Re: Purge Of The Philistines

1

For once, ogged, you're so right.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:57 AM
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Does anyone look at Pollock without thinking that? (I hate Pollock for that reason.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:57 AM
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I don't really like Pollock but I hate to overhear people say that kind of thing. Butcha didn't, Blanche, butcha didn't.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:59 AM
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Yes, Tim, civilized people do.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:59 AM
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He ended that sentence "...with my junk." Only the prostitutes know for sure.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:59 AM
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4: I perfectly willing to believe that "civilized people" do, as well as people with a background in Art, Art History, etc. Everyone else definitely thinks that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:07 AM
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I myself am rather taken with "braggadocious." According to OED, it don't exist.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:07 AM
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I would be pissed if I gave up my career to support my husband's and then the idiot went and cheated on me and fucked up his career. I would be so pissed that all the anger would not be able to fit inside me and would come shooting out like laser beams and would melt any reporters that would come near.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:09 AM
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The important thing is the Treffly Coyne has been arrested. I think the legislatures need to enact more laws and the police need to spend more time in efforts to prevent actions such as her's.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080312/ap_on_re_us/mom_on_trial;_ylt=Av9U50oHTjfXizHpKnNLKitH2ocA

"On Dec. 8 Coyne decided to drive to Wal-Mart in the Chicago suburb of Crestwood so her children and a young friend could donate the coins they'd collected at her husband's office.

Even as she buckled 2-year-old Phoebe into the car, the girl was asleep. When Coyne arrived at the store, she found a spot to park in a loading zone, right behind someone tying a Christmas tree onto a car.

"It's sleeting out, it's not pleasant, I don't want to disturb her, wake her up," Coyne said this week. "It was safer to leave her in the safety and warmth of an alarmed car than take her."

So Coyne switched on the emergency flashers, locked the car, activated the alarm and walked the other children to the bell ringer.

She snapped a few pictures of the girls donating money and headed back to the car. But a community service officer blocked her way.

"She was on a tirade, she was yelling at me," Coyne said. The officer, Coyne said, didn't want to hear about how close Coyne was, how she never set foot inside the store and was just there to let the kids donate money, or how she could always see her car."


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:10 AM
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Pollock, no. But, you know, Vito Acconci's Seedbed? I'm betting Spitzer could pull something like that off.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:12 AM
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re: 7

Braggadocian and braggadocianism, are in though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:15 AM
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Venkatesh said his research showed that, in more than 40 percent of the liaisons between johns and prostitutes at this high price point, no sexual intercourse actually occurred.

I don't think he should generalize from the fact that some of them weren't willing to sleep with him.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:16 AM
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5: You beat me to the depravity.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:16 AM
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13: Just getting in the right frame of mind for my community theatre performance of Seedbed.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:22 AM
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Eliot and I had been to the Whitney and were looking at a Jackson Pollock, and he said, 'I could do that,'

That's what Olivia says in the first Olivia book ... "I could do that in about five minutes." Then she goes home and gives it a shot, and gets a time out. Parallels abound.

does this Venkatesh dude get all the plum sociology gigs or what?

Clearly I picked the wrong group of organs to focus on.



Posted by: Kieran | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:23 AM
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6: in your defense, Tim, I thought that when I was 8.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:23 AM
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who's totally hot, by the way

Yes, she is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:23 AM
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Pollock, no. But, you know, Vito Acconci's Seedbed? I'm betting Spitzer could pull something like that off.

His wife would probably be happy to help him duplicate a certain piece by Rudolf Schwarzkogler, only for real.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:25 AM
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You know what's annoying about Venkatesh? Not only is he young, brilliant, and super interesting, he's also hot. Not fair.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:26 AM
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People in my office are now baselessly speculating, with absolute certainty, that his wife knew.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:27 AM
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21

I bet Venkatesh is incredibly annoying in person. Seriously.

I can't really put my finger on why I know this. It's a Blink kind of thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:27 AM
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22

I should add, I find it infuriating.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:28 AM
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21: You're wrong, though. He's laid back, and kinda quiet. And, did I mention, attractive.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:29 AM
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23: you say that, but I'm relying on my snap judgment, and thus transparently correct.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:30 AM
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Would we feel better about Spitzer if he paid $80,000 for 40 hours or so of chaste conversation? I think not.

I doubt Venkatash's numbers. In the Far East courtesans (geishas, etc) didn't necessarily have sex with clients. Some of them seemed to function almost as counselors, or as true friends for unhappily married guys. But even there I'd doubt the 40% number. In NYC, more so.

Tis a pity we drove The English Courtesan away. She could be our background source.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:32 AM
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Since Governor Spitzer began his term in Albany, his wife has spent much of her time in New York City

This may explain his extracurricular activities. OTOH, he may just have wanted a blowjob. I remember, dimly, a study of prostitution's most-desired sex acts, and oral sex was at the top.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:32 AM
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Venkatesh said his research showed that, in more than 40 percent of the liaisons between johns and prostitutes at this high price point, no sexual intercourse actually occurred. "It's an expensive conversation" in some cases, Venkatesh said. "It happens a lot more than we think."

This would imply that there's an unfilled market for an agency that provides intelligent conversation for a fee. Recruitment would be easy- there must be orders of magnitude more people prepared to have an intelligent conversation for $1000 than there are people prepared to become $1000 prostitutes. (Grad students would seem the obvious pool to draw on.)
"So Long and Thanks for All the Fish":

"Do you want to have a good time?" said a voice from a doorway.
"As far as I can tell," said Ford, "I'm having one. Thanks."
"Are you rich?" said another.
This made Ford laugh.
He turned and opened his arms in a wide gesture. "Do I look rich?" he said.
"Don't know," said the girl. "Maybe, maybe not. Maybe you'll get rich. I have a very special service for rich people..."
"Oh yes?" said Ford, intrigued but careful. "And what's that?"
"I tell them it's OK to be rich."
...
Ford stopped and peered into the dark doorway.
"You what?" he said.
The girl laughed and stepped forward a little out of the shadow. She was tall, and had that kind of self-possessed shyness which is a great trick if you can do it.
"It's my big number," she said. "I have a Master's degree in Social Economics and can be very convincing. People love it. Especially in this city."
...
Walking north he again passed a steel grey limousine parked by the kerbside, and from a nearby doorway he heard a soft voice saying, "It's OK, honey, it's really OK, you got to learn to feel good about it. Look at the way the whole economy is structured ..."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:36 AM
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The 40% number seems high, but it may be a question of how you count encounters. Part of the purpose it to be able to show up in public with someone really hot. So you get a ridiculously hot, class-appropriate NY girl to show up with you at a dinner event. Another time, you just pay for the sex. The only problem I have is that if I were hanging out with such a woman, I would probably want to have sex with her. And if the rate was hourly, I think I'd probably extend my dinner event an hour or two to satisfy my libido. That's why I doubt the 40% number. Unless I could barely afford the two hour dinner already. But then why are you paying for top shelf if you can barely afford it?


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:36 AM
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29

25: Wait, Unfogged drove a courtesan away? When? Such an atrocity cannot be allowed to stand, surely!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:37 AM
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30

Sifu Tweety is studying to become a professional quirkologist.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:38 AM
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OT: Driving around I saw a sighn which read "PASSION OBAMA". "That's a bit much for around here", I though, "and ungrammatical, too. This Obama thing is out of control."

But it was really "PASSION DRAMA", with the bottom of the D and the R covered up. Apparently they don't call it a Passion Play any more because, you know, Hitler.

So now it's going through my head: Obama Drama, Passion Obama, Obama Passion Drama, Obamadamadingdong BAMA!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:39 AM
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25: Wait, Unfogged drove a courtesan away? When? Such an atrocity cannot be allowed to stand, surely!

It's true, and I feel a little bad about it, but it should be recalled that she was really pretty annoying.

Her first comment is here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:41 AM
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33

This would imply that there's an unfilled market for an agency that provides intelligent conversation for a fee

I don't think so. No one cares about the conversation without the frisson of possible sex (and the hotness), or the feeling of virtue from not despoiling the pretty young thing, even when you could, etc.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:43 AM
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This would imply that there's an unfilled market for an agency that provides intelligent conversation for a fee.

Not unfilled.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:43 AM
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Huh. I stumbled a few years ago on a blog called 'Postmodern Courtesan' (now defunct) that was purportedly written by a top-dollar prostitute. Some parts seemed exaggerated, but it was pretty detailed, and not all flattering.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:44 AM
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25: You can find her here. She is still annoying, and refers to herself in the third person. However, her rates seem to have gone down since her first appearance here. Maybe the market in Yorkshire can't afford her.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:45 AM
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29: I was just digging up the reference, but ogged beat me to it. In retrospect, that thread was hilarious. Toodle pip!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:46 AM
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Around the time the English Courtesan visited, I read a bunch of the courtesan blogs; the better they are, the more depressing they are.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:46 AM
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39

20
Being a politician is, in a superficial sense, the ideal job for the serial philanderer: odd hours, late nights, lots of travel, meeting gads of people your SO isn't likely to know at all ("Oh her? She's just the PR person for the tri-county bauxite-importor's league"). The obvious drawbacks--media attention, the proliferation of enemies and a tendency towards hubris--may not be obvious to the politician. He might conclude (operating on the "a wife knows" principle), with wd's coworkers, that if he's got his wife snowed then no outsider could pick up on him.


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:47 AM
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40

I've been thinking about this blowjob-as-commodity thing over the past few days, and what I really don't understand, that perhaps the EC could explain, is what the difference is between, say, a $1000 blowjob and a $40,000 blowjob. I mean, I get that there's probably a huge difference between a $5 blowjob and a $1000 blowjob, but above that, the quality distinctions are sort of lost on me. Either, like fine wines, there are gradients of high-quality blowjobs that are distinguishable only by connoisseurs, or, also like fine wines, it is the price itself that makes it worth that much. You are paying for the privilege of enjoying it while thinking, "This is a $40,000 experience."

I guess there's a lot about luxury items I don't understand. I feel the same way about handbags. The difference between a $5 handbag and a $400 handbag? Clear to me. The difference between a $400 handbag and a $10,000 handbag? I'm lost.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:47 AM
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41

As the article says, and we could probably guess, you're paying for the person who provides the sex (educated, pretty, discrete), not something special about the sex itself.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:50 AM
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Ogged's right in 33. Also, I have a hard time believing that the 'intelligent conversation' doesn't still ultimately have to serve the purposes of ego-stroking and flattery. Which makes most grad students bad candidates for the job.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:50 AM
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40: The giver of the $40,000 blowjob can speak seven languages, has an advanced degree and an astonishingly good marketing strategy. The given of the $1,000 blowjob only has a very good marketing strategy.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:50 AM
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I think y'all should send comments like 40 to her directly, and institute a semi-regular "ask the English Courtesan" feature. But then, I also think Unfogged should enlist McManus and Shearer do a regular joint blog seminar on electoral politics.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:51 AM
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I've been thinking about this blowjob-as-commodity thing over the past few days, and what I really don't understand, that perhaps the EC could explain, is what the difference is between, say, a $1000 blowjob and a $40,000 blowjob.

Maybe that's at the root of your relationship problems.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:51 AM
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46

Fuck Jackson Pollack. If Jackson Pollack is the measure of civilization, I choose depravity.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:52 AM
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the better they are, the more depressing they are.

This sounds very plausible.

what the difference is between, say, a $1000 blowjob and a $40,000 blowjob

$39,000.

