In which @villagevoice and @aplusk both are morons
Ashton Kuther’s little pissing match with Village Voice really sparked last night. It all started with Village Voice’s cover story which one would expect to be a five-page exposé on Kutcher being flat out wrong and getting oodles of facts flat out wrong. Basically, they managed to make a five-page story about the fact that Ashton Kutcher got a single fact (extremely) wrong; in particular, his estimate that there are between 100,000 and 300,000 child sex slaves in the US. And I’ll save you quite a bit of reading by telling you that his being way off on this single statistic is the basis for their entire article. Every time they introduced some new piece of information into the story I was hoping there would be some other scandal like this being a publicity/moneymaking celebrity charity stunt on Kutcher’s part, but I was disappointed every time. All we have is Ashton Kutcher continually reiterating a completely unsubstantiated fact. Just one. They also threw in a few jabs at the strangely light mood of the commercials. You know, not because they had almost no material for this article to begin with, but becuase it was relevant.
Granted, that’s a fact that turns his entire crusade from “holy shit, we need to help as many as 300,000 child sex slaves” to “there really aren’t enough of them to warrant this kind of celebrity obsession”. Of course, for there to exist any is a travesty, but when you’re overstating the number of victims by orders of magnitude, it really destroys your credibility.
Now, the Village Voice isn’t really doing much better here, because they’re going off repeating their own number, which is a much smaller number of child prostitution arrests made per year (which is 8-900 of them). That alone would be damning evidence, but they couldn’t really leave well enough alone, and they made a shit ton of insinuations that this is the number of child sex slaves we have in the US. Following their arrests=corresponding people logic, we could similarly conclude that there are no marijuana smokers in Santa Monica because no arrests have been made.
Instead of simply calling Village Voice on this obviously bunk math (and equal lack of a really solid number of child sex slaves), aplusk instead deflects, accusing Village Voice of facilitating child trafficking. Classy move. He also inadvertently makes an incrediblly solid case for legalizing prostitution (which he seems to be against) by pointing out the exploitation of (child) sex workers.
Here’s what i imagine a much more sane discourse between the two:
VV: Hey, aplusk, what’s with this 1-300K estimate of child sex slaves? This number seems way inaccurate and it discredits you.
AK: Yeah, guys, I guess you got me there. After all, it’s not like we go and count the child prostitutes by hand. Though we don’t know how many there are, I still think exploiting children for sex is a heinous enough crime that it’s worth investing vast resources into even if the number of victims is small.
VV: Fair enough point, but wouldn’t the money spent on these awareness campaigns be better spent actually helping these people rather than spreading awareness?
AK: I think seeking to ostracize the practice of buying sex slaves is a worthwhile investment of my money. Oh, and speaking of money, maybe you should take that money you earn from people taking out ads for “escort services” and use it to help my cause? After all, I have this suspicion you’re not doing age verification on those escorts, eh?
VV: An astute observation and a fair request. Let us go to the locker room and exchange chest bumps.