An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
I was madder than the butt-fuckee with sand in the KY. Tim cans Jeff Bale for writing "opinions people can get from television or The Republicans." Punks call my Thai adventures, exploitation. What am I going to do? Am I next in the putsch because I don't agree with the punklibs?
Ahh! I've got insurance! I have opinions that you can't get anywhere else. I think logically, consistently, and humanly. Nobody on either side does that. I'm on no side at all. My position here at MRR (and the company car) are safe-- at least for the moment.
One of my least accepted, yet most obviously true, beliefs is that kids are human beings. They are not delicate paintings to be protected from the outside elements. They are not property that should be fought over like baseball cards. They are humans with independent minds, able to make decisions and feel emotion. Their humanity entitles them to the same rights that folks a little older and (sometimes) bigger have.
Lily and I investigate the outskirts of Lumpini Park in Bangkok. It's late. The park itself is closed. We sit on the steps along side a large statue of the king. We watch the little square around us. Below is this kid, about twelve. His Dutch Boy haircut moves back and forth as he talks with a chubby girl who looks a little older.
The girl suddenly looks up at us. The boy follows her gaze. He sees us and springs up the stairs two at a time.
"You got cigarette?" He asks us.
I take one out of the crumpled pack in my pocket. The kid laughs and asks Lily for a light. She lights his cigarette. He nods to her and skips down the stairs. On the bottom, he starts to moonwalk, slither, break and do all kinds of dances-- obviously for our benefit. We laugh and call him Michael Jackson.
Soon other kids join him. One, a couple years younger, lies on the giant stone railing. He talks with the chubby girl. The others range in age from ten to fourteen or so. They talk amongst themselves. An older boy, about 15, tall and skinny, flicks a cigarette lighter on his elbow, his hand, his forehead. The crowd breaks into laughter and applause. There is more talking. All at once, the whole gang looks directly at us. They laugh again. Then they head up the stairs together, coming towards us.
Soon, we're surrounded.
"Where you come from? Where you go? You beautiful lady. (Directed at Lily, not me.) You take my picture?"
I take a picture of them with Lily. They laugh, raising their hands in the air, making Mickey Mouse ears. Lily takes a picture of them with me.
Michael Jackson says, "I take a picture of both you together." He reaches for my camera. I give it to him.
He backs up to get a view of us all, then takes the picture and hands me back the camera. Surprised?
Lily glances over the stair railing and sees an older Thai guy, pot belly, dressed in clean jeans and a nylon shirt.
"Looks like the undercover cops are here." she says.
The guy wonders around the square with his hands clasped behind his back. He stops and stares at nothing in particular-- a wall, the parking lot, who knows? Then he continues his walk.
"Maybe he's a pimp," I tell Lily. "These kids look like they're on the make. They say that whenever you see a whore, a pimp isn't far behind."
Eventually, the guy's wife shows up and he takes off. We laugh at our misunderstanding. Then we notice a car. It's been circling the square. Now it crawls along the side of the staircase we're sitting on. The ten year old, who had been lying on the railing, gets up and walks over to it.
The driver rolls down his window. We can see he is Thai-- or at least dark and oriental. The driver and the boy talk and joke for awhile. Then the boy walks around the side of the car, gets in and the car drives off. We've seen it finally. Our first-- and only-- case of child prostitution in Thailand.
And it wasn't bad! These kids aren't exploited-- at least not any more than anyone else who works. These kids are having a fun time. They work for themselves and have a good time doing it.
What about the other child prostitutes? The slaves and dollar-a-blow-job girls? There are two levels of prostitution in Thailand. The commercial, Patpong, level with the glitter, money and foreigners. Then, there is an under-level. Here the cheap girls service the taxi drivers just in from the country-- or the country people themselves. That's where the kids are. Yet even here, they're cared for and fed, more than they would be if they stayed at home.
A few months ago I wrote about how, in an amazing show of puritanism, a U.N. display talked about the problem of child prostitution. In one place, the display said children are often forced by hunger into prostitution. If it weren't for that, they would die of starvation. Further on in the same display: It must be our first priority to end child prostitution any way we can. So starving to death is better than sex.
Regularly, The Bangkok Post reports police raids on small Thai brothels. Police 'rescue' children and return them to their parents to starve. These raids never take place in Patpong. They're always in the poor suburbs, or out in the countryside. That's where the girls are.
That, too, is where the indentured servants are, working their way out of their parents' debt. Once free, the girls leave these sleazy places. Many times, they head for the bright lights and big city. They take the glamour jobs in Patpong where they can meet exciting foreigners and wear expensive clothes.
Many of the Patpong sex clubs are owned by former prostitutes who worked in other clubs until they could afford to open their own. This would be a Western-style success story-- the American dream. But Americans would never tolerate it. It involves sex for pay-- with kids. For Americans-- and many other Westerners-- that's worse than death.
Most sides of the political spectrum, down deep, believe that sex is bad, like drinking or smoking. The difference between 'libertarians' and their conservative/liberal counterparts is that 'libertarians' believe that adults should be allowed to do bad things. They're all wrong.
