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Gay Prostitution, Gay Politics, and Public Morality


Will
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On another thread having to do with the Houston sting, Regulation and Tampa Yankee got into a fascinating if heated discussion regarding the relationships among prostitution, individual liberty, and the common good. (At least, I think that's what they were talking about). I seek here to pick up where they left off and to broaden the scope a bit.

 

Last night I discovered that I was not alone in deciding to escape the grotesque spectacle of Dubya's impersonating a statesman. I, along with lots of other people in the (notoriously liberal) little town where I live, took advantage of the Apollo Theater's weekly $2-night to watch Mel Gibson burn off some of his plentiful testosterone as THE PATRIOT. I had expected to be entertained, which I was. But I had not expected to be engaged, which I also was. THE PATRIOT must have been scripted by Ayn Rand in collaboration with the famously right-wing Mr. Gibson to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's party nominating as its Presidential candidate that stupid and fatuous mediocrity from Texas.

 

THE PATRIOT is a paean to the Whig notion that the function of a free society is to allow empowered, mostly white, straight men to do whatever it takes to acquire and protect their (sacred) personal property, whether of movable or immovable goods, or other humans beings, i.e., women, children, and slaves. In its own way, it strikes me as a brilliant piece of propaganda -- entertaining and, apparently, innocuous. Herr Doktor Goebbels himself would be envious of such rhetorical sleight-of-hand.

 

What's this got to do with us? Everything, according to Tampa Yankee and Regulation. And me. It's about the delicate relationship between individual freedoms (note the plural noun) in a democratic (note the abstract adjective) society. Where does my "right" end and yours begin? Do we let people smoke themselves to death, as Tampa Yankee would have it, because this is a free society? Or do you pass laws against smoking so that taxpayers don't have to pay for the consequences of nicotine addiction, as Regulator seems to think? Is male/male prostitution morally neutral in the social sense, or does sexual commerce somehow entail public responsibility? Is there such a thing as a purely "private" (that is, politically neutral) sex act? Feminists and lots of jurists would say, "No." I don't know what I'd say, but I suspect I'd side with the feminists and the jurists.

 

Anyhow,that's about where TY's and R's fists started swinging on the other thread.

 

But what about this: What if Nicotine Delivery Systems were controlled substances, available AT COST from a government-regulated source? What would happen if you removed BOTH the shame and the guilt? What would happen if there were no particular benefit to be gained from the glamor of illicit smoking?

 

Just so, what if prostitution were legalized but also regulated like most other professions that operate in the public sector? This is the solution that some European nations have worked out; and from what I have been able to tell, it works. A prostitute applies for a license to practice, the same as any tax-paying professional. In order to maintain his license, he must undergo periodic health checks, etc.

 

All of this, it seems to me, makes something clear. People are simply going to have sex for money. That's all there is to it. So why not recognize the fact, organize it in such a way that the responsibility rests on the shoulders of those who do it, and protect innocent victims (prostitution, pace TY, is not a "victimless crime") at the same time?

 

Finally, if any of this is to find its way out of the spiralling narcissistic discourses of erotic self-absorption that preoccupy many of us who log onto M4M regularly, we had all better pull ourselves together and GET POLITICAL. And that's it from me.

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Guest regulation

Oh?

 

Will, there are several things in your opening post I'd quarrel with.

 

I didn't see The Patriot, since it received bad reviews from several sources I trust (including The Times), but if its theme is that our nation was founded by a bunch of white property owners who wanted the freedom to become even bigger property owners, I'd have to say it is pretty accurate. If you will take the trouble to read up on the biographies of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, I think you will be forced to agree. The revolution they started could not have succeeded without the sacrifices of a large number of far humbler citizens, but the operative word is "started." It was they who did it.

 

Second, there never was a heated discussion between Tampa Yankee and myself. I'd describe it as two men with nothing better to do whacking each other over the head with feathers. No injuries were reported.

 

Third, you may not like Gov. Bush, but it can never be accurate to describe as a "mediocrity" a man who has risen to the top of not one but two difficult and competitive professions, business and politics. Can you say the same about yourself? Not many of us can.

 

Fourth, I don't know the answer to the principal question of this thread and I'd be very suspicious of anyone who claims that he does. I know that the libertarian ideal of letting everyone run his life in his own way and bear all the consequences himself sounds fine in theory, but in practice it would lead to a situation in which a lot of people are sick or injured or desperately poor due to their own mistakes, at which point the rest of us will have to choose between letting them suffer or die on the one hand and assuming the burdens of correcting their mistakes on the other hand. I would prefer to avoid that situation. Wouldn't you?

