If the Headhunter Won’t Call,
You May Apply to One of These

It’s been said that we’re living through the wonders of a ‘courtesan economy.’ In fact, if there’s a profession that has shown a lot of resilience during this crisis, it has certainly been the world’s oldest. Apparently, and against what you may have heard, One Percenters continue to sleep really well, and often with high-paid company.
Now, if you’re nowhere near possessing curvaceous assets to market, or your bloodline left you wanting, you may be actually losing some sleep lately. But fear not: there are still plenty of positions available. To be sure, on the fringe of society, yes, some involving firearms, possibly, others not easily identifiable, perhaps, but they’re out there.
For example, have you ever had to ‘extract’ some valuable information from someone, that wouldn’t be forthcoming if you wouldn’t resort to some specific set of physical skills? Boy, do we have a place for you to start. Or let’s supposed you’re pursuing a higher education but lack the resources? don’t worry, there’s a university that can work out a plan with you (hint: it involves eating).
And so on. Don’t we all keep hearing about how poor people all of a sudden have decided they’re not in a mood to find a job, preferring instead to heap those fat government checks? Well, at least that’s what we’ve read from a presidential campaign brochure. But you’ll see, also, that some job offers can actually make a difference in the big scheme of things. So it’s all good.

Take this Greenville, Texas, unfortunate event that may yet represent a windfall to those who may land a hand finding out the culprits. For hundreds of years, Native Americans have considered the birth of a white buffalo calf a prophetic sign that indicates the beginning of ‘life’s sacred hoop.’ It really is a genetic rarity and statistically, it only happens once in every 10 million births.
Less than a year ago, residents of the Lakota Ranch celebrated just such an event, the birth of Lightning Medicine Cloud. But on April 30th, the calf was found slaughtered and skinned, and its mother, Buffalo Woman, which was probably poisoned. The brutal deaths are still puzzling locals, including Arby Little Soldier, the ranch’s operator and a great-great-great grandson of legendary Sitting Bull.

Now, anyone can cash a considerable bounty by just finding who killed the animals. It won’t be easy. The tight-knitted community is weary of outsiders, and may not welcome the intrusion of a mercenary with no connections to the local traditions. But, times are tough, and if you think you have what it takes, by all means, get packing.
In Rio, the Society of Aesthetic Medicine has come up with a novel way of helping poor, uneducated Brazilians to find jobs. No, not offering receptionist positions or a spot in the vibrant but underrated market for office cleaners. Their solution is to give free injections of botox and other beautifying procedures to those who couldn’t possibly afford them.
‘Beauty Is a Right,’ is their motto, and the rationale is that the treatment will ultimately improve the patients’ chances of landing a paid job. In a country which values the culture of physical appearance, and where higher education leading to better jobs remains inaccessible to the majority, the idea does help sell Brazil’s image as a land of stark social contrasts and unbound creativity.
Living in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world today, Brazilians have long embraced such glaring contradictions as part of their DNA. Thus, despite a dominant African race component in the majority of its population, the country’s known for its European-looking supermodels. And even though many still die for lack of medical care, its world-class plastic surgeons are always in demand.
Which is also high from thousands who’re seeking to take advantage of the free procedures. Face-lifts, breast and buttock implants and liposuction are some of the most popular in the few days a year when low-income people can apply for free or cut-rate cosmetic surgeries.
Other necessary procedures, though, are taking longer to be considered. State-funded health services do pay for gastroplasties for the morbidly obese and surgeries to repair deformities or injuries, such as cleft palates in children. But the senate is still to agree whether the government’s national health service should also fully cover breast reconstruction for cancer patients.

The fight against obesity has established many fronts in the past few years, but hasn’t made a considerable dent on the number of overweight people dragging themselves around the world today. The matter is complex and involves a full array of personal implications, often used for political gain by unscrupulous parties and corporations.
Instead of organizing another semester of lectures on the subject, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, came up with a ingenious idea: why not pay for volunteers to stuff themselves silly, during three months, to study the effects of junk food on their health and performance. And, in the process, determine why some people get fat and sick with junk food, while others don’t.
That is, assuming that they won’t. If there’s something that the consumption of fatty, salty, sweet, and highly-processed fast food has been already proven is that it does help trigger diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other conditions in people otherwise healthy. What we still don’t know is why some developed such life-threatening illnesses faster than others.
Volunteers will be paid a few thousand dollars and this being a college, there won’t shortage of them. There’s some irony in the fact that it’s exactly the combination of high tuition fees and the need to cut down on expenses what’s been driving students to high debt and terrible eating habits. But if the experiment ads another front on the ‘war’ on obesity, the sacrifices may be acceptable.
These examples above may may sound bizarre, but nothing compares to the next ad: ‘The government of a Middle Eastern state is recruiting a senior torturer to work in a well-equipped prison. Our ideal candidate would be prepared to inflict extreme pain and suffering.’ The ad appeared on the classified section of the U.K.’s prestigious The Guardian and it was caught by Design Observer’s Rick Poynor.
Now, even for those who still scrutinize the back pages of the Village Voice, or of pretty much any other similar community or cultural rag, this ad is a shock. Oh, and by the way, in the set of skills required, shock experience is also appreciated. It certainly beats ads for bondage and dominance games, experimental therapies against drug addiction and the occasional oddity.
The salary is not spectacular, mind you, but the benefit package may be considerable, and it may even include a small security detail to protect the professionals from being the target of, heaven forbid, revenge. We were deep into reflection when it became clear that it’s not for real, but part of U.K.-based Freedom from Torture, a group that focus on rescue and rehabilitation of torture victims.
On the paper’s opposite page, Poynor also noticed a similarly styled ad for ‘Abuser. Excellent package/benefits, flexible location,’ which almost made us think about our Uncle Bob, the one who disappeared for a few years in South America and came back a changed but wealthy man, with a lot of military awards for ‘bravery,’ even though we never knew he even had joined the military there.
The point of the campaign is noble: to call attention to the fact that what it’s usually euphemistically called ‘security apparatus,’ necessarily involves hundreds of individuals who make a living professionally inflicting pain in opponents of authoritarian regimes, and as such, thrive in an underground world of incredibly cruel and despicable practices with no remorse or punishment.

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