Sex is not bad. It's human, natural, and fun. Human beings are the only species who can achieve orgasm before puberty. What a shame not to take advantage of that. Of course there are dangers, AIDS, various VDs, and pain. The responsibility is with the one who is aware-- just like in adult sex.
Male humans reach their sexual peak between the ages of eighteen and twenty. Female humans reach their sexual peaks at thirty. Since women raise kids, could it be jealousy-- or vengeance that makes them want to deny sexuality until we're 'adults'? Is it strange that young men rape, when laws and parents deny them legitimate sexual channels? At the height of their sexuality?
Don't tell me that sex is abuse. Not when there is so much REAL abuse.
You want child abuse? The family visits grandma. She smells funny, and is sometimes nasty.
"Come on, give grandma a big kiss and a hug."
"I don't want to."
"Grandma loves you, now go ahead and kiss her!"
Squeezing emotions from a kid like juice from an orange, that's abuse. Every time I see the neighbors-- or Barney-- telling their kids. "Hug me! Kiss me!" I shudder at the abuse. Every kid who's told they can't leave "until you kiss me goodbye," is abused.
You want more child abuse? Which adults have to sit in a room for hours at a time, then raise their hand when they have to take a piss? School is child abuse.
Abuse? Tell kids that a dead guy with nails in his hand is God. They'll spend the rest of their days burning in hellfire if they don't love the guy who brought the dead men into the world to get nailed in the first place. Church is child abuse.
More? Parents get divorced. The kid stays with.... oh yeah, the court decides. Usually it's mom. Ask the kid? Why? What do they know? Our legal system is child abuse.
Don't tell me taking picture of a smiling naked little girl with her hands between her legs is child abuse, while any of the above is 'love.'
The key is CONSENT, CONSENT, CONSENT. Anyone who has seen a mother drag her screaming kid down a supermarket aisle, knows that kids can give and withhold consent. It's about time we started listening to them.
-->The major label thing: This was supposed to be a theme issue on "the subject of major labels and their effects" I think most folks have seen their effect on Kurt Cobain. No doubt that, besides drugs and Courtney, the reason he blew his head off was the conflict between ideals and the shit he had to put up with. MTV, no fan contact, partying with the stars, the cover of Rolling Stone-- who wouldn't kill themselves?
Actually, major labels do us a favor. They keep the indy scene fresh. After a band lies around for a year or so, they get old. There are hundreds of new bands starting out. If no one clears out the old ones, there is no room for the new guys. The majors scrape the scum from the top of the indy heap and leave room for the new folks on the bottom.
Actually, some good bands have been/are on major labels. (THE RAMONES!) If a band wants to live off its music, eventually it almost has to go to a major labels. Most indies don't have the finances or the competence to keep a band in concerts and t-shirts. I don't blame a band for going major. I (usually) just stop listening to them.
A recent development has been major label distribution of indies. Matador, Mammoth and some other true indies now have major label distribution. This is a good compromise, provided the labels are strong enough.
With this method, the indies can maintain their independence and yet find their way into more outlets than they could elsewhere. They are also freed from the mundane and costly chores of sending out promos and collecting bills. If a label doesn't like the major's policies, it can simply withdraw-- without the contractual messiness that happens between bands and majors labels.
The danger, of course, is that the indy will become addicted to the major label distribution. It might change itself to please the distributor. But this is the fault of an indie with integrity deficiency-- and not the fault of the major.
--> Punk rock heaven dept: I saw one of the world's greatest shows at The Continental last week. The hilarious White Castle throwing BUGOUT SOCIETY, the poppy punk and super energy BOUNCING SOULS and the bastard sons of The Angry Samoans buttfucked by The Ramones: THE QUEERS. Three out of three hits for three dollars!!! What a night! I was so worn out, I couldn't stay for the premiere of Bobby Steele's new band THE TIME SQUARES. If they were as good as what went before them, they were pretty stupendous.
--> A reader asked me why folks should return those business reply envelopes from evil Right Wing Christians, Feminists Against Porn, and other nasties. The reason is that these groups have to pay for those returns! Every envelope you send back costs the company 35 cents. The more you send back, the less money they have to do their dirty deeds.
--> Unfortunately, no business reply envelope came with the form letter from Ollie North. He has decided to run for the Senate from Virginia. Here's a quote from that letter As a father, I fear for my children who must live in a world where radical special interests groups are given red carpet treatment as they impose twisted world views on groups like the Boy Scouts...
--> For first amendment fans: you might want to send some money to the new Freedom to Read Foundation/Frank Zappa Memorial Fund (50 East Huron, Chicago IL 60611). It's a new fund established by the American Library Association to help fight against banned books. Another group National Coalition Against Censorship (275 Seventh Ave. New York NY) sponsored a conference on Women, Censorship and Pornography. You can get transcripts from them for $5. I'm still amazed at these enlightened females, pro-porn, pro-sex-- still calling themselves feminists.
