any Golden Road of Progress we should all be haring down with our pants round our ankles while throwing money at faceless women who can’t speaka-de-lingo.

    So, I have some questions:

    1) In F*cktopia do the women also pay the men for the dirty stuff? Do you see what I’m getting at, Chester Brown?

    2) In F*cktopia Are there different rates? If Mary looks like Louise Brooks aged 30 will it cost me more than if she looks like Yootha Joyce aged 130? What about Mary’s Mum? Mary’s Dad won’t mind will he? What? Oh, he killed himself last year. Never mind, I didn’t want to do him.

    3) In F*cktopia is it possible that that even if you offer a woman money to rent her orifices out for half an hour she still might say no? Or does she not get a choice? As well as not having a face or a voice?

    4) Shall we all chip in and buy Chester Brown a copy of Pretty Woman for his birthday?

    This book just sounds like Mark Millar for people who prefer Michael Haneke to Michael Bay. Nah, the book, it’s really about money isn’t it? And how having money means you get to do what you want to people who have less money. And you also get to not care. How lovely.

    Still, one more episode to go! Everything to play for; I could still end up reading this book it’s all up to the SavCrits! At best I’ll probably get it from the library, I’m certainly not going to be…and cue the book’s title!

  6. I, for one, am glad that Chester Brown wrote and drew Paying For It just so this round table discussion could exist. I was thoroughly engrossed with Paying For It from start to finish and hope Chester Brown sees this exchange here by the Savage Critics and retorts in some manner.

    Abhay, you NEED to write a book (on anything) so that I can get a bigger dose of your writing (that’s not to say that the other Save Critics aren’t good writers / thinkers also, cause they are)!

  7. John K(UK), you need to write a book also (even though, yes while there are flaws with Chester Brown’s Paying For It, I still recommend the reading experience it is).

  8. He actually sort-of answers almost all of those questions, John, if I remember correctly. I don’t remember if he mentions PRETTY WOMAN though. Probably not. I’m not a fan of that movie myself though– I didn’t make it all the way to the end. I especially don’t think I could watch it now, knowing that in the original script the movie ends with the Richard Gere character kicking the Julia Roberts character out of a limo back onto the street. I guess that version didn’t test well, though.

  9. It’s probably an easy book to have an opinion of without reading it. Which I think does a disservice to the level of effort involved, however flawed it might be. He’s created a work that is personal to him and argues a point, which is not something I see often enough in comics. It’s a point I would think he’d know would not be popular as his two best friends, popular cartoonists, shout at him constantly about it.

    In regards to comments about money, he lives off arts grants, renting a room from an ex, there’s a vague analogy towards whoring your talents as being unpleasant to an artist. He’s not in any position of monetary strength, nor does this seem to bother him that he uses the little he has to control the other gender. His argument is about budgeting for prostitution as a human need, not a need to control women…although it could in reality be this way, as he’s the one defining the terms of his argument. I can only interact via the text unless I make assumptions.

    I don’t think it’s a power through money argument he makes, it’s about the right of the individual in the face of society. I’d say that’s the Mills principle, I could be wrong, I’m remembering philosophy class from a college I dropped out of ten years ago.

    And he put his name to it, so clearly felt it was something that needed to be said, he used to be friends with Dave Sim so it’s not like he’s unaware how that’s not enough of a motivation and won’t seem completely crazy. The comics could easily just have been about not wanting to deal with women and I would’ve still got it, instead he created something because he wanted to create a discourse and obviously stakes his reputation on it. Unless stating your love of paying for sex gets your kudos points and cash money, in which case it’s going on my CV’s interest next to “socialising and crochet”.

    He’s also not calling your mother a whore, so a level of vitriol is probably unwarranted. He’s sketching out (an extremely stupid) world to show how it’s possible to imagine a society where prostitution has the stigma removed. Which is what Firefly did, as do the proponents of red light districts. He’s not creating government policy, nor will he ever, he’s just an interesting cartoonist who by his own best friend’s admission is not completely in touch with things.

    I don’t know how valid what I’m saying is, all I know is that I’ll more likely talk about this with friends while having tea than I would any of the 52 comics announced this week. It feels tawdry to even bring that idea of superhero comics into the conversation but this is it…his moral stance is “women should have the right to sell their bodies if they so wish” which i would say is more complicated than comic book moralising of “you should never ever kill” and so should have a more complicated discussion in regards to it, not a simple buy/don’t buy. Which is has, via this website. So thanks Hibbs et all.

