Silver Threads - 6/25/06
Elder Feminist Bloggers

Update: The Corner Bordello

category_bug_journal2.gif I have been taken to task by someone named Chris who objects to my lighthearted slant on the corner bordello story.

Normally, I ignore anonymous comments (Chris left no email address or URL) for all the obvious reasons, but Chris, who appears to be a resident of my new neighborhood, makes some interesting points, so I’ll reprint the comment here in full, although I’ve paragraphed it for easier reading:

“um...those photos are not of the not the right building. Also, you might want to consider ratcheting down the objectification [and prurience] a notch or two: it's not a legend...nor even an "oooohh, so exciting blog-worthy bordello!" anecdote.

“Rather, it was a sad situation where a poor and opportunistic ("poor," as in impoverished, and if you haven't noticed, there's a lot of poverty here in Portland--even on the same street where you've shelled out more to live than most families in the neighborhood will ever, ever be able to...on a dwelling that would house a family of 5) woman, who oversaw a few stringy pathetic young women in their late teens who came and went, looking pretty desperate, most likely on meth or crack (ohhhh! how lively and colorful these *interesting* locals are!), and who plied their trade on filthy mattresses on the floors, in a run-down building.

“The building was up for sale and some of us in our neighborhood took a look at it - and no, not to gawk and feverishly report the findings in our blogs. Now, I know it must be fun for you and your cronies that you wax amusing about the "quaintnesses" of your newly assumed non-New York address, but frankly it's less so for others of us.”

Chris is right. I made some assumptions and had a little fun at the expense of some people I don’t and will never know; people who were undoubtedly, at the time, desperate. Also, I ignored the impact such illicit activity can have on an area and its residents.

I know from first-hand experience that having meth and crack addicts in the neighborhood is much worse than “pathetic”; it’s scary as hell. I’ve seen them beat and stab one another and any passersby who got in the way over one, tiny rock. And I’ve watched helplessly when they have died of overdoses.

There have been too many of such situations for them to be "colorful" or "quaint" to me. Nor are they "amusing". Illegal prostitution and the drugs that are frequently attendant to that occupation can not only destroy the people involved, they can and do destroy families, acquaintances and entire neighborhoods. So I’ll take the hit for having been superficially glib about the corner bordello.

But I won’t apologize for being able to afford my new apartment. Since 1958, nearly half a century, I’ve worked hard and would still be working if corporate America didn’t discriminate against old people. I supported myself through bad times and good, earning this home with the sweat of my brow. There is no shame in that.

As to identifying the wrong house as the former bordello – hey, I’m new here and can only go by what a long-time resident tells me.


Your semi-anonymous (and therefore unworthy) commenter had a snarky attitude I don't believe you merited. Maybe he is afraid the "new blogger" in town will knock him off his self-appointed and imaginary post as the best local blog.

tempting to give advice since "being new" is something very familiar in my peripattic life. hope i can reply so thoughtfully when it's my turn next.

Well, imagine the shock of opening your front door this morning, picking up the “Time Goes By” news and reading this….

I know that without my jousting with Ronni that this subject would have gotten no more “air time” than in its original reference in her first post from Portland. And because someone has taken offense to her responding to my obvious light-hearted comments, I certainly feel solely responsible. Usually I would pass commenting on responses such as these made by this individual who seems to have issues far beyond the subject matter.

I think the follow-up post by “joared” on the original post was well articulated with regard to the intent of this conversation in total. It matters not and is of no consequence whatsoever that the photos were or were not of a ‘supposed’ bordello. This was always about something that may or may not have ever existed in the first place. This was never about individuals - it was simply about a ‘supposed’ place. Anyone can put a “bad spin” on any discussion if that is what they desire to do.

If someone is concerned with the well-being and human condition of past or present residents of an area, then that is admirable. It is unfortunate, however, that this offended individual did not have the humility and compassion needed to share with the readers of this blog the history and plight of those individuals he has chosen to associate with this “place” in a more social and educational manner rather than one of condemning self-righteousness.

And as far as Ronni’s economic conditions, where she is from or where she chooses to live….I am not sure what that has to do with some supposed ‘bordello’ lurking in her neighborhood.