 

Finally, I don't care for it when people say that some aspect of the current human condition is "always" going to be with us. Human history has been quite brief in real terms, and most of us know only a small part of it. Can you tell me anything about the social customs of the people of Bactria, for example? What about Culiacan? Or Livonia? Or Oudh? Those are (or were) all real places at some point in history, each with its own set of customs and mores. I don't think any of us knows enough about the human condition to tell others what will or will not "always" be part of it.

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RE: Oh?

 

So many isssues to talk about.

 

Firstly; yes a man can be very mediocre, or less, and rise to the top of two professions if he has money and family connections and is used as a puppet by those who truly have the power. That is my impression of George W. (I actually beleive that his father is very bright and talented.)

 

The prostitution question is fascinating. I wish that someone who has spent time in Amsterdam, where prostitution is legal would comment. It seems that we have an experiment in an industrialized country that we can use to measure the effects of legalized prostituion, both good and bad. I have heard many stories, but I have not experienced Amsterdam first hand yet.

 

When I was recently in Montreal, the police announced that they were no longer going to arrest and prosecute street prostitiutes. It was expensive and time consuming on the system, and had virtually no effect. Instead they decided to treat street prostituion as a public health problem, and dispatch public health workers to give the prostitiues information on STDs, condoms, testing, safe sex etc. A very interesting (and maybe more enlightened)approach.

 

The role of government in regulating people vices is an interesting question. The U.S. learned a great deal during Prohibition about trying to stop something that people were going to do anyway. Now we regulate who can buy and consume alchohol, and we prosecute drunk drivers and such, but I think we know that Prohibition led to more crime than we ever imagined.

 

That being said, I still think that other addictive drugs, like herion and cocaine, should remain illegal. The addicted person is no longer making intelligent decisions for himself or society. So I favor ways to keep folks from becoming addicted to drugs. (I include nicotine in that category, but can you imagine what Nicotine Prohibition would be like? I favor increased regulation of nicotine as drug though, but I'm sure many would scream about that.)

 

But can we, or should we pass laws to protect people from themselves. Maybe. Seat blet laws seem like a good idea to me, but a Libertarian would question who is the state to regulate someone's personal safety. These are large and comlex issues, and I am enjoying the discussion.

 

Reggie seems to think that other peoples personal safety is our concern because we pay for the effects of drug abuse, nicotine casued cancer, and drivers who don't wear seat belts. Would it be better not to pay for things like that from public funds. Let the cigarete smokers die of lung cancer in the streets if they can not afford their own medical care? Interesting issues.

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RE: Oh?

 

I don't

>think any of us knows

>enough about the human condition

>to tell others what will

>or will not "always" be

>part of it.

 

 

Agreed, but why then do we think we know enough to tell others how or how not to be, what is either good or bad for them? Personally, I would rather bear the cost of the consequences than to decide how another person should live. Naive? Most likely. Has this attitude hurt people I could have protected? Most likely. But, for me, I passionately believe it is the only sane way I can live my life.

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RE: Oh?

 

Oh, dear Regulation! I am one of your fans, a person who actually agrees with what he thinks you say. You are very, very quick to scold.

 

But please read a little more closely before you leap into the bully pulpit.

 

1. I was not making a statement about the motives of the men who framed the American Revolution; I was talking about one idea of what a "free" society is supposed to guarantee. You are absolutely right that most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence came from the same social class -- and in George Washington's case, even the same families -- as the big Whigs back home in England. Please don't assume without evidence that I don't know what I'm talking about. I am, in fact, a professional historian; I have a Ph.D.; I have published serious, scholarly books; and I enjoy a handsome reputation in my field, which, I'm quick to confess, is not American History.

 

2. Any mediocrity can rise to the top of any field that puts a premium on influence-peddling and glad-handing, provided he's buoyed up by enough money and the right connections. This is particularly so in the case of the charming, handsome, and terminally stupid who are willing to be the front men for the guys who really know about power. (Dubya's dad proved that when he chose a Vice-Presidential candidate who actually said that he was sorry he didn't know Latin so that he could communicate with the people in Latin America. And HE WAS NOT KIDDING!) Just so with the junior Mr. Bush, whose "success" in business was in part funded by people I happen to know personally -- and believe me, he can hardly count to ten. Further, in politics he has never given the slightest indication of more than middling intelligence. In any case, personal charm and good looks, which he has in addition to money and influence, is not the same as distinction. Dubya is a cadet in the machine of private interests that runs the nation; and it's my first-hand impression that the dumber one is, the more popular he is likely to be with the really, REALLY smart guys who are the true powers behind the throne. In fact, I this morning I was paraphrasing Gore Vidal, who referred in a similar context to Ronald Reagan as "that ancient actor whom our masters have hired to impersonate a President." Dubya and The Gipper are cut from the same piece of cloth, as best I can tell. They are popular with people who'd rather be entertained than challenged.

