Yule 2014

Here comes the sun, Here comes the sun And I say it’s all right.  –  George Harrison Some people wonder why I, a pagan, celebrate Christmas.  Certainly many pagans don’t, and the same could be said of many atheists and many others of non-Christian faiths.  At the same time, many other non-Christians do indeed celebrate

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Column: Conflation Creates Criminality

Squeeze human nature into the straitjacket of criminal justice and crime will appear.  –  Karl Kraus Criticism is distinguished from insult by its intent; the former is an analysis and can even be constructive, while the latter is simply an attack.  So while the two may be indistinguishable to the irrational person (who nowadays is

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Even This Shall Pass Away

Lady fairest ever seen Was the bride he crowned his queen. Pillowed on the marriage-bed, Whispering to his soul, he said, “Though a bridegroom never pressed Dearer bosom to his breast, Mortal flesh must come to clay: Even this shall pass away.”  –  Theodore Tilton, “The King’s Ring” Every year on the Day of the

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Crippling Thought

The danger of crippling thought, the danger of obstructing the formation of the public mind by specially suppressing…representations is far greater than any real danger…from such representations. –  George Bernard Shaw Today is the first day of Banned Books Week, an occasion which interests me as a librarian, as a sex worker and as a steadfast supporter

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Let Me Help

Last November a reader asked me to explain my view on “sex trafficking”.  She wrote, “I…understand your disdain for people who assert that no educated person could ever choose the life of a prostitute, and I understand that most people who work for anti-human trafficking orgs assert that every single sex worker needs to be saved from herself,

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Thought Experiment

The dignity of man is in free choice.  –  Max Frisch One of the most important negative effects of the popular concept that sex is somehow magically different from all other behaviors is the modern fixation on pimps.  The nightmares of neofeminists and the masturbatory fantasies of trafficking fetishists teem with brutal (and usually dark-skinned)

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Madonna and Whore

A compassionate prostitute am I.  –  The Goddess Ishtar, from a Sumerian cuneiform text Perhaps the loveliest compliment I ever received was from one of my customers. I honestly don’t recall whether it was before or after the act, but I was lying naked on the bed talking to him, with my hair falling about

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Cops and Robbers

The great mythologist Joseph Campbell once told the legend of a samurai whose lord had been murdered; he was given the duty to seek the man out and execute him.  The quest took some time, but at long last the samurai cornered his quarry; the man knew that he could not escape, so in one

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Cleansing Fire

I personally call the type of government which can be removed without violence “democracy”, and the other, “tyranny”.  –  Karl Popper The casual reader can be forgiven for arriving at the erroneous conclusion that I become dreadfully morbid in autumn.  It starts subtly with my meditation on the dying year every autumnal equinox, increases through

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Columns: The Differences That Aren’t

We think we know what we’re doin’ We don’t pull the strings It’s all in the past now Money changes everything.  –  Tom Gray When I first published “What’s the Difference?” on The Agitator, a number of readers took exception to my premise that, absent the possibility of conception, sex is no different from any

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Columns: Father’s Day

Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty According to my bond; no more nor less.  –  William Shakespeare, King Lear (I,i) It has been noted by long-time readers that while I mention my mother and sisters from time to time and my Maman (paternal grandmother) and favorite

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It’s Complicated

Most people yearn for a simple world where the goodies wear white hats and the baddies black, where people and behaviors can be easily sorted into neat little boxes, where good intentions lead to good outcomes and bad intentions lead to harm, and where everyone agrees on hierarchies of morality and the relative importance of

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Somewhere in the Middle

Intellectual laziness can manifest itself in many ways, of which one of the most common (and irrational) is black and white thinking.  Humans are highly variable creatures whose characteristics, behaviors, beliefs, preferences, tastes, etc are often very different from one another; between the two most extreme points on any scale there are an incalculable number

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Under the Bus

Among the enumerated grievances against King George III included in Thomas Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence was the following: “he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them

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