In this case, I'd say, the money -- insofar as it's rational at all -- is partly going to the stuff Venkatesh mentions, and also a guarantee of discretion, not some unbelievable sexual experience.



Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:52 AM
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48

'intelligent conversation' doesn't still ultimately have to serve the purposes of ego-stroking and flattery

Yeah, no kidding. These guys aren't looking for "No, actually you're wrong about the Allies' strategy."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:52 AM
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There are definitely (usually) men who will pay significant amounts for cultured, bright, pretty young (usually) women as arm candy and conversational hosts, somewhat detached from actually having sex with them. I knew a girl who did quite well for herself in this market.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:53 AM
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See, you can make a man feel like a million dollars with only 25 blowjobs, if you're good. 1000 blowjobs would be too time-consuming for a hard-driving, ambitious guy who's always on the go.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:53 AM
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This would imply that there's an unfilled market for an agency that provides intelligent conversation for a fee

This is essentially how Japanese hostess bars work, though they don't provide intelligent conversation specifically.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:54 AM
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48: Oh, come on - hasn't anyone ever asked you your opinion of the Bosnian situation whilst in the middle hot monkey sex? Or does that just happen to me?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:54 AM
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53

If you're paying for conversation, what's with the blowjob? I detect a subtle contradiction.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:55 AM
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54

50: George Washington needed thirty goddamn hookers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:55 AM
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Oh, come on - hasn't anyone ever asked you your opinion of the Bosnian situation whilst in the middle hot monkey sex?

I'd say the reverse happens more often.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:56 AM
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53: it's like how the dentist is always asking questions when he has that suction thing in your mouth.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:56 AM
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53: There's a before and after, John.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:56 AM
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52: No, with me it's usually the relationship of Lars van Trier's work to Brechtian Verfremdung.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:56 AM
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59

Blowjobs are a form of conversation, John.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:56 AM
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60

Conversations about phased withdrawal can be quite confusing in that context.


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:57 AM
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I can't decide if #33 is more depressing or less depressing than a straight cash for sex play. Your the fricking governor of New York (or, at those prices, some similarly exalted person). How hard can it be to find a decent conversation with someone attractive that you're not going to have sex with? Is it that every such person to whom you could talk is on the make, or that you're so untrustworthy that no such person can take it for granted that you won't push for sex?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:57 AM
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I think that subtle flattery (just subtle enough for the guy) and a good listener are what the Japanese bars provide. And flirting and teasing. But often sex.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:57 AM
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40: The $10,000 bag is better than the $400 bag just because, and precisely because, it's the $10,000 bag. And then there's the power of expectations. Apparently people really do experience the more expensive wine as better-tasting than the cheaper wine, even when it's the exact same wine.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:58 AM
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If Jackson Pollack is the measure of civilization

Jackson Pollack isn't the measure. The measure is not being the sort of asshat who says `I could do that'.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:59 AM
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Your the fricking governor of New York (or, at those prices, some similarly exalted person). How hard can it be to find a decent conversation with someone attractive that you're not going to have sex with?

Well, this is where we begin to leave behind rational considerations of the substitutability of close alternatives for rational consumers of sexual services in general, and move toward the particular stuff that got Spitzer's rocks off.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:00 AM
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Is it that every such person to whom you could talk is on the make

Well, it was DC. I don't know but maybe it's relaxing to talk to someone whose angle you (think you) are sure about.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:00 AM
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61: But the point is not just the conversation. The point is to converse with someone who, you are sure if you asked or made a subtle move, would sleep with you or suck your dick. There's got to be something very exhilarating, and powerful-feeling, about hanging out with someone who is going to be a perfect lady, sweet, cultured and pretty, but when you get back to the hotel room has no chance of rebuffing your advances, if you decide it's worth your time.

It's about getting whatever you want. Whenever you decide you want it.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:01 AM
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62: There's some shading off into prostitution at the margins of the industry, but mostly they provide enough ego-stroking so that a salaryman can get up the next morning and face another day of fathomless alienation.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:01 AM
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And this includes fucking someone without a condom, if that's what you want.

It's living in a fantasy world where women exist to fulfill your desires, be it conversation, condomless sex, or dick-sucking, without giving you lip.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:02 AM
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but when you get back to the hotel room has no chance of rebuffing your advances

That sounds like a pretty depressing scenario to me. And probably true.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:03 AM
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As I'm certain someone note already (but I'm too lazy to find), it's probably also sensible thinking of high priced whores as positional goods.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:04 AM
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72

Positionable goods?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:05 AM
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73

And this includes fucking someone without a condom, if that's what you want.

But it sounds like he didn't get that, actually.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:07 AM
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74

Wait, I thought this was what you got for $4,300.

Whether she, like the English Courtesan, is a "qualified lifesaver, scuba diver and part qualified helicopter pilot" remains to be seen.


Posted by: wrenae | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:08 AM
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75

Really? Based on my reading of the complaint, it sounds like he did. I'm looking at it again.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:08 AM
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art qualified helicopter pilot

So you'll only die some of the time?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:09 AM
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64 just strengthens the case for depravity.

I think given enough money the difference between $400 and $10,000 seems pretty small. When I pick a movie to watch, I don't carefully weigh the cost of seeing a $3 movie versus seeing a $10 movie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:09 AM
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Based on my reading of the complaint, it sounds like he did.

It sounds like he was in the habit of asking for it, but Kristen said that she could handle it, and afterwards reported to her madam that she didn't have any trouble with him.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:10 AM
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77: a three dollar movie? What is that, like Benji Eats Poop at 7:30 in the morning?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:10 AM
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73, 75: It looks like ogged is right.

"I have a way of dealing with that...I'd be like listen, dude, you really want the sex?... You know what I mean."

Link.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:10 AM
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81

I, for one, decry the creeping credentialism of our women of easy virtue.


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:12 AM
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dick-sucking, without giving you lip

This sounds rather tricky, if you ask me. But I guess that's why I'm not making the big bucks.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:13 AM
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83

I wonder how much someone who gives you lip would cost.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:13 AM
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77a makes no sense to me, for the reason in 3.

77b is a good point though. It's easy to forget that for a substantial number of people, the difference between $500 and $5000 isn't going to be much notice. For that matter, $5000 might be a smallish fraction part of an evening out, depending where you're staying and eating, etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:14 AM
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Didn't you know, Di? You're just supposed to stick our your tongue and like it.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:15 AM
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86

*lick it, although you're supposed to like it, too.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:15 AM
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87

Oh, you could fill books with the things I didn't know.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:16 AM
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88

How hard can it be to find a decent conversation with someone attractive that you're not going to have sex with?

And isn't going to diss him for being a pompous philistine? Maybe not so much. Seriously, if he just wanted intelligent interaction with attractive women he could come here (though the preponderance of unattractive men might be a drawback). But he wouldn't feel like the universe orbited his ego. Which is the important bit.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:18 AM
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Clearly, it's his tendency to say things like "I coulda done that" when before a Pollock that explains his need to pay for intelligent conversation partners.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:25 AM
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74: Hey -- I'm a qualified lifeguard and SCUBA diver, too! Does this mean I can be a fancy prostitute?
(There are myriad reasons I could not be a fancy prostitute, but surely not the least of them is that I would sit there making faces at everything the dude said. I'm a fully involuntary eyebrow raiser, eye roller, and contemptuous snorter -- the john would flee before we got anywhere.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:26 AM
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83- No, DS, you don't understand. The dick-sucking without lip is the premium service.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:27 AM
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I'm a fully involuntary eyebrow raiser, eye roller, and contemptuous snorter

See, just like pro sports and top-rank musicians, an amazing amount of training goes into making this stuff look easy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:28 AM
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93

Sorry, lady, the helicopter certification is required.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:29 AM
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91: Impressive. And a little scary.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:30 AM
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95

Your the fricking governor of New York (or, at those prices, some similarly exalted person). How hard can it be to find a decent conversation with someone attractive that you're not going to have sex with? Is it that every such person to whom you could talk is on the make, or that you're so untrustworthy that no such person can take it for granted that you won't push for sex?

Presumably whenever he meets someone he wonders what kind of favor they would like from him (and probably wonders what kind of favor he can get from them, as well). Interactions like that, with the constantly shifting power politics and the constant need to be at your best, can be exhausting. The exchange of favors is much more straightforward with a prostitute.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:31 AM
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77a makes reasonable sense. No one says that they could paint a Vermeer, but Pollack (or Rothko) appeal precisely because they distinguish art connoisseurs from the unwashed masses. If you view looking down on people for being uneducated as obnoxious behavior, Pollack, or more precisely Pollack-snobbery, is something to be deplored.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:31 AM
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(There are myriad reasons I could not be a fancy prostitute, but surely not the least of them is that I would sit there making faces at everything the dude said. I'm a fully involuntary eyebrow raiser, eye roller, and contemptuous snorter -- the john would flee before we got anywhere.)

See, in your case, your agency would probably request that the john give you some sort of drug during the evening, so you'd be more friendly.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:33 AM
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Thing is, there are probably people who would pay for eyebrow raising, eye rolling and contemptuous snorting. I think I'm almost not even joking about that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:34 AM
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96: Exactly. There's this weird belief that something like intelligence, or whatever is tracked by education, opens up the doors to a conversation in which you do not know either the words or the grammar. So you get people who don't know a lot about music (though more than me) appreciating every bit of John Cage.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:35 AM
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So all the people misspelling "Pollock" are doing it intentionally, as a meta-jibe, right? It's like that whole "Will Farrell" thing that I've never quite understood?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:36 AM
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58: C'mon. Nobody here is gonna buy Tweety actually knowing the word Verfremdung.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:37 AM
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41: you're paying for the person who provides the sex (educated, pretty, discrete)

Yes, it's important to avoid partners who turn out to be merely parts of a collective identity. Luther Blissett, for example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Blissett_%28nom_de_plume%29


93: Sorry, lady, the helicopter certification is required.

s/b "expertise with choppers"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:39 AM
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101: the Brechtian dissociation of an audience from their common sense expectations of the reality of a scene?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:41 AM
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neither 96 or 99 address the reason in 3 though.

It's entirely consistent to deplore pollack-snobbery, as you put it at the same time as you deplore the reverse snobbery of guy standing in front of a Pollack or whatever and proclaiming `I could do that'.

Well, no. In the remote chance that you could have, you didn't. And that's important too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:41 AM
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103: Googling it doesn't count.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:42 AM
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100 at least until you messed it up.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:42 AM
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105: you think I don't google during sex?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:43 AM
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On a more serious note, do any of teh New Yorkers know anything about David Paterson other than the fact that he's black and blind. I was streaming WNYC just after the resignation announcement, and the Albany press corps said that the guy is very well liked, so he might be able to deal with the leg better than Spitzer. OTOH, there's a fear that he could be a pushover a la Pataki at the end of his term. And is this likely to affect the chances of getting a Democratic majority?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:44 AM
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Pollock's works are very symmetrical and homogeneous. I tried to do things like them once, and I always ended up focusing too much on the middle of the canvas, or making one side different from the other. Also, you need to carefully consider which colors go together, and how they look in different ratios. It does take skill.

His historical significance is a completely unrelated matter, of course.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:44 AM
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105: you think I don't google during sex?

If you didn't already know the word Verfremdung, why would you google it just so you could ask a question about it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:45 AM
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110: that's why I get paid the big bucks, Ben.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:47 AM
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90: You would be the dominatrix intellectual. The abusive eighth grade teacher he never had.

