The Indelible Bonobo Experience

Renaissance Monkey: in-depth expertise in Jack-of-all-trading. I mostly comment on news of interest to me and occasionally engage in debates or troll passive-aggressively. Ask or Submit 2 mah authoritah! ;) !

The other night I watched Stephen Ward at the Aldwych Theatre, a morality musical about the destruction of an innocent man by the combined forces of Her Majesty’s Government, her judiciary and her Metropolitan police force. Written by Lord Lloyd Webber, directed by Sir Richard Eyre, it is the best sort of British story, set against a world of stately homes and Soho drinking clubs, of peers, politicians, prostitutes and bent cops – with a few thrilling Jamaicans wielding guns thrown in – all ending up at the Old Bailey, where that deep wave of British hypocrisy (masquerading as fair play and crested by the usual police bullshit) drags Ward out to sea and drowns him. Convicted of being a pimp – he was not – Ward committed suicide on the eve of sentencing. (via Rupert Everett in defence of prostitutes: ‘There is a land grab going on’ | Film | The Observer)There is a land grab going on in Soho under the banner of morality. That night, while Stephen Ward was bowing to an entranced audience, 200 of our boys in blue raided more than 20 models’ flats, arresting 30 girls and confiscating their earnings. (This money, by the way, is virtually impossible to retrieve, due to various glitches in the law concerning legitimate earnings etc.) They broke down doors, intimidated girls into accepting cautions (ie criminal records) and served civil-eviction papers that, unless you were a lawyer, you would not know had hidden in their depths (20-odd pages) the time and date you were to appear in court if you wanted to appeal.Human trafficking is a horrific reality. In the course of making a documentary on prostitution last year I met girls who were abducted, imprisoned and forced into sex work. Escape for these girls is more or less impossible. Their families back home are beaten and tortured. One girl I met managed to get away with the help of a client. Interestingly, when she contacted the police she was told there was nothing they could do. But while even the police say that more than 90% of prostitutes work of their own accord, trafficking has become one of the new “it” words in the bankrupt moral vernacular, craftily used by puritans, property developers and rogue feminists to combat the sex trade in general.Nicki, Jodie and several others are appealing. They are supported by a few others, and some of the maids, older busty sweethearts with smoker’s coughs and droopy eyes. As far as I can see the girls are all from Eastern Europe, the maids from East Anglia. I sit among them at the back of the court, while the barristers and solicitors – prosecuting and defending – sit in front of us at their desks in frayed suits and unpolished shoes. They joke and confer among themselves, a band of brothers (pale shadows of men like Jeremy Hutchinson, who defended Christine Keeler all those years ago). The prosecuting counsel is a lumbering elephant of 30. I hate him on sight, but our barrister is not much better. He is a skeletal bird, and before the judge arrives is extremely impertinent to one of the girls. “And he’s defending us!” whispers Nicki.We lose the first case. It turns out the police have given everyone documents with differently numbered paragraphs, so the court has to go into recess while it is sorted out. The magistrate is impatient with the arguments of our barrister, dismissive of our ladies’ evidence and endlessly sympathetic to the policeman. It’s a disaster. But on the second day a miracle occurs. Our skeletal bird of a barrister is suddenly replaced by a dashing silver fox – a Sotheby’s Smoothie – in a sky-blue shirt and a pink tie. Good looking, 50, charming and assertive, he looks at me before the session starts – thinks to himself for a second and says: “1979. Ginger Donelson. New York.” A shared friend, another world.A pulpeuse Romanian beauty in skintight jeans steps into the witness box. She is jolly and humble, a solitary woman in a pen surrounded by baying hounds. “Miss Petrinopolous,” breezes the Smoothie. “You are – and I’m afraid there’s only one way to put this – a sex worker.” “Thank you,” giggles the lady modestly. “Explain to us, if you will, how you came to be working in the Walkers Court flat?” “I was desperate.” Miss Petrinopolous is marvellously matter of fact. Her legs crossed, arms neatly folded over an exotic bosom, leaning forward, she seems quite comfortable under scrutiny. Her hands rotate, punctuating her testimony and waving along any discrepancies in tense or grammar. Miss Petrinopolous lives in the present. “Seven years ago. I go to this flat and give the girl working there my number. Maybe if she go on holiday, I think [full rotation], or want some time off [both hands], I can fill in for her. In this way she gives me three days. That is the way we do it. Between girls.” She leans earnestly towards the lawyer."Please speak to the judge," he says gently. She turns to the magistrate. "Nobody force me to do this work!" She explains how girls organise schedules between themselves, that they leave the rent in a microwave to be collected. "A microwave?" squawks the magistrate, the Lady Bracknell of legal aid.