  10. John K(UK)’s rage over unanswered questions is truly hilarious since Chester does, in fact, answer those. Maybe instead of being enraged over Tucker’s misguided ‘review’ of the book, you should read it and engage on it on a level more serious than you would engage the newest issue of ‘Dark Avengers’. Jesus, comics should just go ahead and die already.

  11. Sex slavery – it’s a touchy subject! Who knew?!? Actually it wasn’t “rage” but the failure to communicate tone is down wholly to me.

    I’m all for people creating personal works and arguing a point of view but I don’t think that automatically makes it worthwhile. Rather; does the creator do it well?

    From the sound of it here, the answer is: no. Mr. Tucker Stone has pointed out the lack of footnotes or supporting evidence and the imaginary world where prostitution is okey dokey, which is supposed to be The Grand Proof I guess, is described by Damon, who appears to be a fan, as “extremely stupid”. Personally I don’t think prostitution is a human need. Sex is a human need. Food is a human need. It’s not up to me to believe prostitution is a human need without the author of the work demonstrating that to my satisfaction. That’s what he’s set out to do, yes?

    Chester Brown is obviously a talented man and I am actually looking for reasons to read this book. I am warming to it as a thought provoking experience but I think I need a little more convincing. I don’t have to agree with the work but I do have to enjoy experiencing the work.

    Having something to say is a fine thing but a far finer thing is to have something worthwhile to say and to say it well. That’s right; none of which criteria I fullfil.

    (And, really now, aren’t we all beyond the whole art/superheroes one/the other fake dichotomy. I think it was Gilbert Hernandez who said “We can have both.”)

    It’s late here and I bid you all Goodnight.

  12. In regards to comments about money, he lives off arts grants

    He sounds like quite the libertarian.

  13. This Savage Symposium seems to have turned everyone else off the book – I ended up getting it yesterday because of it!
    Just had to see what could cause such a stir.
    Read maybe half of it last night, but had to stop as it was all beginning to blur.
    I flicked through the Appendix’s… I figure I may skim read them.
    It kind of annoys me that they are there – if they weren’t, I would have guessed the book (so far) was about how much of a creepy dude Brown thinks he is, but as he’s trying to justify himself fully I think it falls apart.

    “I don’t remember if he mentions PRETTY WOMAN though. Probably not. I’m not a fan of that movie myself though– I didn’t make it all the way to the end. I especially don’t think I could watch it now, knowing that in the original script the movie ends with the Richard Gere character kicking the Julia Roberts character out of a limo back onto the street. I guess that version didn’t test well, though.”

    I believe he was actually going to push/hit her into the gutter, throw the money at her, and after crying for a bit, she went back to her apartment, where her housemate had died from an overdose.

  14. Okay, now I’ve got over having offended people (but have I? Do you ever really get over something like that? Or do you just keep moving and use the pain as a reminder to do better next time?); a more considered response:

    1)@Damon and @Jason: I was making a joke with the whole mother thing. Believe you me if Chester Brown starts bothering that woman with his silliness she’ll send him away with a flea in his ear and no mistake. I was making quite a few jokes there, or at least I thought I was. If I wasn’t the fault is entirely mine.

    2)@Jason: I’m glad Chester Brown answers my “rage” induced questions. Now, my question is: how well does he answer them?

    3)@Jason: The review is a roundtable involving more than Mr. Tucker Stone, I don’t get why you single him out for disapproval unless it is because of his handsomeness. And how is his/their review misguided? Can you expand on that or would you rather just chide people for reading a genre of comics you personally find unworthy of critical appraisal? Also they don’t do DARK AVENGERS anymore which has upset every single one of us tights’n’fights-ers as it was such a very special experience for us all every month.

    4)@Damon: Yes, it would be doing a disservice to the work Chester Brown has put into this book by forming an opinion without reading it. That’s a good point. What I’m trying to do is form an opinion on is whether to read the book.

    5)@Damon: With regards to the money thing I wasn’t saying Chester Brown is the Croesus of Comics just that Chester Brown has more money than the women he is renting. That’s all it takes; just having that bit more.

    6)@Damon: I’m not convinced introducing Firefly into the equation is any more sophisticated than a glancing reference to supercomics. Firefly is a genre TV show some people, but not enough people to stop it being cancelled, like isn’t it? Or am I confusing that with Naom Chomsky’s Firefly or something? I like the word “tawdry” though. Nice one.