If you had the helicopopter certification, I mean.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:50 AM
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Helicopopter pylori?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:51 AM
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know anything about David Paterson other than the fact that he's black and blind

Like that old John Callahan cartoon about the panhandler.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:52 AM
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Paterson sees no color. Have you seen Stevie Wonder's latest CD?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:53 AM
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I just hope Paterson doesn't turn out to be a white supremacist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:54 AM
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you think I don't google during sex?

I knew iPhone owners were a little whacked about them, but I have to say this surprises me.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:56 AM
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Oudemia's 90 would make a good movie. The Unhappy Hooker, starring Kate Hudson trying to make it as a high-end escort, but unable to hide her contempt for her customers. Matthew McConaughey co-stars.

If I was in a museum and I heard someone say "I could do that," that would annoy me too. But I don't see how the museum-going experience would be improved if everyone suppresses their reactions to the art. In so far as there are approved reactions to art, art is less about the creation of genius, and more about the production of cultural capital.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:59 AM
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100 - Let's keep spelling corrections to Saiselgy's, where they belong.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:01 PM
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It's entirely consistent to deplore pollack-snobbery, as you put it at the same time as you deplore the reverse snobbery of guy standing in front of a Pollack or whatever and proclaiming `I could do that'.

But I find the reverse snobbery of "I could do that" to be less objectionable.

Doing something difficult is hard, but making it look easy enough that the average person thinks they can do it is harder. When someone reads Feynman's QED and says "oh, this stuff actually makes sense", I think the proper reaction is something like "Yeah, he sure makes it seem that way", or "Hah. I thought that too, until I actually took a class on quantum physics", not "Look at this dumbass. He thinks he understands QED."


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:03 PM
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120: again, completely missing the point of 3.

`look at this dumbass' is not the same as `but you didn't, did you.'


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:08 PM
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But I find the reverse snobbery of "I could do that" to be less objectionable.

I find them about equally objectionable. In both directions, you have people being exclusive by dismissing anyone (and their efforts) lacking the `right' sort of background. So called `low culture' snobbery is every bit as embedded and judgemental as `high culture' snobbery, in my experience.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:13 PM
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you think I don't google during sex?

I knew iPhone owners were a little whacked about them, but I have to say this surprises me.

This is all a little too close to possible reality for my liking.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:27 PM
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But I find the reverse snobbery of "I could do that" to be less objectionable.

I find the reverse reverse snobbery of preferring teh reverse snobbery to the snobbery most objectionable of all. So far.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:30 PM
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Pollack (or Rothko) appeal precisely because they distinguish art connoisseurs from the unwashed masses.

Bullshit. So you're just denying that there's value to abstract act? People who appreciate minimalist work just like it because liking it proves they're smart? Come on, man.

Anyway, we're not talking about people who have only ever seen the work of Thomas Kincade saying 'I could do that' in the face of Pollock and them being burned at the stake. I don't mind that as a response from people who literally don't have any experience with art, but if you are going to be going to museums and suchlike, and spending time looking at modern art, it's a dumb position to hold for very long.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:30 PM
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I could do Thomas Kincaid.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:33 PM
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I'm earnest about this shit, and I will be mocked, but abstract minimalist work appeals precisely because it's not obviously about anything, so you can lay over it whatever the hell you want, and it moves you or affects you, or sets a mood, or conveys a message or feeling, without reference to people, animals, or other objects.

That sense, that you're experiencing something you don't quite understand, is eerie and wonderful.

Now I will go get on a plane to Paris and be a horrible snob for the next ten days. Later, suckas.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:33 PM
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If anyone wants to send me emails telling me to go to this or that restaurant or cafe or bar in Paris because you like me and want me to have a good time, email me at rockpaperswords at geemail.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:35 PM
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This is all a little too close to possible reality for my liking.

YKIOK,IJNMK.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:37 PM
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I could do Thomas Kincaid.

YKIOK,IJNMK.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:38 PM
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130: And thank God for that, really. I don't want to live in Hiddenbrooke.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:40 PM
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131: Magpie, you insufferable snob!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:45 PM
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130 was my reaction exactly.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:46 PM
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contemptuous snorter

I am certain that there is a market for such a person.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:53 PM
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I quite like Pollock, actually.

As for certified helicopter pilots, get your hand off my knee and land the plane first, doll.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:56 PM
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128: I sent you an email, focussed on my 'hood, which is Bastille and the 11e. (Check it! Who's insufferable now!)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:56 PM
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135: if her hand's on your knee and she's flying a helicopter you might be landing quite unexpectedly soon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:57 PM
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There's nothing wrong with like abstract expressionism. It's the insistence that the people who don't like it need to keep it to themselves in public. But if we get to publicly say that Kincaide sucks (and we do, we do), we get to say that Pollock sucks.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 12:57 PM
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But no one objected to that, they objected to saying he sucks on the grounds of ease of execution.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:00 PM
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It's the insistence that the people who don't like it need to keep it to themselves in public.

Nobody said that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:02 PM
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128: Have you been to Paris before, so I don't tell you obvious things?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:03 PM
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When people say "I could do that", they don't mean they could literally recreate it, but they could do something equally as shitty.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:03 PM
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I quite like Pollock, actually.

Me too. Philistine purge!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:04 PM
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I reckon I could fight Kincaid, if I had to

Pollock in his prime looked a bit of a tough guy, quick on his feet, rather not put that one to the test

Rothko was the fragile type, I'd probably be OK there

these are my critical judgments; I offer them to you


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:06 PM
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When people say "I could do that", they don't mean they could literally recreate it, but they could do something equally as shitty.

But in general they can't, or at least never would. Saying you think something sucks is not at all the same as saying it sucks because it is trivial.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:07 PM
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Really? Maybe 'm misunderstanding what people are saying. People are offended because it's really hard to drip paint on the canvas on the particular way Pollack did it? That's offensive? I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around it.

Was anyone offended when John E. said that he could paint like Kincaide?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:07 PM
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Will Becks going to post about whether more people comment on abstract art comments or lip-less blowjobs?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:10 PM
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Has no-one considered that Spitzer might actually be a really talented painter?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:12 PM
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Has no-one considered that Spitzer might actually be a really talented painter?

Well, he'll have a lot of time to practice.

Kincaid isn't offensive because he's technically incompetent - he isn't, notably. He offends the kind of person who ends up here for the same sort of reason soft pr0n offends Christian conservatives.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:15 PM
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146.1: people regard Spitzer as a philistine because what ,ade Pollock a great artist was not the actual technical difficulty of dripping paint onto canvas. Spitzer's comment is akin to watching A Streetcar Named Desire and saying "man, that Brando ain't so great. I could memorize that many lines easy."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:15 PM
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145

"But in general they can't, or at least never would. Saying you think something sucks is not at all the same as saying it sucks because it is trivial."

I don't know anything about Pollock but I expect in general success as an artist has at least as much to do with your ability to market yourself and your work as its objective merit. So perhaps the claim should be "I could do something like that but I couldn't convince anybody that it was great art.".


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:15 PM
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146.1: people regard Spitzer as a philistine because what ,ade Pollock a great artist was not the actual technical difficulty of dripping paint onto canvas. Spitzer's comment is akin to watching A Streetcar Named Desire and saying "man, that Brando ain't so great. I could memorize that many lines easy."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:16 PM
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People are offended because it's really hard to drip paint on the canvas on the particular way Pollack did it?

What offends people in this is not that it's a ignorant or sometimes wilfully stupid attitude to take, although it is, but that it is a dismissive one. Somebody who stands `My kid could paint that' isn't saying that painting sucks, or even I don't like it. It is more that they are saying the person who did this, the people who hung it, the people who value it, they're all idiots; Their efforts, and ideas and passions have no value. It's a very judgmental stance,

Of course it's exactly the same sort of ignorance or sometimes willful stupidity that leads to mistakes like:

Pollack (or Rothko) appeal precisely because they distinguish art connoisseurs from the unwashed masses.

I'm certain Pollock or Rothko or whoever do appeal to some people on exacty those lines. Believing that is the whole point is completely missing the point though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:19 PM
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I can't believe I actually posted 152. Well trolled, Walt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:24 PM
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Also, painting like that and calling it 'art' in the 1940s is different than doing it now would be. Stuff on the walls in a museum is there in large part as a piece of a narrative of developments in art. Saying "I could do that" is silly if you're not a part of that narrative.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:24 PM
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Maybe 'm misunderstanding what people are saying.

I don't really know what people are wittering about either. I can't recall the name of the white canvas painting, I think in the Nat'l Gallery, but if someone walks in off the street and doesn't think "I could do that," then he's either (a) a sophisticated consumer of art, or (b) a liar who wants to appear to be a sophisticated consumer of art. If he thinks it and doesn't say it, he's either (a) appropriately humble in the face of something that he doesn't understand, or (b) inappropriately humble in the face of enormous, cathedral-like ceilings and church-like whisperings. If he says it, he's either (a) telling the truth, and showing his understandable ignorance, or (b) a dick.

Cripes, I don't listen to the same music as w-lfs-n because limited tests have shown that I don't like much of what he likes. I find the music he likes irritating. That's probably because w-lfs-n is a much more sophisticated listener than I am. But it still sounds cacophonous amateurism to me. My saying "Mmm" and nodding along isn't going to change that. I haven't done the work.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:26 PM
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is silly if you're not a part of that narrative.

very true, and often overlooked in discussions like this one.

154: Damn. You're right.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:26 PM
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It's not a question of whether "I could do that" is true or false. It's a "the proper way to judge a work of art is via a degree-of-difficulty score" issue.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:33 PM
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9, by the way, is insane. And I'm one of those people who freaks out when someone leaves their dog in the car, never mind their kid.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:36 PM
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I don't know much about art, but I had an experience in a high school humanities class that I still remember. We were looking at slides of Picasso paintings, and most of the class were acting like typical teenagers and pointing out that the drawings look like what a four-year old manages. Then the teacher put up a new slide, a startlingly realistic picture of (I think) an old man or old woman and told us that it was done by Picasso. All of a sudden we realized what we already knew: that the guy was choosing to paint in that manner in the other paintings. It wasn't the limit of his talent. That made a difference.

The rest of this is all the paradox of taste and peasants tasting iron and leather in the wine.

It was interesting that the next line in the article was Spitzer's wife chiding him, and then the two of them deciding to make their own splattery painting as a project.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:38 PM
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Sir Kraab:

She could see the car.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:38 PM
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I read Kraab as saying the prosecution was insane, not the mother's actions. And it is clearly nuts. And a piece of the moralizing that goes around whenever some senseless tragedy occurred: "where were the parents?" Probably doing the exact same thing you do, dipshit, except they were unlucky and you weren't.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:40 PM
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It's a "the proper way to judge a work of art is via a degree-of-difficulty score" issue.

People come to art with different levels of access. Pretty much the way they do to everything else enjoyable in life, from literature to basketball games. Cala just recently remarked, rightly, that it's much easier to appreciate how remarkable an athlete is if you've ever played the sport. If your exposure to art is roughly the art class you had to take in high school, you're not well prepared to make sense of some of it. It's not just "degree of difficulty"; it's "What's the the point?" leading to "maybe I should judge it on degree of difficulty." There are questions you are not prepared to ask because you don't know anything about the field. If you're actually interested, you can learn it; if you're just there as a payoff for last Sunday, when you both went to a game, you might not particulary want to learn. How many of us have read ogged's swimming posts and thought, "I must learn more!" rather than, "OMG, not again"?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:41 PM
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161: I think she means the cop is insane, fair Will.

