Linky Friday #144: Far Out

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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165 Responses

  1. Glyph says:

    C6 needs some editing for clarity. I suggest

    C6] From Greginak: Interesting analysis from the NY ACLU about a drastic drop in Stop and Frisk tactics along with a drop [in] murder, serious crime and shootings. Only a correlation, but it does suggest the argument that if police aren’t aggressive that crime will spike [is incorrect] .Report

  2. Don Zeko says:

    C4: I don’t get Smith’s argument at all. He says the things that concern us about the sex work industry vary largely on the basis of existing features of society and culture: patriarchal, corporatist, Mafioso Japan has a bad sex industry, while the Netherlands has a good sex industry. So if we’ll have a good or bad sex industry on the basis of societal factors distinct from prostitution’s legal status, that implies not that we should keep it illegal, but that it doesn’t matter whether it’s illegal or not. There’s nothing there about the marginal effect of legalization: will it make a bad sex industry a little bit worse or a little bit better? There’s nothing there about how legality would interact with patriarchy or organized crime. If we’re just left with a Lysistrata argument, I think I’ll roll the dice on legalization.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Don Zeko says:

      C4: I don’t know if I would describe the Netherlands as having a good sex industry per se. IIRC there are a lot of Amsterdam residents who dislike the prostitution booths/rooms.* When I was in Amsterdam, the prostitutes generally seemed to be foreign, mainly Eastern European but also African.

      *The way it works seems to be this. Prostitutes have these little rooms or booths in the red light district. When they are not with a client, they hang out in front of a glass door in lingerie. This is in a central tourist district and you see clients interacting with sex workers while lots of tourists are milling about.

      Interestingly, I think that the strip clubs that seem to do poorly economically in the United States seem to be the co-op ones with political under and overtones.Report

      • Don Zeko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        It’s all relative. I doubt a skeeze-free prostitution industry is possible, but what’s definitely impossible is a nonexistent prostitution industry. But Smith says, and I have no reason to disagree, that there’s substantially more coercion and abuse and such in Japan.Report

        • Glyph in reply to Don Zeko says:

          there’s substantially more coercion and abuse and such in Japan.

          One of my German friends claims that trafficking is a huge issue in Germany as well.

          The issue as I see it, is that a country with a legalized sex industry is probably more likely to be able to IDENTIFY trafficking, and treat it as a discrete phenomenon. Which has the perverse effect of making it appear worse.

          How do we here in the US have any idea how many people are being trafficked? Anyone affiliated with the sex industry is breaking the law already, so how can they go to the police if they see or hear something?Report

          • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

            Trafficking is a HUGE issue in Thailand. Well, if by issue you call it the “tourism trade” (which it totally is).

            It’s not that hard to track how many places are selling people. You listen to them, and if they don’t speak english, they’re probably from someplace else (Ireland excluded, of course… I know there’s a lot of illegal immigrants from there, but I’m unsure how many are actually sex workers)Report

          • veronica d in reply to Glyph says:

            @glyph — Right. Trafficking is a separate issue from sex work. It is possible to sell sex without trafficking. Likewise, there is all manner of cross-border worker exploitation that has nothing to do with sex work.

            People who claim that trafficking is a significant problem should be asked to show their work. It happens, but many things happen, and it is used to demonize sex work, which directly harms sex workers. It is a “high profile” crime because we enjoy the narrative of sex trafficking. What I mean is, sex traffickers make great villains, so they figure prominently in the media. But how common is it really, compared with all the other ways humans harm other humans?

            It seems plausible to me that we portray more sex trafficking in our crime dramas than what occurs in real life. I don’t think I’ve seen a “dark and gritting” television series that, if it lasted more than a few seasons, did not at some point have a sex trafficking subplot. Furthermore, the hard data we receive is often generated by groups hostile to sex work in general. They are biased sources.Report

            • Glyph in reply to veronica d says:

              I have no problem believing that people are trafficked more frequently to be used as prostitutes, than are trafficked for other types of worker exploitation or slavery – when the people ARE the product, so to speak, it makes sense that people would be the primary ‘smuggled/controlled’ item, just like packets of cocaine are. So human trafficking does seem likelier to me to be associated with the sex trade, than with say the drug trade (where it also happens, obvs.)

              But like I said, I suspect that in countries with legalized prostitution, trafficking is more easily-identified & prosecuted, and therefore hits the news and statistics more – and this perversely makes people think trafficking is OCCURRING more (bad), rather than getting CAUGHT more (good).

              But this is all based on my own thought processes, not numbers.Report

        • Kim in reply to Don Zeko says:

          From what I’ve seen, China manages a mostly decent industry. I don’t doubt there is also a blackmarket industry for people from other countries… But I guess xenophobia has a few perks.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Don Zeko says:

      Agreed, AFAICT there’s nothing in his argument that contradicts the pros of legalizing/regulating it (giving both customers and providers better legal protection in the event of other crimes, improved health outcomes, etc.)Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Don Zeko says:

      Does Nevada have a good sex work industry or a bad sex work industry?Report

  3. Damon says:

    C2: Duh, rich folks can safely isolate themselves from crime with fences, alarms, distance, and armed security guards.