 

3. Yes, in fact, I have risen to the top of my field. On my own merits.

 

4. But the real point of my effort was only to try to find a broader field into which you put your own discerning and sensitive arguments about the mutual obligations of the individual and the society in which s/he lives. Sorry I didn't make that clearer.

 

5. As a historian, I know that "always" can refer only to documented past events. As for Bactria and Oudh, I can say quite specifically that prostitution was and is practiced. About the other two, you probably know the answers yourself. Recorded history, after all, is the only kind of human history whose events we can know. I stick with my admittedly blunt point that prostitution seems to be a nearly universal practice, both past and present. About the future I am not in a position to speak.

 

Am I forgiven?

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RE: Oh?

 

Will;

 

I completely agree with your evaluation of George W. Whenever I see him it makes me think of Peter Sellers playing Chauncy Gardner in "Being There" Its a great movie filled with suble yet biting satire. Rebt it if you get a chance.

 

And isn't prostitution the world's oldest profession?

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Guest regulation

RE: Oh?

 

Will, I could tell that American history is not your field by your use of the term "bully pulpit." But thanks for making it clear anyway.

 

Having met Gov. Bush on a couple of occasions (business, not politics), I can attest that he is nothing like the man you describe. He certainly is not an eloquent man, but at the meetings I attended he showed himself to be a gifted and patient negotiator and to have an excellent grasp of the issues at hand. I didn't notice that there was a receiver stuck in his ear to allow the conspirators you keep mentioning to tell him what to say. Perhaps it was an implant? Seriously, I think you are confusing the fact that he agrees with the views of a certain group with the notion that he is somehow controlled by them. Does Bush have a lot of original ideas? No. His world view is -- and this is a real shocker -- very similar to that of his father and the people who surrounded his father when G.W. was growing up. Is he a mindless puppet controlled by a secret cabal of ruthless plutocrats, as you would have it? Also no. Conspiracy theories usually turn out to be wrong, and this one is too.

 

As to whatever you have done for which you seek forgiveness, I absolve you. In fact, I absolve you for the whole weekend, so go have fun.

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RE: Oh?

 

for the record, i supported bill bradley and gave money to his campaign.

 

"...has money and family connections and is used as a puppet..." i thought i was reading about al gore. as a third generation senator, he was first owned by armond hammer (as was his faher) and most recently by various oriental groups(people don't give millions of dollars for nothing).

 

frankly he is no better than george w. he will of course take all the money he can from gays but we will get little in return. he is against gay marriage(and will be until a poll shows americans are for it). gays in the millitary? forget that one, al has no courage like bill clinton for that one(remember harry truman went against the military and public opinion and intergrated blacks into the military---civil rights laws were more than a decade later, talk about being ahead of the curve).gays getting equal rights like job protection is nothing he would do either; bill clinton had a democratic congress his first two years in office so evil republicans were not the reason the clinton-gore administration did not pass such laws.

 

yes, clinton did appoint an openly gay ambassador and has openly gay staff members. however, the republicians have always had gay staff but they were more reserved about it. that is the sum total of the clinton-gore gay rights accomplishments: symbolism and a few crumbs.

 

like bill clinton, al gore has no strong moral core of beliefs but looks to polls for what is right to do. again, think of harry truman who did not care about polls and did what he thought was right; he left office with some of the worst poll numbers of any president but is now considered "great". look at lindon johnson who beat up congress to pass the civil rights laws, he led and did not follow. i feel we can expect more of the clinton-gore lack of leadership if gore becomes president.

 

is gore a better choice than bush for gays? probabally so from what i have been able to learn. bill bradley would have been better but ...

 

bush is not the total dummy the press makes him out to be. as a business person that has a successful business i can tell you that i don't do it alone; a successful venture is a team effort. it looks like george w, is putting together a successful team; that is not all bad. bush might not be "risky" for gays. dick cheney has a very high profile gay daughter that could have a personal influence on her father and the administration(she was next to him at the convention).