On Pollock, it occurs to me that thinking "I could do that" is probably as good a place as any to begin understanding why he did what he did and what abstract painting meant to achieve. Saying it like you just figured out the teacher has a booger, however, is just another way to sound like a six-year-old.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:42 PM
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Yea, I misread Kraab. I assumed the worse about her.

I was wrong. Kraab was right. How could I have ever doubted her??!?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:42 PM
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All of a sudden we realized what we already knew: that the guy was choosing to paint in that manner in the other paintings. It wasn't the limit of his talent. That made a difference.

Totally. I had the same experience in a museum, also with Picasso.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:42 PM
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If your exposure to art is roughly the art class you had to take in high school

If you are, to use the colloquial term, a philistine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:43 PM
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I keep trying, but anything with a minimalist philosophy says nothing to me. It just looks like it's making the same point as today's content-free artists who are beloved by speculative investors, that being "They said you couldn't make (x thing) into art, but I proved them wrong."

I say this as someone who likes both Cy Twombly and Franz Kline. But Rothko? What's there?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:47 PM
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If you are, to use the colloquial term, a philistine.

Or getting sex often enough that you don't need to take the art class. Though I suppose that getting enough sex is probably not a bad marker of philistinism, at least at young ages.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:50 PM
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168: You surprise me, Ned. It's been my experience that more people get Rothko than Twombly. An old boyfriend of mine once burst out laughing when we walked into a Twombly show.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:51 PM
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This really is a class issue, as far as I can see. It takes education and some curiosity and intellectual work to develop an appreciation for abstract art. When someone like Spitzer, who is rich and went to great schools, says "I could do that," that tells us something about what kind of person he is to have either ignored, or blocked out many opportunities to develop some appreciation for something more than simple pretty pictures.

Of course, you might also want to call people who never had the opportunity to develop that taste philistines too, and we could have a big scrum about that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:51 PM
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There would be a role for a contemptuous snorter shill in public debates. They'd just have to listen attentively until given a signal and then put on the snorting / eye-rolling show. They couldn't snort cont9inuously throughout, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:53 PM
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Some of John Constable's stuff looks like Kinkade, sort of. Does it make me a philistine to look at a Constable and think, Thomas Kinkade could have done that?


Posted by: Zippy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:54 PM
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we all love mcmc's stuff though, right?

Better than Kincaide, but not as good as Pollack?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:56 PM
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Anyone who denies it's a class issue needs to make a splatter painting... with their stand mixer.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:56 PM
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174: I'd rather have one of mcmc's paintings in my house than one of Pollock's. On the other hand, I'd rather have one of Pollock's paintings available to pay for that house.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:58 PM
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with their stand mixer.

Only a philistine has only one.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:58 PM
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This really is a class issue, as far as I can see. It takes education and some curiosity and intellectual work to develop an appreciation for abstract art. When someone like Spitzer, who is rich and went to great schools, says "I could do that," that tells us something about what kind of person he is to have either ignored, or blocked out many opportunities to develop some appreciation for something more than simple pretty pictures.

Agreed. However, I certainly suspect that the studies on wine or drugs being perceived as more enjoyable the more expensive they are has some relevance with regard to abstract art.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:58 PM
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Nobody say no!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:59 PM
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Oh, and 124 was funny.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 1:59 PM
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I also think that if I had to choose between hundreds of thousands of dollars of services from high-class hookers or a nuanced understanding of abstract art, I'd choose the former. Unless I was the governor of New York.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:02 PM
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It wasn't the limit of his talent. That made a difference.

Bah to that. The idea that cubist or abex or whatever painting is ok, as long as you can also do realistic painting of a certain sort, is ridic. Maybe you were making a more temperate claim, that knowing how to respond to this particular painting is influenced by our knowing that the painter was giving up some technique which he could also use; Philip Guston would be another good example of this, I suppose, IIRC.

I wish I had known that the stations of the cross are at the National Gallery when I was there.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:03 PM
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Actually, water moccasin, I think we can now be pretty certain that you'd choose the former if you were the governor of New York.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:04 PM
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Obviously, Ben, she was saying that it made them think "artist who is up to something, we wonder what?" instead of "incompetent charlatan."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:05 PM
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Maybe you were making a more temperate claim, that knowing how to respond to this particular painting is influenced by our knowing that the painter was giving up some technique which he could also use

Gee, ya think? Though "giving up" is probably not the right description.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:06 PM
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"The governor of New York" doesn't refer to a person, Ben.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:06 PM
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It's also a class issue, Cala. But that's not all that's going on anymore than it is with, say, music.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:07 PM
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I was making a slightly different claim; that realizing that the technique was chosen influenced how we responded to it. It should have been obvious, but it wasn't until the two paintings were contrasted that we realized how it was a conscious choice.

I think an argument could be made for a version of the claim you call ridic, but I'm not sure would it be a good one and I am allegedly slogging through an annoying paper at the moment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:07 PM
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186: just because he's blind, black and in a wheelchair he's not a person to you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:08 PM
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I believe there are 3 standard (and incompatible responses) to the "I could do that" argument for any work of art.

1. No you couldn't, because you don't have the artist's [sense of composition, understanding of color, etc.]

2. But you didn't think of doing it, and that's where the artist is smarter than you. (see Lab's 3)

3. You're right, you could have. Why don't you try it? it's fun!

For most abstract art, I believe (3). It is actually the founding principle behind the North CountryAcademy for the excruciatingly Fine arts


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:08 PM
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I didn't say it couldn't be anything more than a class issue, just that it's undeniably a class issue.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:09 PM
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Take the quiz: Artist or Ape.


Posted by: Moby Ape | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:10 PM
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However, I certainly suspect that the studies on wine or drugs being perceived as more enjoyable the more expensive they are has some relevance with regard to abstract art.

"This primo stuff is was gathered in the late fall, 4500 feet up on the east slope of the Andes just south of the equator. A slight touch of chalk is noticeable when you first hit, but as you hold the smoke in a subtle accent of fruit gradually manifests.... We feel that it's a bargain at $10k."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:10 PM
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191: And someone was denying that?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:11 PM
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192: 100%


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:13 PM
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194: Nobody foreground it until pretty late in the game (ogged, #171).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:13 PM
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194: No, I was agreeing with ogged's previous statement to the same effect.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:14 PM
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the studies on wine or drugs being perceived as more enjoyable the more expensive they are has some relevance with regard to abstract art.

On the art market--obviously. On merely liking some piece of art because it's perceived as more expensive--obviously some people like art the better the more it's perceived as expensive, but that's a statement about people, not about art, and it won't tell you anything about art unless you already assume that the only true value of art is monetary.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:15 PM
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There's really something special to doing something first. If you follow composers (and artists too, I suppose) you can watch them gradually figuring out their own style, which doesn't really exist at the beginning.

I couldn't really do Kinkade, but given a couple of years I could probably fake a Mozart or Haydn symphony. A lot of that's been reduced to rule.

Janacek, Satie, and Musorgsky all really changed music, and all of them had severe technical weak spots at the beginning. (Least of all Janacek, but his training was spotty). Both Satie and Musorgsky were regarded as incompetents by many, though in many cases their mistakes were deliberate.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:15 PM
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It is a class issue insofar as someone who says, derisively, "I could do that" has no class, to paraphrase the sainted Jack Kennedy on the not sainted and actually very unpleasant Richard Nixon.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:15 PM
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192: False dichotomy. Pollack, Kandinsky, etc. are all apes. And the chimpanzee who did the other paintings, he is an artist.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:16 PM
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I am not good about appreciating most modern art, but I'm perfectly willing to cop to being a philistine.

My classical music tastes aren't terribly sophisticated either. I can not talk knowingly about Grieg. (Mentioned because I was somewhere where two people were going on about how they had rediscovered Grieg.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:16 PM
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"The governor of New York" doesn't refer to a person, Ben.

Sure it does.

Obviously, Ben, she was saying that it made them think "artist who is up to something, we wonder what?" instead of "incompetent charlatan."

And what I'm saying is that it's ridiculous that the artist should have to prove his chops in some other style to get you to believe that he's not an incompetent charlatan.

that realizing that the technique was chosen influenced how we responded to it. It should have been obvious, but it wasn't until the two paintings were contrasted that we realized how it was a conscious choice.

While seeing a painting produced with much different technique may have made salient that the new paintings' style was chosen, for this purpose it is otherwise irrelevant. What if, say, Picasso's wrists had been injured (ok, this doesn't really work for Picasso, actually, given the paintings he did produce, but Let's Pretend), and that's why he didn't paint in the old style anymore? That wouldn't delegitimate his later productions. (Perhaps he could be said to have chosen the new style in virtue of having chosen to continue painting, but that's more of a "choose yourself" sort of choice than choosing this technique within painting than that.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:18 PM
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You know, you don't have to choose between prostitutes and modernism. They're totally compatible.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:18 PM
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On the art market--obviously. On merely liking some piece of art because it's perceived as more expensive--obviously some people like art the better the more it's perceived as expensive, but that's a statement about people, not about art, and it won't tell you anything about art unless you already assume that the only true value of art is monetary.

Can you really separate people's perceptions about art and isolate art?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:19 PM
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I think you used delegitimate incorrectly, Ben.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:20 PM
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You know, you don't have to choose between prostitutes and modernism

So, what you're saying is that it is just as acceptable to say "I could've done that" in reference to prostitution as to Pollack?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:21 PM
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That's nice, will.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:22 PM
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So, what you're saying is that it is just as acceptable to say "I could've done that" in reference to prostitution as to Pollack?

Well, maybe, but I don't think I could get $5,500/hour as a prostitute. Or, for that matter, that I could paint a Pollock. I guess they really are the same!


Posted by: Jl | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:25 PM
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it's ridiculous that the artist should have to prove his chops in some other style to get you to believe that he's not an incompetent charlatan

That's not the claim. It's a pedagogical exercise to help people take the work seriously, not a way to appraise the work's worth.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:25 PM
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It was the only thing about which I could comment negatively.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:25 PM
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No, it wouldn't obviate the value of his work had it been all he could do; but it was a useful tool for getting high school students past the romantic idea of the artist as someone who doesn't have to work at her craft and whose productions are meant to be mere representations of physical objects.

Maybe it's ridiculous, or maybe we were high school students who didn't know anything at all about art.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:27 PM
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#205. Never totally, no, but to some degree. Unless you want to argue that we can only talk about perceptions. I can definitely say that "people like expensive art more than inexpensive art" is a statement about people not a statement about art.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:28 PM
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I pwned you, Cala, now you're my girlfriend.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:28 PM
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213: how can one make a statement about art without making a statement about people?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:29 PM
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214: You're the only one who understands me, but not the one who holds the dynamite.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:31 PM
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Cursed fate!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:33 PM
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the romantic idea of the artist as someone who doesn't have to work at her craft and whose productions are meant to be mere representations of physical objects.

Pointing out the tension between the two conjuncts here seems as if it would work pretty well also.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:33 PM
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how can one make a statement about art without making a statement about people?

During sex?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:35 PM
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198

""the studies on wine or drugs being perceived as more enjoyable the more expensive they are has some relevance with regard to abstract art."

On the art market--obviously. On merely liking some piece of art because it's perceived as more expensive--obviously some people like art the better the more it's perceived as expensive, but that's a statement about people, not about art, and it won't tell you anything about art unless you already assume that the only true value of art is monetary."

Do you doubt that the results would be similar if the subjects were told one wine (or work of art) was more esteemed by critics instead of more expensive?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:39 PM
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Yes, it would, but the slides worked well, too.

