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August 30th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Is Common Sense Common Anymore?

Philip Markoff (AP Photo/Mark Garfinkel)

Philip Markoff (AP Photo)

So now comes word that Craigslist has replaced its infamous “erotic services” section with a more responsible “adult” section. Did somebody sneak up on us during the night and stamp “stupid” on our foreheads?! I’m so furious I’m almost speechless — almost. Where to begin?

You might remember the uproar last year when Boston University medical student Philip Markoff was accused by police of using Craigslist, one of the Internet’s most popular sites, to find females to assault or kill. What stunned a lot of people was that Craigslist openly had an erotic services section that clearly promoted prostitution. Forty three attorney generals in different states went so far as to accuse the company of operating an online brothel by allowing prostitutes to advertise on its site. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said about Craigslist in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair, which carries a riveting story about the Markoff case, “They were certainly enablers insofar as their ads linked the victim and the alleged killer, and they had fair warning their ads were putting people in danger.”

So what did Craigslist do? Well, they did start blocking those ads that blatantly solicited prostitution. They also blocked the graphic nude images of the prostitutes themselves. Sort of.

I say “sort of” because they happily continue to take in ads which are nothing more than thinly veiled proposals for the very same sexual favors in return for the very same money. Now there are ads offering “sensual massages” and “overnight companionship” Instead of posing naked, women pose in bikinis or less. One woman, a “Miss Honey,” described herself in her ad as an eager and motivated bombshell with a beautiful bedroom.

Is it just me, or does this insult your intelligence? I mean, if you are running Craigslist and don’t want to change what you’re doing, I would have more respect for you if just said so and told the cops to go pound sand! But playing some silly word games is ridiculous. Everyone on the planet knows what these so-called new, improved ads are really all about. Lassie can figure this one out, and yet Craigslist is apparently getting away with it, at least so far.

chatI just don’t understand the tendency we have in this country to change what we call something and pretend that it’s different, that it’s OK. May I just go down a side road for a moment and talk about the biggest such scam of all, which, of course, are cigarettes? There is no question that the carcinogens in cigarettes are deadly. But instead of shutting down the tobacco industry, the government continues to allow it to flourish as long as the companies agree to put a “warning” label on their packages about the dangers of smoking. Good grief, the government only stopped paying subsidies to tobacco farmers a couple of years ago. Let’s see: We know cigarettes will kill you, we know cigarettes are proven to be addictive, and so the government has decided that all the companies should do is “warn” us. If people shouldn’t buy cigarettes, then DON’T SELL CIGARETTES, YOU DUMMIES!

Have we all gone soft in the head? Is common sense just not common anymore? The only thing we’re changing are the labels — but people will still be just as dead. (By the way, I’m pounding the keys so hard my fingers hurt!)

Anyway, off that soap box and back to Craigslist. You may ask, what can we do about Craigslist, especially when their lawyers will say that the Constitution guarantees free speech. Well, they may have the freedom of the pen, but we have the “power” of the pen. If all of us start writing our congresspeople and say, “Hey, if you let people use Craigslist to sell prostitution in this town, you will not be elected next time around,” then we will get results. All we have to do is tell the men and women in Congress, “Make no mistake, you either do something about this or we’ll do something about you.” We can go to our local police chief or county sheriff and say, “You’re allowing a prostitution ring to stay up and running right here in our town, and it’s time to do something about it.”

And let me just make it clear, there are plenty of Internet sites or media organizations other than Craigslist that should be drawing our wrath. In newspapers, magazines and chatrooms everywhere are ads for “private masseuses” and “lap dancers” who will come to your home or whatever. The adult sex trade business is just out of control.

I’m up for any ideas to getting a handle on this. What do you think? I’m sure some of you disagree. Let me know, and maybe we’ll come up with a plan together.

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69 Responses to “Is Common Sense Common Anymore?”

  1. Janet Davies says:

    You are welcome Linda, thanks. Although I don’t condone it, the way I see the legalization of prostitution is this. Its been going on for years and there doesn’t appear to be any realistic way to stop it so why not legalize and regulate it. This would generate tax revenue instead of costing the taxpayer to arrest, prosecute and jail offenders. I think you know a better solution is coming soon!

  2. I absolutely agree with you Dr. Phil! I know prostitution has been around since the beginning of time. Women have been selling sex in alley ways & from behind closed doors forever, but it wasn’t always mainstream! At 45 years old I can remember a time when women were not allowed to expose their bra on TV! Now, just a few short years later they are freely selling themselves, body & soul, from a public arena!