    7)@Damon: I truly hope you enjoy your tea and have a stimulating discussion. Tea, like socialist health care and looking out for the vulnerable and each other in general is one of the true hallmarks of civilisation.

    8)Generally: I don’t think we really have Libertarianism over here, but I’ve had a quick and shabby research and it looks like it’s a codification of what we call “selfishness”. (It seems they aren’t keen on taxes so I guess they aren’t keen on useable roads or having their bins emptied regularly. And I’m guessing we can forget Social Services too. Yeah, all those vulnerable children and adults should just have tried harder at life! Why should you pay for their failure!)

    Anyway, it looks, in essence, as though Libertarianism= what I do is okay as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Which sounds real peachy – as long as you have no interest in anything else other than how it can serve your needs and you can also demonstrate that the other party is not being harmed. It seems (seems!) like the book concentrates far more on illustrating the former than the latter, which seems (seems!) to be a fatal error in emphasis for this potential reader at least.

    9)@PRETTY WOMAN fanz: My mind is boggled by the awesome details of the original ending. It sounds akin in some strange way to the sudden shift at the end of Jim Thompson’s THE GETAWAY. The book anyway; they tend not to do that bit in the films as it would probably test about as well as PW’s original ending. See, it totally works!

    Hopefully this time out I have failed to offend anyone. Or if I have, look at it this way: I didn’t hurt you did !? Well, that’s okay then!

  15. Marc: as a libertarian he is 100% against arts grants. He takes them anyway, and explains that it’s because he doesn’t see it as hypocrisy. I said this in the other comments, but for me it bears repeating: nothing to do with the comics (or is it?!) but his politics is the kind of politics that pisses me off enormously. He also takes advantage of the medical system, while being 100% against it too…in fairness, he doesn’t have much of a choice, it’s the only system there is short of going to the States, and for that you need billionaire boatloads of money (that should be an epithet: “billionaire boatloads”), and it’s well to bear in mind that the medical system is supposed to be there for him whether he is stupidly against it or not

    However: ya gotta apply for the grants, and they only give out so many a year. And this I am not cool with.

    But on the subject of the book, the gang up top’s making good sense to me. Especially on the appendices, I think I can safely assume that they are there to make a point that the book itself isn’t successful in making — is perhaps too good to be successful at making? Perhaps libertarian rhetoric about normalizing prostitution is just not that fucking convincing in a comics story or any other well-crafted piece of work, perhaps it never convinces anybody ever. In Norway (is it Norway?) if you’re disabled and can’t get sex any other way, the medical system will pick up the tab for your regular prostitute on the grounds that sex is kinda good for people and anyway couldn’t hurt — being able to get it at all is an important thing psychologically, I guess is the thinking there. Chester could go with this kind of normalization, the kind that works, but he doesn’t. So maybe libertarianism’s just bullshit.

    Man, I really am getting more and more interested in reading this book, you know? There’s a whole lot of shit in this thing!

  16. Whole lot of shit going ON in this thing, I mean.

  17. My post wasn’t wholly directly at you John K, it was a general response to some posts I had seen (for example Robert’s). But thank you for the response in any case.

    The Firefly reference probably wasn’t necessary, it was just to point out that the idea has existed in narrative before (with less fumbling hyperbole) and nobody freaked out about it, unless that’s why it got cancelled. In which case my new show “Space Prudes” will live long in syndication.

  18. All commenters who haven’t read the book should do so before responding to the statements about the book here. The roundtablists all seem pre-disposed to anti-prostitution stances. Taking their opinions at face value is not an intelligent move people!
    I do agree with many of their points, however. Particularly that the level of (Brown’s) arguement is not persuasive and is self-serving.( And I’m someone who is “on his side”.)
    At Abhay- I do not recall Brown engaging providers for anal sex at any point in the book. Your long displayed fascination with ass sex is your issue- don’t tar him with it, especially when you are discussing the book with those who haven’t read it.
    At John K- To your questions above:
    1- Brown doesn’t rule out sex for pleasure. If a woman wanted sex from a man NOT inclined to have it with her, money would be an offer she could make with no stigma attached.

    2-different rates? Yes, just like in any other commodity market. That’s all he’s saying: you should be free to market your sexual activity as a labor-commodity.

    3- Having had much experience last decade as a John, I can tell you that the provider can place limits on what she will do and whether she will do it. Like any other human interaction, the provider’s ability to do this does rely on a compliant and reasonable customer. The house I went to had bouncers to deal with assholes.

