Is sex work degrading or empowering? Mac and Smith reject this dichotomy from the start. ‘This book—and the perspective of the contemporary left sex worker movement—is not about enjoying sex work,’ they write. Work need not be a good time for workers to deserve autonomy, respect, safety, and better pay. The British coal miners who battled Margaret Thatcher hardly claimed that their coal pits were fun. The question ‘Is sex work good?’ has little to do with ‘Should sex workers have rights?’ But this obvious truth is often ignored by writers who get hung up on the ‘sex’ part, painting sex workers as brainless bimbos or voiceless victims. ‘Sex workers are associated with sex, and to be associated with sex is to be dismissible.’
It has by the fall of 2018 become commonplace to describe the 499 known victims of Larry Nassar as ‘breaking their silence,’ though in fact they were never, as a group, particularly silent. Over the course of at least 20 years of consistent abuse, women and girls reported to every proximate authority. They told their parents. They told gymnastics coaches, running coaches, softball coaches. They told Michigan State University police and Meridian Township police. They told physicians and psychologists. They told university administrators. They told, repeatedly, USA Gymnastics. They told one another. Athletes were interviewed, reports were written up, charges recommended. The story of Larry Nassar is not a story of silence. The story of Larry Nassar is that of an edifice of trust so resilient, so impermeable to common sense, that it endured for decades against the allegations of so many women.
Trap is a form of soft power that takes the resources of the black underclass and uses them to change the attitudes, behaviors, and preferences of others, usually by making them admit they desire and admire those same things and will pay good money to share vicariously in even a collateral showering from below. This allows the trap artist to transition from an environment where raw hard power dominates to the Valhalla of excess, lucre, influence, fame, the only sincerely valued site of belonging in our culture. It doesn’t hurt that insofar as you’re interested in having a good time, there’s probably never been a sound so perfectly suited to having every kind of fun disallowed in conservative America.
The Mekong Review aims to be for Southeast Asia what he said The New York Review of Books and The London Review of Books had been since 9/11: ‘brave, trenchant critics of their respective governments.’ It’s a long shot on many levels, not least because it covers a region where English literacy is patchy, postal systems are unreliable and newspapers that are not controlled by governments tend to struggle against censorship and chronic financial constraints. Editor in chief Minh Bui Jones moonlights as a deliveryman when he visits the region.