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Thursday, April 01, 2010
Headline News?

Perhaps the most amusing thing I've read in awhile: Anti-Government Militia Arrestees All Request A Public Defender

Seriously, though. Every government needs to be criticized often - and reigned in. Sex workers know this better than many people. But you can't be an effective anti-authoritarian if you (a) don't understand the meaning of the words you use and (b) spend too much time reading the last... book... of the Bible.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Today Is International Sex Worker Rights Day!

Today, Boston salutes its "escorts and prostitutes." Audacia just said that's not inclusive enough. Still, it's great to have a SWOP chapter in Boston. You can visit their new blog here.

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Friday, February 12, 2010
My Valentine's Day Broadcast: Listen live or read the column


...your romance goes kablooey right before Valentine's Day forgot to tell your sugardaddy you're engaged - or, worse, married!'re cheating on your wife - with a man're waiting until March to break up because you can't say NO to one more expensive present

If it's complicated, this one's for you:

Reduce the damage you've been courting all year and turn your personal entanglements, dubious choices, into an asset this weekend. My new Daily Beast column is here.

I'll be on Radio 3 shortly after 11 pm in New York, high noon in Hong Kong, about 8 hours from now. You can listen live at

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ominous Obituary Edits

It's curiously touching to think of Louis Auchincloss and Howard Zinn dying within 24 hours of each other. They were both preoccupied with class, in different ways.

Whilst reading the Times obit for Auchincloss, this tasty morsel caught my eye:
' Some critics compared him with other modern novelists of manners like John O'Hara and J. P. Marquand. In an essay in The Nation in 1960, Mr. Auchincloss said both O'Hara and Marquand had illusions about the resiliency and endurance of American social classes and hierarchies. O'Hara wrote him, saying: "You obviously have not read all my novels, and I have not read one of yours. I don't know anything about your importance as a lawyer, but in my league you are a still a batboy, and 43 is pretty old for a batboy." Over the years Mr. Auchincloss would send his reviews to O'Hara with a cover letter signed, "Batboy." O'Hara was not amused. '
One of my best friends is an O'Hara fanatic. So much so that a passing reference to O'Hara in a recent Katie Roiphe essay transformed Katie's piece into an essay about O'Hara. Which it never was, but never mind. We had a long argument about O'Hara. I "won" through the use of pre-emptive empathic reasoning (which is more like pre-emptive war than you'd think.) "You obviously wish they had commissioned a piece about John O'Hara," I said, and we were friends again.

ANYWAY. Dig this spookiness. I read about the O'Chinclossness (see above) a few hours ago. I went back to retrieve the relevant passage for Charlie from the Times and IT WAS GONE. DISAPPEARED. Very frustrating.

I'm a competent enough human search engine, so I did a diligent search of the obit (same link, different text) and of the Times website. Then I googled more creatively. Behold! A page called (appropriately enough) alt.obituaries. Thank you, alt-people, for grabbing the original. Harumph.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

News of the Day

The New York Society Library now...has... a blog for member writers. Questions? Contact Carolyn Waters, the Writer Services Librarian at

I'll be on the radio tonight discussing my latest Guardian column. Listen live at 11:10 pm New York time. Radio 3 Hong Kong "Morning Brew" with Phil Whelan. Go to

(Now that Bobbi Davis has begun recruiting males and reaching out to lady customers, will the sky fall in?? Nevada can be a surprisingly conservative state.)

The latest Guardian column is at

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Things We Will No Longer Whinge About

Obama's temperament. Internet as predator; newspaper as victim. People who make more money than you do. Tina nailed it here.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

The Honeypot of Alienation

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I just discovered that my conversation with Paula Shackleton is now available on the Book Buffet Blog. Here are a few samples from our 20-minute chat.

Part 1: Moll Flanders deserves our attention. "Not a 'worthy' victim. She steals. She abandons her children. Yet she's incredibly likable and you're rooting for her. She's also the creation of a dead white male."

Part 3: Machines or men? How factories look next to sex tourism. "In many countries, factories are incredibly dangerous. You can't negotiate with a machine."

To hear the rest, visit my Book Buffet page.

For audio galore and help with your book group, check out the latest news at Book Buffet. Paula has interviewed everyone from Margaret Atwoood to Margaret MacMillan!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Bedside Reading: RTHK

If you were listening to RTHK tonight, here are some links re: the squabble between the Archbishop of New York and Maureen Dowd.

Maureen Dowd

The archbishop's outburst

A time out for the archbishop?


Thursday, October 01, 2009
Efficiently seduced

In America, we make fun of rednecks, resent other people's wealth and vote for 'middle class' values without ever being sure what class we belong to.

Would you have it any other way?

My review of Past Imperfect, a new novel from Julian Fellowes.

I don't agree with readers who crave a book-length journey to Gosford Park (the movie for which he won an Oscar).

Fun fact: the Truthdig Book Review won a Maggie Award for Best Web Column in 2009.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Da Horror

The Drawbridge summer issue is out now. Different aspects of Horror explored by Jenny Diski, Mario Vargas Llosa and many others, including myself..

Diski writes
I am what historian Richard W. Bulliet calls post-domestic. Unless you are a hill farmer, or a herder (in which case you are an anachronism, which won't come as a surprise since making a living in either of those ways is very difficult) so are you.
Jenny Diski. I love her work. I've read a number of her essays, none of her books (yet) - but what I've read is always enjoyable.

