The year in f#@!ing

Randy roundup 2008

From Love Bites, EYE Weekly

BY Sasha   December 23, 2008 21:12


“I love to play strippers and to imitate them,” says America’s newly crowned sweetheart Tina Fey in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. “I love using that idea for comedy, but the idea of actually going there? I feel like we all need to be better than that. That industry needs to die, by all of us being a little better than that.”

Tina, you assclown, what is it that you think whores do? If you’re not sure, you know, because you’ve never actually had a reasonable conversation with one or set foot in their workplace because you’ve been too busy mocking them in the squeaky clean world of television, let me make it perfectly clear for you: they act like whores for money — so, like, what you do when you play one on television. Well, OK, maybe not exactly. See, what you’re doing more specifically is profiting off the dodgy status of sex workers while simultaneously stigmatizing real ones, which is even more despicable than actually being one, if you ask me. To quote one of Hollywood’s most excellent silver-screen strippers, Nomi Malone from Showgirls, “Fucker. Fuck off.”

A f@#!ed-up way to die
In the Nov. 6 article “Working out safely,” you stated that Deborah Jeane Palfrey committed suicide. This is an error based on false information from the media. Please check the following to verify this: JALAL

It wasn’t the media that produced this information about the DC Madam, Jalal, it was the authorities who investigated her death. But if you do want to argue that it was the media that manufactured this story, isn’t it equally correct to say that they also shaped the theories against it? (Most vocal in this camp is paleo-conservative talk-show host Alex Jones, whose website you reference. Even Spread, the internationally distributed sex-industry magazine, doesn’t call it outright.)

To be honest, I can’t decide what happened to Palfrey even though she had some highly placed clients in the American government — people who outwardly criticized the sex trade but were secretly some of its most enthusiastic clients. Palfrey said several times that she would never commit suicide and hypothesized herself that if it ever happened, it would be a set-up. But facing up to more than five decades in prison is a hard future to reconcile and Palfrey nearly went blind the last time they threw her in the pen. Whatever happened to her, a commenter to Susie Bright’s blog sums up the controversy best to me, “It’s insane that she’d get 55 years for consensual behavior and some people get nothing for murder and war profiteering. Disgusting.”

A f@#!ed-up court decision
On a local tip, and speaking of disgusting, just last week the BC Supreme Court refused to hear a case brought forward by the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society, a non-profit group composed of active sex workers and Sheryl Kiselbach, a former sex worker with 30 years of experience in the industry. The group is attempting to challenge the prostitution laws using the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

According to their press release, “The judgment, by Supreme Court Justice Ehrcke, held that the plaintiffs did not have the legal right to initiate such a challenge, and that it must be brought by an individual, active sex worker. He rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the highly public nature of the court process effectively prohibits active sex workers from launching a challenge due to fears of arrest and retaliation, as well as social censure and discrimination against themselves and their families.”

What the fuck? We all know that when it comes to advocating in favour of decriminalizing sex work, one person’s story is never enough to tip the balance, unless it deals with trafficking, in which case that’s enough to taint the entire industry. Either way, it doesn’t make any sense that an individual has more impact and rights than a group in fighting for the same goal. When are our laws going to reflect the simple fact that prostitution is legal in our country instead of openly conspiring to put sex workers in constant danger? More importantly, when are our lawmakers going to stop being permitted to let their own prejudices get in the way of people legitimately challenging these laws?

A f@#!ed-up tour of the city
One of the more inspiring sex industry–related things I was involved in this year was Jane’s Walk in May. I ran into organizer Jane Farrow at Buddies during some random evening of queer youth mentoring and said to her, “Jane, I’ve been hearing all about this Jane’s Walk you’re organizing. I want to do a sex walk!” Jane thought this was a smashing idea so not five days later, Places to Bonk on Your Lunch Hour was up on the Jane’s Walk website and within a couple of hours, I already had a slew of eager participants.

Capping the number at 12 because of the cozy nature of many of our locations, I took what was nevertheless a very mixed group to some of my favourite dens of iniquity: the Loft 18+ (where owner Dave gamely showed us around and I sat in a booth with my new friends watching porn and admiring the semen-stuccoed walls), Video X (where we accidentally walked into an orgy), the Black Eagle (where we all enjoyed the eye candy and a hamburger at their weekly BBQ), Maggie’s (where one of the employees thoughtfully fanned out condoms, dental dams and pro–sex work buttons on the boardroom table and then gave us a talk on the local strolls) and Filmore’s, where we ended our day with beers, lap dances and confessions.

I get a little teary thinking about it because as I was walking my group from Maggie’s to Filmore’s, pointing out its stunning and assiduously maintained vintage marquee, I thought, for the first time since I had moved from Montreal a decade ago, “This is my home. I belong here.” This inaugural walk, one which I intend to do yearly, will remain a cherished memory of Toronto and reminds me again that this city, despite all the strained attempts at panache, very naturally has the kind of eloquently sordid appeal that makes a metropolis great.

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