    C4: “No non-fascist state should ever allow this to happen” Damn right. Of course, soon everyone will be using it, especially if they can tie it to some revenue stream.

    I4: Like this doesn’t go on on the southern border. Everyone knows where the illegals cross.

    Sp5: Anything to chat up a cute girl.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Damon says:

      Sp5: I guarantee Buzz Aldrin could still mack, if he wanted to. You have any idea what kind of pickup lines a man who’s walked on the moon could legitimately bust out?!Report

      • Damon in reply to Glyph says:

        No doubt! Makes being at 1,000 feet off the Cayman Wall chump change!Report

        • Glyph in reply to Damon says:

          These are only mildly-tasteless, but I’ll mask ’em anyway.

          1.) “You ever been on the moon?”

          “Well, you ever been on a MAN who’s been on the moon?”

          2.) “I call it the ‘Apollo 11’ for reasons that will become clear, and I guarantee it will take you where you want to go.”

          3.) “Houston, we have a HOTTIE.”Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    So1: I could see a Memento remake with iPhones.

    “These pictures are named 1 of 7, 2 of 7, 3 of 7, 5 of 7, and 7 of 7. What happened to the others?”

    And then we find what they were pictures of.
    And then we find how they got deleted.

    I could see that. I would watch the hell out of that.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    C4: I wonder how the class would handle someone who argued that they wouldn’t care because the client thought that sex work should be legalized. The class seems to be resting on a lot of assumptions about men and sex. Doesn’t Chris Rock have a joke/routine about how a dad’s one responsibility is making sure is daughter doesn’t get on the stripper pole? To be fair, a lot of people probably have these assumptions and the shaming can work if reducing prostitution is your goal.

    C7: He is basically in solitary confinement, duh.

    I3: I don’t think Abbott understands how liberty and charity work.

    So4: 60 percent of Millennials support free speech then. Last I checked 60 percent is a majority and a pretty big one. I think you will find Americans of all ages have rather shaky concepts on the Firs
    t Amendment.

    So5: We made stock out of Turkey carcases this year as well. I gotta say thrift can be taken to absurd extremes though.Report

    • Forty percent is… a disconcerting number on this question.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        4 out of 10 doctors recommend trepanation for your migraines!Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

          The good news is that it seems to inversely correlate with college. Which, in addition to running against certain stereotypes, is also important in another respect: Their opinions are less likely to matter.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        I don’t think so. Popehat said it in a different context but Americans are not very good about talking about rights and civil liberties. I can’t think of any good way to train/educate someone to be a civil libertarian. You can teach someone “This is what the First Amendment does and doesn’t do.” How many people are saying that they think Islam does not dive with American culture right now?Report

        • I don’t know about you, but I find some of the polls coming out about attitudes towards Muslims alarming.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

            I also assume that whatever numbers we get probably need to be nudged in the direction of Team Evil by 5-10 points.

            “Do you think all Muslims ought to be deported?”

            A) Absolutely not. Islam is a religion of Peace! 72%
            B) We should start deporting yesterday! 20%
            C) Unsure 8%

            Is probably closer to 65%, 25%, 10%.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

            I find them alarming too.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

            Dubya, to his credit, pushed back hard on that.

            There’s no one in the GOP willing to do that now, and the anti-immigrant hysteria on the right was already pretty darn high before the latest attacks.

            The left is pushing back, by and large, but “Liberals decry racism” is not nearly as great a headline as “Trump says deport everyone, ban Islam, nuke random island!”. Especially since the Democratic primary is, frankly, boring with a known outcome.

            It’s like people being surprised by how many racists there are in America. It’s not that they were gone, it’s that they kept it to themselves because it was a faux pas to talk about it in public.

            And all you need to change good manners is a big, loud, guy in the news who flips the bird to the current manners with both fingers.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

              There are plenty of people in the GOP willing to push back on that.

              The problem is that those people generate fewer clicks than Trump.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                And, to be blunt — aren’t as popular with the GOP base. Or the GOP in general.

                I don’t think you can blame clicks when those positions poll pretty popularly among the rank and file.

                We’re a lot more racist and xenophobic than we like to admit, and there’s a deep strain of “let’s find a good enemy and give him a kicking”, and it pops up whenever people are unhappy. GOP just happens to be really fertile ground right now, because they’re really unhappy.

                Stuff’s changing, they don’t like it, and the party has spent years stoking fear and blaming “the other” for it. (Democrats, minorities, commies, whatever. Make ’em afraid, point them at an enemy, and tell them you can kick that enemy’s butt. It’s been a useful playbook since the 70s).

                They’re pretty ripe for it. Trump’s just thrown off the veneer, really. What was left of it. Dog whistles got too subtle, maybe.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                Well, that’s a much different proposition to argue against than the one I originally disagreed with.

                But there are a lot of weird and ugly dynamics out there.

                There’s a link here, for example, that talks about an MSNBC poll that asked if Donald Trump went too far this time. (Sadly, I wasn’t able to find a link to a reputable site that mentioned this poll. No, not even MSNBC.)

