Thursday, Sep 16 2010
Prostitution is the world's oldest profession, and the comments on Michael Albo's story ("The Family Prostitute," Sept. 2) keep on coming. This week, we hear from two women who have worked in the sex industry. First up is H.A. Carson, author of A Roaring Girl: An Interview With the Thinking Man's Hooker: "As a former sex worker as well as a 100 percent sex-positive (pro-prostitution, pro-pornography, pro-'promiscuity') woman," writes Ms. Carson, "I found Albo's article both informative and refreshingly nonjudgmental. Prostitution is the only occupation at which women earn more money than men — regardless of economic conditions.

"Ironically," continues Carson, "it is also the only 'career' in which a woman may succeed admirably and still be deemed a 'failure.' Not just a failure but also (at best) a hapless victim, sullied dove, demented masochist or (at worst) a compulsive degenerate or (in every state except Nevada), a recidivist. Thus, the women profiled in 'The Family Prostitute' are to be commended for their resilience, courage, compassion and, above all, their willingness to shoulder not only the responsibility of supporting loved ones, but also the burden of vilification and ostracism too often leveled at women who choose for whatever reason to make their living selling sex."

Antonia Crane, as laid out in a letter far too long to quote at length (you can read it in full online), did not appreciate Albo's piece. "As a sex worker for over 17 years, I can tell you that selling sex acts for money has had complicated emotional consequences. The reasons for doing sex work are complex and the women who do it are a fascinating demographic, but Albo failed to give the women the credit they deserve while managing to pornify them. It's insulting to sex workers and women everywhere.

"It's exploitive and unnecessary to write about women working in the sex industry in Nevada when there are legions of 'family prostitutes' right here in L.A. County, working to support their families and to pay their rent. We're in the porn industry, we're in the strip clubs and we have ads on the Internet. We're ubiquitous. Why didn't you do your homework and contact some of us?"

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Although it seems clear to us, Ms. Crane, that most of the women in Albo's piece are from the L.A. area, fair enough. If there are sex workers here new to the business due to the recession and are interested in telling us their stories, please write care of readerswrite@laweekly.com. Put "sex work" in the subject heading and let us know how to contact you.


Jill Stewart's story on an L.A. Times study on the effectiveness of LAUSD teachers over the years (coyly titled "Has Ray Cortines Got Cojones?," Sept. 9), drew a few choice comments, including a couple from readers who see an inherent bias. "Hey, Jill," says Care, "how about a well researched article on both sides of the argument? "

Leonard Isenberg had no such qualms: "The mechanism that allows the exploitation you write about is the conscious dumbing down of public education by LAUSD administration. People born in this country are no longer native speakers of enough English or masters of enough math to avoid the exploitation they will receive after being socially promoted through school by LAUSD administrators — not teachers — whose only concern in the day-care system they run is collecting Average Daily Attendance money from the state. It is the self-inflicted disease at the root of all the other societal failure symptoms we presently deal with. Fix it and a democratic system that vests power in its people will again be able to function."


Gustavo Turner's story on DJ Cut Chemist ("Cut Chemist: Too Many DJs," Sept. 9) inspired this response, which, to quote Mad Men's Peggy Olson, makes us feel like Margaret Mead: "Cut is a really dope DJ," writes Kimba. "Big UP!"

Reader Steve has a bit more to say, and in English: "I first saw Cut Chemist at a Mulatu concert more than one year ago. There was a large, vocal group of fans who were amazed by CC's opening-act performance. Strangely, these same audience members paid little or no attention to Mulatu himself, a jazz vibraphonist whose music is regularly sampled by Cut Chemist himself. In the middle of his turntable/machine gig, Cut Chemist said that 'tuning' his DJ equipment is the same as tuning any other musical instrument.

"This comment speaks to the hubris of the DJ community and its listeners," continues Steve. "Any music fan, amateur or otherwise, would immediately recognize the fundamental difference between CC's skills, or any other DJ's, and that of a jazz performer using a live instrument. This leads to a greater question: How does any hipster (e.g., members of Fools Gold) rip off the music of other nations and gain credit without raising controversy? This is mind-boggling proof that the gentrifying hipster culture of Los Angeles, or anywhere else, is thoughtless and uncritical. Stay classy, Silver Lake."


If only we had room to run the letters from Irish-Americans up in arms over Dexter Fishmore's hit piece on Celtic Woman ("The Ireland That Never Was," Sept. 9). As noted by reader Oliver Cromwell — that guy never gives up! — Fishmore goes beyond the pale by writing that the show sells "not Ireland as an actual place, the one on Planet Earth with 12 percent unemployment and endemic alcoholism, but Ireland as an idea." Commentary is going to side with Mr. Cromwell on this one: We kind of think American Idol is also selling California as an idea, not the one with 12.3 percent unemployment and endemic alcoholism. As for Fishmore's other claim, that the women of Celtic Woman are "desexualized," au contraire, mon frère: That is a matter of opinion rooted deep in the loins, er, bogs of Mead. These women are Celtic. Nuff said!


You give us sustenance, at readerswrite@laweekly.com.

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