    This situation is just a small part though, of the over all moral decline that our nation now suffers. Due mainly, in my opinion, to our willingness to compromise the ultimate truth of God. The worst thing about it is, it will cost our children even more than it has us.

    Why do we as a reasonably intelligent & seemingly moral craving society, so eagerly bend over backwards to please the perverse & diverse minority? Sadly, it seems we’ve all become enablers & co-dependents. All I can say is you’re in the right business! I’m sure it’s booming.

  3. Karen Farris says:

    We all know that prostitution is the oldest profession and the US should serious consider that these providers of such services are not paying taxes. When this industry becomes regulated, monitored, health and safety concerns addressed. Then there is the possibility that such situations as Markoff and others like him would think twice before committing crimes against desperate women.

  4. Mel says:

    I consider myself an intelligent, loving, accepting, spiritual woman. I do not like being in a situation to legalize things that we have said for years were against the law. However, I would like to see prostitution legalized, taxed, and monitored with regular medical testing for diseases. I also believe that marijuana should be legalized, taxed, and regulated. I am 59 years old and have not engaged in either of the aforementioned activities, however, I heard recently that our beautiful country jails more people than any other country. I believe that we have reached the point that too many law enforcement agencies are spending valuable time and resources on these activities that are not going away. I would prefer that our law enforcers focus their attention on people who preform senseless crimes of murder, abuse, kidnapping children, with a special emphasis on child abuse, selling drugs to children. The amber alert must be changed to give more time to finding our children and child protective services needs more case workers. It is time to get real, sex is not going away and neither is marijuana. Let’s focus on what is really important.

  5. Hez Walker says:

    Look how it was back in the 1950’s and before that. Morality was the mainstream, and no one would ever believe back then how today would be! I believe God let a curse come upon our country no different than Sodom and Gomarrah (homosexuals are NOT born that way, they CHOOSE it!) or Moses with the 10 Commandments when he returned to the people left to themselves became involved in all sorts of depravity.

    No wonder our divorce rate is high (even in the church) with computer websites (such as Craigslist) to draw men in by its temptation, children being murdered by perverts, mothers not wanting their kids as children stifle their own life, mom is not home, cheapening of life through abortion, next comes the elderly (Pat Robertson of CBN predicted this back in the 1970’s/1980’s calling it “the slippery slope”…interview him; look at his tv tapes) in National Health Care though many in the Obama Administration deny it (VERIFY AND THEN TRUST!!!), hedonism, trying to legalize vice of all sorts leading to rehab clinics making lots of money and lots of failures except better results in Christian settings but it remains, many women in prostitution because many were raped by step-fathers or others in the family or thrown out of their homes, men hooked on computer pornograpy sites including the church leaders, suicides as people have lost respect for life and this world with no reason to live, schools teaching such ungodly curriculum that parents have no idea what’s going on, people being told they are playing the race card when they aren’t, true apologies by others is not enough by some…the opposition wants others BLOOD to destroy them that destroys marriages and familiese, and teens being told by friends to lie and turn their parents into social services just because their parents won’t let them do what they want that has destroyed families (I’ve even seen it in the church!) as just a few situations that have destroyed uncontrolable people and families.

    People fill that “God shaped void” with STUFF that ends up coming back to bite them or lose their lives. Many of us mothers out here won’t let our children be socialized by this world. Our children are told by we parents about it or permitted to see it on tv as we expalin as parents what our world was like and how this one has become deranged. They watch and hear these things on tv and print and come to that conclusion on their OWN first wanting nothing to do with this vice of Earthly corruption. The news media pushes it more as a liberal force to deal with. Hollywood is so messed up, look at what it does to these people and their influence on kids. Rock stars can also be so irreverent on purpose to reel in their prey….our children! Politicians that lie and swear they’re telling the truth until they believe their own lies and usually not punished.

    What would be so wrong to turn the tide back to where we had more honesty, politeness, respect for others and their property, love of family, love and service to God and the church, truly caring for your neighbor and the downcast without asking, “what’s in it for me?”, fathers were home more and involved with their children and wives, families able to sit down to watch tv without being embarrassed and taking on the actions and words that are so vile today as if that was the “norm,” neighbors looked after each other and their kids to let them know what was done or said right or wrong waiting for our apology and may even have spanked us (never hurt us making us grow instead), and learning to get along with all peoples of race and religion?


    Dr. Phil, it’s time to have a 30 day house of what it once was and can be again. It’s time to go to the streets and tell the people they’re on the track of destruction they brought upon thmselves. We have the “Tea Parties,” “FreedomWorks”, 9-12 ers,” so Dr. Phil, where are you on this “NEW CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN?!….and not the one politicians put forth that is destroying lives, jobs, marriages, lost homes, peoples credit, breaking up families, and changing our country as we once knew it? What is YOUR contribution? I don’t want the New York or California or tv show version. Are you a soldier for Christ or a people pleaser. Are your fingers really hurting from typing about what you have seen and heard as you said above? PROVE IT!!!!