                If that is not a photoshop and if that poll is accurate, there are deeper problems at play here than can be pinned on the GOP. The Trumpists are the tip of the iceberg… but the tip of the iceberg ain’t the part that you have to worry about.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                There are plenty of people in the GOP willing to push back on that.

                The push back I’ve heard is pretty tepid, along the lines of “I don’t agree with the idea but it’s a legitimate view and we should debate it” sorta thing. One problem opposers face is that 54% of conservatives support it.

                Adding: that’s not to say you aren’t correct that some Rs in safe districts etc have vociferously, aggressively!, pushed back on the idea. I’ve not heard about em if they have.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Offensive and outlandish” -Rubio
                “Unhinged” -Jeb
                “Dangerous” -Fiorina
                “Ridiculous” -Christie
                “Downright dangerous” -Graham
                “We do not and would not advocate…” -Carson

                “not what this party stands for… not what this country stands for” -Paul Ryan
                “Speaker Ryan is on target” -Mitt
                “We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.” -Priebus
                “completely inconsistent with American values” -McConnell

                Completely missing from this list: Ted CruzReport

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Cruz is standing behind Trump with a basket hoping to catch his voters when he explodes. Prudent silence on this subject is his logical response.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

                “Offensive and outlandish” -Rubio
                “Unhinged” -Jeb
                “Dangerous” -Fiorina
                “Ridiculous” -Christie
                “Downright dangerous” -Graham
                “We do not and would not advocate…” -Carson

                If they ever get that Yelp for people app going, I think I just got a taste of my reviews.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Glyph says:

                At least you got an “outlandish” you can work with that.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:


                Nice compilation of quotations.

                Points to Priebus: he’s trying to Make his Party Great Again (by taking it back from Trump).
                Points to Rubio: His remarks (I read a bit more of them) strike me as finding the right balance between reasoning (with the lunatics who now run the asylum) and basic principles.
                Negative points to Ryan: A ban on Muslims may not be what the GOP stands for, but it is what conservative voters stand for…
                Negative points to Cruz: he’s a mix between McCarthy and Nixon.Report

      • A decade ago when I was taking graduate public policy classes at the University of Denver, the classes were mostly a lot 20- and early-30-something folk, and two of us in our fifties. On more than one occasion during the homeland security class, the other old fart and I went off on a rant that was a mix of (1) people died to get you those civil rights, (2) if you give them up you’ll probably never get them back, and (3) Niemöller’s “first they came for the socialists” quote.

        The only one I remember in any detail ended up along the lines of, “After a quarter in this class, I know something about each of your backgrounds. I’ve got a much deeper understanding of what can be done with contemporary computing and communications technology than any of you. And I am terrified when I listen to what powers you’re willing to grant to the government.”Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Along those lines, I have learned one of the reasons that the NSA’s Kaaba Muazzama is in Utah:

          Mormons are among the most qualified when it comes to meeting the specs of the hiring folks.

          When they get back from their mission, they speak a second language pretty close to fluently and they are mostly drug/alcohol free, mostly, and can pass the drug test (and are likely to be able to pass surprise periodic random ones in the future).

          And these guys are the guys most likely to be sifting through the data of all of us normals out there. They’re the ones looking at your web browser history.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

            The rep of Mormons is that they serve in the military in low numbers partially because they spend prime enlistment years on their own missions and are expected to settle down and start making kids when they get back. The other rep of Mormons is that they are widely disproportionately likely to serve in the CIA because Mormons.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

        Not really because ordinary Americans have long struggled with the full implications of the First Amendment. During the 19th century, Protestant Americans were routinely flabbergasted that freedom of religion meant that Catholics, Jews, even the Chinese Buddhists got to practice their religion or worse yet, the ability not to practice a religion at all. They say the First Amendment as protecting the freedom to be a Protestant and not a non-Protestant. Speech that was deemed obscene was censored and Leftist political speech attacked as un-American. The 40% are just keeping up an American tradition.Report

      • Guy in reply to Will Truman says:

        How much of it is “people shouldn’t say that kind of stuff, and you only gave me two answers”?

        What would responses to the poll look like if the question had been a scale, something like the following?

        Choose the option that best reflects your views:

        1 – The government should protect people who say offensive things from potential backlash.
        2 – People should be free to say whatever they wish without fear of social backlash in their private lives (but it might happen anyway).
        3 – People should not say offensive things in public places; social pressure and private punishment are appropriate means to deal with those who do.
        4 – The government should prevent people from saying offensive things in public places.

        I think most of the real divide is between options (2) and (3), but a lot of people act as though the only options are (1) and (4), or maybe (1), (4), and their favored option.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Guy says:

          Good point, and Popehat has been pushing this point for a long time. You get free speech. However, if your speech is abusive, keep in mind the people you are abusing have free speech also.

          Did you know it is entirely legal for creepy men to film attractive women in public, and to do so in obviously sexualized ways. For example, they’ll follow women and keep the camera focused on their butts or breasts or whatever. As long as they don’t literally film up the skirt, then they are free and clear. Totes legal. There are websites dedicated to this shit.

