The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘prostitution’

A BIT MORE SPITZ-ER SPUTUM

Over the past several weeks, a number of my friends and I have discussed the moral bankruptcy which seems to abound in the America of 2013.  It doesn’t matter whether we turn to movie stars, professional athletes or politicians, it’s pretty much the same theme.

The good news is that I can (and do) ignore the movie stars and pro athletes who believe that they are God’s gift to mankind and refuse to patronize them by boycotting their product.  Let them carry on as they will – but they will not see a single cent of mine to support them by attending their films or going to or watching their games on television.  They are essentially irrelevant to me.

Now when it comes to politicians that is a horse of a different color – or in Mr. Spitzer’s case a whore of a different color.  This is not a statement of malevolence directed at those ladies of the evening – although one could certainly question their taste.  No this is directed personally toward Mr. Spitzer.

The genesis for this was a comment that I heard this evening at the dog park.  It was not specifically about Mr. Spitzer – in fact the conversation centered around a Hip Hop “artist” who had recently been arrested for a DUI.  But the principle is the same.

The commentator said, “Well, I still like his music.  I don’t care what he does in his personal life.  We shouldn’t worry about that because it’s none of our business.”  What a load of tripe!

I am going to ignore that in this case the fact that we have an impaired driver navigating a vehicle which causes about thirty-five thousand deaths each year in this country is or at least should be a concern for all of us – particularly for those who are in his vicinity.

And I am going to ignore the question of the morality of Mr. Spitzer’s hiring call girls.  I do not want to be part of the tribunal that determines standards of morality and tries to impose them on everyone else.  So my repulsion toward Mr. Spitzer strictly is a function of my view of his disregard for his office.

Whether or not prostitution is moral; whether or not it should be legalized; it is in virtually all jurisdictions currently illegal.  That’s the fact – plain and simple.

Because of my libertarian view, I might well be willing to sign a petition to change the status of that business.  But no one has yet presented me with one – so I believe that I will eschew the company of “escorts” (of either sex) and perhaps re-evaluate my position at a later date.

How a person could make the statement, as did the chap at the dog park, that “what a person does in his personal life is no one’s business” is beyond me, when the person in question happens to be a public servant.  And most especially, when that public servant happens to be the chief law enforcement officer of a state – as was Mr. Spitzer when he served as New York’s Attorney General.

It would be a remarkable thing if some of today’s total martial arts fighters left the ring and, to supplement their income until their next bout, taught a morning class in Origami and then spent their afternoons giving seminars in sensitivity training.  I don’t think that’s going to be happening anytime soon.

Over the years I have had the privilege of knowing several people in the business of politics who were men of great personal character and dignity and who took those qualities with them to work, representing their constituents in the most conscientious and ethical manner.  I would have expected no less from them.

It was, in fact, knowing them personally which convinced me that the same positive attributes they displayed as friends and neighbors would be the way in which they would discharge the positions to which the public had entrusted them.  I was not disappointed with my assessment in any of their cases.

Good character is hard to find.  If I could make one contribution to mankind it would be to invent a potion which, if taken regularly, would enable a person to acquire it.  If I were clever enough to invent such a tonic, I can think of several politicians including Mr. Spitzer to whom I would ship a free lifetime supply.

I only wonder if any of them would dare to try it.

DON’T USE THE ‘P’ WORD

There has been so much news media coverage of the anti-Zimmerman Trayvon Martin rallies that it occurred to me that there has been one group of idiots protesters who have been singular in their silence.  That group, of course, is OWS.   You may remember them from a few years back.

Surely, I thought they cannot possibly have despoiled all of New York City’s parks.  There are just too many of them (parks that is).  So what’s been happening with this group of kooks budding intelligentsia?

Well, the MSM may consider them yesterday’s news but after doing a search I came upon their web page.  And it appears that they are alive and well and still finding causes worthy of their attention.

Now with all the Martin stuff going on, perhaps you, like me, managed to miss the fact that OWS held a rally – according to their web site on Friday, July 19th in 35 cities (it turned out actually to be eight) around the world.

The purpose of these rallies was to protest the deaths of two women, one who was murdered in Turkey and the other in Sweden.  The murders occurred earlier this month and are unrelated other than that both of these women were prostitutes “sex workers.”