  6. Hez Walker says:

    TO: JANET DAVIS and LINDA RH…….Thank you for your words of truth!! “And the truth shall set you free!” PRAY FOR ANONYMOUS below.

    TO: SUSANI SUCCA….You are brighter than any PhD that won’t hear the truth. I know the more educated one becomes the more chances one may become indoctrinated by their brainwashers in the halls of academia and have no idea what’s happening to our country! Please tune into your tv and watch Glenn Beck on FOX that may come on at 5:00 PM everyday. Check his website for times. It’s okay to be “a radio clown!” :0)

    A change is coming to our country. Over 60,000 people showed up in Washington, DC for the Tea Party celebration, reforming America, FreedomWorks, and the 9-12 Project (don’t tread on me); also, people gathered in major cities by the thousands as they have had enough with people trying to socialize our country.

    A movement has begun since last year and is growing day by day. It’s not Democrat nor Republican nor any party. It’s about being AMERICANS and taking our country back. We are tired of huge government waste and trillions of dollars of debt upon ourselves and generations. We are tired of more and more taxes. We don’t need a Universal Health Care Plan that will eventually become everyones care when businesses would rather pay a fee than insure people as it’d be cheaper to do.

    No other person in THIS country goes running for health care to Britain, France, Canada or anywhere else. They run here from other countries to save their lives. I know a woman denied cancer treatment for a whole year as her waiting list finally arrived. By then she had to have a hysterectomy and thyroidectomy at the same time really weakening her. I don’t know if she is going to make it with chemotherapy. Many women have to wait months to get breast cancer treated and some have died. We don’t need waiting periods, denied care, shortage of doctors and health care personnel, told older age people would be better with pain pills than an operation to save our lives or get that pacemaker. My tax dollars will not pay for abortions as these are God’s children as His words said, “I formed you BEFORE were born, I formed YOU in YOUR mother’s womb, and knew who you were.”

    Janet, Linda RH, and Susani….and myself makes 4 of us whose spiritual eyes are open, and our burden is heavy and is to be a standard bearer of the TRUTH without backing down. 2 Timothy 3: 1-7 says it all. If only more people would open up the BOOK and see the REAL truths of how to have life and have it more abundantly, they’d feel such a freedom and be a warrior for TRUTH.

    I KNOW DR. PHIL is a Christian as well as his wife and Hannity and Glenn Beck. I want DR. Phil and his wife to forget about Hollywood or New York and speak the truth as found in scripture to reach these people. We aren’t weird or Bible thumpers. God gave ALL of us a CHOICE…live for Him and be happy or live for ourselves and the world while paying a price…even death from vices.

    TO: ANONYMOUS, SEPTEMBER 10….Be free in Christ! I prayed for you. I am sure that Janet and Linda RH have done the same. You can be healed of these depraved memories. Say this prayer, ananonymous, for YOU aren’t that to YOUR creator: “Jesus forgive me of all my sins. I am sorry for hurting You and especially myself. I want to live for You, Jesus, and serve You ALL of my days. I am so thankful, God, for YOUR grace, taking away the memories for they are a lie of satan who doesn’t want me to be free. Jesus, I thank you that you have taken these sins away as far as the East is from the West and to be remembered by You anymore just as Your word has promised. You forgave the prostitute in the Bible and had compassion and love for her. Thank you God for giving me a new beginning and a new life. No weapon formed against me shall ever prosper. Cover my mind with your blood, Jesus. Fill my mind with happy memories and those to come. Anyone who is set free in Christ is FREE! Thank You, Jesus. AMEN!”

    I know these people who think it’s okay to have prostitution, if their mother or sister were talked into it and out there in the world wouldn’t feel it’s okay and say it’s okay my sister or mother is being destroyed and her pimp is beating her up and drugging her is okay….”BECAUSE IT’S THE OLDEST PROFESSION IN THE WORLD and SHOULD BE LEGALIZED and THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE GOOD MONEY and FEED MY CHILD (ren). How proud would they be to announce it to everyone they know that their sister and/or mother is involved in such harm to their body and psyche and tragedy. Suppose they got aids or were murdered? Could they live with that? How would they explain this at their funeral? Would they be proud of their sister or mother? Would they want to know as kids that their food came from a pimp and his beatings and sexual deviants wearing out her body and soul and mind? I couldn’t eat that food without vomiting! Common sense is NOT this!