As a teenager, I wasn't really familiar with the idea of art as requiring work. Art was just something in which you had talent, and I didn't. Other areas of human excellence required both; I knew that I would have to revise creative fiction, or that essays would require drafts, or that science and mathematics would require study and drills.

That art should require work like anything else is an obvious truth, but it's one that failed to occur to me, and I suspect that I wasn't alone in this. I put this down mostly to an impoverished arts curriculum.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:40 PM
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219: with or without an iphone?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:41 PM
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Not only do we all like mcmc's art, but some of us are contacting me to find out how to buy it. I got an email from someone today who saw this link.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:46 PM
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w-lfs-n, are you taking rob helpy's "maybe the chimp is an artist" position? (I think rhc meant it as a joke.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:54 PM
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I did rather like the chimp's paintings.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:56 PM
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I got 100% on that test because after looking at them, I decided not to follow the patterns, but the arrangement of color, with the idea being that the human artist would pay more attention to the placement of the colors. Ex recto criticism!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 2:58 PM
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Ogged said:

It takes education and some curiosity and intellectual work to develop an appreciation for abstract art.

My personal experience was the exact opposite. Back when I knew nothing about art, I only liked abstract art, not representational (I never liked Pollock, though). It was because it was easier to see what made it art; in that the intent of the artifice was right there on the surface. It was only after years of going to museums that I developed a taste for representational art, and unlearned my taste for abstract art.

The anecdote made me like Spitzer better because it was so revealing. I'm sure Spitzer knew you weren't supposed to say that about Pollock, but he said it anyway. It was that streak of self-righteous rectitude that dragged him into the governor's office and face to face with his own destruction.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:04 PM
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Is wrongshore a mcmc dealer?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:05 PM
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I liked the chimps paintings too, but it was pretty easy to separate them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:06 PM
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I do kind of wonder if it would have been so easy if I didn't know the criterion.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:07 PM
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I guessed wrong about the first painting in the ape/artist quiz. That Congo is one talented painter, objectively more so than Kincaide.

Wine philistine anecdote: I was at a blind tasting of American Bordeaux-style blends into which the distributor had thrown a Chateau Margaux just for fun. The Margaux was roundly panned until the labels were revealed, at which point several tasters backpedaled and set to revising their scores.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:12 PM
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I didn't even read rhc's chimp comments, nor do I know anything about the chimp or the chimp's work.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:12 PM
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I guessed wrong about the first painting in the ape/artist quiz.

Me too!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:14 PM
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I guessed wrong about the first painting in the ape/artist quiz.

Me too!

Me too, but I thought the second one sucked. I did think it was by a person though.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:17 PM
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234: I mean, I liked the chimp's first painting. I'm inclined to like a limited palette, though.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:19 PM
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192: 100%! I do know my apes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:22 PM
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Wine philistine anecdote: I was at a blind tasting of American Bordeaux-style blends into which the distributor had thrown a Chateau Margaux just for fun. The Margaux was roundly panned until the labels were revealed, at which point several tasters backpedaled and set to revising their scores.

As I think I've mentioned before, somewhere out there on the Tubes (or elsewhere) is a story claiming that lots of self-described wine connoisseurs can't tell the difference between red and white when blindfolded. (As I said previously, that's sufficiently dramatic that I suspect trickery or lying, but there were lesser claims as well.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:23 PM
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The first one is a great painting! The palette is well chosen, and the balance between the black splotches on the lower right, the subtle red to the left of center and the unpainted field in the upper right is totally effective. Who represents this Congo?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:24 PM
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Much more difficult: Faulker or Machine Translation?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:26 PM
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I was entirely serious when I called the chimp and artist. I believe that work produced by many more sophisticated animals counts as art. I'm pretty sure the work people have prodded chimps and elephants into doing counts as art. I am also open to the idea that some things animals make on their own--perhaps as a part of courtship displays--counts as art.

Consider: the aesthetic sense did not suddenly appear in humans. It evolved with the rest of our emotional and perceptual tool kit. Similar animals are likely to have similar senses. Further, with many animal works, the animal is creating the art intentionally. This is not true for paintings made by cats running across wet paint. But it is true for chimps and elephants.

1. An aesthetic sense did no


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:26 PM
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ignore that last line.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:27 PM
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somewhere out there on the Tubes (or elsewhere) is a story claiming that lots of self-described wine connoisseurs can't tell the difference between red and white when blindfolded

I want to say that this was a NYer story, but I'm not sure.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:29 PM
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I want to say that this was a NYer story, but I'm not sure.

It was. Obviously key: the wines have to be served at the same temperature.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:32 PM
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237: It was in a Calvin Trillin NYer article. The Food Issue a few years back.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:32 PM
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242-244: So not Juggs, then? Huh.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:33 PM
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239: There's a trick. These are much better than Babelfish translations.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:33 PM
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SCMTim: You better go out and buy a bunch of back issues of Juggs,> just to be sure.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:34 PM
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203: And what I'm saying is that it's ridiculous that the artist should have to prove his chops in some other style to get you to believe that he's not an incompetent charlatan.

And this is the single biggest problem with so-called "outsider art," as it's curated and presented as such: the viewer goes in knowing that the work on offer is done by people who have, in most cases, not proven their chops in ways the viewer is ready to respect.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:35 PM
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There's also this.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:36 PM
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The Trillin article.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:40 PM
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Can you expand on 248, parsimon?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:40 PM
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237: Frank Prial or Eric Asimov did a piece in the Times several years ago about this; IIRC they did a blind tasting to test it. Given certain parameters—minimal tannin in the reds, for example—the difference between certain reds and whites isn't as obvious as they thought.

Even better wine philistine anecdote: I worked at a restaurant for an insufferable know-it-all who took it upon herself to school a guy with a completely undiscriminating palate. She had me open a bottle of nice Bordeaux and pour a glass, then asked for a glass of the house Bordeaux. Before they could taste them, she got up to answer the phone, and while she was away from the table he switched the glasses. She then returned to pontificate about the obvious virtues of the one and flaws of the other, while my co-worker and I looked on and did our best not to fall over laughing.

On preview, I remember the Trillin piece, but I'm pretty sure there was also something in the Times about it too.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:40 PM
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249: That might have been what I saw. Or at least a review in Juggs of the associated book.

What kills me is that we now have this sort of evidence--and for all I know, it's worth little; but it's not nothing--and still people witter on.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:42 PM
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251: In a minute; gotta go do something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:44 PM
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Frank Prial or Eric Asimov did a piece in the Times several years ago about this

Here McQueen uses the "limited options" gambit, available to only the most hardened Lifemen. With this simple phrasing, he implies not just that he has read the article, which could have easily been done in the last ten minutes by an uncultured amateur, but that he has read the article and forgotten it, as well as knowing enough about the subject that even if he had not read the article, he would be able to predict its author to a specificity of 50%.


Posted by: Cogg-Willoughby | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:45 PM
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248: Why is this a problem? I think the outsider gets whatever respect he does get because he's made something really interesting from scratch, as it were.

What kind of chop-proving is required of contemporary artists? I'm kind of thinking "a demonstration of a self-consciousness relationship to recent art-history". Nobody has to show that they could paint like an old master if they felt like it.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:46 PM
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There is evidence on the other side, too. Wine experts can correctly identify the amount of tannin, acid content, etc.

No, I don't know where this evidence is.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:47 PM
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248 is a wonderful example of naïve folk commentary that, despite the author's fundamental lack of training or traditional skill, hits on some remarkably deep aesthetic truths.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:47 PM
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Stop trying to make "witter" happen, Timbot.

Like Ben says, the temperature of the wine makes a big difference, and I don't think anyone would dispute that preconceptions can overwhelm how we think something tastes, but that's not the same as demonstrating that people can't detect differences, or meaningfully describe something under any circumstances. Presumably even a cave-dweller like you has had more than one wine, and presumably you didn't think they tasted the same.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:47 PM
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I am also open to the idea that some things animals make on their own--perhaps as a part of courtship displays--counts as art.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:48 PM
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minus the ness.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:49 PM
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I'm deeply disappointed 260 didn't go to the video of the chimp pissing in his own mouth.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:50 PM
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Presumably even a cave-dweller like you has had more than one wine

Yeah, but at the same time, so it doesn't show as much as you'd think.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:51 PM
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255: Or that I couldn't be bothered to Google it—which search terms would I use?—but knew that if it had appeared in the Times, that's who would have written it.

And helpy-chalk is correct in 257.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:52 PM
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260: awesome!
262: well, even with humans, performance art is not accepted by everyone just on the artist's say-so.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:52 PM
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the aesthetic sense did not suddenly appear in humans. It evolved with the rest of our emotional and perceptual tool kit.

I'd love to hear the evidence for this.


Posted by: iancgdi | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:53 PM
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No, I don't know where this evidence is.

There was a Mythbusters where a vodka expert correctly ranked some vodka based on how many times it had been filtered.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:55 PM
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how many times it had been filtered

...through Russians.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:56 PM
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SOT: The local DVD rental place has a DVD containing a collection of Viennese Aktionist films. There isn't really any context that comes with it.

Um...would I derive any benefit from renting this? It has certainly piqued my curiosity.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 3:59 PM
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266, look at the display in 260. If you need more argument, I'll give it, but really it is stuff that that which motivates me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:03 PM
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Um...would I derive any benefit from renting this?

The Schwarzkogler self-castration turned out not to be true, so maybe not.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:04 PM
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Haven't read the thread, but pix/interview w/ "Kristen" now at NYT.

If already posted above, sue me.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:14 PM
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Could someone provide a link to these chimp paintings?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:16 PM
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192 to 273.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:21 PM
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men who hire expensive escorts face the same risks as those who hire streetwalkers, including the chance of being robbed or blackmailed.

I hope someone else has pointed out how fucked it is that the WaPo worries about the risk of violence to the johns.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:21 PM
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192, BG.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:22 PM
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Nobody actually read the article, B. This is an art thread.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:22 PM
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272:
"I just don't want to be thought of as a monster," the woman said as she told the tiniest tidbits of her story. Born Ashley Youmans but now known as Ashley Alexandra Dupre, she spoke softly and with good humor as she added with significant understatement: "This has been a very difficult time. It is complicated.".

Look, bitches, you're monsters. Don't be so fucking touchy about it.

Was that a dogwhistle or what?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:24 PM
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In the interview, she said she saw the Rolling Stones perform at Radio City Music Hall on their last tour after a friend gave her two of tickets.

"Two of tickets". Kovaleski is an illegal? The times doesn't hire Americans any more?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:27 PM
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artists vs apes 100 %, faulkner vs mashin translation 25% :((((


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:28 PM
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F e


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:29 PM
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I did poorly on the machine vs. Faulkner, but it was because the machine translations were better than I'm used to. Faulkner takes his character's voices and often portrays their confusion, ignorance, desperation, and incoherence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:30 PM
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"Boo" is dated?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:31 PM
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Does the woman's life really need to be laid bare? That was all a bit tacky. Not that I didn't read the whole thing, but you know...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:34 PM
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Does repeating what someone says on their MySpace page really count as reporting? If you post the MySpace page on a museum wall, is it art?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:36 PM
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Her career began today, Ogged. She and her Mom both seemed willing to talk. I imagine someone's interviewing Washingtonienne as we speak. Will it be the new Wonkette, or the now respectable Ana Marie?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:37 PM
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People, she's really a MUSICIAN. In the tradition of, e.g., Mariah Carey.

Never mind how she pays the rent!

(Someone w/ more fortitude than I needs to listen to her songs on MySpace & report back.)


