Tag Archives: america

Cultural Debris

A defense of high culture and ordered liberty by Russell Kirk, https://kirkcenter.org/kirk-essays/kirk-essay-cultural-debris/.

Kirk was a defender of traditional Conservatism and an American. I very much doubt however that he has been read by Donald Trump or (if he has) that the President would understand Kirk.

Today is Author’s Day

On local radio today I learned that November 1st is National Author’s Day, https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/authors-day/. I must confess to not having heard of this celebration until early this morning and being intrigued did a little digging which turned up the above link.

From the above, it appears that Author’s Day is an American celebration (it was certainly started in the USA). However given that it was mentioned on a (UK) local radio station, this celebration would appear to have crossed the Atlantic.

I would be interested to know whether any of my readers has any additional information regarding Author’s Day?


Some Thoughts On Clean Reader

(The below post contains, of necessity some profanity. If you are offended by such words you may wish to stop reading now).

Today’s Guardian has an article about Clean Reader, an application which allows the user to reduce or eliminate the amount of profanity in a book, (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/28/clean-reader-is-freaking-silly). The author’s contention is that Clean Reader is a silly idea but, in the final analysis readers have the right to put their own interpretation on the books they read. So, for example the owner of a print book is at liberty to cross out words they don’t like provided they don’t pass off the amended text as constituting the author’s original work.

My concern as an author is that Clean Reader alters the original meaning of my work. Take, for example my short story Samantha. In Samantha we meet a young woman who has been forced into prostitution by her brutal pimp, Barry. For reasons of authenticity Samantha contains scenes of violence and, yes the use of profanity. For instance Sam is told by Barry not to let a client “anywhere near your sweet little fuck hole” until he has paid. This is how a man of Barry’s stamp, a brutal pimp with no respect for women, would address those who he controlls. Yet Clean Reader would render “fuck” as “love” making Barry’s words risible as no pimp would refer to a vagina as “a love hole”.

To take another example, Nick, the client Sam is visiting, says that he wants to “fuck”. Nick’s desire for sexual gratification has nothing whatever to do with romance so to change “fuck” to “love” as Clean Reader would is to render the story risible and to change it’s meaning to boot.

I don’t want anyone to be offended by Samantha or any of my writing for that matter. However if someone downloads Samantha I fervently hope that they read it as written. If a tool such as Clean Reader is utilised the true horror of Sam’s situation is sanitised (I.E. forced prostitution is portrayed in a downright risible manner with clients making love, rather than “fucking” sex workers).

In conclusion, I have concerns regarding Clean Reader, specifically that it has the potential to alter the author’s original meaning and convey an inaccurate view of the work being read. I suspect though that most readers will avoid the app and, given time it will fade into obscurity or cease to exist completely.

Dark Corners And Brutality

An interesting review of “Lost Girls” in which the author, Robert Colker details the murder of 5 young sex workers and the police’s lack of interest in protecting sex workers from violent clients. The author of the article leans towards the view that the best way to protect prostitutes is by criminalising the “Johns” (clients. The majority of the comments following on from the piece endorse the Nordic model under which the client who pays for sex is criminalised while the sex worker is not. However a number of other commenters, including sex workers believe that the article lacks neutrality and is a thinly veiled pro-criminalisation of the client piece of propaganda. Such criminalisation will not help sex workers but will render their occupations more dangerous these commenters contend.

For the article please visit http://observer.com/2013/07/getting-off-easy-how-prostitutes-became-the-new-expendables/

Kevin Morris is an author. For his Amazon author’s page please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/K.-Morris/e/B00CEECWHY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Shades of Grey

“Prostitution is the exploitation of women and children by selfish men. In order to protect sex workers those who purchase sex should be criminalised while prostituted women ought to be assisted to exit prostitution without the risk of prosecution”.

“Prostitution is the oldest profession. You will never abolish sex work. The only practical way of dealing with prostitution is to legalise and/or decriminalise it. What consenting adults do, in private whether entailing payment for sex or otherwise is no concern of the state and/or society”.

The above is, I believe a fair representation of the two main attitudes to prostitution. However there is another perspective, one in which sex work is perceived as a complex issue. According to this viewpoint prostitution is a grey area which can (and frequently does) entail exploitation but one in which abuse is not necessarily part and parcel of working as a sex worker. It is to this latter perspective that I subscribe.

In my short story, “The First Time” we meet Becky, a young graduate who enters the world of prostitution as a professional escort in order to clear her debts. I pull no punches. Becky feels a sense of shame during and after her encounter with her first client, Mike, however no one compels Becky to enter sex work, she does so of her own free will.