          Did you know it is entirely legal for women to film creepy men, who are themselves filming creepy women, and then to post those images on the Internet, along with an explanation of what happened. Sometimes someone recognizes the man. Sometimes his friends, family, wife, employer, etc., find out what happened.

          It’s remarkable to me the number of people who have literally no problem at all with situation #1, but who freak out over situation #2.Report

  6. Richard Hershberger says:


    to prevent a girl from being absconded.

    This is an honest question, and not a grammar snark (and appropriate for anyone to answer, not merely Will): Is this use of “absconded” correct in your idiolect? In other words, does it sound right to you, or did it just slip in? (The linked story uses “accosted.”)

    I ask because it is not the standard usage. “Abscond” in Standard English is an intransitive verb meaning to depart secretly and hide. The girl in C5 absconded. What seems to be going on here is that the word often is found in the construction “abscond with [something/someone].” So, for example, the company treasurer might abscond with the company’s money. I suspect that this is so common that the word has gained a sense of taking stuff, while at the same time losing (some of?) its sense of surreptitiousness. The use here seems to have lost most or all of the sense of secrecy. They were in plain sight, after all, and we don’t know if they guy planned on going into hiding. Rather, it seems to have moved (nearly?) all the way to meaning “take [something/someone]” while at the same time becoming transitive.

    I don’t ask this hoping for the opportunity to cluck my tongue disapprovingly. That’s not my recreation of choice. I ask because I am curious if this is a linguistic shift in action, or the product of writing with insufficient caffeine in the system.Report

    • Chris in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I figured it was autocorrect, but if not, it is kind of interesting.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        Not autocorrect. Just apparently incorrect usage. Which is interesting, because I adopted the word from the inlaws (all very educated) who use it in the way that I did (something that is done to something, rather than something someone does to oneself). Learn something new every day!Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

          Just apparently incorrect usage.

          Not “incorrect” but “non-standard.” Dictionaries are a lagging indicator of what the language is doing. Some people push back against this idea, but lexicographers are not among them.Report

          • Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            The urbane dictionary (despite the rather unfortunate loss of an e at the end) is probably actually a leading indicator, if David Simon’s thank you letter is any indication.

            The benefits of online wisdom — you can actually do a reverse search on that dictionary to get slang from a particular place… like, say, Baltimore.Report

  7. Kolohe says:

    Sp1 – the Ares Elopement link didn’t resolve correctly on here or your home blog.Report

  8. Saul Degraw says:

    This list makes me sad and also angry at the people who compiled the list. Some of the businesses closed because the owners wanted to retire and/or do something else. There is no moral requirement to keep a business open for perpetuity even a profitable one or one that became an institution. I also really disliked this line:

    “the building will soon be demolished and a 13-story mixed-use building will be erected in its place. Because, of course, we need more of those.”

    New York and San Francisco DO NEED more mixed-used buildings. We need more housing and more density. This is how housing costs get reduced. You build more housing.

    This post is proof the OT can help change minds to degrees. I still support rent stabilizing measures and laws.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I trying to figure this one out:

      Bergen Street Comics was well-known as one of the coolest comics stores in the entire United States and built its reputation on catering to adult fans of indie comics and their cool young children. It was an extremely well-curated store, and went out of its way to be welcoming people who might feel out of place in a traditional comics shop.

      It sounds dreadful: a comic shop for people who consider comic shops beneath them. My comics days are mostly behind me, but I occasionally pop into my local shop. The sight of nerds packed around tables, playing RPGs, warms my heart cockles. These are my people. I suspect that I would not react the same way to Bergen Street Comics.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


        I suspect that Bergen Street Comics did not pack super-hero comics but was more of a Love and Rockets/Alt Comics kind of place. Also look at the picture, the aesthetic is completely off from tables of people playing RPGs.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        Yeah they say it right in the text. Indie Comics like Love and Rockets. This is not a place for people to debate Marvel and DC.Report

      • people who consider comic shops beneath them

        Strokes for folks. Fancy wine bars and scruffy dive bars are both fine, depending on what you want today, and you can get your buzz on in either.

        It’s also worth noting that the unwelcoming stuff can run both ways. Plenty of “real” record stores with good selections and knowledgeable clerks were extremely unwelcoming to newbies or people with more mainstream tastes. Plenty of comic book shops used to be known as pretty unwelcoming to (for ex.) girls.

        Maybe the people that shopped here (or ran the joint) were made to feel as though they were beneath the guys behind the counter at the other place when they walked in there, because they OBVIOUSLY didn’t know the complete history of The Blue Beetle.

        So they got their own place, where they could DISPENSE the insults rather than ABSORB them. < / Simpsons Comic-Book Guy >Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Glyph says:

          So they got their own place, where they could DISPENSE the insults rather than ABSORB them.