Order a copy or subscribe here, if you'd like to follow my stuff in The Drawbridge.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009
Weekend Reading: Other People's MoJo

Nomi Prins is the sexiest banker I've ever met - and I know quite a few! She is, in fact, an EX-banker, and one who left the business simply because she felt like it, having proven her mettle. (There is also this rumor about a Portfolio Dating patent which she has neither confirmed nor denied.)

In her latest Mother Jones column, Nomi analyzes Timothy Geithner's shtick and nails him on his evasions. Her first book, Other People's Money is more relevant than ever. (Was also named one of the best books of '04 by The Economist and Barron's!!)

At the Daily Beast, I was pleased to see Larry Kramer taking on the gender studies mafia. The various queer/gender theories, he says, are "relatively useless" for those studying gay history, resulting in lectures and courses that reflect "as much about real history as a comic book." This is a little unfair to comic books, but a refreshing viewpoint. Even if some of my best friends do gender studies!

More about the Beast in my next post.


Sunday, March 01, 2009
Birth of a 'Nation of Cowards'

A juicy-sounding book by Melvyn Stokes: D.W. Griffith's 'The Birth of a Nation': A History of 'The Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time'

In the Feb 12 LRB, J. Hoberman reveals:
A dozen years ago, the Library of Congress created a stir when it dropped The Birth of a Nation from a wide-ranging series of movies marking cinema’s centenary. The only thing worse than showing Griffith’s movie is to pretend it never existed.
He goes on to explain - for me, it was gripping stuff - that DW Griffith's notorious film
has never ceased to be relevant and was never more so than during the long 2008 presidential election, not just because the only African American in the US Senate (and one of only four since Reconstruction) was running for president; but also because the election itself was so relentlessly personalised.
Childhood memory: I dimly remember being taken to see Birth of a Nation. During Reconstruction or so, a friend's dad explained, 'This particular scene is all fabricated.' I remember v. few details, but it was enough for the following to make sense:
Griffith taught the movies to take history personally, to interject close-ups, dramatic re-creations and factoids to aid a particular plot line – and the movies taught the world the excitement of visualised drama. In last year’s election, every candidate had his or her story; each campaign was required to project a narrative and would be criticised by media pundits if it failed to do so.
Be not afraid of this excellent, thoughtful piece. It's riveting to learn that
Ushers in some movie theatres wore Klan sheets or Confederate uniforms. Meanwhile, as the Klan spread far beyond the South, establishing itself throughout New England, the Atlantic seaboard and the Midwest, The Birth of a Nation was used as a recruitment film as far north as Portland, Oregon.
Portland freaking Oregon! I have to admit that made me gasp out loud.

Actually, I think America's more 'cowardly' about class than race - but that's a story for another day. And the recession might change all that.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008
These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

that were published during the US election of 2008.

David Henry Sterry in Huffington Post on Obama's memoir versus McCain's. Do we, perhaps, deserve a president who is comfortable with language? I sure hope so.

John McWhorter's no-nonsense insights re Michelle Obama's situation in Boston Globe. I totally love this, but was already a McWhorter fan when I read it. This made me understand why I'm instinctively a Michelle fan.

George Will on ... the right to spend!

Dave Kiffer, mayor of Ketchikan, Alaska, comparing his town to Monica Lewinsky, argues that they actually need "that bridge." Ever so politely, he rubbishes the 'long-lost fantasy of small-town America' that Sarah Palin has desperately been trying to sell. Way!

Proposition K - to decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco - addresses the racial profiling that has become so much a part of "anti-trafficking" measures. Bound Not Gagged is tracking results. Also, a live sex worker radio show on the election starts at 10pm EST.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Foley's Follies, Re-examined

Well, the Foley scandal is yielding some very interesting stuff!

In today's NYT, a spicy op-ed by Jonathan Turley. His stint as a House leadership page in the '70s sounds quite colorful. Referring to "sexual deviants", "predators" and "pedophiles" (even though he is actually talking about situations involving 17-year-olds!!), he calls for a new system that will protect "our pages" from Washingtonian depravity. He mentions one Gerry Studds who refused to apologize in 1973 for having a relationship with a male over the age of consent. Given that Turley is a law professor, I am (to say the least) intrigued by this reference. What exactly is he trying to say here? About the age of consent, I mean. Should it be raised to 30? Could definitions of pedophilia be extended to include offenses against the "inner child" as well?

John Tierney asserts that pages are Washington's modern serfs -- the politician class being roughly equivalent to the feudal lords who once took "droit du seigneur" for granted. But previous scandals were about actually having sex with pages, whereas "the current one so far doesn’t involve physical contact."

Nomi Prins has some advice for Democrats
who may be tempted to point fingers. She wants them to "get back to business. Look at the other things that went on while Foley was texting young men. Your record has some problems of its own. You voted unanimously last week for another generous helping to the Iraq war chest - 100-0." Nomi's new book, JACKED, is an excellent guide to "conservative" hypocrisy, by the way.

In a recent letter to the NY Times, Paul Surlis of Crofton, MD, finds it "interesting that sexual impropriety is visited with such swift punishment by the Republican leadership, but voting in support of torture and suspension of habeas corpus, among other things, is considered honorable. Echoing Nomi's theme, he adds: "Once again, sexual issues trump political issues of the gravest importance."

And in my mailbox, some wry commentary from my friend Charles: "Now Bush and the Republican leadership are huffing and puffing that 'these children must be protected.' The only one who seemed to understand what was going on was an NPR commentator who said how slippery adolescent identity is, commenting that when an adolescent commits some horrendous crime (of which there is no scarcity) there is an outcry that they be tried as adults."

Hmmmm. Yeah. How about that?