The following comes from the OWS website:

“Following the murders of Dora Özer and Petite Jasmine on the 9th and 11 of July 2013, sex workers, their friends, families, and allies are coming together to demand an end to stigma, criminalisation (sic), violence and murders.  In the week since the two tragedies occurred, the feelings of anger, grief, sadness and injustice – for the loss of Dora and Jasmine, but also for the senseless and systemic murders and violence against sex workers worldwide – have brought together people in more than 35 cities from four continents who agreed to organise (sic) demos, vigils, and protests in front of Turkish and Swedish embassies or other symbolic places.  JOIN US on Friday the 19th at 3 pm local time and stand in solidarity with sex workers and their loved ones around the world!  Justice for Dora!  Justice for Jasmine!  Justice for all sex workers who are victims of violence!”

The protests in Dora’s memory (apparently Dora was a man) were scheduled to take place in Paris, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Berlin, Brighton, Canberra and Vancouver.  It isn’t surprising that American news media failed to cover the protests as most Americans have no idea where in Africa any of these places are

As to Petite Jasmine, she apparently was a woman, in fact a mother – but if the searches I did were correct, her name was Jasmine Petite rather than the way OWS had it listed.  It seems the Swedes frown on prostitution “sex work” and took her children from her, awarding custody to her ex-husband who had a reputation for heaping physical abuse on his former wife.  I wouldn’t care to be a judge deciding child custody under those circumstances.

While I was unable to find any specifics as to the exact execution of either murder, suffice it to say that I would expect that most murders could be categorized as “brutal.”  To trivialize any person’s wrongful death because of her “profession” is to demean the memory not only of that individual but to demean ourselves and our own humanity in the process.  In that respect, as I knew neither Dora nor Jasmine, I have no emotional response as I would at the loss of someone who was a part of my life but join with John Donne in his sentiments as he expressed them in “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

Hopefully, both Dora’s and Jasmine’s murderers will be found, tried, convicted and pay an appropriate penalty.

I was struck by one passage which appeared later in the OWS release about the solidarity demonstrations.  And although I have read and re-read it at least a dozen times, I still am having some difficulty translating it into comprehensible English:

“As the sex trade becomes an ever more important part of how neoliberal economies handle the poorest and most marginalized, violence against sex workers – particularly against transgender and immigrant women – has become a tragic epidemic.”

Frankly, while I don’t know the statistics, I think it would be hard to categorize the number of prostitutes “sex workers” being murdered world-wide as an epidemic.  These were the first two incidents with which I was familiar – and I only happened to learn of them while I was looking for something else.

As I make an attempt at translating the OWS paragraph, I gather that what they are saying is that most governments (probably based on the majority of their citizens’ implied beliefs) simply don’t care much for people engaged in the business of prostitution “sex work” and therefore offer little protection from violence for people in the industry.

That may well be true.  But the reason for that may not be solely the willful disregard of these people’s importance and their lives but a function of fiscal reality.

You see, when you have government needing unexpectedly to divert its resources to doing things like cleaning up the parks in New York because groups such as OWS have totally trashed them; when you have to dispatch the NYPD to those same parks to try to retain some semblance of civilized behavior, those are funds that might otherwise have been used to protect not only NY’s prostitutes “sex workers,” but the general population of the city.

So if OWS wants truly to honor the memories of Dora and Jasmine and protect others in their line of work, perhaps they might consider changing their tactics from disruption and debris to engaging with people in a serious and mature manner in a more conversational way.  They certainly have the right, as do we all, to make their opinions known, given their protection under the 1st Amendment.

In closing, I would like to share with my readers another announcement which OWS offers on its website.  Apparently, Tuesday, November 5, 2013 will be a “day of solidarity” on which OWS is organizing a “worldwide demonstration against corrupt government”.  I can’t say that I completely disagree with their premise.  So if any of you is interested you still have some time to sign up for this event.

As for me, I’m particularly curious to see how, if this worldwide demonstration comes off, it is going to play in Islamabad,Tripoli and Beijing..

HARRUMPH, PAHRUMP

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.

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