The Vagina Dialogues
Our dear readers had some odd responses to last week's cover story on former teenage harem member Jillian Lauren ("Been There. Done What?!" by Gendy Alimurung, April 15). Some loved it, some hated it. Which is to say, some loved Lauren's story — young woman accepts large amounts of cash in return for being a kept harem slave in Brunei, and lives to tell about it in a memoir — and others thought it kind of lame. No one was complaining about the writing, though. "Gendy Alimurung, your articles are ace!" says Kong of Donair. "Always a pleasure reading something with your byline!"
No one, that is, save for the typically unnamed Anonymous, who writes, "My god, what a waste of ink ... between the condescending and laughably prudish journalistic tone, you'd think this was 1953 and that 'nudie books' were still kept wrapped up in brown-paper bags and hidden in the back of Daddy's closet. A woman goes to a far-off land to sell her vagina and you would think by the guilt trip that hangs over this article that she was Hitler's secret mistress."
"Tis a pity she's a whore," says Bo. "Obviously money spoke to this woman in a language she understood. This is a cautionary tale, not a fairy tale."
But Queenie sees it completely differently: "Beautiful story. I always wonder why some girl chooses to be a hooker or behaves in that way whilst others do not. This helps me understand. Thank you, L.A. Weekly, for another good article. Could not stop reading to the end."
"A fascinating story that took bravery to tell," says Lee. "Growing up is hard for all — especially women — and it sounds like this author managed to hang on to both her talent and soul."
But Sean is a bit more jaundiced: "More 'I was a money-hungry whore once and it was so badass' stories, please. I really like reading how unbelievably pathetic they sound while recalling their 'experiences.'"
Andrea also appears to have tongue angrily in cheek: "Fuck Yeah!! I love money!! GRRRRL POWER!!! And she married a rock star! Awesome stuff. You are so cool. I hope my daughter will be bought and sold like a steak for her pussy/ass/mouth. One can only dream. ..."
"First she profits off her vagina and now she's profiting off her story of profiting off her vagina," adds Marci. "Depraved."
Jadedla sees Hollywood potential: "Another tale of redemption in your 30s after narcissistic dabbling in the underbelly of life during your 20s (OK, she's precocious and started at 17). ... My question is, WHY DO THEY ALWAYS SEE THE LIGHT AND MOVE TO LOS ANGELES? A stripper with an enduring heart of gold ... what a unique, artistic and fresh concept. I hear Diablo Cody screaming in the background, "That bitch stole my shit!" Was a good read, though. She must keep her therapists riveted."
"Enough with the name-calling," says Jocelyn. "Lauren is brave to write about what was clearly a troubled time in her youth. Not everyone has an easy time when they're young. She followed a dark path and I am impressed with how she rose above it and is okay in the end. I am actually quite surprised that so many L.A. Weekly readers have such squeaky-clean pasts that they can judge so harshly. Whore? Come on, this isn't high school."
Tomuban is a bit more philosophical, and thus gets the last word: "She sold her vagina and you look down at her? Many people walk through life looking for comfort and security and take the surest/easiest/quickest way to that end. We all sell our time and labor. We all have thought, and we sell and stifle it, in parcels, to gain an end that will benefit ourselves. Carpal tunnel, wrenched backs, limbs lost, people need to eat. Her vagina was a commodity only because it could be bought and become a symbol of wealth and power. He gained and she benefited, the terms have been in place a long time. All this consternation about a vagina working? Grow up."
DEBATING DWP'S DEBACLE
And now for something completely different, and completely baffling: that whole City Hall/City Council/DWP/budget-debacle debacle ("City Hall's 2010 DWP Debacle," by Jill Stewart, April 15). No, that's not a typo — we've got debacles on our debacles. So say our readers, at any rate. Take Sandy Sand, for instance: "No one believes anything any of these lying, story-changing feeders-at-the-public-trough politicians say."
Charles, a self-described "concerned L.A. city employee," is a little more circumspect: "Thank you for the thoughtful article. I must say, it's not clear how Garcetti can be considered a budget hawk. He has done little to stem the tide of hiring during these tough times."
James R. Nolan thinks "it becomes harder and harder to determine just who are the good guys and the bad guys when it comes to the budget debacle. One day Mayor Villaraigosa announces there's going to be a possible two-day government shutdown, then once the criticism starts flying, suddenly there's $30 million they weren't aware of? Whose wool are they trying to pull? How can any government official be unaware of that significant an amount of dollars when their city is in such dire straits?"
John Farian also finds himself wondering: "Pretty amazing how the recent water-main breaks [were said not to be] connected to the DWP, after a recent study showed the rationing of water caused the pressure in them to increase to their bursting points. The good citizens of Los Angeles followed city orders under the pain of fines that were completely unnecessary.
"Where were the DWP engineers that should have come screaming out of the woodwork claiming that rationing would cause unnecessary damage to its infrastructure, as well as to city streets and people's homes? And now DWP wants a rate hike? In lieu of solving the wrong problem with the right solution precisely, that's absurd."
Forget it, John, it's downtown.
OH, YES, LETTERS WANTED
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