On Monday, Anthony Watts posted the first winning essay in his “do my job for me” contest to solicit essays about climate denial. Given that it’s from the “professionals” category, we expected the $2,000 prize would go to someone making an intelligent, science-based and professional-sounding argument.
Instead, we got a rewrite of Jim Kelly’s 2019 Medium blog post detailing his issues with the IPCC’s First Assessment Report published back in 1990, most of which stem from his complete ignorance and misunderstanding of the IPCC, mixed with some troll-y alt-right cliches like attacking Greta and “SJWs.” Not exactly fresh content.
While we wait to see if the “general public” category does any better than the professionals at making a new, accurate, or remotely professional argument, based perhaps on the science of the 21st century, we will say we’re disappointed that apparently Watts got absolutely zero entries in the student category. Zero! Zip! Zilch!
Not a single student entered! Not even weatherweenie mistaken for a meteorologist Chris Martz was paying enough attention to Watts’s website to realize he could write “Greta bad” and send it in to make the first and easiest $2,000 of his surely inevitable career as a climate disinformer.
Watts’ failure to solicit essays from students in exchange for cash does not, unfortunately, mean that there isn’t a cadre of Koch Youth waiting in the wings. Quite the opposite, as the hub for all takes Koch-y, RealClearEnergy, recently ran not one but TWO essays from the Koch-y Young Voices “nonprofit” PR shop that pays students $1,000 for landing op-eds in school newspapers. We didn’t recognize the name, but that’s because it used to be the more descriptively named “Students for Liberty” before rebranding as a group training up the next generation of covert Koch (false) advertisers disguised as conservative activists, pundits, journalists and commentators who make up the media manipulation arm of the Koch influence machine.
Now, say what you will about Young Voices being a corrupt front for brainwashing youths into a career serving as billionaire’s puppets, but we will genuinely give them kudos for one thing: being sex-positive.
At least it seems that way, when we saw the SourceWatch section in the group’s entry is titled “Adult Film Actress Association.”
Not every day you see an entry like that, so we were very curious to find out more about their work with Miriam Weeks. Some may know her better as Belle Knox, who went viral in 2014 as the “Duke porn star,” because she worked in the adult film industry to pay tuition while a student.
Just months later, Weeks rebranded as a libertarian activist, with Young Voices’ (initial) support. But the updated Young Voices page no longer appears to include her entry, and it does not look like her rebrand was particularly successful, with the last of the Twitter posts from Young Voices welcoming and expressing their pride and support for her being from Feb. 5, 2015. (Perhaps the Koch PR training ground was not quite enough to overcome the misogyny of her intended audience, who no doubt enjoyed her films while condemning her attempts to move into a different career.)
Our additional cursory research on Weeks didn’t turn up much political press after that initial PR tour, though we did find out that there was a Lifetime movie in 2018, at which point Bustle reported that she was on track to graduate from Duke, having retired from the adult film industry in 2016.
According to some creepy “reporting” based on some guy’s date with her that we won’t link to out of respect for her renewed anonymity, as of 2019 she was in law school to become a civil rights lawyer. So there’s no evidence Young Voices was able to do its job well and build her up as a libertarian media figure -- but let us know if your research turns up something different!
Actually, jokes aside, though, don’t. Don’t doxx sex workers who shouldn’t have to feel ashamed about living in a society where college (or rent/medical expenses/etc) is so expensive it puts anyone in such a position to have to choose work carrying such a heavy (and undeserved) societal stigma in the first place. And if you happen to go on a date with someone who’s obviously trying to now live in relative peace and anonymity, don’t blab to tabloids about it. That makes YOU the jerk!
Because it’s not like adult actors are doing anything bad, dirty, gross or shameful, like selling their dignity and the planet’s collective future for paychecks from libertarian billionaires.
That’s for Weeks’ fellow Young Voices alums to worry about.