If prostitution is the world's oldest profession, then gambling comes in a close second. Both vices derive their perverted meaning in the shadow of basic, legitimate drives. Prostitution perverts sex as the means to bond people and procreate. Gambling perverts risk-taking as an aspect of commerce and investment strategy. Both vices discredit essential activities in a society, making the legitimate activities as suspect as the perverted ones. Historically, both vices rely on cash-transactions under the table and a hands-off government. Not too surprisingly, they also hang out a lot together.

TV show "Dragnet: Vice-DR-30," 1969

Criminal psychology defines gambling and prostitution as "paraphilia," a word derived from two Latin root-words: para- meaning "beside" and -philia meaning "love of" something. Marriage and investment work for a positive life, gambling and prostitution work for its negative alternates—feeding addictions and causing collateral damage. "Collateral," from the Latin collateralis. The first part col- means "along with." The second part -lateralis means "to the side." Officially, at least, our society has to promote the positive and discourage the negative alternate, in order to keep it moving forward. 

The Gambling Lady movie with Barbara Stanwyck, 1934

I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school, and several times since, and I remember the character Holden Caulfield's engaging a prostitute. He makes a quixotic, if not tragic, effort to chat up "Sunny," a surly woman  with better things to do than entertain a teenage neophyte. I knew that I never wanted to bed a prostitute. The author J. D. Salinger got the point across irrevocably. It's a dirty business, no matter how much Hollywood tries to gussy it up.

I had a similar experience when I watched Martin Scorsese's film Casino, about a worldly casino manager and his even worldlier "hustler" wife, his gangster connections and enforcers, and the human wreckage that the casino leaves in its wake—and I knew that I would never gamble. Like Salinger, Scorcese makes his point deep down in your soul—not moral revulsion, nor even physical disgust, but you have the feeling of seeing human beings chewed up in a slaughterhouse.

Robert deNiro as "Ace" Rothstein in Casino, 1995



March 31, 2023

How Long Do Republicans Wait?

Americans who vote Republican have to remember that, for people who work for the Republican Party, it's just a job. They may like their jobs. Mostly they prefer to keep their jobs. They may share the Republican sentiment for free-market principles and military readiness; but when someone like me comes along and suggests that Republicans petition for a nation of their own, they worry about things like job-redundancy and relocations more than they do about Democrat big-government and peacenik sell-out.

March 23, 2023

Release Grand Ole Prometheus!

Left-wing trash-talking of the GOP represents a concerted campaign that should concern its leaders. The scathing rhetoric suggests that the trash-talking will not end until the Left can make the GOP the permanent minority-party, and silence or discredit its associated media-organs. Older Americans familiar with the Nazi-smearing of the Jews should note the similarities in the left-wing method. Neither the Republicans nor freedom-loving people of any stripe should ignore the potential threat that these smear-tactics represent.

March 21, 2023

Republicans: a New Start

The Republican Party has a few tasks it needs to undertake. It needs to examine the philosophy it claims to represent and to take stock of its future, and stop thinking in terms of personal rivalries. We have more on the line than just choosing candidates and securing a victory in future elections. The GOP needs to regain a corporate sense-of-self. How can we move forward when we have deep doubts about the game, the rules, and not least the players?

Lloyd Bowers


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