"Well. It get wet in the fridge." Big laugh.

"I see." The lovebird is not convinced. "I suggest to you…" thunders the prosecuting elephant, fingers twiddling behind his back, "that a third party was organising your hours and that this third party decided how much you were paid!" He is a damp squib, no competition for Miss P.

"No. We decide ourselves. It depends on the client. If he is rich – not like you – maybe I charge him a little more." She makes a guilty face. "Sorry!"The magistrate is amused, charmed actually. Things seem to be taking a turn for the better. The Smoothie has mesmerised the lovebird. And he has drawn out his client magnificently. She totters back to her seat. Now he wheels on the policeman who takes to the witness box, clutching the Bible [promising fingers], rushing through “the truth the whole truth and nothing like the truth” as if it is a shopping list, then regards the Smoothie with a sham working-class reverence.

Never has the class system seemed more alive than in this courtroom. Both men use it against each other to great effect. They are well matched, charismatic and adroit, wrestling with wry humour over the meaning of the word “incitement”. “Prompt!” trills the magistrate, victoriously consulting her dictionary.She is torn between the two of them and suddenly it feels as if we could win. In a reasonable screech she weighs up the case, acquiesces to everything the Smoothie has proposed, praises Miss Petrinopolous’s “truthful and compelling testimony” – and now we’re all holding our breath – this is it. The girls hold hands and the maids shut their eyes. The lovebird turns to Miss P – two women, face to face, for the last judgement. In a firm regretful voice she banishes her from all the safety and familiarity of the models’ flat, its Christmas tree still twinkling in an empty room, and consigns her to the streets – to sex in cars on laybys and parking lots, to all manner of danger.The policeman’s hearsay has trumped the sworn testament of the working girl.

“It’s not fair” is all Miss Petrinopolous has to say, and it is pathetic to watch her leave the witness box. A black Christmas awaits her, shivering on a street corner, while the magistrate reads under a lamp in Wimbledon, carols on the radio, mince pies in the fridge, and the officer stuffs himself with turkey on the Isle of Dogs in a paper hat.As the next case begins the Smoothie despairs of repeating his arguments and says, simply: “It’s not really worth going into all this, is it?”

“No, not really,” replies the magistrate, looking him in the eye. And so, inevitably, Nicki and Jodie lose their flat, too.Soho Estates is a property empire built by the late Paul Raymond during the second half of the last century. It is a fortune built on flesh, on the sex trade. It has been inherited by Raymond’s granddaughter Fawn. She wants to become an actress. In the meantime she is playing Monopoly and seems determined to redevelop Soho and double her money. In a curious coincidence, the week after the big raid she receives permission from Westminster Council to knock down the houses on Walkers Court, where many of the models’ flats are located, and build two hideous towers replete with heliports, so that Soho can take its place in “Cool (tax-haven) Britannia”. Fawn seems to have no feeling for the hard work that has kept her warm and wealthy all these years. Much of every dividend she enjoys, after all, comes from the toil of some long-forgotten vagina. But now she has bigger prostitutes on her books – Westminster Council and British Heritage. She has “prompted” them into selling their bodies – our home – but nobody seems to notice.In the current climate, with its curious puritanical undertow, these poor girls will always be swimming against the tide. To really get on these days you must be what the world wants, what it perceives you to be, and it wants all prostitutes to be victims. As soon as you declare that you are not one, you are charting a course across hostile waters and you will probably sink.

