Some sex work laws overturned in Ontario

Selling sex isn’t illegal in Canada. Instead, laws have been enacted which make certain aspects of the activity of selling sex illegal. And now the Supreme Court has ruled that two of these provisions are unacceptable because they endanger sex workers.

In its decision the court said that prostitution is extremely dangerous work where inherent risks are multiplied by laws preventing prostitutes from working together under one roof or hiring security staff.

The decision didn’t strike down the communication law which makes it illegal for sex workers to negotiate with clients.

“The vast majority of all prostitution arrests are under the communication law. The failure to strike down the communication law means that the most vulnerable sex workers will continue to face arrest, police harassment, prosecution and violence.” –Emily van der Muelen, Assistant Professor, in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Ryerson University.

Read “Ontario Court leaves most vulnerable sex workers unprotected”–the response from the Maggies, the Toronto Sex Workers Action Project–here.

I was struck by the contrast in headlines between Canada’s national newspaper which tells the story from the point of the view of the women who challenged the law and MSNBC’s focus. MSNBC headlines the story, “Brothels and pimping legalized in Ontario, Canada” and Canada’s national newspaper puts it this way, “Sex-trade workers hail legalization of brothels as major victory.”

Do college professors work hard enough?

If I had any energy left in my after my rather exhausting job, I would lift my arm just high enough to take a swing at the eye of the author of this faux-respectful  WaPo op-ed piece, who concludes that not only do we not work hard, we don’t even work full-time:

But we all should object when they receive these salaries for working less than half the time of their non-academic peers.

Now, professors have heard this saw before, and although it makes me want to give up all my efforts every time I hear it, this time it’s written by a former chancellor of the New School.  So, what the expletive?!  How does someone preside over a university without ever learning that the professors work?  In my anger, at least I’ve got company from this rather excellent response on the ginandtacos blog:

The best part about being a professor in this country [USA]  – I can’t speak for any other – is that no one really understands what we do but everyone knows that we’re doing it wrong.

I highly recommend reading both, the op-ed so that academics know the details of the cultural conversation about just how lazy, how very, very lazy we are, and the ginandtacos rant responding to it so that you don’t feel quick so heartsick.  But I do.  I feel heartsick. Or at least, post-burrito sick.

Thanks to Barrett Emerick for the link to the rant, I guess (although the op-ed really isn’t sitting well after my burrito, Barrett).