About a 55 mile drive from my home and close to the CA/NV state line there is a quaint town of about 37,000 residents called Pahrump, NV. It’s in Nye County, one of those in the State of Nevada in which prostitution is legal. And wouldn’t you know, there are those who recognized there would be a demand for those practicing the world’s oldest profession and so four brothels located in the vicinity of the town (although outside the town limits). Perhaps the best known of these is the Chicken Ranch which is located on a 40 acre parcel of land.
Many years ago when the movie, “Never On Sunday” starring the late Greek actress, Melina Mercouri was released, my parents debated whether I should be allowed to go see it. I was 13 years old at the time. Of course, this was before we had established ratings boards to tell parents to which movies they could and which movies they could not take their children. We had to rely on something that was called responsible parenting – but it seemed, for the most part to work pretty well.
Of course, the subject of that movie was prostitution which was legal throughout Greece where the movie was set. As it turned out, I was not permitted to see the movie and did not until about 10 years later. (Although I was allowed to listen to the title music which had been composed by Manos Hadjidakis and which was played frequently on the pop radio stations). I guess you could call my parents a bit over-protective – or maybe the word for which I’m looking is caring.
Well, imagine my surprise – coming as I do from this protected form of upbringing – when a friend of mine from the dog park, C. F. told me that as he was listening to the L. A. Dodgers game yesterday on radio, he heard several ads for the Chicken Ranch being broadcast during the game. They included interviews with several of the Ranch’s prostitutes who urged the listening audience to come on down for the BBQ they were hosting and promised everyone a “good time.” (Free limo service was available from L. A.).
One of the last baseball games I attended was a Dodgers game. But that was when they were in Brooklyn. I remember sitting in the bleachers with Dad and because we had none of the high tech super surround stereo that now exists, most of us carried small transistor radios with us so that we could listen to the commentary as the game was played. I can only imagine the look on my Dad’s face if during the game an ad for the Chicken Ranch were broadcast. “So, Daddy – what’s a Chicken Ranch? Is it like a petting zoo?” Actually, I guess you could characterize it that way – if you had a slightly warped frame of mind.
As a kid, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snyder were among my heroes. That was when we played and watched the sport for the love of the game and not in pursuit of the money – because the star players of that time, they and Jackie Robinson to name only a few, made virtually nothing. But they gave us something more than just the thrill of watching them hit a homer.
They set standards of excellence both in the game and personally to which we could aspire. They truly were heroes and deserved to be our role models. And in those days, owning a baseball team was a financially losing proposition. But the owners covered the annual deficits because of their love of the game.
Today it’s different. There is little love of the sport but a lot of love of the money that it generates. And I guess the owners don’t much care what the source of that revenue is. In the old days, about the only piece of team paraphernalia that was available for purchase was a baseball cap. That was how a loyal fan showed his devotion to the team. And, of course, there was also a team pennant which we could buy and proudly display in our room – a reminder of the game that we loved and the players we esteemed.
So I guess it shouldn’t surprise us that the L. A. Dodgers are willing to accept ads from places like the Chicken Ranch Brothel. The game has transmuted from the American pass time into its present let’s make all the money we can format.
When you boil it all down, it’s merely a matter of prostitution – in one form or another.