 

at this point i am undecided how i will vote. but gays need to stop automatically giving money and votes to someone just because they are democratic. we need to demand more than the tokens thrown to us by clinton-gore.

 

sorry to let all of this spill out. how about getting back to escorts and fun times.

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RE: Oh?

 

I agree for the most part, bigjoey, but will definitely vote for Gore because the next president will likely appoint a number of supreme court justices. I don't want to take the chance that whatever good has been accomplished (in the field of choice, for example) can be undone. Bush cannot and will not appoint a justice who is pro choice ... no matter what he says about there being no litmus test ... look at his VP choice already. We need to be more vocal about what we want, and not just in bed. Gore wants to be president enough to listen. He must be worried about the polls and the loss of the woman's vote. He is vulnerable to pressure from our side about now.

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RE: Oh?

 

Regulator, you caught me breaking one of my own rules, which is not to toss idioms about unless I'm sure of their meaning. Even as I was writing yesterday, I KNEW I should have looked up "bully pulpit," because I was uncertain about the way I was using it. Thanks for the correction, as well as for the more important reminder that strutting is not an attractive way of moving from one place to another. But you don't mention whether you took my point regarding the so-called Founding Fathers, which I think is entirely in line with yours.

 

As for GWB, reasonable people may reasonably disagree. In any case, M4M may not be the best place to compare impressions of presidential candidates.

 

Thus, to return to what I took to be your original point: Whether or not prostitution "always" exists (I didn't say that, I really didn't!), the fact remains that this web site is a Consumers' Reports for clients of high-end gay prostitutes and that male/male prostitution is alive and well in the United States. My question, albeit abstract, is: Should this fact be of concern to the public at large, through its elected and appointed officials?

 

I completely agree with you that there are generalized and usually unacknowledged social costs tucked into this apparently "victimless" and "fully consensual" crime. I also agree with you that a person, myself included, might participate in this crime without shame or guilt as an individual, but with some ambivalence as a responsible citizen.

 

As regards the actual social costs (e.g., STD treatment at public expense or as a spur to higher insurance premiums), to say nothing of the personal rights of both client and prostitute, I only suggested that it might be useful to legalize prostitution. Legalized and therefore regulated prostitution might be better for those individuals who participate in it, and cheaper for a society that might not feel required to underwrite the avoidable expenses for what is, after all, a form of entertainment.

 

I was recently in Amsterdam on business. Well, my business was in Haarlem, but I was eager to return for a few days to what was, thirty years ago, one of the most enchanting big cities in Europe. No longer. The chain of streets and squares that links the railroad station with the Museumplein on the other side of Amsterdam has become a huge urban intestine, churning twenty-four hours a day in the effort to digest a steady diet of tourists, most of whom seem to be there for the sex and drugs, not the art and music. That part of Amsterdam -- its most visible part -- is filthy. The air stinks of hot frying oil, stale beer and cigarette smoke; every commercial establishment seems dedicated to the quick-turnover economy of fast food, cheap souvenirs, sex-shop trinkets, and soft-drug coffee shops. The passers-by range from perfectly normal to grotesque, with an emphasis on the latter.

 

So what's so great about legal prostitution?

 

The industry itself seems to be squeaky-clean; there are no pimps, thus no violence, no extortion, no blackmail; there is, apparently, little if any sexual abuse. There is no ancillary crime that usually accompanies illegal prostitution. Moreover, both the sex workers and their clients are protected by the police and by the public health inspectors.

 

The nastiness of the place, I think, is a consequence of prohibition in other cities, chiefly American, British, and Australian (judging by the accents) and East Asian. In other words, Amsterdam has become "sin city" only because a reliable constant of urban life (prostitution) is uncontrolled in other places. In other words, I began to think that Amsterdam might go back to being wonderful if other cultures would simply eliminate the "fun" people get from thinking they're getting away with something they couldn't do at home.

 

And by de-criminalizing prostitution, one makes it less attractive to the cynics -- pimps and politicians -- who profit from other peoples' search for ordinary erotic pleasure. Profits like blackmail, like gay-bashing, like sting operations, like police raids at election-time.