  7. Essie says:

    My phone book has a page and a half of “escort services”.

    Craigslist is no longer owned by Craig. He sold it a few years ago for what I am sure was a great sum, to people who I am sure are using it for generating great sums.

  8. CE Coggsdale says:

    Go get’em Dr. Phil. Money runs everthing in our country, and that has brought the bottom of the barrel, to the surface. I am glad I am not raising children in this climate. Unfortunatly my Grandchildren are in this barrel of stinking barrel of fish.

  9. Sue says:

    Look, first of all, Craigslist is free. Nobody’s making piles of money. It’s free.
    Second, Craigslist is what society is. There are religious blogspots in it and hooker ads on it. It’s all mixed together, just like we are.
    Third, if you want to talk about common sense, you have to talk about the short thinking process that goes into the lack of it. Just look at the posters on this website, and every other one. They could be (and are) convinced of all kinds of wierd stuff. They’re desperate people who feel they’re under attack already, but who don’t see spending some time thinking of a solution as a solution. They glom onto the first person who says, “You’re under attack!”, thinking, “Exactly! Finally someone noticed!”. The people who spend big money to sway public opinion know this, so their pitches all start out saying, “You’re under attack!, but I have the solution…”
    The question is not why this worked, it’s why people think it’s OK not to think.
    Lately, Dr. Phil, you have often gone for the easy audience, and I realize what business you’re in and how tough it is. That said, you’re not exactly being Phil Donahue, here. In East St. Louis, a man from Florissant, Mo. picked up something like forty hookers and tortured them to death in his basement with his wife present, several years ago. He somehow managed to hand himself in prison with his hands tied behind his back. His wife was never charged and the ones we know about totalled something like forty. Maybe there are two hundred more, who know? Being a hooker is a tough, dangerous business. One hooker killed off of Craigslist, white and middle-class-looking, though she was, isn’t a shock. The only shock is that it was ONLY one.

  10. Sue F says:

    Some people are very angry about the things they can not control (as in Hez Walker’s comment). Prostitution has always been around, abuse of children has always been around, drugs have always been around. It would be wonderful if none of this existed, but it does and has for a long time. For people to tell themselves that this is NEW or “Today’s Society”, they’re kidding themselves. I agree with and support Mel’s comment, posted on September 13th, and believe Hez Walker needs to be medicated.

  11. Marie Marino says:

    Dr Phil,
    You strike out at only the tip of te sex fun and games creeps. How about the topless bars, the stripper clubs, phony sex experts with their so called clinics,the girls gone wild tv trash and while you’re at it how about the 900 call me ads on television.You might suggest clean ups on daytime soaps with the torrid love scenes??? .Let’s call a spade a spade, If we didn’t have sick sexual attachments pasted on everything in our country from auto sales to toothpaste and call it window dressing to attract,aqnd sell, then how can you ever hope to change anything. We have become a culture of sex driven fog brained jombies. Everything is geared towards sexual tittilation in marketing , everything. It’s everywhere , attached to everything. So my dear Dr Phil , me thinks tis a struggle in futility. You can’t change a society that doesn’t want to change. If they didn’t want the madness then they wouldn’t buy it. That goes for Craig’s List and E harmony, Lonely Hearts club and all the rest of the meet me, date me, try me ads. They just can’t be stopped.

  12. Marie Marino says:

    People eating cheese burgers do not harm the health of people around them. CIGARET SMOKE, harms every one around it. Thast is why the government should intervene and ban the d— things permanently, and force tobaco farms into corn fileds or wind energy making acres.. This is my answer to a previous blogger who thinks that the individual should have the last say on cigarets… THE HONOR SYSTEM TO DO THE RIGHT THING WHEN IT COMES TO CIGARETS AND THEIR EFFECT ON OTHERS, FALLS ON DEAF EARS AND BLIND EYES.. THAT IS WHY GOVERNMENT SHOULD PROTECT IT’S CITIZENS FROM SELF CENTERED BIRD BRAINED SMOKERS.,

  13. Kayla White says:

    Dear Dr Phil,

    This is a really difficult one and an outrage at that. I think that Marie Marino (an above comment) is right in the fact that it can’t be stopped and that it is all around us but I also disagree for I believe some how we can try to make a difference, a first step in trying to get rid of this crap and we can bloody damn well start with stampng out this ridiculous dangerous site Craiglist. How? No bloody idea. Taking it to your government I thought was a good idea. An extremely brave one at that. If only if it was as easy as deleting the site instead of having to run around with all this legal BS (excuse the language). I have no idea how all this stuff works but I’m sure we can find away. Just stick to what you believe in and remember that T.E.A.M – Together Everybody Achieves More.

