800: Selling It Shows


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Melissa Gira Grant: “The group of people who are most in a position to extort sex workers through violence or coercion are not people that would be described as ‘pimps,’ or people who would be described as customers, but actually law enforcement.”

If you are a sex worker, the last people you want “helping” you are the police. Or the church. Or social workers. Especially this weekend in Arizona. Writer Melissa Gira Grant explains to Chuck how a criminalized sex industry means less protection and more exploitation for its workers, what anti-trafficking advocates miss by focusing on the sex industry, and how sex workers know what’s best for sex workers, so maybe it’s time to listen to their voices.

Melissa’s book Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work is out now from Verso Books.

Writer and journalist Melissa Gira Grant is a contributing editor to Jacobin. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Wired, The Atlantic, Glamour, The Guardian, In These Times, The Washington Post, Dissent, Slate, Salon, and Valleywag. She is amazing on Twitter.

 Interview via AntiDote Zine.


Katrina vanden Heuvel: “The first casualty of war is often truth. The first casualty of this Ukrainian crisis has been complexity and history.”

There might be a splintering of public opinion (and territory) in Ukraine, but American politicians and media figures seem to be presenting a pretty united front – and that’s bad news of Americans and Ukrainians. Katrina vanden Heuvel has seen the bad news, from the West’s NATO encroachment strategy to Ukraine’s unelected government passage of anti-Russian language legislation – the situation is so complicated that somehow Henry Kissinger is actually right about something. Katrina is right about way more obviously, and she digs into the layers of history, identity and politics that divide Ukraine and unite America’s power brokers.

Katrina recently wrote the op-ed Ukraine Needs Russia and the West in the Washington Post and The Nation article Cold War Against Russia—Without Debate with Stephen F. Cohen.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is the editor, publisher, and part-owner of the magazine The Nation. She writes a weekly web column for The Washington Post and the Editor’s Cut blog at TheNation.com Her most recent book is 2011′s The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama.



Iain Sinclair: “Sitting around in the 1940s, in cafes around Times Square, university boys making contact with subcultures and junkies and male prostitutes and thieves and general city riffraff, and trying to get the language, how they speak, how they behave, the codes – and to make a record of that.”

Jack Kerouac might have laid down the road, but the path America’s original freaks took – inward and Westward – survives today, in glimmers and traces. Iain Sinclair traveled to America to walk in the footsteps of the Beat generation, and he shares stories of his trip through memory and imagination, from the cultural ruins of Olympic London, through Albert Speer’s phantom tracks, to end up watching Wayne Rooney on television somewhere in Oregon.

Iain’s book American Smoke: Journeys to the End of the Light is out now from Faber & Faber.

Writer and filmmaker Iain Sinclair is a self-described “British writer, documentarist, film maker, poet, flaneur, metropolitan prophet and urban shaman, keeper of lost cultures and futurologist.” He is also the editor of London: City of Disappearances.



Todd Williams: “He hoped that there was a more right wing party than Jobbik, because then Jobbik could be pushed more to the center. And he imagined that that is exactly what happened to Fidesz in the past, because Fidesz was seen as the more extreme right wing party, and then when Jobbik came, it meant Fidesz was more towards the left.”

If the last time you heard about Hungary’s election was the last time Todd Williams was on This is Hell!, a lot has happened since. Like the actual elections, and Todd having to hide from a noisy son, and anti-semitism marches, statues of eagles attacking statues of angels, cheaper daycare, more expensive everything else, a shrinking left, Roma persecution, power centralized, and a mysteriously motivated Western demonization. Like I said, a lot has happened.

Todd Williams is an African-American from Sacramento, California who has lived in Budapest, Hungary for the past 21 years, mostly by chance. It is immaterial what he does for a living; for pleasure he enjoys each moment to its fullest.



Laura Carlsen: “We’re here in Managua, with women from all of Central America, from Panema to Guatemala – about 30 women who come from indigenous and rural organizations, and they’re taking a look at the impact these megaprojects have had in their region.”

Usually we talk to Laura Carlsen from her home in Mexico City, but this week she is at a workshop for indigenous women fighting against displacement and environmental exploitation, so we call her there in Managua. Laura introduces us to Consuelo, Satina and Ana, three of the workshop participants. Laura translates for us as Chuck asks them about their experiences, the effects of the IMF and World Bank on their communities, and what large corporations are doing with all the land they’ve bought up in South America. Laura gets back on the phone to talk about her recent writing, from warming US-Cuba relations to the aftermath of Chapo Guzman’s arrest.

Laura Carlsen is the director of the Americas program at the Center for International Policy. Her commentary page on Latin America is a great survey of trade, rights and immigration stories throughout the region.



Jeff Dorchen: “If there was a classical station, there isn’t anymore. Classic rock, soul, hip hop – acres of dead air between you and them. You press the scan button on your car radio and it spins through the dial without hitting a thing. Like a neutrino through a glass of light beer.”

Jeff Dorchen left the house. That was his first mistake. Then he got into his car, revved the engine and left the cultural embrace of urban existence. That was his second mistake. Somewhere between LA and San Francisco he found himself in a vast, goyishe wasteland, with only radio scripture, woodpecker tongues, Latino tea-baggers, and rhetorical analingus to keep him company.

According to his contacts on LinkedIn, Jeff Dorchen can do just about anything. He’s a visual artist, songwriter/musician, actor, essayist, poet, playwright and screenwriter.