          Precisely. It is one thing to consciously strive to make the place broadly welcoming. The vibe here, with its emphasis on the coolness of its customers, is anything but.Report

          • On dispense/absorb, the derision is pretty asymmetrical. I rarely hear DC/Marvel people criticize indy publications (as a class) the way the inverse occurs. I would be kind of sensitive to it, too, because a friend of mine is a semi-successful indy comic writer whose work was very likely sold at this shop.Report

            • Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

              There was a moment in the mid-1980s. Indy comics had established themselves by that time as genuinely a thing (not to be confused with The Thing), and the trend overshot past the available talent. This resulted in some product hitting the shelves that ranged from uninspired to notably awful, with the worst of it leavening these traits with an air of pretension. There was some backlash, to the effect that with Marvel and DC at least you didn’t get the pretension. But even then, there was pretty general recognition that the good indies were really really good, and doing something that Marvel and DC weren’t.Report

          • I’d rather go to EITHER the scruffy dive bar OR the nice wine bar before I’d go to Chili’s, where everybody feels welcome, but the menu is also ‘curated’ to hit the broadest possible target.Report

            • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

              Adding on – that shop is in NYC, where real-estate prices almost demand that a shop specialize, since the square footage is going to significantly-limit your ability to stock. Why not go for a specific market? There’s probably also one bookstore down the street that stocks mostly trashy romance novels, while another one only stocks “high” literature. So what? It’s just a matter of knowing what you are in the market for, and where to find it.

              It’d be nice if every city and town had a Powell’s and an Amoeba that have absolutely everything for everyone. But that’s just not realistic most places. Either the population/economy can’t support it on one end, or real estate is too expensive on the other.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Glyph says:

                NYC has the Strand which is like Powell’s (7 miles of Used Books!!)

                There are more general comic and gaming stores in NYC like Gotham Comics. They tend to be located on the far avenues or in former Industrial buildings. There is one gaming that is on the second or third floor of a building that I am sure used to be home to sweatshops. They had more of the tables of people playing RPGs that Richard would like.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                True, there is The Strand.

                Still, I think this is one of those areas where I agree with Saul’s intermittent ‘reverse snobbery’ complaint. I don’t really care if this shop has (had) only “highbrow” comics. If it was well-curated, it’s still potentially a worthwhile shop for me. It might not be my first choice, but it would be a choice I was glad existed.

                In my comics “to read” stack, I have Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor, some Saga & The Unwritten, and The Humans.

                I guarantee that shop stocked the first one, the middle two are debatable, and almost certainly did not stock the thoroughly-disreputable last one.

                I’d still stop there if it was conveniently located and had some interesting books, well-curated.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Glyph says:

                Defining conveniently located in NYC is always an interesting exercise. I can tell you that this store is easily accessible by subway (probably the F line) but it is in a very residential part of Brooklyn. The customers probably were from the surrounding neighborhood. And yeah, this store was in the ne plus ultra of gentrified Brooklyn. A neighborhood filled with upper-middle class professionals in their 20s-50s who are into NPR, the NY Times, and the New Yorker.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


            FWIW, we don’t know about how the actual store owners ran the place. I haven’t been there and neither have you. The Buzzfeed copy is just the buzzfeed author’s opinions/thoughts. I kind of like the décor/look of Bergen Street Comics over your typical strip mall comic store but one of my dreams is to own a Brooklyn Brownstone or SF Victorian/Edwardian so….Report

        • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

          I live just down the street from a large comic book store, where my son hangs out to play RPGs. I don’t think it’s beneath me at all, but I feel completely out of place there anytime I pop in. It’s both a very welcoming and very guarded culture. I can totally understand wanting a comic book store without that particular culture, if you like comics but don’t feel you fit in there.Report

  9. LeeEsq says:

    C1: Psychic readings are illegal in New York but usually no arrests or prosecutions got made. The psychics got too greedy in this case and ended up on the wrong side of the law.

    C4: I’m going to join the chorus of doubts on this one. Prostitution should be legalized to reduce the number of people in jail and cure some of the more egregiously immoral parts of the sex industry,. That’s all. I think that even in countries with legal prostitution have a black market for things that can’t be allowed.Report

  10. Richard Hershberger says:

    C4: There are in general four reasons why a middle class white guy might be driving in the Wrong Part of town. (1) He is seeking a prostitute: the concern leading to this proposal. (2) He is seeking illicit drugs: not quite the same concern, but related. (3) He is lost, or otherwise didn’t realize (or didn’t care) that he was heading into the Wrong Part. When I first moved to Philadelphia I made a point of exploring. I would have gotten a stack of these letters the first few months. (4) He has legitimate business there. I have, for example, sometimes gone out to photograph intersections where accidents had occurred, in my paralegal capacity. Sometime these intersections have been in the Wrong Part. I’m fine with that: I am big, male, and ugly, and I realize that most people who live in the Wrong Part, even if they themselves are part of the reason it is the Wrong Part, know that messing with a middle class white guy will only bring grief down on him. I only really worry about they guys who are strung out. Oh, and I don’t do this at night (what with photography being the point and all).

    So the thing is, the guy who is there for reasons 3 or 4 gets this letter in his mailbox. His wife might be the one who opens it. Wackiness ensues. For that matter, those reasons are for middle class white guys. What about the guys who live in that neighborhood? Will they be getting those letters too?Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I am sort of perplexed by the existence of street-walking prostitution still. Anyone who has read an alt.weekly can tell you that they are largely funded by ads from sex workers and “massage parlors.”* This seems much less risky than going to the wrong side of town.

