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Quote of the Week

Only when human sorrows are turned into a toy with glaring colors will baby people become interested–for a while at least. The “righteous” cry against the white slave traffic is such a toy. It serves to amuse the people for a little while, and it will help to create a few more fat political jobs–parasites who stalk about the world as inspectors, investigators, detectives, and so forth.

What is really the cause of the trade in women? Not merely white women, but yellow and black women as well. Exploitation, of course; the merciless Moloch of capitalism that fattens on underpaid labor [… T]hese girls feel, “Why waste your life working for a few shillings a week in a scullery, eighteen hours a day?”

Naturally our reformers say nothing about this cause. They know it well enough, but it doesn’t pay to say anything about it. It is much more profitable to play the Pharisee, to pretend an outraged morality, than to go to the bottom of things.”

From feminist icon Emma Goldman’s bad-ass 1917 response to “white slavery” hysteria.

Happy Birthday Valerie Solanas

Valerie Solanas

If she were still alive, radical feminist author and prostitute Valerie Solanas would celebrate her 75th birthday today. Instead, she died of pneumonia at a seedy Tenderloin hotel while she was a streetwalker in the late ’80s. If you’re not familiar, Solanas was most famous for the attempted murder of Andy Warhol in 1968 after he both rejected and lost the script for a play she had written and asked him to produce. The play, Up Your Ass, was discovered again after Solanas’ death and finally made it to the stage in 2000.

What I love her most for, though, is the SCUM manifesto, her 1968 anti-capitalism and anti-patriarchy treatise, which advocates for male gendercide and the establishment of an all-female society. Most of her readers today consider her advocacy of mass murder to be satire—Solanas has stated that it was not to be taken literally, but this was after she was imprisoned and institutionalized multiple times, so who really knows.

Nothin’ Dirty Going On: “Best Little Whorehouse” Madam Edna Milton Chadwell Dead At 84

The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, based on Larry L. King’s The Whorehouse Papers, was a seminal work of sex work-themed pop culture. The successful 1982 film version of the musical, starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, included “I Will Always Love You,” a ballad that would later become Whitney Houston’s signature showstopper in The Bodyguard, and “A Lil’ Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place,” a showtune that would become the go-to performance choice of future musical theater strippers across America. Undoubtedly, many young children of the 80s were first introduced to the very idea of prostitution by the film.

But before all that, the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas, was a real place, and a massive news story in 1970s Texas. The brothel was brought down thanks to the, ahem, consumer advocate reporting of Geraldo Rivera precursor Marvin Zindler. During its final days, the Chicken Ranch was run by Edna Milton (later Chadwell), who had started working (yup) at the brothel in the 50s and later bought it for $30,000. The real life Miss Mona said she’d never had an affair with the local sheriff and that their relationship was all business. Somehow, this doesn’t make her story any less interesting.

Edna died this week after sustaining injuries in a car crash last October. Unfortunately, she never published an autobiography, but went on the record whenever she was asked. Although she often said the fictional stories about the Chicken Ranch were sensationalized, it’s hard to imagine her actual story was in any way boring.

Motor City Strippers!

When I see a black woman in a filmy something or other, or clutching feathers, or posed elegantly, I have to click whatever it is to see where she came from. That’s what happened when I stumbled onto this story about burlesque dancers in the Motor City on the Metro Timessite. It begins with a line I cannot turn away from: “They called her The Body. She was built like a double order of pancakes — sweet and stacked.” And gets better and better from there. I found myself completely enthralled the entire way through!

I absolutely think burlesque dancers who get paid for their work are sex workers, so to hear these women’s stories is incredibly inspiring. Lottie Graves mentioned that when she traveled, because of her fame, there’d be champagne and flowers in the room…this is something I can deal with. She also mentions that she wasn’t looked down on because “exotic dancing” was “classy.” I imagine the beaded gowns and rhinestone bikinis had something to do with it. Remind me to buy a rhinestone bikini sometime.

Klute (1971)

You guys, this was my first time seeing Klute and I am totally sold on it. I was into it pretty much from the first few seconds because I am one of those people who decides whether they will like a film based on the colors and whether they feel “good” to me or not. I’ve been having a green moment of late, and there is so much green in that opening scene! There seems to have been (from what I have gleaned from interior design books from the 70’s) a lot of that happening, the garden in the house thing. It reminded me of this post at Desire To Inspire. I love it. If I didn’t kill plants I’d start a garden!

But I do.

So let’s get into this film, shall we?