The other night I watched Stephen Ward at the Aldwych Theatre, a morality musical about the destruction of an innocent man by the combined forces of Her Majesty’s Government, her judiciary and her Metropolitan police force. Written by Lord Lloyd Webber, directed by Sir Richard Eyre, it is the best sort of British story, set against a world of stately homes and Soho drinking clubs, of peers, politicians, prostitutes and bent cops – with a few thrilling Jamaicans wielding guns thrown in – all ending up at the Old Bailey, where that deep wave of British hypocrisy (masquerading as fair play and crested by the usual police bullshit) drags Ward out to sea and drowns him. Convicted of being a pimp – he was not – Ward committed suicide on the eve of sentencing. (via Rupert Everett in defence of prostitutes: ‘There is a land grab going on’ | Film | The Observer)

  • There is a land grab going on in Soho under the banner of morality. That night, while Stephen Ward was bowing to an entranced audience, 200 of our boys in blue raided more than 20 models’ flats, arresting 30 girls and confiscating their earnings. (This money, by the way, is virtually impossible to retrieve, due to various glitches in the law concerning legitimate earnings etc.) They broke down doors, intimidated girls into accepting cautions (ie criminal records) and served civil-eviction papers that, unless you were a lawyer, you would not know had hidden in their depths (20-odd pages) the time and date you were to appear in court if you wanted to appeal.
  • Human trafficking is a horrific reality. In the course of making a documentary on prostitution last year I met girls who were abducted, imprisoned and forced into sex work. Escape for these girls is more or less impossible. Their families back home are beaten and tortured. One girl I met managed to get away with the help of a client. Interestingly, when she contacted the police she was told there was nothing they could do. But while even the police say that more than 90% of prostitutes work of their own accord, trafficking has become one of the new “it” words in the bankrupt moral vernacular, craftily used by puritans, property developers and rogue feminists to combat the sex trade in general.
  • Nicki, Jodie and several others are appealing. They are supported by a few others, and some of the maids, older busty sweethearts with smoker’s coughs and droopy eyes. As far as I can see the girls are all from Eastern Europe, the maids from East Anglia. I sit among them at the back of the court, while the barristers and solicitors – prosecuting and defending – sit in front of us at their desks in frayed suits and unpolished shoes. They joke and confer among themselves, a band of brothers (pale shadows of men like Jeremy Hutchinson, who defended Christine Keeler all those years ago). The prosecuting counsel is a lumbering elephant of 30. I hate him on sight, but our barrister is not much better. He is a skeletal bird, and before the judge arrives is extremely impertinent to one of the girls. “And he’s defending us!” whispers Nicki.
  • We lose the first case. It turns out the police have given everyone documents with differently numbered paragraphs, so the court has to go into recess while it is sorted out. The magistrate is impatient with the arguments of our barrister, dismissive of our ladies’ evidence and endlessly sympathetic to the policeman. It’s a disaster. But on the second day a miracle occurs. Our skeletal bird of a barrister is suddenly replaced by a dashing silver fox – a Sotheby’s Smoothie – in a sky-blue shirt and a pink tie. Good looking, 50, charming and assertive, he looks at me before the session starts – thinks to himself for a second and says: “1979. Ginger Donelson. New York.” A shared friend, another world.
  • A pulpeuse Romanian beauty in skintight jeans steps into the witness box. She is jolly and humble, a solitary woman in a pen surrounded by baying hounds. “Miss Petrinopolous,” breezes the Smoothie. “You are – and I’m afraid there’s only one way to put this – a sex worker.” “Thank you,” giggles the lady modestly. “Explain to us, if you will, how you came to be working in the Walkers Court flat?” “I was desperate.” Miss Petrinopolous is marvellously matter of fact. Her legs crossed, arms neatly folded over an exotic bosom, leaning forward, she seems quite comfortable under scrutiny. Her hands rotate, punctuating her testimony and waving along any discrepancies in tense or grammar. Miss Petrinopolous lives in the present. “Seven years ago. I go to this flat and give the girl working there my number. Maybe if she go on holiday, I think [full rotation], or want some time off [both hands], I can fill in for her. In this way she gives me three days. That is the way we do it. Between girls.” She leans earnestly towards the lawyer.
