The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'prostitution'
To figure out the current state and direction of the global economy, economists are turning to somewhat unusual indicators, such as the membership of extramarital infidelity websites and the price of prostitution in Latvia:
The Web site crunched its traffic and membership numbers and found that there was a big increase in both when there was a turning point in the FTSE-100 index, which measures the leading companies listed in London. When the market collapses, people plot affairs. And when the bulls rage, the same thing happens. When it is trading sideways, they stick with their partners.
“It has to do with people’s confidence levels,” says Rosie Freeman-Jones, a spokeswoman for the site. “When the markets are up, they think they can have an affair because they feel they can get away with anything. When the market hits the bottom, they are looking for a way to relieve the pressure.”And here is more information on the prostitution index, and why prostitution prices make a good economic indicator.
Anyway the problem is that most industries have contractual arrangements which fix prices. Wages are very hard to flex downwards. Rents are fixed over sustained periods and the like. All of this means that people go bust rather than reduce prices – simply because prices are sticky.
Well – most prices. The contractual terms of prostitution are short (an hour, a night) and entry to the industry is unconstrained. That means that the prices are very flexible. Extraordinarily flexible.
There are red faces at the Max Planck Institute, after the institute published an issue of its journal with a special report on China, and decided to include some Chinese characters on the cover for visual impact. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to have any Chinese speakers on hand, and after the journal went out to publication, it was discovered that the text on the cover was from a flyer advertising a brothel, describing in lascivious detail the talents of the "pretty-as-jade housewives" therein:
Editors had hoped to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover of a special issue, focusing on China, of the MaxPlanckForschung journal, but instead of poetry they ran a text effectively proclaiming "Hot Housewives in action!" on the front of the third-quarter edition. Their "enchanting and coquettish performance" was highly recommended.
The Max Planck Institute was quick to acknowledge its error explaining that it had consulted a German sinologist prior to publication of the text. "To our sincere regret ... it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker," the institute said in an apology. "By publishing this text we did in no way intend to cause any offence or embarrassment to our Chinese readers. "The faux pas apparently caused much amusement amongst Chinese internet users, with the exception of some who thought it was a deliberate insult to China. Then again, some people said the same thing about that Guns'n'Roses album. Having said that, this is by no means the first instance of clueless Westerners making fools of themselves in Chinese:
There are tales of drunken teenagers walking out of tattoo parlours with characters reading, "This is one ugly foreigner" or "A fool and his money are easily parted". Another web-user wrote: "I recently met a German girl with a Chinese tattoo on her neck which in Chinese means 'prostitute'. I laughed so loud, I could hardly breathe."The brothel-keeper could not be reached for comment.
A new advertising agency in the Netherlands has started offering advertising on zoo animals and hookers' thighs. The agency instoresnow.nl also offers advertising iin religious establishments and huge floating billboards off popular beaches. Unfortunately for those willing to buy, the agency doesn't actually exist, but is merely a satirical project by a design student, Raoul Balai:
"I was getting sick and tired of advertising everywhere," Balai told reporters. "But I don't want to preach, and I thought satire would work better."
Prospective customers phoning his fake agency are kept on hold and bombarded with sales pitches until they give up.Not all are amused, though; an Amsterdam zoo has threatened Balai with a defamation suit after Balai's site showed fish at the zoo inscribed with the brand name of a frozen fish company.
bOING bOING has uncovered, entirely by accident, an online guestbook, apparently in the demo section of a guestbook software site, which ended up being used as an appointment diary by a Florida brothel/escort agency.
We have two new girls: Mercedes and Rose. Please put a wheelchair next to Rose (meaning don't book her) until we get proof of age from her. Of course, if anyone needs "Clarity" forms, they can get them at the pickup spOther than the wacky hijinks that go on in the course of running such an establishment, it contains details such as workers' real names and clients' phone numbers; either "Anne-Marie" (the operator of the brothel; real name: "Frank") was oblivious to the privacy implications of using a free online guestbook test page for storing confidential information, or he just didn't care.
On a tangent, The Age has the poignant story of one man's career as a (gay) phone-sex worker:
One call that really tugged at my heartstrings was someone who called from the country. He had just lost his boyfriend in a car crash and said he was feeling very lonely. The worst part of it was that, because he was from a small town where "you'd get the crap beaten out of you if they found out you were gay", he had no one he could talk to. So he called me. I didn't know what to say. What's a sex phone operator supposed to say in these circumstances? My 20-minute coffee with the boss certainly didn't include a crash course in grief counselling. All I could suggest was that he get out of town every now and again.