Finally, the Literary Network, a group mostly concerned about censorship in The Arts, is considering publishing an e-mail infozine. If you're interested, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
--> I'm still getting those names-as-sentence contributions. My favorite new one comes from Noah Lyon (who,although a noun and verb, is not a sentence): Pete Rose.
--> Paul, who wrote to me awhile back about going to NYU to study anthropology is another one! No address on the letter. So, Paul, if you've got Internet you can e-mail me at email@example.com. (My column is available via e-mail around the 15th of every month. Just send a request to that address. It will continually to be available, even if it disappears from these pages under... er...mysterious circumstances.)
Otherwise, you and everybody else, keep sending those videos and dirty pix to me at PO Box 137, Prince St. Station, New York NY 10012. But don't forget your return address-- on the letter!
--> On the academic front dept: I'm passing the word along. Please give it to whoever's relevant:
CALL FOR PAPERS: FEMINISTS/WOMANISTS IN THE SEX INDUSTRY
Strippers, prostitutes, dominatrixes, mistresses, porn actors, models, escorts, madams, masseuses, lap-dancers, peep-show girls, etc. Your perspective is needed for a collection of essays by self-identified womanists or feminists (however you define that) who are or have been involved in the sex industry. Its purpose is to represent clear, thoughtful analytical, non-defensive perspectives of feminist sex workers.
Possible Topics: issues of voice; i.e., speaking as, vs. speaking for sex workers; sex worker activism; in an ideal world, would there be sex work? Why or why not? How would it be similar to/different from what exists now?; relationships with clients; boundaries - sense of, lack of, overabundance of; abuse of women in the industry; definitions of power, sex and money; is sex work a feminist act?
Guidelines: Writing should be as clear and jargon-free as possible. Strong feelings are appropriate and encouraged. Humor, anecdotes, biography, analysis, photos, poetry, commentary and other variations are welcome. Length should be approximately 1000-4000 words. All submissions should be typed, double-spaced, single sided. Include computer disk if appropriate, labeled with system (MS-DOS, Macintosh, etc.,), name and version of software used. Sorry, but no submissions or disks will be returned. Include a biography approximately one paragraph long. DEADLINE: JUNE 15
Send to: FSI Anthology. P.O. Box 9981, Berkeley, CA, 94709-0981 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
-->Fooled again! dept: It was so casual a joke, I forgot to mention it last month. But some folks believed this year's April Fool's prank about the major label signings of NEW BOMB TURKS and SCREECHING WEASEL. I wonder how many of you were looking for the MRR produced GRATEFUL DEAD album! Aah, P.T. Barnum, no truer words were ever said.
-->Major advances in research dept: This information was published as the result of a research grant given to a prestigious university. It has been reprinted in Cosmopolitan magazine. According to this study, the color of lipstick you wear has a direct correlation with your sexual preference. (The study only included females.)
RED = Oral sex
ORANGE = Masturbation
BROWN = Dominatrix
PINK = The Missionary Position
NUDE = Bisexuality or celibacy
See? You were worried that the red mark there was herpes-- it was only lipstick! Don't you love social science?
-->Speaking of Nude Lipstick Dept: This year's International Conference Celebrating Bisexuality will be held in New York City on Saturday, June 25. (The day before the huge homofest STONEWALL 25.) There will be lots of workshops, and folks to meet and later fuck. I proposed a workshop to be called: BISEXUALITY-- THE BEST WAY or THE ONLY WAY. I haven't heard if they'll let me do it. I think Donny The Punk will also give a workshop or two.
If you're interested, you can get a registration form via e-mail. Just send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. For the electronically challenged, you can write for information (SASE please!) to: ICCB '94, PO Box 497, Times Square Station, New York NY 10108.
To lead a workshop send an e-mail proposal to: email@example.com
For housing info: (a block of rooms in a hotel is reserved, but it's expensive. Ask for private housing if possible.) call 212-439-1077. To check on travel plans, car-pooling etc: call 1-800-SW25-NYC.
Try to make a VERY long weekend out of it. The Libertarian Book Club, will hold its conference on 'alternative sexuality' on Thursday, June 23 (I think). On the night of the 24th, there will be a homocore show at ABC NO RIO.
-->Hey murder fans! dept: I just got a letter from Dale Austin, a fellow inmate of Jeffrey Dahlmer's. He says he eats with the guy and always talks to him. Seems like ole' Jeff is a nice guy. Dale is in a maximum security prison now-- because he wrote for an anarchist newspaper.
You can kill a couple of birds with one stone-- and keep their parts in your refrigerator. Dale says he's lonely-- and he's a conduit to Jeffrey Dahlmer. So write to the guy! Dale Austin #76660, Box 900, CCI, Portage WI 53901.
Another punk in prison is Jeffrey A. Gearns (#223298, Huron Valley Men's Facility, 3201 Bemis Rd., Unit 3, B-309, Ypsilanti MI 48197) He's trying to get some punk music cassettes into the prison store! If you have a sample, send it to him along with ordering information. As far as I know, this is for cassettes only, folks in jail tend not to have CD players or even turntables.
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