  • "Please speak to the judge," he says gently. She turns to the magistrate. "Nobody force me to do this work!" She explains how girls organise schedules between themselves, that they leave the rent in a microwave to be collected. "A microwave?" squawks the magistrate, the Lady Bracknell of legal aid. "Well. It get wet in the fridge." Big laugh. "I see." The lovebird is not convinced.
  • "I suggest to you…" thunders the prosecuting elephant, fingers twiddling behind his back, "that a third party was organising your hours and that this third party decided how much you were paid!" He is a damp squib, no competition for Miss P. "No. We decide ourselves. It depends on the client. If he is rich – not like you – maybe I charge him a little more." She makes a guilty face. "Sorry!"
  • The magistrate is amused, charmed actually. Things seem to be taking a turn for the better. The Smoothie has mesmerised the lovebird. And he has drawn out his client magnificently. She totters back to her seat. Now he wheels on the policeman who takes to the witness box, clutching the Bible [promising fingers], rushing through “the truth the whole truth and nothing like the truth” as if it is a shopping list, then regards the Smoothie with a sham working-class reverence. Never has the class system seemed more alive than in this courtroom. Both men use it against each other to great effect. They are well matched, charismatic and adroit, wrestling with wry humour over the meaning of the word “incitement”. “Prompt!” trills the magistrate, victoriously consulting her dictionary.
  • She is torn between the two of them and suddenly it feels as if we could win. In a reasonable screech she weighs up the case, acquiesces to everything the Smoothie has proposed, praises Miss Petrinopolous’s “truthful and compelling testimony” – and now we’re all holding our breath – this is it. The girls hold hands and the maids shut their eyes. The lovebird turns to Miss P – two women, face to face, for the last judgement. In a firm regretful voice she banishes her from all the safety and familiarity of the models’ flat, its Christmas tree still twinkling in an empty room, and consigns her to the streets – to sex in cars on laybys and parking lots, to all manner of danger.
  • The policeman’s hearsay has trumped the sworn testament of the working girl. “It’s not fair” is all Miss Petrinopolous has to say, and it is pathetic to watch her leave the witness box. A black Christmas awaits her, shivering on a street corner, while the magistrate reads under a lamp in Wimbledon, carols on the radio, mince pies in the fridge, and the officer stuffs himself with turkey on the Isle of Dogs in a paper hat.
  • As the next case begins the Smoothie despairs of repeating his arguments and says, simply: “It’s not really worth going into all this, is it?” “No, not really,” replies the magistrate, looking him in the eye. And so, inevitably, Nicki and Jodie lose their flat, too.
  • Soho Estates is a property empire built by the late Paul Raymond during the second half of the last century. It is a fortune built on flesh, on the sex trade. It has been inherited by Raymond’s granddaughter Fawn. She wants to become an actress. In the meantime she is playing Monopoly and seems determined to redevelop Soho and double her money. In a curious coincidence, the week after the big raid she receives permission from Westminster Council to knock down the houses on Walkers Court, where many of the models’ flats are located, and build two hideous towers replete with heliports, so that Soho can take its place in “Cool (tax-haven) Britannia”. Fawn seems to have no feeling for the hard work that has kept her warm and wealthy all these years. Much of every dividend she enjoys, after all, comes from the toil of some long-forgotten vagina. But now she has bigger prostitutes on her books – Westminster Council and British Heritage. She has “prompted” them into selling their bodies – our home – but nobody seems to notice.
  • In the current climate, with its curious puritanical undertow, these poor girls will always be swimming against the tide. To really get on these days you must be what the world wants, what it perceives you to be, and it wants all prostitutes to be victims. As soon as you declare that you are not one, you are charting a course across hostile waters and you will probably sink.

