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How "Hustlers" Hustles Us

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The difference is that bonobo males don't wake up the next morning, only to find that their wallet is gone.

Of course, bonobos don't have wallets, or capitalism.

Bonobos do engage in a kind of "sex work," as in "I'll give you a blow-job for that banana," or "How about a mango for a muff-dive, you big ape?"

A lot of non-human animals practice sex work of different kinds, usually involving an exchange of sexual favors for food, showing us that sex work is not just the "oldest profession"; it pre-dates humanity.

The difference with the female-empowered bonobos is that it's often the chick who picks up the check" because she's got the mangos.

Hustlers & Joker

Back to the movies: I don't see very many of them, as you can probably tell by my decades-old cinematic comparisons.

Oddly enough, I've seen two current films in the past two weeks, one being Hustlers and the other, Joker. On the surface they are completely different, the first very upbeat and the second very down. However, there is a common theme.

Both Hustlers and Joker attack Wall Street guys, portrayed as obnoxious buffoons in both films. In Hustlers, the strippers knock them out and rip them off. In Joker, the clowns just knock them off.

On the surface, both films root for the underdogs--the strippers and clowns--the revolutionaries who upend the system. At least, their tale is told with some sympathy and recognition. But on a deeper level, Hustlers and Joker stir up real primal fears in audiences, fears of the thieving strippers and evil clowns who lurk among our fellow workers, our fellow humans.

How do we as a society address these primal fears? Often, disastrously, through more policing.

Wall Street loves the police, the protectors of "private property," and it's Wall Street that provides the capital for Hollywood movies... even movies about sympathetic working people who attack Wall Street a**holes.

Made by the 1% to titillate, scare and repress the rest of us, both Hustlers and Joker turn reasonable revolutionaries who cry, "Tax the rich!" into captivating crooks and mad murderers who holler, whisper, scream and mime, "Kill the rich."

And when these workers--these feisty sex workers and regular working clowns--rob, riot and murder people in movies like these--even obnoxious Wall Street guys--what are we peaceful citizens to do but give more power to the police?

These are the underlying social messages of both Hustlers and Joker.

Hustlers & Joker Police

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Susan Block, Ph.D., aka "Dr. Suzy," best-known for her groundbreaking HBO specials, is a best-selling author and international champion of sex education, erotic freedom and bonobo apes. Her latest book, The Bonobo Way, has been praised as (more...)
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How "Hustlers" Hustles Us

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