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:40 PM
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251: Our own American Visionary Art Museum, aka AVAM, here in Baltimore presents itself as a showcase for outsider art, and the artists it shows as untrained. A great deal of the work is marvelous, thought-provoking, and so on, but too much of the accompanying text has a flavor of "And isn't it amazing! Despite the fact that this guy has been discovered, he continues to spend all his time in his backyard shed hacking away at this stuff while he works as a garbageman during the day!"

In keeping with some of the observations upthread, the average art viewer either thinks that artmaking is a function of raw talent, or that it's hard work following on training in the more traditionally respected, and more easily digested, representational arts. Both of these tie the perceived value of the work to the value granted its creator.

Eh, presenting so-called outsider art by emphasizing its 'raw talent' aspect, and the "isn't it a curiosity" motif, does the art a disservice by pandering to the viewer's comfortable preconceptions -- just as Cala's high school teacher inspired respect for Picasso by showing his artfully executed representational work.

Populuxe and I have had a couple of long conversations -- when seeing shows in DC -- about the expectations that are set up and reinforced in the viewer by the sort of text that accompanies pieces presented in a show. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn if I say that it's his view that an intriguing show of relatively famous (or not) works would include a history of the changing of hands and prices realized of the pieces over time since their creation. I agree that this would be interesting, but would like to see a parallel show of the same pieces without any accompanying text whatsoever.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:48 PM
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I didn't read the whole thing. It just all seemed sort of sad. She is very pretty.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:48 PM
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"Braggadocious" might not have existed but it does now. Ranks right up there with Pollock. Course, it's the Times' writer who coined it, not Eliot.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:51 PM
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I try to go to the American Visionary Art Museum whenever I'm in Baltimore. I've never found the supporting text condescending or novelty-focused.

Notice that it is a museum of visionary art. Not outsider art, folk art, or art brute.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:52 PM
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I didn't read the whole thing. It just all seemed sort of sad. She is very pretty.

I did, it is, and she is. What'll be really sad, I think, is following up on her five years from now.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:57 PM
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We're sounding like the Victorian tracts about the nice girl who was ruined.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 4:58 PM
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Well, it looks like the NYTimes scooped the tabloids. I read it, and had the same reaction as Sifu Tweety. I don't care if it makes me sound Victorian.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:11 PM
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I do know someone who survived worse than that, and she seems fine. If there's a problem, it's that she's too selfish at times. No signs of wear, or of being a victim.

She didn't have nationwise publicity, of course.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:18 PM
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I have said "hey, lemme try to make something like that" before at museums. And then I went home and tried, and usually failed, and knew I'd failed, and was okay with that. I'm getting better though, and I think that continuing to look at art and not being afraid or overawed of it was instrumental to that.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:18 PM
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Is it okay if I don't read the tabloids and confessions and what have you about the prostitute?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:20 PM
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297 - Seriously? No. Every joke we make for the next four months is going to revolve around this woman's MySpace page.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:22 PM
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297: Yes.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:22 PM
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297: mmmmmmaybe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:26 PM
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I do know someone who survived worse than that, and she seems fine. If there's a problem, it's that she's too selfish at times. No signs of wear, or of being a victim.

Hmm. In my limited and second-hand (third-hand?) experience, one of the reasons being a prostitute sucks is that you can make a ton of money for not much work for a few years and develop expensive habits. Then all of a sudden you find yourself turning 30 or getting pregnant or something else that dramatically decreases your market value and you end up either broke and helpless or dealing with progressively worse clients or something. Massive press coverage now will only make it worse later.

Unless she is able to parlay her hero status on Wall Street to some sort of free retirement planning or something.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:29 PM
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American Visionary Art Museum

Artist Mark Barry, who posts at the group blog Ionarts, is involved with them.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:29 PM
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Disapproving of prostitution is anti-feminist. Report for reëducation in the morning.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:31 PM
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i read the article and thought people's lives can be so eventful, karma etc


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:34 PM
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301: Sounds like pop music and pro sports. The person I'm thinking out didn't have much of the fun part.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:34 PM
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Explain the "very pretty". I thought she was pretty, but not in any outstanding way, certainly not in an A-list $1K an hour sort of way. I'd expected stunning, not merely pretty. And she can't even fly a helicopter part way...

Best advice anyone on her MySpace page has given her: Get a better lawyer and stop talking to the press. What possesses people to spill all the sordid details as quickly as possible? The whole fucking country has become a non-stop Jerry Springer show.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:38 PM
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She is very pretty.

Sure, but not $5500/hr pretty. Cripes, being an old man is going to suck, isn't it?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:41 PM
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It's not clear to me who's disapproving of prostitution. I just don't like the salacious whatever in discussion of it.

As for AVAM, no, per Rob's I've never found the supporting text condescending or novelty-focused (291), it's not intentionally condescending, it's just directing itself to an audience that will be receptive to the Ooh, Novelty! thing. It's completely understandable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:42 PM
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SCMT you have a courtesy call in the other thread. SCMT to the other thread, please.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:42 PM
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i thought at first that those were photos of the different girls


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:42 PM
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307: The press have evidently been exaggerating her rates.

being an old man is going to suck, isn't it?

Only if you lack sufficient euros to hire a top-of-the-line sexbot from Microsoft.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:43 PM
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Cripes, being an old man is going to suck, isn't it?

Not if you're one of the old men who whores himself out for $5500 per hour.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:44 PM
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If bower birds' nests count as art, then I gather that deciding that a torchiere by the couch is more likely to get me laid than track lighting overhead qualifies as an exercise of my aesthetic sense.


Posted by: iancgdi | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:45 PM
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Mmmm, break me off some of that Fabergé old man candy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:45 PM
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Disapproving of prostitution is anti-feminist.

But so is pretty much everything, so what's the big deal?

Sounds like pop music and pro sports. The person I'm thinking out didn't have much of the fun part.

Yeah, but I think that getting any level of success in pop music and pro sports require a level of dedication that goes beyond "I'm pretty hot and if I let random dudes sexxor me I can make a ton of money." Maybe that dedication can get put to more productive use once the primary career is over?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:46 PM
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312: Speaking of which, whatever happened to that Nevada boy-brothel idea that Heidi Fleiss had? I imagine it being underwritten by Pfiser.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:46 PM
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It's not clear to me who's disapproving of prostitution.

I am.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:47 PM
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307: The press have evidently been exaggerating her rates.

Other people at the service made more. If you look at the screencaps from their old site, you can see that each woman has some number of stars, up to seven, to indicate their "quality."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:49 PM
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I am.

Victorian. J'accuse.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:50 PM
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318: Maybe you build some sort of value matrix for us? I mean, as long as you've already done most of the work.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:50 PM
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Mary Catherine should definitely not hire a prostitute.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:51 PM
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318: Yeah, I know - but it's been her the press have been talking about, with their customary lack of fact checking [and copy-editing, apparently].


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:53 PM
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Best advice anyone on her MySpace page has given her: Get a better lawyer and stop talking to the press. What possesses people to spill all the sordid details as quickly as possible? The whole fucking country has become a non-stop Jerry Springer show.

No comment. You can read about it in my forthcoming book.

"Spitzer: Bad boy, bad boy. What are you going to do to make him come for you?"


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:54 PM
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Maybe that dedication can get put to more productive use once the primary career is over?

In sports and rock n roll it doesn't seem to be the rule.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:54 PM
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Unless, of course, Mary Catherine wants to hire Ogged, in which case he should charge more than Kristen. Or Kriston. And not make arrangements on the phone.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:55 PM
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The Ogged is not for sale.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:56 PM
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not $5500/hr pretty

Is anyone? Except me?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:57 PM
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OT: Can anyone recommend a guide to watching The Sopranos? I just started from the beginning. Are there seasons that should be abbreviated or skipped?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:57 PM
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If one hires a hooker by the hour, what would the charges be between 2AM standard time and 3AM DST?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:57 PM
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326: It would only be for rent, O.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:58 PM
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319: I am, of course, most grievously shocked by your base insinuations.

Has anyone seen my smelling salts?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 5:59 PM
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The Ogged is not for sale.

Strictly barter.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:00 PM
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Also, yeah, "Kristen" should definitely seek legal advice and stop talking to the press.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:00 PM
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It's quite fortunate that her fake name is so extremely common for people her age that people who share it will not be tormented by jokes.

Unlike "Monica".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:02 PM
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Hell, her real first name is incredibly common these days. And if Mary Catherine befriends her, they can pretend to be the Olsen twins.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:06 PM
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I thought she was pretty, but not in any outstanding way, certainly not in an A-list $1K an hour sort of way.

I want to argue with this, but I'm not sure where to start because I don't think anyone here has an idea of what a $1000/hour prostitute should look like.

I will say that the 'nice conversation/classy/just need an escort/courtesan' line pushed around earlier seems a bit much when it's a 22-year-old former homeless girl.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:25 PM
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Her being a former homeless girl doesn't tell us much. If there's anything to the courtesan line, her apparent prettiness may not mean that much either. Cleopatra's rep as a seductress wasn't based on great beauty.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:32 PM
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313: Interior design is an aesthetic activity at least, if not an art. Furthermore, many artists have been motivated primarily, or even exclusively, by the desire to get laid. Even more were motivated exclusively by money. Certainly that was the norm prior to the Romantic era.

Well, you say, the artist must have *some* other desire than making money or getting laid. I agree. At a minimum, the artist should take pride in his or her craftsmanship and pleasure in the beauty of what is made. Further, I believe many animals are capable of this. Some animals clearly cannot. Ants don't take pride in their nest building. But chimps are perfectly capable of pride. The ability to enjoy sight is probably also widely distributed amongst the animals. Animals that are keen of vision like the bower birds might very much enjoy looking at bright colors.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:33 PM
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336: I thought the upshot of everything we just said was that a prostitute's main asset is the ability to make flattering conversation.

My former colleague, an anthropologist who did her field work as a stripper, also reported that the main skill strippers need is the ability to make flattering conversation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:35 PM
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337: It tells us she's not a highly educated graduate student who is doing this just for the money and the nice conversation. Doesn't look like she had a whole lot of options.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:36 PM
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Further, a lot of homeless grifters know how to use words to get their way.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:37 PM
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340: I thought it was a given that most call-girls are in the business because they have a choice between low-wage jobs and making serious money. Was someone disputing this? I haven't read the whole thread.

Her former homelessness certainly wouldn't be relevant to her possible effectiveness as a high-class escort, grad student or no.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:39 PM
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340: Yeah, that makes me feel a lot less comfortable with the idea that the high price suggests she wasn't being exploited.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:41 PM
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342: "Ridiculously hot, class appropriate." Or young and desperate.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:42 PM
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340

"... Doesn't look like she had a whole lot of options."

She probably didn't have a whole lot of options that paid as well but I bet she plenty of alternatives to starving. Going home to mother for one.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:43 PM
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Cala: I live in LaLaLand, where one can run into high-priced call girls at any industry party. [There is a noted political talk show host who has them in matching pairs.] "Pretty" doesn't make it; "extremely beautiful" is the norm. As someone else mentioned, when one is selling one's body as a physical commodity, it becomes reasonable to judge appearance as a measure of value. That's why Brad Pitt makes the big $$$ as an actor and why, say, Joshua Saviano became a lawyer.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:44 PM
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Basically, her story sounds not entirely dissimilar to this woman's, albeit harder-edged. And the article on "Kristen" didn't make it sound like it was prostitution that got her off the street; indeed it would be surprising if high-end escort rings hired homeless girls straight off the stret.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:46 PM
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LA is LA, though...