Follow-up: Tumblr’s New Policy Against Pro-Self-Harm Blogs

I don’t know whether I am more mad than I am sad. Tumblr was the last bastion of free speech and yet they choose to succumb to the same lunacy Frank Zappa was fighting decades ago.

With this highly subjective and arbitrary policy in place I have to constantly fear that the reason why I might not find certain articles any more is not because the search does not function, but because it’s been found in violation of some social engineer’s moral code.

People who support such idiotic measures tend to think that they are above any suspicion - and often, their posts are so bland and conformist that this is sadly true - but the fact is, your support or opposition to such a measure will not reduce chances that you yourself might fall victim to demented censorship. After all, you cannot assume that staff indulging in censorship are of a uniform mind and views.

Are you a libertarian, anarchist, emo, goth, punk, body modification enthusiast or any other “fringe subculture”? Well, you are actively promoting antisocial behaviour which ultimately results in self-harm. Are you pro-choice? Abortion often endangers a mother’s life and results in psychological scars and PTSD that may lead to self-harm. Are you pro-life? Carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term results in a fetus with lower chances of survival and an unhappy mother more likely to harm herself and the baby.

No matter what criterion is used for censorship and how the policy is formulated, it can always be rationalized / expanded / extended / applied arbitrarily to exclude speech that the censor dislikes.

staff:

Last Thursday, we posted a draft of a new policy against blogs that actively promote self-harm, along with some PSA-style language to appear next to searches associated with self-injury. The reaction was overwhelming. The post itself provoked more than 25,000 likes, reblogs, and replies; and more than 2,500 of you sent in comments by email. Thank you.

By far, the most common comment was some variation on this:

This is really great, but what about people who just talk about it? They aren’t promoting it in any way, but like some of us just express ourselves through posting about it. I don’t promote self-harm or eating disorders or anything, but I do talk about my experiences with these things. Do those count as something that’s going to be banned?

That’s an important concern, so we want to be totally clear: While we won’t allow blogs dedicated to triggering self-harm, we will not act against blogs engaged in discussion, support, encouragement, and documenting the experiences of those dealing with difficult conditions like anorexia, bulimia, and other forms of self-injury. We absolutely want Tumblr to be a place where people struggling with these behaviors can find solace, community, dialog, understanding, and hope.

We will apply this policy on a blog-by-blog basis. There won’t be any wholesale suspension based on tags or text. We’re not under the illusion that it will be easy to draw the line between blogs that are intended to trigger self-harm and those that support sufferers and build community, but, thanks to the tireless efforts of our amazing Support team, we will do our best.

With the benefit of all your input, we’ve written a new draft of this policy, changing some wording and adding some clarifying language:

Promotion and Glorification of Self-Harm. Don’t post content that actively promotes or glorifies self-harm. This includes content that urges or encourages readers to cut or injure themselves; embrace anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders; or commit suicide rather than, e.g., seeking counseling or treatment, or joining together in supportive conversation with those suffering or recovering from depression or other conditions. Dialogue about these behaviors is incredibly important and online communities can be extraordinarily helpful to people struggling with these difficult conditions. We aim to sustain Tumblr as a place that facilitates awareness, support and recovery, and to remove only those blogs that cross the line into active promotion or glorification of self-harm.

In addition, we got some helpful suggestions from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to improve the language that we’ll start showing alongside searches for tags associated with the promotion of self-harm, such as “pro-ana”, “pro-mia”, “thinspiration” and “thinspo”. Here’s an example of the revised language:

Eating disorders are not lifestyle choices, they are mental disorders that when left untreated, can cause serious health problems, and at their most severe can even be life-threatening. For treatment referrals, information and support, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association’s Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

We’re working with other health organizations to help us craft similar language around pro-cutting and pro-suicide search terms.

After the jump, we’ve pulled out several thoughtful messages from the community on both sides of this issue:

Read More

For those who think like me, what free platforms are left out there?

The use of sexualised violence on the streets of Britain or America is the result of the cult of masculinity – some men become addicted to it and feel they have no identity without it. This cult is a drug pushed by gangs and the culture of wars in order to make men act violently and risk their lives against their own self-interest as human beings. (via)
This article’s bullshit. Masculinity has never been more muted and under attack. The fact that gangs “sell” this hyperbolic “masculinity” to enhance their appeal is really a reaction to the loss of masculinity in mainstream society. The American male has never been more transparent and insipid and both sexes never more confused and frustrated with each other.
The only way for a North-American man to live peacefully within his true nature is to become a lesbian.

The use of sexualised violence on the streets of Britain or America is the result of the cult of masculinity – some men become addicted to it and feel they have no identity without it. This cult is a drug pushed by gangs and the culture of wars in order to make men act violently and risk their lives against their own self-interest as human beings. (via)

This article’s bullshit. Masculinity has never been more muted and under attack. The fact that gangs “sell” this hyperbolic “masculinity” to enhance their appeal is really a reaction to the loss of masculinity in mainstream society. The American male has never been more transparent and insipid and both sexes never more confused and frustrated with each other.

The only way for a North-American man to live peacefully within his true nature is to become a lesbian.