The WikiLeaks thing has had my attention for a while. The rape charges against Julian Assange leading to an Interpol arrest-warrant? Really? I have two words for you: Roman Polanski. If it’s not a big deal that Roman drugged and raped a young girl, then Julian’s charges aren’t a big deal either. We all know what it’s really about: countries being embarrassed. I’m not sure why. So China is tired of propping up North Korea and no one likes Iran. These are state secrets? This is news? As for the gossiping that politicians do behind each other’s back, well, they obviously forgot that their mothers must’ve said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t put it in a fucking telegram!” Or something to that effect.
Honestly, every country’s media has churned out for more insulting things about each other than these world leaders ever said in these leaks. I’m still waiting for a devastating state secret to be unearthed (spies being outed isn’t the same level of secret; also, I’d like everyone to recall Valerie Plame). Far as I can tell, it sounds a lot like high school with nuclear weapons. (Singapore’s response, invoking their Official Secrets Act, is hilarious.)
While I’m very sure that not everyone agrees with WikiLeaks fulfilling its mission of making leaked material available to all, I think it’s a great way of leveling the playing field. Here’s a chance for countries to get really, really clean with each other. This could be a great experiment in peace and cooperation. The world being what it is, it probably won’t, and things will just remain as they are.
I personally hope that Julian makes it to Venezuela and enjoys a nice vacation courtesy of Hugo Chavez, my favorite contrarian world leader. He’s not a supporter of sex worker rights. If he only had any idea of how much it would piss off the US, I’m sure he would turn his attitude around in a heartbeat. I’ve often wished I could convince him of this.
Which brings us to our own little WikiLeak in the online escort world: the exposing of Alex/a DiCarlo.
I’ve collected an enormous list of posts/articles/etc about it, I’ll post that list if you really make me. There are only a few things I want to say.
Spending 23hrs/day online and being called a “marketing genius” (while selling absolutely nothing) is akin to being called a “business genius” when you have tons of venture capital behind you. Most escorts — myself especially included — fail at being “marketing geniuses” because we have a life (which often includes children), we see clients, we sleep, often we have other jobs and many actually are students! With classes and homework! Alex/a was a fictional example of an uber-impossible escort that, sadly, fed into way too many fantasies and stereotypes civilians have. Including the civilian behind Alex/a because…let’s face it…Pat was never an escort.
Some people still defend the writing as great fiction. I admit: it was. Not completely realistic, no. But great fiction. I have never been able to write about sex from the perspective of any gender other than my own.
Some people defend the writing as educational and informative. Pat was smart, no doubt. The writing was often highly intelligent and someone with that perspective and passion for sex workers could have been a valuable part of the sex worker rights movement (assuming they did not have nefarious motivations and were not possible child molesters as well). But I do not find the writing informative or educational on the whole because he was never an escort. I’m someone who does not believe that you should give detailed advice about a potentially-dangerous job if you have never faced those issues yourself. You can theorize, extrapolate and point to resources you feel are useful. You cannot, in any way or fashion, claim to have been there, done that.
More than once I saw my words on her blog. Tweaked, yes, but I recognize my words and thoughts just as easily I would recognize my clothes on someone else. I have not read all the escort books Pat did in his research — I’ve no doubt those authors saw their work replicated as well. It’s great that he recommended my books to people — probably because they gave him the best perspective on escort work out there. So for the folks who think Alex/a was a great escort who had a really strong handle on the work — ground zero is right here, baby. Don’t let my lack of explicit writing fool you, I assure you I’ve had more sex with men than Pat has.
Speaking of explicit writing; need I point out the main reason smart escorts don’t write explicit blogs is because they know it will haunt them? If an escort is writing explicitly about getting paid for sex, she will suffer real-life consequences (arrest and outing come to mind). The explicit blogging of Alex/a was always suspicious because it always read like someone who had nothing to lose. That’s not the escorts I know. Again, this played into civilian fantasies of escort work; not the often-paranoid and prosaic reality.
Nearly a year ago, several sex workers tried to speak up about Alex/a and were quickly silenced. Three were threatened, two were hugely affected by that threat of very real exposure. While I’m not claiming Alex/a’s blog was abusive, this is a sterling example of what happens when those without real power try to speak up about real problems and issues.
Someone obviously decided the only way to ever put a stop to all of this was to create a Leak. It sort of turned into a WikiLeak as various parts of the Internet community came forward and info was added. There have been rumors of repeating this action with various abusers in the community. EscortLeaks, anyone?
Sex worker rights is not a joke. Someone stepped forward to be a guardian. There is a renewed sense of the bond we have, the trust we must share, a sense of circling the wagons. There is an element of vigilantism that I cheer. We don’t get justice through the regular channels in the US. Much like dissidents in third-world, repressive regimes; the Internet was used as a tool for more than networking. I’m perfectly aware it could be just as easily used against us. So is everyone else. Those who wish our silence will try to feed that fear. I have a feeling that fear will be less and less easy to play as time goes on.