A fascinating history of London's vice cards; the small printed cards used by the local prostitutes and dominatrices to advertise their services in phone booths, once whimsical and suggestive, but these days glossy, and about as subtle as internet porn banner ads: (via bOING bOING)
Although produced in the 1980s, the early cards were distinctly Fifties both in tone and design. Many still used foundry display types such as ATF's Brush, or Stephenson Blake's Chisel and Open Titling. Alternatively, they used Baskerville or Garamond, two of the most pervasive text typefaces of the 1950s; as a result they retained an old-world charm. The techniques behind their production were rudimentary: illustrations were hand-drawn, traced, or photocopied. Type was seldom set: it was either rubbed-down, cut out from magazines, or sometimes hand produced. Images and type were pasted together and handed to the printer.
Teachers and parents at one London school complained that pupils as young as five had invented their own version of the Pokémon card using prostitute cards that they collected, then swapped. There has been more than one model that has been alarmed to find her photograph used without permission on the cards.
Vice cards have become fascinating cultural icons. For some, the cards are interesting because they are trackers of technology: they show when specialised production equipment became available, quite literally, at street level. To others the cards are artistic or typographic curios with a unique linguistic and visual vocabulary. The cards are also sociological and cultural records of the late twentieth century, mirroring the changing sexual attitudes and practices of the past 20 years.
Brothel staff shocked by corpse found in bin. It's not quite a headless body in a topless bar, but it's in the same neighbourhood.
Did police turn a blind eye, allowing the Green River Killer to keep killing, out of a belief that he was doing a service to society by killing prostitutes?
Ridgway continued to have many close calls with police, evading and fooling officers and detectives all the while. Would Ridgway have been let go, time after time, had he been anything other than an "ordinary" looking middle-class white man who preyed on the vulnerable, the poor, and the powerless?
As a society, we still see prostitution as an infestation to be kept under control. Words like "eradication" used in tandem with street prostitution are not uncommon in law enforcement lingo, as if the women selling their bodies are no better than vermin.
A Liberal (i.e., conservative) parliamentarian in Western Australia recently took part in a slave-for-a-day auction to raise funds for the local Rotary club. His services were bought by a local brothel madam, who outbid a local Labor MP (among others), and intends to get her money's worth:
"I thought I would start him off with a frilly apron and he could clean the brothel," she said. "[He would] see that not all brothels are dirty and I think I will have the most fun teaching him how to massage."
Could the Dutch experiment with liberalism be over? After winning power and ending the long reign of the left, the new Christian-right government of the Netherlands has outlined its conservative social agenda, which includes recriminalising marijuana, shutting down drug cafés, and laws against same-sex marriage and prostitution. Mind you, I wonder how much of the "failure of liberalism" spin of the article is due to it being from a paper in Singapore, a city-state that is the epitome of the philosophy of benign authoritarianism. (via rotten.com)
In St Kilda, street prostitution is a major problem for the BMW-driving latte-sipping ad-exec residents, with kerb-crawling johns cruising their streets at night searching for bootywhang, consummating the transactions in their yards and dumping used condoms in their designer letterboxes. Professor Marcia Neave, architect of brothel legalisation in the 1980s, suggests that the answer may lie in legal street prostitution precincts, safely away from residential areas. Though given the rapid gentrification of St Kilda, a more practical answer may be to drive the prostitutes out to Brunswick or Coburg, as was done with artists, students, ferals and other non-yuppies formerly indigenous to the ritzy bayside area.
Schoolyard card collecting fads have taken a new turn in London, where Pokémon and football cards have fallen out of fashion, and the new big thing is prostitutes' calling cards. These cards are the ones left in public phone booths, advertising sexual services, often with explicit images and text. As one can imagine, parents, teachers and authorities are none too pleased. (Sorry, no link available.)
When a disturbed patient told him that he feared that he might be gay, a psychiatrist told him to have sex with male and female prostitutes, with unfortunate results: (Telegraph)
Mr A had done his best to comply, despite his parents' objections, by going to Brighton and contacting two female prostitutes through cards in telephone boxes. Terrified of contracting Aids, he covered his body with plasters to avoid being infected through a cut. The meeting was "literally and metaphorically a flop".