Interesting News (1/25/13)

Many irksome things today – the semantic geniuses at the LA Times strike again, proving that inconsistency rules the day over there, and Texas decides to match Canada in dancer discrimination… It’s all Interesting News!!


A lesson in biased, problematic sensationalism – the LA Times brings it once again with a horrifying story about a “porn director” …who’s really a registered sex offender and likely pedophile …and not at all connected to the adult industry!!

To wit (from 1/23/13):

“Porn director held after performing lewd act on teen, police say”

A registered sex offender was arrested for allegedly performing a lewd act on a 17-year-old boy while directing a porn film shoot at an abandoned home in Ahaheim, police said Wednesday night.

Christopher Glen Phernambucq allegedly convinced the victim and another 17-year-old boy to take part in the film after meeting them on Facebook, Anaheim police said.

He told the boys that he directed porn films, police said. He filmed the boys at the abandoned home near East Colorado Avenue and North Red Gum Street.

“During the filming, Phernambucq performed lewd acts on at least one of the 17-year-old males,” the Anaheim Police Department said in a statement.

Phernambucq, who was on parole for making child pornography, was taken into custody. (here)

Yes, the use of “registered sex offender.” No, the use of “porn director” in the headline. Further, NO the use of “directing a porn film” and “child pornography.” Phernambucq was neither directing porn nor creating “child pornography” – he was recording the abuse (his abuse) of a minor-aged person. There was nothing “pornographic” about this situation, though continued use of the misleading phrase “child pornography” would like us to think there was.

It’s this type of rhetoric and sloppy language that contribute to further misconceptions about porn and our culture’s continued practice of adult industry discrimination. If this were targeting ANY other group of people, the LA Times would NEVER be allowed to write this… hell, they would never even attempt to write it in the first place. grrrr… “journalism” FAIL!!

If you’re feeling sassy, why not let the Times know how much you admire their journalistic integrity right –> here.

For another almost-as-egregious example of the same semantic issues, see “Women charged with sexually assaulting girls, making child porn” –> here (1/24/13).


(pictured: Christopher Glen Phernambucq – not a pornographer)


Incidentally, I did recently read this (1/14/13):

“Many researchers taking a different view of pedophilia”

Pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a deep-rooted predisposition that does not change. (here)

It’s a fascinating and compassionate article about this issue… one that I struggled to get through, my researcher brain fighting with my conditioned social brain the entire time. Here’s some text:

Like many forms of sexual deviance, pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a sexual orientation as immutable as heterosexuality or homosexuality. It is a deep-rooted predisposition — limited almost entirely to men — that becomes clear during puberty and does not change.

The best estimates are that between 1% and 5% of men are pedophiles, meaning that they have a dominant attraction to prepubescent children.

Not all pedophiles molest children. Nor are all child molesters pedophiles. Studies show that about half of all molesters are not sexually attracted to their victims. They often have personality disorders or violent streaks, and their victims are typically family members.

By contrast, pedophiles tend to think of children as romantic partners and look beyond immediate relatives. They include chronic abusers familiar from the headlines — Catholic priests, coaches and generations of Boy Scout leaders.

Other pedophiles are “good people who are struggling,” said Dr. Fred Berlin, a psychiatrist who heads the Johns Hopkins Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit. “They’re tortured souls fighting like heck not to do this. We do virtually nothing in terms of reaching out to these folks. We drive it underground.” (here)

An excellent read that, ironically, can be found in… the LA Times!! (right –> here)


On a different note, apparently Texas felt it needed to live up to the example set by those Canadian teens I was talking about the other day (here) as “Strippers in Texas May Soon Need a License to Dance.”

Now, licensing is not necessarily a bad thing – many folks, including some sex workers (ie brother prostitutes in Nevada), have to establish and maintain some form of occupational licensing. But consider this proposal (from 1/23/13):

Rep. Bill Zedler (R-TX) has proposed a bill that would require all strippers at “sexually-oriented” businesses in the state to be licensed in order to work in the industry. Under the bill, HB 337, the licensing process would verify a dancer has not been arrested for drugs or prostitution, and must be 18-years-old.  Zedler said he also wants to include STD testing in the licensing process, which has yet to be determined. An unnamed licensing fee is also involved, and applicants would have to complete a course on human trafficking. (here)

Ahhh… so specific “criminal histories” will limit who can work as a licensed dancer..? Very interesting series of priors – stereotype presumption, much? And a course on human trafficking? Is this in case future dancers – you know, the ones taking the course – can be on the look out for human trafficking that’s probably not happening in The Yellow Rose or at Sugar’s..? (I used to live in Austin, remember)

BUT, the workers themselves have some things to say about this…

While more than 25 Texas-based exotic-themed night club owners declined to be interviewed on the proposed agenda, some exotic dancers in the Lone Star State are speaking out against it…

A former exotic dancer named Marilyn* who worked in the industry for more than a decade said the bill, if passed, will simply trap women in the industry.

“If you do this thing, where you license the girls, it makes them feel more trapped inside of the industry,” Marilyn, 39, said. “These businesses have a psychological hold on them.”

[M]arilyn said a stripper being licensed just means she has a permanent mark on her record.

“When girls try to get a job for the first time, that [license] will come up in a background check,” she said. “Even if a [former dancer] is successful and gets away, you think she will get a promotion with that on her record?”

The bill calling for STD testing in order to be licensed will also just put a “bull’s eye” on these girls, and is unnecessary, Marilyn said.

“You will take these beautiful girls, I call them ‘child girls,’ because they don’t know how bad things can get,” she said. “They are between 20 and 30, and are beautiful, sexy and feel good about themselves. You are going to announce to the world that this girl is STD-free? That puts a bull’s eye on their back. We should all remember these girls are not rich, they are born cute, and all these people out there are not caring about her health.” (here)

All excellent points.

To add further insult to this already insulting proposition, Bill Zedler gave us some background…

Zedler said he decided to propose the bill after a family friend’s daughter starting waiting tables at a strip club as a teenager.

“She was beautiful, and attracted to the amount of money strippers could make,” he said. “So, she started stripping, then got into drugs, and then it became prostitution. And this is a very usual pathway.” (here)

Obviously, human trafficking in all forms is horrific. We as a culture should do everything in our power to eradicate it. But engaging foolish propositions because of what (supposedly) happened to your friend’s daughter(‘s sister’s cousin’s former roommate) while NOT considering the wants and needs and insights of the actual people working in any occupation will only end up harming and hindering the wrong people.

Texas, you sound so LA County right now.


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Interesting News – news that’s interesting!!

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