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Political Heirs

 

Yes, Al is part of the club, too. I didn't say that Our Masters are all Republicans. But Al is better than George, according to me, for the following reasons: (1) whether you agree with him or not, he is extremely bright and has a lot of actual ideas that are independent of Clinton's (another intellectual superstar); (2) his political legacy is from elected politics, whereas the Bush family has only recently entered the arena of competing for votes; (3) Al Gore is full of principles, for God's sake: you don't have to agree with them, but you can't deny he has them; (4) he will appoint Surpeme Court Justices, and I do truly believe that he will do a better job at that than George would. As for the "gay thing": Al is a politician; he is also a Southern Baptist. But I think we can look to him for an engaged conscience; if you have that, the rest is as good as a done deal. Frankly, I don't feel certain that George Bush has what I would call an engaged conscience. Thinking seriously about serious issues is not the same thing as feeling compassionate about those things you do choose to think about.

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Guest AsswithClass

RE: Political Heirs

 

Al Gore's only principle is getting elected at any cost. He is a life-long politician. But fear not, "Help is on the way."

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Guest regulation

RE: Oh?

 

Will, I appreciate the remarks in your latest post.

 

I have one question about your suggestion that prostitution be legalized, and it is the same question I ask of people who suggest that narcotics be legalized. Legalizing the trade means imposing standards and creating a regulatory structure to enforce those standards. What about the people (both buyers and sellers)who don't want to obey those standards and operate within that structure? If your standards include regular health checks of prostitutes, for example, what about prostitutes who don't want to comply? You will have to have in place exactly the same sort of law enforcement system we have now in order to deal with those people. Your scheme may cut down on STDs if more prostitutes than not comply. But how do you know that will be the case? Answer: You don't.

 

Male/male prostitution is certainly alive in this country but I wouldn't say it is "well." Why does this Web site exist? Why aren't there reviews of the best male prostitutes in each major city published in the Zagat Guide? Because in addition to the illegality there is such a stigma attached to these transactions that they are of necessity conducted in a surreptitious manner. Would that change if the trade were decriminalized? I don't believe so. We need the reviews of male hookers here because for those who have an unsatisfactory experience there is no legal remedy. But even if there were, would anyone use it? Can you see yourself suing a prostitute in the community where you live for breach of contract? Would you want the people you work with to know about such an experience? I wouldn't.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

RE: Political Heirs -- WARNING LONG-WINDED RAMBLING POST

 

LAST EDITED ON Aug-06-00 AT 00:00AM (EST)[p]LAST EDITED ON Aug-05-00 AT 10:02 PM (EST)

 

WARNING: I make some rather low assessments of our two visionaries that would be king.. er.. uh.. President, and because of that I felt I needed to provide some background that explains only a small part of how I arrived at my opinion of our exalted candidates, thus this message might be considered lengthy by some -- well everybody.

 

If you are narcoleptic you should definitely leave this message now, if you aren't you are likely to be by the end.

 

So BE FOREWARNED that this qualifies as a LONG WINDED and possibly RAMBLING post not suited to, nor intended for the sound-byte purists. So take your leave and go happily on your way to the next message or FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE -- that means no bitching about long-winded rambling posts -- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

 

I thought I'd let everyone else have a say about the issues in Will's lead post as I had quite a say in the previous thread and not much new to add to that aspect of the discussion. But since the discussion has moved on to this year's crop of political contestants and given some of the comments lodged for and against each I thought I'd weigh in with my own jaundiced perspective.

 

First Al Gore -- I'm not sure there is a more detestable person who could actually be nominated a presidential candidate, in my view -- well there is his boss, a close second. Gore principled?? -- not in my eyes!! My first critical assessment of Mr. Gore occurred in 1987 in conjunction with the Challenger tragedy. Then Senator Gore was chairman of Senate Subcommittee on Science and Technology or some such thing. Although I did not support manned missions I had a number of colleagues who did and were knowledgeable of the incident and the mission. So I was interested in the investigation and surrounding events. The bottom line was that Sen. Gore engaged in the lowest of politics playing to the press over many months and leaving good and honorable men twisting in the wind for mere political purposes. None of these wronged individuals were my colleagues, but they were known to us. Prior to that event I had no particular ill opinion if Mr. Gore. Two years later I received an invitation to meet as a member of a group with Senator Gore at a local Law School function -- I declined. I wouldn't be found dead in the same room with either Mr. Gore or his boss, William Jefferson Clinton, and it has nothing to do with their politics. Neither man has a rudder that even extends into the water line (all my opinion, of course).. These men sail solely by turning their sails to the most recent detectable breeze. They are, in my lights, prime examples of men without character -- Mr. Gore and his Buddhist nuns and Mr. Clinton and his crocodile tears at Ron Brown's funeral, to name only two of endless examples. And I don't care how smart these guys are (and they are) because it makes them all the more detestable when they put it to ill use. Volumes could be written about the dismal failings and low character of these two men but I've said enough for now.

