August 4, 2005

The Amsterdam Notebooks—Page 4.

On Day 4 of the Amsterdam Notebook series, we see some of the sleazier things, take some interest in the signs and names of things, and contemplate the sexual -- from a safe distance:

Amsterdam Notebook.

Amsterdam Notebook.

25 comments:

JB said...

This little series, has been absolutely fascinating, and part of why blogging is so amazing to me. Here I am in California, learning about a law professors in Wisconsin's trip in 1993 to Amsterdam, with just amazing sketches (I have a hard time just doing stick figures).

That last question in your notebook is disturbingly profound.

If they are so interested in women, why do they construct for themselves places women will not go?

Perhaps because they're/we're not so much interested in women, as much as our individual selves.

Dirty Harry said...

"If they are so interested in women, why do they construct for themselves places women will not go?"

Like we're gonna let that cat out of the bag...

Your drawings remind me of Crumb -- which may not sound like it -- but is a compliment.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Harry. It's totally appreciated as a compliment. (Much more than the comparisons to Lynda Barry on yesterday's page.)

Finn Kristiansen said...

Or that other guy, Harvey Pekar, played by Paul Giamatti in American Splendor (though, Ann does not look like Giamatti really at all).

As to the question:

If they are so interested in women, why do they construct places women will not feel comfortable?

I don't think that is a disturbingly profound question. Some men are simple. Some men like sex (or some things) way more than some women are willing to give it (or get interested in some things). They create places where they can indulge their desires without effort. The actual question answers itself, not to mention that some of those places actually do contain... women. (And why indeed will women not go? Answer that, and then take the opposite of that, and you have some men).

As to the drawings, just cool stuff and why blogging (as JB suggests)--and this blog in particular-- is so neat.

Elizabeth said...

An anthropolist friend just returned from Amsterdam, having spent all four days of her visit in the redlight district.

She talked about it some over dinner last night, and one thing that stuck with me was her talk with a woman who works in the mail department of a business office, and as a prostitute at a brothel. She told my friend that she won't work the windows because there's generally a man behind the scenes, a pimp, whereas it's not hard to find a woman-owned and managed brothel. There, the prostitutes keep much more of their earnings, and have complete say over what--and whom--they will and won't do. Within those spaces constructed for male sexuality, the working women have constructed their own spaces.

Brendan said...

"Within those spaces constructed for male sexuality, the working women have constructed their own spaces."

How charming. How very "women's studies-ish" We're talking about prostitution here, right?

Elizabeth said...

Brendan,

How snide, how lacking in charm.

Yes, prostitution is the subject. Did you read Ann's post?

Ann Althouse said...

Finn: I agree that the question essentially answers itself, which is why you shouldn't read it so much as a question to be answered: it's a criticism to be understood.

Ann Althouse said...

Harvey Pekar doesn't do his own drawings. You're picturing Crumb's drawings.

Brendan said...

"Brendan,

How snide, how lacking in charm.

Yes, prostitution is the subject. Did you read Ann's post?"

My bad for thinking you could recognize a rhetorical question. Have fun putting a smiley face on the flesh trade.

Elizabeth said...

Brendan,

My bad for thinking you might have a point to make, or that you might have understood mine.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Crumb does Pekar's drawings? So that was what Crumb was doing in that movie. Duh. Time for me to go back and re-watch it. Totally forgot.

Kathy Herrmann said...

Ann--I'm with the other folks who find your drawing-filled notebooks cool stuff.

Have you discovered moleskin notebooks? They are so you.

http://www.moleskineus.com/

Ann Althouse said...

Tiger: Here's my Moleskine post.

Jack said...

Bloody Hell, you posted above, "I agree that the question essentially answers itself, which is why you shouldn't read it so much as a question to be answered: it's a criticism to be understood."

That takes the wind out of my sails in trying to answer the question posed those years ago, "If they are so interested in women, why do they construct for themselves places women will not go?"

I will attempt to answer regardless.

"They" are not interested in women. "They" are afraid of them. "They" want something that is unattainable, and "they" set up obviously artificial situations where the unattainable is "attained" but wherein it remains unattainable anyway.

My $0.02.

Of course, I've been corrupted by living in France for a year...

amba said...

Here is a really eerie take on male sexuality from one horse's mouth. The men who've read this so far have been repelled, the women saddened and disgusted. Yet this guy is looking into himself, rather courageously, I think, trying to answer questions like the one Ann posed.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth said...

I haven't argued that there's empowerment in sex work. I'm interested in the story this particular woman tells as a type of response to Ann's question. Since prostition is a given--it's not going anywhere--I'm intrigued by how women, and men, who work in that industry cope, how and why men (mostly) support the industry, how law enforcement and politics collide in the sex industry---these are interesting topics of human behavior, gender, power, economy and politics.

I will add that I think to say that "If the women actually have control of it, that almost seems worse" puts abstract morality ahead of concerns of these women's working conditions, earnings, and safety. Even if you disapprove of prostitution, surely you don't need to wish ill on prostitutes. Would it really be better for her to work for a pimp? Would that satisfy some moral test, and desire for shame or punishment? I don't get that.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Hunt, that is very deep. I think that totally explains the preponderance of chipmunk porn magazines spreading across America (as opposed to porn featuring...women).

Freeman Hunt said...

Would it really be better for her to work for a pimp?

Uh, no. If she's in control of it, that means she can leave it. It would be better for her to quit.

knoxgirl said...

I doubt men who frequent these types of places are simply trying to "indulge their desires without effort." I think it's a symptom of being intimidated by real women in real situations.

I don't have a problem with pornography, per se, but I can't help it-- if a guy goes to strip clubs a lot or similar behavior, there's something really lame going on.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think that totally explains the preponderance of chipmunk porn magazines spreading across America (as opposed to porn featuring...women).

That wouldn't even be porn. Are mating animals on National Geographic porn?

Ann Althouse said...

What about a man who really is lame -- a truly inept, unattractive man? There are many businesses that serve needs that some people have that stronger people don't. Take a company that makes electric wheelchairs. Some people really need them. The most able people don't even want them. Then there are people in the middle who ought to be encouraged to walk, who might give in to their weakness and use the product. The problem with using the prostitution business is only in the case of men who could build a relationship with a real woman who has his needs met in this way and who remains stunted as a result.

I'm not purporting to address prostitution from the point of view of the person providing the service. That's a different concern altogether. Obviously, it's a terrible job.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Hunt looks up far over his head and sees my point passing, and mistakes it for a chipmunk chasing a potential mate across a telephone wire.

Freeman Hunt said...

I got your point, Finn. I disagree with the presumption on which it was based.

Pornography of women is only the same as women if you see women mainly as objects of lust. There are men who like being around women, and those men actually hang around women. They enjoy many types of interaction with females, sex only being one of the types.

Loving pornography of women is not the same as loving women. Pornography is a love of titillation.

By the way, I'm not a man.