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:49 PM
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I will say that the 'nice conversation/classy/just need an escort/courtesan' line pushed around earlier seems a bit much when it's a 22-year-old former homeless girl.

I hear you. And while I'm willing to believe that some men do hire escorts to accompany them to dinners and parties and such, I have to suspect that this aspect of the service has been somewhat exaggerated. A high-profile politician who is known to be married is not going to be seen in public with an "elegant companion" who is obviously not his wife. I bet many, if not most, of the clients are married...and not looking to be escorted to social functions.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:52 PM
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349: The "social functions" line rings false to me, too. "Ornament at private parties" I could see.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:54 PM
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348: LA is LA, but New York shouldn't be lagging behind.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:54 PM
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349: I dunno. In the interview to which DS linked in #347, the former call-girl says 50-50 married/unmarried, and a lot were looking for companionship (though no suggestion that they wanted only talk). All very weird.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:55 PM
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351: I get the impression that LA has always been more obsessed with a certain type of beauty than NY, though. I'm partly ass-talking here as someone who's never lived in either city, but I've known someone who claimed (believably, it seemed to me) to have worked as an escort in Manhattan, and she was certainly charismatic and pretty but not conventionally beautiful.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 6:57 PM
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As someone else mentioned, when one is selling one's body as a physical commodity, it becomes reasonable to judge appearance as a measure of value.

Perfectly reasonable, yes, to the extent that one is prepared to endorse, if not to actively participate in, this type of commodity exchange. But it's also quite reasonable to criticize the commodification in the first place.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:02 PM
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354: But it's also quite reasonable to criticize the commodification in the first place.

Of course it is, but that wasn't the subject under discussion. We can agree that commodification is not necessarily for the best in all situations, but one doesn't have to endorse it or participate in it to acknowledge that such commodification exists and that it has certain standards.

353: I've lived in both cities and seen A-list mistresses/escorts in both. The look is different, but neither is inferior to the other. It may be that "Kristen" is smashing in person because of her personality, but the pictures don't capture any of that.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:10 PM
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Will one of the economics geeks experts figure out for me what $250 1972 money is in 2008 money?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:13 PM
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356: About a thousand dollars.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:17 PM
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1266.79 according to the site I go to. Reliability unknown.

According to this site, the baby name "Monica" peaked around 1980 and has declined steadily since. There's no Clinton drop in the 90s.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:20 PM
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There's no Clinton drop in the 90s.

Perhaps countered by Friends.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:22 PM
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Thank you. I retract my comment about Kristen's hourly wage, as I was offered $250/hour back in my youth. If that is the equivalent of $1K nowadays, and as I was cute rather than ravishing, maybe passing fair is all one needs to be.

OTOH, I give a hell of a blowjob and could, at that time, converse meaningfully in French, Russian and Finnish, with the occasional tourist Italian and Arabic insults thrown in. I could not, however, fly a helicopter. Or scuba dive. But I could go down to breakfast at the Algonquin in a ball gown and simply project that other residents of the hotel were underdressed.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:25 PM
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There's no Clinton drop in the 90s.
Well, aside from the ones that got on Lewinsky's dress.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:27 PM
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The Finns are so neglected by sinful world, even though they're blond and can dance the tango.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:28 PM
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362: And I look far more like a Finn. It's good for travelling in Europe - few people speak Finnish, so one can jabber on in it when the people around one become obnoxious.

But never, never swear in Arabic in a Paris post office.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:31 PM
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You know where a surprising number of people speak Finnish? Namibia.

Not a joke: Namibia was Finnish missionary territory. The President or Premier of Finland also brokered Namibian independence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:35 PM
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319: Victorian. J'accuse.

This is wrong, by the way. The modern sensibility is not less willing to consider the patronage of prostitutes a public embarassment than the Victorian was. Still, to the modern, it is daring! It is, frankly, slumming, but dressed up now to resemble, at times, a renegade rejection of the value set du jour -- a rejection that is the mark of the privileged classes, except when it's practiced by the working classes.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:07 PM
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Still, to the modern, it is daring! It is, frankly, slumming, but dressed up now to resemble, at times, a renegade rejection of the value set du jour

You really think so? I think that patronizing prostitutes is held in much more contempt now, mostly due to the easier availability of casual sex, and perhaps also because of the less masculinist tone of public culture.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:14 PM
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366 gets it right. Patronizing prostitutes generally signifies "rich weenie with more money than sense" or "waster who can't get sex any other way."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:22 PM
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I've known a couple of people who patronized prostitutes and they were fairly pathetic yet creepy people. They had fantasies about purchasing submissiveness that apparently didn't work out that well in practice.

Seems to me any glamor that attaches to the patronage of call girls is in the throwing away of large sums of money on frivolity--always an interesting spectacle, especially when the wealthy frivoller self-destructs.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:32 PM
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You really think so?

I'm not sure. Thanks for recognizing when I'm floating ideas. (I do think that our culture is more repressed than the Victorian in some important ways, and that we act out, as a culture, in response to that.) Tell me why, though, most of the discussion here about Spitzer and his prostitute, and about the English Courtesan and blogs like hers, are treated with secret glee.

The less masculinist tone of public culture. Hm. I believe one story about prostitution as a choice for women is that it's feminist. It should be held in less contempt, no? I'm not sure what to make of this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:34 PM
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. I believe one story about prostitution as a choice for women is that it's feminist. It should be held in less contempt, no?

It's supposed to be liberating to learn to strip-dance, but I haven't sensed any corresponding glamor attaching itself to the men who are supposed to be watching the strippers.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:38 PM
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As noted upthread, it's the commodification of the female body that's objectionable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:52 PM
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the high price suggests she wasn't being exploited

I cannot believe I haven't seen this mentioned in mainstream news articles or discussion, but surely we can't imagine she was getting more than a small fraction of the hourly rate? It's like any consulting business in the world; management farms you out at high rates but the direct service workers don't see much of that at all. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to hear that she was getting more like $200/hour.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:55 PM
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This seems like something that would be paid more like "putting-out" work than as an hourly wage.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:57 PM
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371 -- It's the commodification of the woman's agency that's more offensive, isn't it? That said, if someone wants to be a highly paid actress, playing the role of 'object,' I'd be happy to see case-by-case prosecution -- based on actual exploitation/abuse -- instead of general prohibition. Soft on prostitution, I guess.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:02 PM
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One of the other blogs suggested that the service takes 55%. So $500 an hour. Even $500 a day is pretty serious money, even if it does all go to fancy clothes.

And yeah, I think that anyone who goes to a prostitute for a reason more serious than "because they can" is seen as at least fairly pathetic. The customers of the FOAF were apparently mostly Asian or Indian guys; one can create whatever cultural explanations are appropriate.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:03 PM
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Back to an earlier part of the thread: with reference to Pollack's work, I don't think "I could do that" but I have a far better chance of doing something like that than doing some supposedly easy representational painting, as anyone who's ever seen me try to draw could tell you.

In kindergarten we designed our own plates which were then baked somehow and given to us. I remember making two: one a pathetic drawing of a house; the other a bunch of scribbled lines. I was probably a better artist back then.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:14 PM
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It's the commodification of the woman's agency that's more offensive, isn't it?

Yes! Thank you!

For some ages now, a woman's agency has been caught up with the value of her body.

But sale, rent, or barter of one's agency (i.e. comply, agree, stroke, play along, don't give me any lip) in exchange for recognition is loathesome regardless of gender or occupation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:14 PM
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That should be Pollock. I could probably achieve Pollack's hackery on foreign policy with a little work on the style.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:15 PM
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It's not clear to me how prostitution commodifies one's agency any more other work does.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:31 PM
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Boeotians all.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:41 PM
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Report for reëducation in the morning.

I can't tell you how pleased this makes me, ogged.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:42 PM
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Boeotians all.

The Cuntsolations of Philosophy is way better than this.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:43 PM
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Good question, Michael Vanderwheel etc., and your handle is silly.

I'll try this: being asked/told to behave in ways that mimic something that is supposed to be one of the most valuable things in life, namely love or lovingness, requires such a distancing from that original thing that it ... distorts the original thing.

Our society has increasingly distanced sex from intimacy and caring already, though.

But listen, you may be right: falsity in intimate relations might not be much different from falsity in loyalty to, say, one's place of employment.

I blame capitalism.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:54 PM
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382 and previous: What are you all 12 years old?

Philosophers never fuck. Never. You can tell by looking at us.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:59 PM
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383: Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:03 PM
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379 -- The managing partner of my office used to have a Dilbert cartoon on his wall: the HR cat is saying that enjoying your job is like stealing from the company.

I wouldn't say that prostitution is unique in this regard, but the client's control over the woman's stake in the work is more than a great many other jobs.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:07 PM
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369: I believe one story about prostitution as a choice for women is that it's feminist.

I think one can plausibly say that it's feminist not to try to illegalize or shame sex work, for men or women, as this only makes the conditions of already shitty work even worse and more dangerous. But the work is going to be shitty regardless, and the fact is even most of those with such a theoretically permissive attitude will have trouble adjusting our their attitudes toward it in the ways that logic would seem to dictate.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:08 PM
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You're just mad because you didn't think of Unlimited Pink or "Developmental Events", parsimon.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:08 PM
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Sure. It's The Consolation [singular] of Philosophy, dummy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:17 PM
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DS, this is an overworked subject, but what some people say is that whatever women choose to do is fine. They say it has nothing to do with its being shitty work -- in fact it's quite fine work, they say, monetarily speaking, and not so bad morally speaking, they say.

the fact is even most of those with such a theoretically permissive attitude will have trouble adjusting our their attitudes toward it in the ways that logic would seem to dictate.

Why is that, that we (they) would have trouble adjusting our attitudes toward it?

Bleh. It sounds to me like a society trying to convince itself of something. Why?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:23 PM
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382: Oralia


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:23 PM
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but the client's control over the woman's stake in the work is more than a great many other jobs.

That sounds right to me, as does parsimon's explanation. I should have said that I didn't see a difference of kind from other services.

I was thinking mostly of restaurant/bar work here.

and your handle is silly

Supposed to be.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:24 PM
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366 gets it right. Patronizing prostitutes generally signifies "rich weenie with more money than sense" or "waster who can't get sex any other way."

or "can't get the exact kind of sex he wants".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:26 PM
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390.1: Oh, I know. But of course, work can be monetarily good and morally fine and still be shitty work. Being a garbage man or working in sewer maintenance will never be glamorous. Since sex work involves selling bodily intimacy (and sometimes the illusion of emotional intimacy), it will always be shitty work.

Why is that, that we (they) would have trouble adjusting our attitudes toward it?

Because one doesn't undo millennia of social conditioning with the flick of a switch, and also because there will always be good reasons to be cautious about the sale of bodily intimacy, for all that we know that consenting adults will always engage in it in some way.

It sounds to me like a society trying to convince itself of something. Why?

Because we've tried treating it as something dirty and immoral that should be driven out of society, and we know (or should know) what the inevitable results of this will be.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:30 PM
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392: I was thinking mostly of restaurant/bar work here.

People can get a hamburger blowjob anywhere.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:30 PM
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394: Because we've tried treating it as something dirty and immoral that should be driven out of society, and we know (or should know) what the inevitable results of this will be.

You're talking, as several people have been in this thread, about legalizing prostitution? I hope I haven't sounded like I'd be against that.

I don't think that doing so would make it more palatable, though. And I'm not sure that making it more palatable is a good thing. Basically, people are drifting farther and farther away from intimate relationships, and providing a socially approved sexual substitute for that strikes me as the entirely wrong approach to what's ailing us. Might as well turn into robots.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:41 PM
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I'm sure I must be repeating some stuff from upthread. I'm operating in wilful obliviousness to earlier conversations.