In contrast to “The First Time”, “Samantha” tells the story of a lady forced into prostitution in the city of Liverpool. Unlike Becky Sam is raped by her brutal pimp, Barry and is, in effect a sex slave.

The two contrasting portrayals of sex work in “The First Time” and “Samantha” provide a more realistic picture than the above (admittedly simplified) perspectives on sex work. Prostitution is for many ladies (and a few men) a choice as in “The First Time”. It isn’t Becky’s idea of the perfect job by any means! It is, for all that still a choice. In contrast Sam has little (if any) choice regarding her entanglement in prostitution. She is a victim of her brutal pimp, Barry and deserves our compassion. Of course Becky is worthy of compassion to but one can not contend that she has been forced into the sex industry.

So what of the clients? In “The First Time” Mike is polite and considerate in his treatment of Becky. That doesn’t stop Becky from attempting to dissociate herself from the sexual act (she thinks of country walks with her grandfather while Mike is having sex with her). However Becky’s attempt to disassociate herself from the reality of her situation (having sex with a man she finds physically repulsive) should not blind us to the fact that she has taken a conscious decision to work as an escort.

Should people who pay for sex be criminalised as is the case in Sweden, Iceland and a number of other countries?

First let us look at the practical problems with this approach. While it is relatively easy for the police to apprehend men paying for sex on the street it is extremely difficult to enforce such a prohibition on those who use the services of escorts. Escorts provide sex in private accommodation (usually homes or hotel rooms) and most liberal minded people (including me) would be horrified at the idea of the police bursting into people’s residences to arrest them for paying for sex with consenting adults. Also how would the police/the authorities know that an individual escort was providing sex as opposed to company? Of course one could imagine fake agencies being set up and when sex is requested the requestor is arrested, however one needs to ask whether this would be an effective use of police time. I understand that this approach has been adopted in America but the escort industry still thrives there.

There is also the ethical question as to whether acts which are perfectly legal when no payment is entailed should be rendered criminal when cash is handed over. The consensus in Sweden is that this should be the case but I, as a liberal have my doubts.

For my books please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/K.-Morris/e/B00CEECWHY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Book Review: Pimp: The Story of My Life By Iceberg Slim

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing the Kindle store when I came across Iceberg Slim’s biography, Pimp: The Story of My Life (see http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pimp-The-Story-Life-ebook/dp/B005GK7LPG) which tells the story of how the author became one of America’s most notorious pimps. Slim ppulls no punches. The book is a no holes barred account of how Iceberg entered pimping, the people he met and of how he controlled his girls. I flinched as I read how Slim punished his first working girl, Joyce by whipping her with a wire coat hanger. The whipping had (from Slim’s perspective) the desired result as Joyce returned to the streets to sell her body.

Slim was brought up during the era of racial segregation which had a profound effect on his view of the world. As a young black man Slim saw pimping as being one of the few opportunities open to him to become rich. His mentor, Sweet Jones hates white people as a result of his father having been murdered by a white lynch mob and his mother having been raped by the same mob. Sweet tells Slim that black pimps where the early heroes who turned the tables on their former slave masters by becoming prosperous in pimping. It is ironic that Sweet and Slim fail to see that they themselves are slave owners of a kind and are perpetuating the practices of the former plantation owners (it is Sweet who recommends to Slim he keeps his girls in line by the use of practices including whipping with coat hangers). The slave holders of yester year would, no doubt have been proud of them!

As a child Slim’s mother has relationships with a number of unsuitable men including with Slim’s father who, at one point throws the child against the wall. The exception to this rule is the gentle Henry who dotes on both Slim and his mother. However Slim’s mother leaves Henry for another man, had she stayed with Henry who Slim clearly adores it is very possible that I wouldn’t have read Pimp as the author wouldn’t have entered the world of pimping.

On reading Pimp one wonders why the women Slim controlled put up with their treatment at the hands of Iceberg. Fear goes some way to explaining it, however this is not the only explanation. Working on the streets and frequently unobserved by Slim his ladies had many opportunities to escape. One or two of them did but many others did not. Ironically a number of the girls “loved” Slim and convinced themselves that their feelings where reciprocated which explains why they remained with him. In particular one girl sends Slim money while he is in prison (she could have stolen it but chose instead to sell his car, on Slim’s instructions and send the cash to him).

In the end it is the fear of dying in prison rather than any moral revulsion which leads Slim to exit pimping. There is, so far as I can see no wholehearted moral rejection of his former life but I haven’t read any of the interviews which he gave subsequently so perhaps I am wrong on that point.

If you want a comfortable bedtime read then Pimp by Iceberg Slim is not for you. However if you want to try and understand why a man might enter the world of pimping then this book makes a fascinating read.