Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tabloid Bay

One of the things I don't really like about where I live is this strange envy of other metropolitan areas that we seem to have. It's like we're not happy enough with what we have and feel this need to justify our existence as a "real" city, whatever that means. In that way, Tampa Bay is a lot like a small child impulsively begging for a puppy. Chicago has an aquarium; we want an aquarium. Cleveland has a major league baseball team; we want a major league baseball team. Detroit has a convention center; we want a convention center. New York has the New York Post a daily tabloid newspaper with lurid, sleazy headlines; we have TBT, which is a smaller, racier, tabloid version of the St. Petersburg Times.
A couple of weeks ago TBT devoted it's daily front pages to the Elijah Dukes "baby mama" saga. This week, we were treated to big, red headlines that screamed "SHE WAS HIS SEX SLAVE" (Thursday, 6/12) and "WHO IS MASTER DREW?" (Friday, 6/13). The story being, some guy named Andrew Kobik (Master Drew), had signed a 19-year-old woman named Alyssandra Cardillo with a history of mental illness to a 10-page, five-year contract to be his sex slave and was arrested on prostitution charges by Pasco County sheriff's deputies acting on a tip (there's more to it, of course, but that's the gist).
Apparently, much like craftsmen who hang drywall or install plumbing, sex slaves are contractual labor. Huh. Who knew? Although, in spite of the fact that the woman wasn't paid for her services, I'm not sure "slave" is an accurate depiction of her position. After all, in order for there to be an executed contract with terms, provisions and opt-out clauses, there has to be some sort of agreement between the two parties, which would imply some level of mutual consent, an element missing in what we traditionally think of as slavery. But I guess it's a sign of the litigious society in which we live today. After all, you have to have legal protection in the event that the services provided are not satisfactory and you want to be protected if you decide to withhold non-payment to your sex slave.
But yet again, I digress.
I'm not a prude. At least, I like to think I'm not. Seeing this kind of thing on the front of a newspaper really doesn't bother me at all. I'm very much an advocate for free speech and I vehemently oppose censorship, especially in the guise of morality or decency standards. Yet, I feel for parents of small children who have to answer questions from their wee ones who are phonetically savvy enough to pronounce the words "sex slave" and want to know what that means. That can't be much fun. But I guess that's just life in a "real" city.

(Cross posted at Sticks Of Fire)

1 comment:

Denise said...

This is now the 19th largest MSA in the country! We ARE a big city. We NEED sleazy, tabloid-style news if we wish to keep climbing those ranks! SEX SLAVES FOR ALL!!!!