      *The Boston Phoenix folded because they lost their revenue stream as sex workers of varying genders went on-line to places like Craigslist and Backpage.Report

      • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Guys are impulsive and easily visually stimulated?
        “here, i’ll talk with you for $100 an hour…”
        (who wouldn’t rather talk to a pretty face?)Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I had considered just cutting/pasting Glyph’s comment that began with “Strokes for folks. Fancy wine bars and scruffy dive bars are both fine, depending on what you want today, and you can get your buzz on in either.”

        Decided against it.

        Anyway, there are time horizon issues as well as class issues at play here.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        As anecdata, I was wearing a suit every single time I have been propositioned by a street-walking prostitute.

        One time was during my exploring of Philadelphia. I wore a suit to church (by far the most common circumstance for me to be wearing one) and was going somewhere afterwards. My route took me through the Wrong Part of town. I stopped at a stop sign. There happened to be a young lady there, who clearly was off duty, what with its being about one o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. She looked startled to see me, then gave a “what the hell” shrug and started shaking her booty at me. I found the episode hysterical.

        In any case, while my data set is too small to be statistically significant, it is suggestive. I assume these people know their target market.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @saul-degraw — I know a few “street level” sex workers. They’re usually very poor, very uneducated, and serving a market of largely older/poorer men, who either don’t trust the Internet, or lack any computers access at all. Plus, arranging to meet an escort can require a hotel, or to invite her to your home. Some men want to avoid that. A quicky in a parking lot is much easier to arrange, which is not something most escorts want to do.

        I can tell you from personal experience, plenty of men actively seek “street level” sex work. I get propositioned often enough.

        (See, I’m trans, so they think I’m automatically a sex worker. It’s awkward.)Report

        • veronica d in reply to veronica d says:

          Oh, and as an addition. There is this one group of women who I see in the bars, who are there to meet clients. But the thing is, an any average night they are not there. It’s just an occasional thing.

          I don’t know them well enough to ask for details, but I kinda guess that they must have a web presence, but they head out to the bars on nights they don’t get regular clients or online work, to see if they can land an extra client or two that way. On an average Friday or Saturday, they tend to pick up a guy. So it works.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      For heaven’s sake, how “wrong” is the “wrong part” of LA? Surely even in the wrongest parts of town, most of the people present live or work there or are visiting for legal reasons?

      If you want to encourage any kind of rehabilitation of the area, you’re going to have to set everything up so legitimate businesses can succeed there. And if anyone going to the new restaurant or barbershop or grocery store in the part of town you’re hoping to turn around, shortly afterward gets a threatening letter from the cops, you can bet they’re never going to go back, and the only businesses that won’t go under in short order will be prostitution and drug dealing…Report

  11. Chris says:

    C4: Ah, legalized prostitution, the Oldest Debate. It’s one of those debates that everyone seems to think is settled, even as it rages on.Report

  12. LTL FTC says:

    C4 ended up in a really weird place.

    Smith says access to sex via prostitution really reduce sex’s value to such a point that it would render a Lysistrata-style protest impossible. If you’re quibbling over the market value of sex in the first place, aren’t you really arguing that prostitution should be legal, but only for political barter?

    When one reads about sex in terms of market value, it’s usually from conservatives (“why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free”) or from pick-up artists, with their elaborate hierarchies of difficulty levels and focus on “value.” Seeing it here as a potential source of feminist leverage seems like a misreading of… pretty much everything about the use and abuse of sex.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to LTL FTC says:

      Or, as the old joke ends, “we know what you are, we’re just haggling over the price”.Report

    • veronica d in reply to LTL FTC says:

      @ltl-ftc — Yeah, the “Lysistrata” part of those tweets really bugged me — like as soon as you hear that you can sound the “crunchy, backward-thinking conservative man” alert.

      Lysistrata was a play written by a man for the consumption of other men, about the “power” that men imagine women have, except it’s not really a power. That’s just petty male resentment, misogynistic fever dreams.

      Women gain power in society precisely how feminists describe, by economic independence, by political access, by social respect. To refuse sex is a basic right, just as men are not required to provide sex on demand. It’s not a “power.”

      If a Japanese (or any other) woman tries to manipulate her husband/boyfriend by withholding sex, I don’t blame the man for finding a sex worker, although I’d suggest he instead leave her controlling ass. I mean, seriously.

      Oh and it works both ways, of course. Sex is a lousy thing to use as a weapon.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

        One of the things that I took away from Lysistrata was how modern the language was, how “modern” the dynamic between men and women felt… while, at the same time, being romantic in a recognizable way (which seems to indicate some sort of universality).

        These were couples who loved each other very much and this love manifested itself in, among other things, sex. When the wives manipulated their husbands into not killing each other anymore by withholding sex, the husbands didn’t say “well, I’ll just find a sex worker!” but, instead, tried to negotiate with the wives.

        The funniest dialog in the play wasn’t a merely husband who merely wanted to get his own rocks off. It was a husband who wanted to have sex with his wife. And, at the same time, the wife wanted this too. (It’s just that she wanted to end the stupid war more.)