    Good luck Dr. Phil. Like I said I’m sure there is something that can be done. We can’t just let this crap keep happening. The world is a dangerous place as it is and it is up to us to try and keep it safe to a certain point for not only ourselves and the people around us but our children and the future generations. You’ve gotta start some where and we can start with destroying Craiglist. Do what it takes. We can’t continue to live in a world like this. If we don’t destroy what is harming us first then it will surely further destory humanity… to a point where we cannot rebuild ourselves. Dramatic perhaps but I think I can safely say that it already has began… it began hundreds of years ago and it’s only getting worse. We may not see the effects as severe in this day and age but when science can no longer protect us, our government, even you Dr Phil… then what? We will almost be sent back in time when it began only it’s our own blood and flesh that has to suffer and are we just gonna sit by and let that happen? I don’t think so.

  14. amada says:

    I belive you are correct. There are is to much in the adult content bisness that needs to be stoped. This is shaming that we as a socity have allowed to let sex run are lives. Everyone want to support reserch to help find to cure AIDS but we are spreading it through “working weomen”. If we don’t get this under control we will have a socity with losse morals. This will be pased down like a virious or bad habits. WE NEED TO STOP THIS BEFORE IT GETS WORSE.

  15. AnneMae says:

    Doesn’t this start much sooner than the ad on the website?

    I think the first thing we have to do is teach our young girls and our young boys how to value themselves . . . that way these businesses would have no workers (at least willing ones) to exploit.

    The other thing, but it’s nearly impossible right now, is to raise the minimum wage — a good majority of the girls working these jobs did poorly in school, and cannot, or do not want to do minimum-wage jobs to support themselves. Flippin’ burgers isn’t so attractive when you can make a week’s worth in one night for something you LIKE to do anyway . . . how many times have you heard the phrase, “If I’m gonna do it, I may as well get paid for it . . . ?”

    Now, can we get our little ones to value themselves, their bodies, their time and their futures more than this?

  16. Sue Weiser says:

    One part of a response/solution to the craigslist “adult” issue: eBay owns a very similar site called kijiji (www.kijiji.com) and has very strict guidelines for the posts (as well as the intention of them) for taste, safety & legality. (I found the site by a link at the bottom of eBay – I clicked on the link because the name was catchy…)

  17. Cate from Oz says:

    It seems to me that the person responsible for the behaviour of Philip Markoff is Philip Markoff. If he wasn’t hunting victims through that site, he would’ve done it somewhere else. The “Craiglist” didn’t turn Markoff into a predator. The “Craiglist” is what it is but, if laws are being broken, then it’s up to the relevant authorities to enforce those laws. A sad fact about our modern society is that our lives are ruled by sex, money and avoidance of litigation. And the “law” isn’t really the “law” any more. It’s all a matter of interpration and who can tell the best story. But, I don’t see the point in being outraged about eroticism on the “Craiglist” when everything in our society and our media revolves around sex. Our society tells people that being sexy and rich is the be all and end all of existence. It’s reflected in our film, our television shows, our magazines and just about every piece of advertising that we’re brainwashed with day in and day out. It’s kind of hypocritical to then turn around and tell people that wanting sex or having sex is wrong. People, God is all very well and fine, but we have to live in the real world. And, here in the real world, the good old “moral” 50s had their fair share of sex and prostitution, they just didn’t plaster it all over the internet and it wasn’t allowed on television. (God bless freedom of speech, eh?) It seems that we don’t really care what is going on in our society as long as it’s not happening in front of us. Out of sight is out of mind. It seems to me that we want to stay in denial about the harsh realities of life and we just don’t like it being all shoved up in our faces because it shatters our illusions of the world as we’ve constructed it, in the individual little bubbles in which we choose to live. Sex and prostitution is never going to go away. There will always be people who, for whatever reason, go down that path in life. If there were no customers, there would be no prostitution. Let’s face it, that’s never gonna happen. The best we can do is raise our own children well and minimize their risks. Love them, nuture them, protect them from harm and educate them about the REAL world and the challenges that they may face. Educate them about sex (and the emotions and baggage and risks that go with it) and educate them about the dangers of predators and exploitation. Also educate them about HIV (and other sexually transmitted diseases) which are NOT just transmitted by “working women” but, potentially, by ANYONE who has unsafe sex. Let’s keep our heads out of the sand, eh?

  18. Cate from Oz says:

    “I’m up for any ideas to getting a handle on this. What do you think? ” – Dr Phil.

    Just don’t look? :-)

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