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reviewed in NY Times:
Toronto man publishes wry memoir of prostitution and his life:
"The romantic love ideal is actually evil," Mr. Brown declares, casually tossing a thunderbolt. It promotes "more misery than happiness" and causes many people to yoke themselves for life to the wrong person simply to satisfy society's dictates. His ego is not so fragile, he says, that he needs someone to tickle him like a stuffed animal and affirm that he's lovable.
After some trepidation, Mr. Brown begins to schedule daytime sessions with prostitutes who have advertised online or in alternative weeklies. We meet a shaggy parade of them: There are Carla and Susan and Jolene and Beatrice and Larissa and Millie and others in between. These are not of course their real names, and Mr. Brown never shows us their faces, which he tucks just out of the frame or behind caption bubbles; usually their backs are turned.
This doesn't belong in the sex workers rights forum. In my humble opinion.
I heard about this book earlier this year when it had its Toronto launch. Some man talking about his experiences with sex workers is not my idea of an interesting read. I'd prefer to read the women's experiences. Funny, that.
He can be bleakly funny. He opens a door at one small brothel, expecting to find a familiar face. “What? That’s not Angelina!” he thinks. “It’s a monster in a mini-skirt!” More often he is off-putting. There’s some bravery in his willingness to show himself in a vaguely creepy light.
Yeah, calling a woman sexist names. How innovative! How brave to show himself as "creepy".
May most men never be so brave, I beg of you.
“She’s a bit too old,” he thinks to himself, when told a certain woman is all of 28.
He admits that he’s slightly turned on by the prostitute who keeps saying, “Ow,” during sex, even though she claims she’s not in pain. I cringe even to type that sentence.
Aw, New York Times book reviewer, his "honesty" (aka being a fucking asshole) made you cringe? Aw poor baby. Don't worry, the sentence is now typed and you can move on with your life. There, there.
The reason I didn't attend the Toronto launch is that the author's perspective on why he's for legalizing prostitution is that's it's purely self-serving. He wants access to women's bodies free of any fear of being busted. It doesn't matter that he lands ideologically on the same side of the argument as I am.
And lecturing feminists is a bit over the top, aka barf-worthy. While there's no agreement in the larger feminist community about this issue, it's best to leave such work and thinking to the real feminists, and not to worry his pretty self about it.
As is so often the case, I'm inclined to agree with Maysie. I thought about closing it entirely, and I guess still could be convinced to do so. I've not read a lot of Chester Brown, but I do find him a rather disturbed and disturbing individual. Perhaps this can be productively discussed in our little used babble book lounge, where it can compete with Beatrice and Virgil.
His "Louis Riel" was informative, and well-worth the read.
As for this latest offering, I don't know much about it, and what I have heard has definitely made some red flags go up. I'll reserve comment for now.