        The goal, at the end, was to re-establish families.

        Was it a little retrograde for 411 BC? Well, maybe it should have been a little more 14AD in its treatment of women (if not 313), but, as classical not-particularly-feminist works go, Lysistrata was an earthquake.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

          @jaybird — Note I’m not criticizing the work as a piece of literature. Instead, I’m suggesting that it is a terrible basis on how women should seek social power. The fact that some people (mostly men) still hold onto it as a model is what I am criticizing.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to veronica d says:

        To be clear, Noah Smith is not conservative, and is actually fairly left-wing, by economist standards.Report

  13. Saul Degraw says:

    Turns out the Bill Murray can steel this clause in the Wu Tang album is a big hoax.Report

  14. Glyph says:

    P4: they are psychedelics (sort of an important typo); and I’d try this, if it weren’t for the whole illegal-and-difficult-to-obtain-and-verify thing.

    That said, it’s worth noting that their illegality means these results are self-reported and not double-blind-tested, which means placebo effect is possible.

    IOW, “microdosing” may be another word for “homeopathy”.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Glyph says:

      Also, why would you do that? I think most folks would agree psychedelics are meant to be fun. Someone has found a way of using them without the fun part, and this is progress somehow?Report

      • Glyph in reply to dragonfrog says:

        If low-dose psychedelics are valuable for things like mood disorders and focus/attention problems (and anecdotally, what I know of LSD’s effects at higher doses at least suggests these things could potentially be true) then we are missing a huge societal benefit, in favor of drugs that are expensive/potentially-addictive/have unpleasant side effects (SSRIs, ADD drugs).

        In college I knew a guy (really, truly not me) who took acid daily or nearly so (don’t do this, kids, you might end up more like Syd Barrett or Brian Wilson than my friend). He’d come home from class and drop a tab or two the way you or I might drink a beer, then spend the rest of his day doing his homework, music and creative pursuits. For roughly a year, he was tripping more-or-less 24/7.

        Now, maybe he has a particular chemistry/personality that allowed this to be a workable situation for him, and/or built up a tolerance (either physical, or psychological); but he is today a happy, healthy (and sober) member of society.

        He wasn’t even microdosing, and yet AFAICT was never in any serious danger of death or physical addiction from his habit (though I should stress again that this approach seems risky to me and no one should try it, and I do not recall if he ever drove a car at this stage of his life – I want to say he didn’t, but am not sure) and in fact felt that he benefited from it, creatively and personally.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Glyph says:

          I have heard that low-dose LSD is often effective against cluster migraines. Also off the top of my head and probably misremembering details, there’s somewhat promising research into medium-dose ketamine vs. depression, MDMA in counselling settings for things like PTSD and couples counselling, small numbers of serious ibogaine trips vs. opiate addiction.

          Your LSD-enthusiast friend’s habit does seem terrifying to contemplate (at least to me – most of my experiences with it have been in the face-melting region of the dial), but is maybe not actually that surprising. Psychedelics build up a tolerance pretty quickly – the rule of thumb I’ve heard is that you basically need to double up dosage if you want to keep tripping equally hard on subsequent days. Wait a week or so and the tolerance is pretty well gone – so you can still trip hard every weekend.

          I guess he must have settled into the spot where tolerance built up at the same rate that it went away, which was a high enough tolerance level that it didn’t impair him much.

          Of all the things to take daily, I think LSD would actually be pretty benign. It’s not addictive, and we don’t even have a reliable estimate of how much LSD it would take to seriously harm your body by overdose because nobody has ever managed it, no matter how heroically they tried…Report

          • Glyph in reply to dragonfrog says:

            low-dose LSD is often effective against cluster migraines.

            I have also read this.

            ketamine vs. depression, MDMA in counselling settings for things like PTSD and couples counselling

            Ditto, and in fact MDMA used to be used thus in couples counseling, prior to being scheduled in the US.

            small numbers of serious ibogaine trips vs. opiate addiction.

            A friend of mine went to Mexico for Iboga sessions for her alcohol addiction. It seemed to help for a while (IIRC she was sober about 6 months-year, which is not nothing; and if ibogaine were legal here, perhaps she could have scheduled another session. A week in Mexico, is hard to swing financially and job-wise), but she then relapsed pretty hard for a little bit (and this relapse was the final straw in her job and marriage) and last I talked to her (it’s been a couple years) she had been sober for a couple years, doing the AA thing.

            Of all the things to take daily, I think LSD would actually be pretty benign. It’s not addictive, and we don’t even have a reliable estimate of how much LSD it would take to seriously harm your body by overdose because nobody has ever managed it, no matter how heroically they tried

            They HAVE killed an elephant with it, but they gave it a crazy amount for stupid reasons.

            I certainly knew people who took heroic doses (in the 20-25 hit range), and they claimed that at very high doses you do not even feel particularly impaired, that there is a “clarity” of thought and action there.

            Of course, these reports may be considered unreliable, since the reporters were on massive doses of drugs at the time. But Someone Who Isn’t Me and took more standard recreational doses, reported very little in the way of physical discomfort, and reliably had a mood lift following the trip that persisted a little while; like a psychic ‘reset’ button.