    Sex slavery is different than sex capitalism. One of the ladies I used to see at the house later was featured in a newspaper article series. She pointed out that she became a prostitute due to an $80,000 credit card debt. This 22 year old illegal alien paid off her credit card debt and c. $25,000 of fees her handlers imposed on her in 12 months of working. That’s right, she got rid of that debt in 1 year. That is the sort of prostitution success story that provokes some women to advocate for the “right” to prostitution. As Chrissie Hynde spits out during The Pretenders’ cover of “Money” (US Festival ’82): “I want money- more than I can make as a cocktail waitress!”.

    Brown claims to oppose sex slavery (as do I). He is not opposed to sex capitalism. To say prostitution should be illegal due to sex slavery is like saying professional lawn maintainance should be illegal? At least here in California, professional lawn maintainance often involves the paying of illegally low wages to illegal immmigrants for back-breaking long-houred work. Should we therefore ban professional lawn maintainance?

    I could continue into rantsville here, but it’s time to shower and report to the masters I sell my labor.

  19. “The roundtablists all seem pre-disposed to anti-prostitution stances”

    Except I don’t think that’s true, at all. Depending on the definition of the term.

    “Brown claims to oppose sex slavery”

    How nice. However, Brown portrays himself as oblivious to the world around him, so whether his actions are consistent with his platform seems silly to consider, even when the answer is plainly a big No. Brown seems to oppose sex slavery as much as he opposes art grants– however, the book itself suggests he has few qualms in actually benefiting from the reality of either.

    “prostitution should be illegal due to sex slavery”

    None of us are saying that, and I think Brown is arguing for far more than that prostitution should be merely legal.

  20. @Damon: I’m sorry about the Firefly crack; it was pissy and I regret it. I look forward to “Space Prudes” and will be sure to drink tea while I watch it.

    @Seth Hollander: That’s a point right there. I don’t feel right commenting on a book I haven’t read either. So I am trying to comment on the issues raised by the book via the roundtable. I may not have been totally successful in this.

    I thank you for answering my questions, but as I thought they simply confirm that in Sexyland people just become commodities. It may be possible to argue that we all already are commodities but I don’t think there is much to be gained from extending this into areas that, if this is true, are all the more valuable in remaining free of such a taint. No pun intended.

    The prostitution success story would look good in a magazine with a picture of healthy lady in glasses smiling along with the headline: Krystii Got Out And Got Rich! You Can Too! But…I would be interested to know how was the 22 year old illegal alien’s state of mind following this experience? Did she suffer from PTSD, alcoholism, brain damage, psychosis or a dissacociative disorder, did she attempt suicide? Had she suffered any physical injuries or STDs that may impede her life?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am very glad that she survived and paid off her debts. But I do wonder, because I am a wondering kind of guy, even if she made it out unmarked, I’m wondering, if her story is typical or in fact atypical of the fate of sex workers. I think that would be an important consideration. After all “One swallow does not make a summer…” (Aristotle, ??B.C) No pun intended. I appreciated the fact that you referenced your quote.

    At the risk of being controversial I respectfully submit that if someone’s lawn is big enough to employ other people to tend it then that person has a lawn that is too big.

  21. At the time of the newspaper articles she was living with a former customer in a romantic relationship, working as a waitress, and had attained US citizenship via a “sex refugee” program that grants amnesty to “illegal aliens” that entered the country via the sex trade. As to her mental state, I don’t know. I do not imagine her story is typical, but nor is winning the Lottery and I still throw money at it twice a week…
    I do believe the incidence of the maladies you mentioned is indeed higher among sexworkers than non-sexworkers, but the renumeration is also higher. This is not a woman with the education or opportunities to make that kind of money any other way, so it was this or face her debtors (in Korea, a country that porportedly has no debtor-protection laws).
    I do believe that everything is commodified in our world. Commodification is the arguement against your buying this book. By buying it you are giving profit to the book’s creators/manufacturers/distributors. In doing so, you encourage them to make more similar products. While I think you should read it before criticizing it, I don’t like that you have to endorse it with your money something you will probably not wish to endorse. Capatilism/commodification reduces everything to filthy lucre and moral issue are merely squabbles in the shitpile…(IMHO)…
    Got to go back to working (for money).

  22. Seth: Don’t tell me to read the book, just tell me if you think the round table crew have whiffed on the point! I’ll be happy to take your comments at face value too.

  23. Kentucky Fried Chronic was the best pot shop EVER

  24. Photo of it here in case anyone wants to see that: http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2009/08/kfc_marijuana_dispensary.php.

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