Condoms Optional: Getting Fracked By the Oil and Gas Industry in North Texas

I chuckled out loud the other day when I heard that a “No-hooker” zone in Arlington was rejected by the city council and Mayor Robert Cluck. I know Arlington Police Chief Theron Bowan’s request for this exclusionary section was an earnest attempt to address the prostitution problem that has sprung up around Rangers Ballpark and Cowboy Stadium, but the whole measure was pricelessly ironic.

If you look up the meaning of the verb form of “prostitute” in the dictionary, you’ll find two definitions: 1) to sell the services of oneself (or another) for purposes of sexual intercourse; 2) to sell oneself, one’s artistic or moral integrity, etc., for low or unworthy purposes.

We like to forget that second denotation in Capitalist society. It hits too close to home. Who are we to question the system? Who are we to question how other folks’ livings are made?

The problem with not asking these questions in our community is that we also like to believe that criminality is punished and justice is at least striven towards.

Prostitution is illegal and I have no problem with Chief Bowman or the City of Arlington accosting, arresting and prosecuting hookers in what’s come to be known as “prostitution central” in the city’s entertainment district, but it’s like chasing a pimply-faced, emo drop-out with a ½-ounce of pot down a dark alley instead of seizing a drug cartel kingpin in broad daylight.

The biggest whore in Arlington is not an abused, down-on-her-luck prostitute, trying to make some extra cash or pay for a coke habit. It’s Republican Congressman Joe Barton. Since early 2009, he’s been the U.S. House of Representatives’ biggest recipient of contributions from the oil and gas industry, approaching $2,000,000 in “love” money. And he’s loved them long time.

Barton has been in on or lead every attack on repeated federal and local attempts to regulate the pollutants that the oil and gas folks are pumping into our atmosphere and our water supply and, at the height of the BP Spill hearings, he even apologized to former BP president Tony Hayward for having to endure the criticism and grievances aired by fellow congressmen who don’t put price tags on their virtue or conscience. And now, if the Republicans retake the majority in the House, that beady-eyed little strumpet will be trying to sell his “wares” as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

But the Arlington cat house offices of Congressman Joe Barton are not Tarrant County’s only den of obscene wantonness. Of the approximately 43,000 zip codes that make up these United States, the 76102 zip code of downtown Fort Worth leads the nation in political contributions from the same high class clients that associate with Barton: the oil and gas industry.

Regular 76102 “Johns” include XTO Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources, Titan Operating and Quicksilver Resources and over $250,000 in “love” money has made it into federal coffers from this area in this election cycle, $225,000 of which was given to the oil and gas industry’s favorite “escort,” the Republican Party.

I don’t know about you, but where I come from a quarter of a million dollars pays for a whole lotta’ “fracking.” And that’s what the lechers downtown are paying for. They want to drill the Barnett Shale cheaply and discreetly, and they don’t want the going rates for the “tricks” they enjoy raised or the mess they make fussed about. They like a “Wham-Bam, Thank You, Mam!” arrangement that allows them to get in and out without attracting too much attention.

So I don’t want to hear about Arlington police officers rousting small-time hookers around Cowboy Stadium unless some version of a federal vice squad is going to shake down Barton or give the “Johns” of 76102 the Hugh Grant treatment. They operate the biggest rings of prostitution in our community and comprise the most illicit presence in our daily lives.

Native Texan E.R. Bills is the author of Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional and Nefarious and Texas Oblivion: Mysterious Disappearances, Escapes and Cover-Ups. Read other articles by E.R..

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  1. Arshad M Khan said on October 20th, 2010 at 8:38am #

    Great piece. Thanks! Now if only someone would write something similar about the remaining 434 …

  2. Hue Longer said on October 20th, 2010 at 9:27am #

    Throw a dart, Mr. Bills!

    Please tell me you’re not endorsing voting Dem so that this guy doesn’t become chairman.

    “And now, if the Republicans retake the majority in the House, that beady-eyed little strumpet will be trying to sell his “wares” as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee”.