My apologies to Ronni for any embarrassment I may have caused her or her readers in this matter. I will continue to maintain my association with this blog until such time as Ronni requests otherwise. As far as I am concerned, this matter is closed.

Well said, Kenju. There is a didactic and self-righteous tone in the anonymous comment that smacks of insecurity perhaps?
What was said could have been put muxh less officiously.
And yes Ronni, your reply was gracious and spot-on

I took the posts on the brothel in the spirit I felt you intended them.
My third ex's family lived in a house which had formerly housed a speakeasy and sports book. I'm sure that there were any number of personal tragedies related to its former habitues... but there was an "ooo..." factor, too.
It ain't like you were on the neighborhood watch committee at the time.

Whoa...what that commenter said was totally uncalled for. Especially the manner in which it was said. I agree with all the other comments here. And when one does a post without an identity, my red flags go up immediately.
I'm wondering if we have a very snarky person lurking on our blogs right now......I got another nasty comment yesterday, which I've deleted.
I sure admired the way in which you've handled this.....and bravo to you for making it very clear that you will NOT apologize for having the resources to have your apartment! The older I get, the more I realize that the ones who make mention of facts like this have done the LEAST in life to enhance their own lifestyles. Yet...they resent what we've worked so hard to achieve.

Glad to see you've moved in to your new place and are already moving and shaking...Your anonymous commenter reminds me of some Vermonters I knew in the early 70s. Quaint was definitely an offensive word to them. They got over it, though. Especially when the newcomers got more involved in the life of the community than they ever were.

This is my first time in the AARP blog.
If the impression of what I've read about the Bordello, and or, buying one's own house, is correct ---- I say --- Good luck to you. It dosen't matter what "kind" of work it took to pay for it. It didn't come from "Welfare" or handouts.
Bordello means? A house / place of ill repute? A house / place of work?
Come on you all. This kind of "work" has and always will be. And it dosen't have to be in a "House". It has and still does, feeds, clothes and keeps warm, lots and lots of children.
Yes, your right, by law, it is considered illegal. But then, there's "Marriage".

It is your blog and the content you choose is entirely up to you.

If Chris had stopped at the point of criticizing the light hearted manner of the original post about the supposed former "bordello" and replies, mine included, then I would put some credence to "his" response.

But to continue and anonymously complain about you having the resources to buy your home belies the cynical, uninformed method of this poster which equals "troll" in my online experience.

If "Chris wants to make a legitimate point "he.she" needs to step out of the shadows to make it. Otherwise the post equals "Troll"

And the best response is:

Do Not Feed The Trolls

You surely have no need to apologize for whatever type abode or wherever the location, Ronni, as anyone who has read some of your previous blog posts could quickly conclude.

I, too, Alan, had previously made a flippant, light-hearted comment about the mythical bordello. We just don't always know, despite our intentions, when we may be stepping on someone's toes.

I guess we're sorta getting into what constitutes humor. PBS-TV had an interesting line-up of some of the top comedians of the time some years ago in which there was some discussion about the basis of humor. As I recall, all too often, even for the layman, humor is based on tragedy, another's pain, or a painful situation which we have come to be able to laugh about.

I think just because we sometimes laugh at a serious topic, does not mean that we are uncaring, or unwilling to examine the reality. There is much more that could be said.

As I learn more about blogs and blogging, I think Chancy is quite right about not feeding the trolls and will withhold any future nourishment I might be inclined to want to provide.

I wouldn't worry too much about semi-anonymous. Some people just search for something to be insulted or outraged over.

Your response was gracious. Well done! I tend to agree with goldenlucy that Chris is probably beset with some issues of his or her own.

I am glad you refused to apologize for being able to afford your apartment. You are absolutely right; you worked long and hard and deserve to live where your means will let you. That was the really offensive part of his post - that you should feel guilty that you were living in a place big enough to house five. Ridiculous!

Please don't confuse me with the "Chris" mentioned in the Bordello article.... It isn't me! lol...

Chris Welles

Please don't confuse me with the "Chris" mentioned in the Bordello article.... It isn't me! lol...

Chris Welles

Who are the oldest (still living) professional musicians in Spokane?

Chris Welles

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