            I can certainly see low-dose LSD being potentially helpful to people.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Glyph says:

      Homeopathic LSD would, if the theory holds up, render one less susceptible to the effects of a full dose of LSD by virtue of having imbibed a water drawn from a reservoir with a one-part-in-one-novemdecillion strength of LSD. (See Samuel Hahnemann (1921), The Organon of the Healing Art (6th ed.), aphorism 128, indicating “30C” dilution for most purposes; thus effectively removing every single molecule of the original substance from the resulting “solution.”)

      In other words, if there were such a thing as homeopathic LSD, you’d drink a glass of water and thereafter be immune from the effects of the drug. …Pity it doesn’t really work that way.Report

  15. notme says:

    So folks are upset that Trump is merely proposing what Carter did already did with iranians? The left has has a short memory.

  16. Autolukos says:

    So4: That’s a remarkably narrow question. I wonder how things look with some other subjects inserted?Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Autolukos says:

      Was it not ever thus? Free speech is a nice ideal in the abstract but the actuality of speech needing protection turns out to be rather ugly. Perhaps it takes acquiring a degree of life experience before one realizes that putting up with most ugly things that people say is a good deal less bad than any of the reasonably likely alternatives.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Per Rossman (second link), it is not a function of age.Report

        • Burt Likko in reply to Will Truman says:

          As I read the Rossman chart, while there is lower tolerance for free speech among millennials than in X’ers (my generation), millennial tolerance is much higher than that of the Baby Busters (folks born in the early 1960’s), and no one has anything like the Boomers’ (folks born in the early-to-mid 1940’s) very high tolerance for free speech.

          So if it’s an oscillating pendulum over time, the oscillations are decreasing as we move forward in time, and millennials are just at the low ebb of this particular cycle.

          Or am I reading the Rossman report incorrectly?Report

        • Autolukos in reply to Will Truman says:

          Rossman’s claim is weird, given the conclusions of the paper he links and the sentence he chooses to highlight (which is about the unusual tolerance shown by Boomers rather than anything about us snake people). Indeed, the sentence he highlights is immediately followed by, “more recent generations, such as Generation X and Millennials, were about average in tolerance when time period and age effects were removed.”

          I’m not entirely thrilled with my cohort’s attitudes towards free speech, but as far as I can tell that paper’s conclusion is that we are entirely normal for the period they studied.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Is there perhaps a bit of American exceptionalism behind that attitude?

        As I understand it, nearly every other first world country has some more or less robust hate speech laws. The USA, with its free-speech absolutist regime, is by far an outlier. Do the legislatures and citizens of all those other countries lack the depth of life experience that US legislators possess?

        I think you could argue that the US has not only exceptionally robust freedom of speech, but that that is an exceptionally good thing – but you’d have to argue it; you can’t just take it as a given. Personally, I like Canada’s more restrictive hate speech laws better than what I understand US’s to be.Report

  17. Kazzy says:

    So6: I saw this and wondered why it wasn’t getting the same treatment as SHARIAH CREEP!Report

    • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

      If they have passable fake American passports, they don’t need to come as refugees. It seems like it’s American citizens that we may have difficulty vetting.Report

      • notme in reply to Will Truman says:

        We’ve already seen terrorists with fake Syrian passports that were used by fake refuges in the Paris attack.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

          Yes. They used fake Syrian passports. Which is, I’m pretty sure, not the same as an American passport.

          So if we’re worried about them using their fake passport machine, we’re not worried about people claiming to be Syrian refugees. We’re worried about people claiming to be Americans. So in order to combat this, we would have to apply extra scrutiny not to people claiming to be Syrians but to people claiming to be Americans.

          Which is to say that their ability to possibly produce American passports does not have direct implications for people coming here that are not pretending to be Americans. All it does is demonstrate that if they want to infiltrate the US, they may have another way of doing so that does not involve pretending to be refugees and going through the refugee system.Report

          • notme in reply to Will Truman says:

            They may have the passport printing machine but not blank American passports that they would need to make American passports. I’m sure they have plenty of Syrian blanks though.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to notme says:

              Oh, I think that’s a fair question. I think the administration and pro-refugee side in general did an absolutely atrocious job of addressing the issue. Though I am absolutely certain you have a hard and unyielding response to this, I’m not completely on the other side of you on it. I favor letting the refugees in, but there were a lot of concerns that were mockingly dismissed as fearing widows and children.

              (This whole subthread is my fault. When I first heard about the passport machine, it was suggested that they would be able to make American passports with it. Which is why I was taking exception to what you were saying. Following up, it’s talking about passports in general, which makes your point valid. This doesn’t really change the calculus for me, though, because we already knew that they could get fake passports.)Report

          • notme in reply to Will Truman says:

            Some of the Paris attackers went through Greece having claimed refugee status with a fake syrian passport. What would stop them from fooling the folks in the Obama admin?Report

  18. notme says:

    More moronic SJWs. They demand Lebanon Valley College change the name of Lynch Hall since it has the word “lynch” in it. Never mind its named after former school president Clyde Lynch.