 

Now for Dubya... I held back for sometime before making a judgment on Dubya but eventually I found him to be lacking. Before So. Carolina I wasn't convinced that Dubya had the depth or character I was looking for in our next president -- and that was precisely what I was looking for. So I was prepared to support either McCain or Bradley, which ever looked like they had the best chance to win an upset. I believed that each man had enough depth and character to lead our country -- deep enough rudders to sail troubled waters as well as calm seas. Well, Bradley became a nonissue because he could not get enough of the Democratic base to treat him as a serious contender. Although the politics of each were somewhat different I placed character and depth above the political differences -- after all honorable and reasonable men can achieve compromise with some effort (even with Congress).

 

The last straw was the So. Carolina primary this year where Dubya either orchestrated or more likely just permitted scurrilous and malicious campaign tactics to be used that rivaled, in my view, some of the unprincipled actions that William Jefferson Clinton had pulled or condoned during his tenure. Whether it was a 'weak moment' or a more permanent flaw to his character I don't know, but I am not reassured by presidents that suffer weak moments. (To be fair, Mr. Gore has had an unending string of 'weak moments' too ..."no controlling legal authority" to name one.)

 

To be fair to Mr. Bush, I don't believe him quite the 'useful idiot' that some have portrayed him in this thread. I don't really think you can hand a very successful business and governorship to a useful idiot and have all the pieces hold together short of having totalitarian powers at hand. That and one possible sign of true character for him and his brother -- they both chose Hispanic wives, a potentially risky move if you want to appeal to the 'cracker' Texan establishment and voters (not that all or even most Texans are that way but elections are won on the margins). Now this shows a sign of true character or, one could argue, great shrewdness on their part. But the latter alternative involves uncertainty and risk and would reveal something of the character seemingly inconsistent with the 'useful idiot' scenario. Still I don't believe Dubya to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, which gives me pause.

 

Having gone this far and Dubya having named Dick Cheney is VP candidate I might as well weigh in here too. I followed Cheney during his tenure in Congress and even more when he was Chief of Staff to Gerald Ford and certainly as Defense Secretary during the Gulf War. He is a conservative true and will lead with a conservative view, but he says what he thinks, maintains a consistent view that doesn't change with the wind -- he is an honorable man of depth and real substance from my observations. I also believe he is probably a compassionate man and as has been mentioned in this thread knows something about living tolerantly with gay issues, at least some of them. (I don't think he's likely to support legalized prostitution just yet.) I, myself, would rest much more easily with him at the helm than with either Gore or Dubya.

 

Well, I've run out of wind. If youv'e read this far remember, no bitching, you were warned. For those who want to know what I really think, email me -- just kidding, please!!

 

Finally, the American people (at least that subset that participates in primaries), in their wisdom get exactly what they deserve and, I guess, what they want. Caveat Emptor!

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Guest Tampa Yankee

RE: Political Heirs -- WARNING LONG-WINDED RAMBLING POST

 

Oops,

 

I mixed up my slurs -- 'crackers' are found in FL and GA, I believe its 'anglos' in Texas?

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RE: Political Heirs -- WARNING LONG-WINDED RAMBLING POST

 

As a native Alabaman who has been exiled in the Midwest for over a quarter of a century, I am perhaps a little too sensitive to the ease with which My Fellow Americans assume that those of us who speak with beautiful, soft accents and who know how to tell stories better than any other native English speakers do not wear shoes, cannot read or write, eat barbecued roadkill, and either wear white sheets or keep our grinning faces stuck into juicy slices of watermelon. But, yes, "crackers" are Georgians. I don't know about Floridians. In the South in which I was reared Florida was just a place to go for vacation. It had no culture, and therefore wasn't "Southern" in any real sense of the word. For me, it still isn't a Southern state in the same way that its immediate neighbors to the north are.

 

Now on a serious note, I want to thank you for your intelligent and impassioned (the best possible combination) disassembling of Al Gore's well-crafted persona. You obviously have had the opportunity to observe him as it were in private; and you've also taken the trouble to follow the previous careers of the other major players in this depressing burlesque of democratic processes. This emptor is caveated.

 

I am sorry than neither Bradley nor McCain is available for my support. Although I don't share McCain's social principles -- among other things, he's far from "gay-friendly" -- it can't be denied that he actually has principles AND he knows that the United States is not the only country in the world. Our nation is plagued with front men who are utterly character-free and who are bent on one thing and one alone: the next election. I don't think Al Gore is any worse at this than either of the Bush boys. In the end, I suppose one must vote for a party rather than for individuals who are, after all, as much mouthpieces as policy-makers.