Yes, sometimes logical inconsistency can be a feature rather than a defect. Maybe viewing patrons of prostitutes as scum while trying to view the trade itself as basically just another way to make a living is a good thing. I certainly agree with you about the drifting-away-from-intimacy problem, for instance. Since this line of reasoning makes me feel considerably better about my otherwise inconsistent views, I'm 100% in favour.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:47 PM
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395: The blowjob itself is $300. The suspenders with the 38 cheesy buttons are the other $4000. And now you all finally know the difference.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:50 PM
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Might as well turn into robots.

Carbon-based chauvinist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:01 PM
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I'm not entirely following. Making something legal doesn't entail endorsing it. This particular issue is a horrible snarl, like my own tangled hair that often needs to be teased out. It may be, as some have suggested, that sexual relations in our society suffer from a lack of wantonness, so that one is attracted to the hooker.

But I have to go to bed now. I like talking to you; email me should you ever feel inclined.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:02 PM
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You know, not all people who pay boatloads of money for sex are scum. I can think of at least two I met who were nothing but total sweethearts, and one of them I got to know quite well. Even another who I'd give less than "total sweetheart" too was still a gentle person who was pitiable and sad and was trying to make up for decades of repression and loneliness in a perhaps misguided way. Another actually was just the sort of asshole that the feminist critique would predict. Mostly I think it's not so great to come up with a narrative of some category of interaction that purports to describe all instances of it and dehumanizes an entire class of people for political purposes. (Anyway, there's an important difference of kind, I think, between patronizing a prostitute who's making an excellent living and patronizing one who isn't, and might not see much of a way out. I don't think it's so reprehensible to buy what someone is selling if you have a reasonable belief she could support herself some other way and is deciding not to.)


Posted by: curses | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:10 PM
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400: I'm probably not making much sense, and I'm crashing out as well. Talk to you soon, and cheers.

401: You know, not all people who pay boatloads of money for sex are scum.

I don't literally believe that all such people are scum. I do generally find it to be at least pathetic. Yes, I have known people who paid for sex, some of them friends of mine, so I'm not operating from an abstract stereotype here. My 397 is a little tongue-in-cheek, as this is one of those things that I feel both strongly and strongly-conflicted about.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:16 PM
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I don't think that doing so would make it more palatable, though. And I'm not sure that making it more palatable is a good thing. Basically, people are drifting farther and farther away from intimate relationships, and providing a socially approved sexual substitute for that strikes me as the entirely wrong approach to what's ailing us. Might as well turn into robots.

Are they really, though? Prostitution has been around for a very long time. Senses of alienation have been around for a long time, too. There has been a slow but steady increase in the age of "adulthood" and a simultaneous slow but steady decrease in the onset of puberty, which has to have an effect on things, but I don't know that people are drifting away from intimate relationships.

Also, I think that it's pretty uncontroversial to state that sex work usually has powerful negative effects on those who do it that are not immediately obvious when starting out, so making it illegal is a net social gain.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:17 PM
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She was a mistharnousai.

We have them too.


Posted by: Adam | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:21 PM
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Parsimon: being asked/told to behave in ways that mimic something that is supposed to be one of the most valuable things in life, namely love or lovingness, requires such a distancing from that original thing that it ... distorts the original thing.

DS: Since sex work involves selling bodily intimacy (and sometimes the illusion of emotional intimacy), it will always be shitty work.

Tossing the cat amongst the pigeons: Why does sex = love/intimacy in your eyes? It has long seemed to me that that is a [dare I say it?] patriarchal construct designed to acculturate women into suppressing their sexuality outside of a sanctioned "romantic" relationship, primarily to ensure that any progeny be that of the male partner. Convince the ladies to close their eyes and think of the empire - and that sex is bad, bad, bad unless there is LOVE, with all the flowers and chocs and sweet talk - and there is a control mechanism there [slut-shaming] that is repressive in the extreme. It is possible to have perfectly enjoyable sex with someone one doesn't love - or even like, particularly. Just because Person A does it for fun and Person B does it for money doesn't, in itself, make the latter's experience "shitty".

Personally, I don't see a qualitative difference between whoring in the bedroom and whoring in the office, given that one hasn't been forced into the former. If I sell my intelligence and knowledge, especially for the benefit of a client I loathe, how is that different? FTM, how is the buy-me bride any different, she who demands her spouse work himself silly in order that she may have the flashiest engagement ring, the newest car? Hell, how is it different when a guy takes a date out to a fancy restaurant and drops a couple of hundred on dinner, thereby impressing his date, who then sleeps with him? She'd likely be insulted if he simply offered her the cash, but the trappings of romance make it socially acceptable to enjoy the benefits of said money.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:31 PM
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It is possible to have perfectly enjoyable sex with someone one doesn't love - or even like, particularly.

Interestingly, I was about to say "I actually can't imagine that happening with me, really". But in fact I can imagine it happening, with a prostitute.

Convince the ladies to close their eyes and think of the empire - and that sex is bad, bad, bad unless there is LOVE, with all the flowers and chocs and sweet talk - and there is a control mechanism there [slut-shaming] that is repressive in the extreme.

I know you have a lot more experience with this, but it's not entirely shaming. Both male and female people can have self-images which depend on having a romantic approach to sex, and find it to be uncomfortable to do things that fall outside their own self-image.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:54 PM
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Hell, how is it different when a guy takes a date out to a fancy restaurant and drops a couple of hundred on dinner, thereby impressing his date, who then sleeps with him? She'd likely be insulted if he simply offered her the cash, but the trappings of romance make it socially acceptable to enjoy the benefits of said money.

I think there's something very different about even the crassest woo and the contractual fuck. The man uses his money to produce desire in the former. In the latter, he uses it to procure sex.

Now, if he uses it to produce a sense of obligation in the absence of desire, that's a situation that comes closer to the contractual and may even be less free. Also it's daterapey.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:04 AM
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The man uses his money to produce desire in the former.

But more often than not, I imagine he merely creates a sense of obligation.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 3:35 AM
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405: That was pretty much Emma Goldman's argument against marriage.

FTM, how is the buy-me bride any different,
Oh come now, surely that's being a bit hard on the transmen, isn't it?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 5:23 AM
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403

"Also, I think that it's pretty uncontroversial to state that sex work usually has powerful negative effects on those who do it that are not immediately obvious when starting out, so making it illegal is a net social gain."

How is this uncontroversial? Lots of people including me don't agree with it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:41 AM
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James, are you disagreeing with the first assertion or the second? And, if the first, are you speaking from your own personal experience?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:02 AM
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Shearer asks a good question in 410.

Why does sex = love/intimacy in your eyes?

Sex = intimacy, not love; they're not interchangeable. This is in the purely practical sense. Sex generally means letting your guard down enough to allow another person's body parts into your orifices, and vice versa. Even if you're doing it with someone you don't particularly like, you have no choice about being intimate in this sense.

Any way you slice it, this is a pretty personal sort of experience to exchange for money (true, I'd argue, even if you didn't live in a society with a strong latent puritanical streak and the associated baggage, as at any rate we North Americans do). This in my view is what differentiates prostitution from almost any other form of work.

"How is prostitution different from paying for a date" is, if you'll forgive me, the sort of cliche I've never found especially compelling. When I went on a date Saturday night, for example, I bought some drinks and so did she, I paid for dinner (she insisted on throwing in for tip) and I took her to a show; the cash outlay may have been mostly mine, but hopeful as I may have been, I spent it in the full understanding that it did not obligate her to fuck me. If I routinely had such an expectation, I would earn a reputation as a boor. It was a social transaction, not strictly a business transaction.

Selling intelligence and knowledge, or selling out one's ethical values, for money is common too, and has more psychological consequences than many are perhaps willing to admit. But for the vast majority of people it's just not as viscerally, obviously personal and immediate as selling access to one's flesh. This is why most dudes who otherwise are willing to describe prostitution as a great, lucrative job that's not that different from any other job would, if challenged, opt not to engage in it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:22 AM
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How is this uncontroversial? Lots of people including me don't agree with it.

Do you feel that sex work does not usually have powerful negative effects on it's practicioners? Or that these negative effects are not inherent to the nature of sex work but are due to its illegality or social attitudes surrounding it? Or that there is a selection bias, where those who already have issues tend to go into sex work?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:30 AM
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406: But those romantic self-images are a product of acculturation themselves. Watching my son's social group has been interesting - the protestations of true love tend to end shortly after the sex commences, but the pretext allows guilt-free indulgence.

412: they're not interchangeable.

I was shortcutting by addressing both you and Parsimon at once.

There's a difference between the sort of date you describe and what I was talking about. OFE is right; many men use the expensive, he-pays-it-all date to create a sense of obligation - and many women hold out for that kind of treatment. [Slight tangent: There is nothing more terrifying than the conversation in the women's locker room at a high-end gym. The off-hand discussions of behaviour calculated to achieve expensive dates, jewelry, etc. was edifying. At least whores are honest about what they're selling.]

Re: Letting one's guard down - TBH, letting someone inside one's head seems to me to be far more intimate than the juncture of a couple of sweaty bodies. YMMV.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:21 PM
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413: Interesting op-ed piece in the LA Times.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:24 PM
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413

Primarily I don't agree that making prostitution illegal is a net social gain. Nor do I understand how this is supposed to follow from prostitution having unusually large unobvious negative effects on whores (even assuming that it does of which I am not convinced). And your use of the term "sex work" is unclear. Do you mean to include things like stripping or acting in porn films?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:39 PM
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It has long seemed to me that that is a [dare I say it?] patriarchal construct designed to acculturate women into suppressing their sexuality outside of a sanctioned "romantic" relationship, primarily to ensure that any progeny be that of the male partner. Convince the ladies to close their eyes and think of the empire - and that sex is bad, bad, bad unless there is LOVE, with all the flowers and chocs and sweet talk - and there is a control mechanism there [slut-shaming] that is repressive in the extreme. It is possible to have perfectly enjoyable sex with someone one doesn't love - or even like, particularly. Just because Person A does it for fun and Person B does it for money doesn't, in itself, make the latter's experience "shitty".

DominEd makes very good points.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:43 PM
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414: The expensive he-buys-everything date is still a bid to impress (and the attempts to encourage it a bid to be impressed), not strictly a business transaction. Depending on who you're dealing with it can certainly up the chances of sex happening, but it doesn't provide any guarantees; people who use it to create a sense of obligation are of course out there, but will (or at least should) tend to get a reputation as being assholes. In extreme cases I could see the lines blurring between this and some forms of escorting, but otherwise the comparison is pretty strained.

(Will, I don't see it as slut-shaming to point out the specific difficulties of sex work. I'm not taking the line that all such work is the "commodification" of the persons involved and hence inherently evil.)

I'm in agreement with the first sentence of Shearer's 413.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:27 PM
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It is possible to have perfectly enjoyable sex with someone one doesn't love - or even like, particularly.

It's even possible to have amazing sex with an enemy, in ways that are hard to reproduce with someone you don't feel strongly about.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:29 PM
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It's even possible to have amazing sex with an enemya

Fixed.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:34 PM
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Cool, now the Pun, Crap and Purge threads are linked in euphonious cacophilia.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:36 PM
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Crap, Purges, and Puns: An Eternal Golden Mucoid Plaque


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:38 PM
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Gargle, Escherichia, Plaque, surely.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:43 PM
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