Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#053 In which our hero talks to whores.

Okay, one more political thing, then I'm done. Really. Besides, if I post much more, I'm sure the republicans will smash down my door and take me to a "re-education" camp.

Shortly after the election, I noticed that my neighbor down the road had two signs in his front yard: "Kerry/Edwards" and "Support Issue 1." As you may remember, Issue 1 was Ohio's ban on gay marriage. I was more than a little taken aback that someone could support both Kerry for president (liberal bent, pro-women's rights, progressive) and Issue 1 (hateful, bigoted, close-minded bullshit). Then I remembered that we live in a country of hypocrites.

To illustrate my point, let me tell you a story.

Years ago, I worked in Columbus, OH for the daily newspaper there, The Columbus Dispatch. Unlike most major metropolitan papers, The Dispatch is still family owned. Specifically, the Wolf family owns it (as well as one of the city's television stations, a couple radio stations, a few magazines... you get the idea). The Wolf's are big republicans. John F. Wolf is the patriarch and president of The Dispatch. John F. (as he's in-affectionately known by the staff of the paper) always hosts republican presidents and candidates when they come through town, and is a major campaign supporter. Needless to say, The Dispatch is heavily pro-republican in their news coverage.

My point is, if there's anyone that should be supporting the "moralistic" approach to running the country that seems to have been mandated in the last election, it is the Wolfs and The Columbus Dispatch.

For two years, I worked in the classified advertising phone room there, taking ads over the phone for people that wanted to sell their cars, rent their apartments, give away kittens, etc., etc. The paper had dozens of categories from Autos, Domestic to Washing Machines. However, there was one other category that wasn't spoken about as much: Adult Entertainment.

Adult Entertainment was comprised almost entirely of "escort" ads. Now, it doesn't take a degree in rocket science to figure out that "escorts" generally translate into "prostitutes."

This was understood by everyone that worked in my department, even though management played down that fact. So, you might ask yourself why would a republican, morally superior publication accept such advertisements? While you're formulating your answer keep in mind that The Dispatch flat out refused to accept advertisements for tobacco or alcohol.

Give up? The answer is "Because Adult Entertainment Ads Make the Paper a lot of Money." The rates for these advertisements were three times any other category. One year, the cost was doubled in the middle of the year, something that would have been unacceptable for any other kind of advertiser. Oh, and payment for the ads had to be made in advance, IN CASH.

These ads were tightly regulated. The advertisers weren't allows to use any graphics, not even little stars or hearts or any other dingbats that were easily available for any other advertiser. There was, of course, a long list of words that where taboo... no "boobs" or "hard-ons" or the like. As an aside, this list of restricted words and phrases was ridiculously arbitrary. For example, you could print "busty," but not "chesty." "Teen" was out, but "she-male" was welcomed. There were many others, but it's been so long I can't remember them all. I do remember that it was often a source of great amusement when a phone operator put a caller on hold to call across to our manager, "Hey - can you say 'buxom?' How about 'stacked?'"

Advertisers were told that their ads could only contain three elements: the company name, the company phone number, and another tightly controlled third line, which was usually "in call/out call," which meant "you come to us or we come to you." By the way, "in home" wasn't allowed, either.

This sounds extremely restrictive, but I was always amazed by the imagination of the pimps placing the ads. Not surprisingly, the "company name" was always something like "Hot red-head sisters," or "Naturally busty she-male." God as my witness, those were real ads.

And here's the best part: not only did we, lowly phone room drones, figure out that The Dispatch was supporting prostitution, but so did the police. Occasionally, the cops would place bogus ads to bust those unlucky suckers that called looking to get laid. But! If the paper got wind that an ad was placed by the police, they would pull it! See, the paper believed in truth in advertising, and only real, honest-to-God whores were allowed to advertise.

So, would it strike you as hypocritical that a "moral," republican paper would rail against the horrors of a liberal government on the front page while simultaneously accepting advertising from known prostitutes back in the classifieds?

Sadly, it would seems that for 51% of Americans (including my neighbor down the street), it would not.


Post a Comment

<< Home