 

Just wanted to let you know, TY, that you drew me up short. Who'd have thought that M4M Escorts Review would become a forum for intelligent political discourse?

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RE: Political Heirs -- WARNING LONG-WINDED RAMBLING POST

 

Just a note: I will be posting a review of my favorite escorts on the NY Times Op-Ed page. Fair is fair!

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Guest Tampa Yankee

RE: Political Heirs -- WARNING LONG-WINDED RAMBLING POST

 

Jake,

 

You get the nod for making my day today -- I'm still laughing, and its so good for the soul.

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RE: Political Heirs -- WARNING LONG-WINDED RAMBLING POST

 

It seems to me that the institution of the presidency itself is a moderating force; if an incumbent wants to achieve anything of note -- and they all do, with an eye to their legacy -- he is generally forced to leave behind most of his more extreme views and desires. And I agree that neither Al Gore nor George Bush seem to be the ideal candidate.

 

But Mr. Gore is a social liberal who has been forced to moderate his views whereas Mr. Bush is a social conservative who has been forced to moderate his. While they both might be forced to take somewhat similar positions on some issues, Mr. Bush's inclination will be to go to the right whereas Mr. Gore will tend to go to the left. Mr. Bush will need to bear in mind the religious right and their agenda; gay people and their needs will not often be on his radar scope.

 

I guess I could stomach four years of a Bush administration, although eight might be pushing it. But the somewhat amusing tendency of Supreme Court appointees to confound and amaze the presidents who appointed them notwithstanding, Mr. Bush is likely to appoint quite conservative justices. And these appointees would likely tip the Court way to the right.

 

Unlike the presidency and its moderating influence on its occupants, the Court has a natural inclination to be conservative, at least in its respect for history and precedent. But it can and often does strongly reflect the combined personalities of the justices, especially the ones who are most passionate and vocal. I find I prefer it to be moderate.

 

A Court that is too liberal can be an uncomfortable force for change in America, although history has often shown its vision in these cases to have been correct and its leadership wise, especially when it has taken strong steps to protect the rights of various minority groups. But a Court that is too conservative can be reactionary and divisive and almost dangerous.

 

For example, I believe that the current Court's vision of federalism, with its strong emphasis on states right, is not only out of step with the views of most Americans but also not reflective of the needs of 21st century America. We do not need a strong Kansas and a strong New York and we do not fear the national government in the way that the colonists did when they established its structure. And we only need look at our neighbor to the north to see the grave dangers posed by strong states or provinces.

 

So my support will go to Mr. Gore, because I believe he will tend to continue most of the Clinton policies that have helped bring about a strong economy and generally peaceful world and because I believe he will try to appoint moderate to left-leaning justices.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

RE: Southern Culture

 

Will,

 

>As a native Alabaman who has

>been exiled in the Midwest

>for over a quarter of

>a century, I am perhaps

>a little too sensitive to

>the ease with which My

>Fellow Americans assume that those

>of us who speak with

>beautiful, soft accents and who

>know how to tell stories

>better than any other native

>English speakers do not wear

>shoes, cannot read or write,

 

It seems that I may have offended you -- I hope not, for it was not my intent. Maybe it was my tongue-in-cheek use of the term 'slur' which maybe reflects a repressed sensitivity on my part living with northern stereotypical attitudes for a quarter of a century, myself. Where I come from 'cracker', of which I am one, is not a demeaning term, but one used to distinguish the native born from the imported variety -- and for my vintage, there were precious few of us as a percentage of the population. Consequently, I attach no negative connotation to it.

 

>eat barbecued roadkill, and either

>wear white sheets or keep

>our grinning faces stuck into

>juicy slices of watermelon.

 

As for roadkill (armadillo), if fresh it can be quite tasty if prepeared right and I love watermelon -- raised on it, but I do leave my sheets on the bed, no Toga parties for me.

 

>... In the South

>in which I was reared

>Florida was just a place

>to go for vacation.

 

As for Florida just being a place to go on vacation, well it seemed much more than that to us 'crackers'. My understanding of a vacation, when I was growing up consisted of visiting my grandparents in the most remote corner of Tennessee imaginable. And they were different from us Florida crackers, but due mostly to the differences between a metropolitan community and an agricultural community of 700, if you included all of the outlying suburbs.

