September 2021


Present / Future / Antwerp

Back when I was busy watching Firefly, I noticed that the future lacked Wal-Mart.

And such absence is not limited to just Firefly. Even in Star Trek, whether the Enterprise was visiting a wild frontier outpost or a modern star-base, Wal-Mart was not in evidence. Communities and commerce center on street markets where people competed within short earshot for customer’s money.

This was very much on my mind as I wandered Antwerp last night.

It started to cross my mind as I got lost in Antwerp—and I don’t literally mean that I got lost, but rather I was wandering around Antwerp without any particular agenda, looking in shop windows and admiring the architecture on offer. There is no doubt that Antwerp has some amazing architecture—and a diverse group of small businesses on streets that other might not wander—but I did in my absentmindedness.

Eventually my random wanderings led me to Antwerp’s Red Light District. Whenever I encounter these districts I am quickly reminded that I have no interest in being a breeder, but that it highly amusing to watch hetero-men examine what is on offer and pick their girls. Admittedly it was dark as I wandered through, but it appeared to me that this district was in the process of being gentrified.

I was actually a bit worried.

That might sound strange to middle-America, but the Red Light District is an integral part of Antwerp, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and other cities. Eliminating these districts would change the fabric of these communities.

Yes, I’ve had a complete change of heart in many respects. As long as it’s not forced, I do not object to prostitution.

It’s been a part of human civilization for as long as it has been recorded and to try and forcefully stamp it out is pointless. John-TV has not made one iota of difference, other than to move prostitution from one city to another. It is far better to legalize, regulate, and tax it than to do otherwise.

Now, I tied this all together because Antwerp is a fantastic port city: with high brow entertainment and low brow; incredible fancy restaurants (I had an incredible pot of mussels at one called La Giorrena) and döner stands; as well as beautiful architecture.

It is a city that has a soul—something that stands in stark contrast to my Frankfurt encounters.

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