 

>It had no culture, and

>therefore wasn't "Southern" in any

>real sense of the word.

 

As far as Florida having no culture -- well Tampa had a very rich, if confused, culture due to the heavy influence of the Spanish and Italian population (in the period before the Cuban exodus) but not typical southern high culture I admit. However, once you ventured outside the city limits you entered a different world altogether -- southern and country. I visited close relatives in Jacksonville often, and my take on that area was that for all intents and purposes those people were Georgians, in style, accent, and culture.

 

> For me, it still

>isn't a Southern state in

>the same way that its

>immediate neighbors to the north

>are.

>

I agree with you once you get out of the pan handle and Jacksonville, but I suspect these areas still are pretty indisguishable from Georgia and Alabama -- although I have no recent experience to go on here.

>

>Just wanted to let you know,

>TY, that you drew me

>up short.

 

Never my intention to draw anyone up short here -- well seldom, anyway.

 

>Who'd have

>thought that M4M Escorts Review

>would become a forum for

>intelligent political discourse?

 

Sometimes you find the most unusual things in the strangest places. Your comment is almost identical to one I left some time ago regarding the thread 'What Does It Mean To Be Gay', in which you were a key participant if I remember correctly.

 

Time to return this thread to its original theme, so I'll go away -- for now.

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Guest Jocoluver

RE: Oh?

 

I didn't see Cheney's lesbian daughter "next" to him (certainly not on the podium!). In fact, I think the way she was treated, particularly by her mother, was disgraceful and cruel - parents who barely acknowledge, hardly embrace, their child who is "different".

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RE: Oh?

 

If you think that male prostitution is surreptitious now, well.. you are largely correct. If you don't compare it with how surreptitious it used to be. There is a trend towards it being more and more legitimized. I would like for it to be open and controlled by my 100th birthday in 2051. So I am ready to do what I feel I can to bring about that day.

Perhaps this is parallel to the stides forward made by "the love that dare not speak it's name."

Personally, I don't think that the movement towards legalizing escorting should become part of the gay movement. It may eventually, say in 10 - 20 years. But right now it would unfairly hold the larger movement back, right when it is in a position to make leaps and strides. Unfair, now, perhaps it wouldn't have been if it had come into the movement decades ago. No, right now, gay prostitution is more along the historic lines of Margo (I think her last name was Wolfe?) and her organization, COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics.).

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RE: Oh?

 

PS - The massage industry here in Texas asked for and got licensing from the state in 1984. One of the laws which have been passed stated that massage, back rub, and quite a few other words could only be used in advertising by people with either massage or (since it used to be the apropos license) hairdressing licenses. They have made no really noticable attempt to enforce that law. However, it does a fairly good job of enforcing itself. So might an prostitute licensing law.

One thing it would do would be to take some hypocracy out of the morality enforcers mouths. We might not save money on the budget of our vice cops, but they would no longer be in a position to "sting" escorts by lying through their teeth. (Just not, IMHO, a moral thing for them to do.) They could honestly ask for a prostitute and then honestly ask to see his/her license and health papers.

This would probably, however, cause escorts with AIDS to lose their livelihood, and there are some of them who are quite open about their health status and are still quite popular now. So I hope we could avoid that happening.

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Guest regulation

RE: So?

 

So the scoop on legalizing prostitution is that it might reduce wrongful arrests of prostitutes, though no one knows to what extent, it might reduce the number of prostitutes with STDs, though no one knows to what extent, and it would still require a regime of law enforcement to locate and apprehend prostitutes who refuse to comply with the rules under which they're supposed to operate. Is that it? Anything else?

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RE: gays and republicans

 

two interesting articles in today's papers. first is a story in the LA TIMES by bettijane levine on the gay cheney daughter. it sounds like lynne cheney is more upset than dick. the article gives a list of high republicans and how they reacted to gay family members. we will have to see how dick's views change.

 

the second article is in NEWSDAY by james pinkerton on gays in the republican party. it is realy hopeful that the party will accept them; there were 19 openly gay delegates at the convention (plus lots of closet cases).

 

i agree that often a judge on the supreme court finds his (or her) own voice and the appointing president is unhappy with the choice. i am worried about our big government and its snooping. there are recent stories on the government keeping tabs on internet use/traffic and who is viewing/sending what. 60 minutes tonight did a story on how the government is listening in on all electronic communications. big brother seems to be arriving. i find this frightening; privacy is vanishing.who will protect us best, a liberal or a conservative? i don't know.

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