Saturday, July 31, 2004

Not that I care

Glenn Reynolds is having some fun with the Alabama dildo sales ban again today. Of course no such blog item would be complete without references to junior-high taunts at judges and legislators who support such bills, suggesting that their position resulted from their personal inadequacies.

Oh, so it's acceptable to argue that way now? OK, no more unemployment insurance - whatsamatter, you're not man enough to earn a living? No more health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, ya wimps, or if we do keep them we certainly won't be covering Viagra. Yeah yeah, it was tongue in cheek, but still...

And there's a flip side to the argument. Maybe the men of AL have enough ideas and energy already and it's their partners who are lobbying for relief. Maybe they simply doesn't need these things, while those from other states need all the help they can get.

Personally I couldn't care less about it. I'd insist on a fairly compelling reason for banning the sale of a product, and I can't think of one for banning dildos and vibrators. Maybe I'd see things differently if I raised cucumbers, or manufactured candles or arthritis products.

How did this ban come about? I don't know, but AL politics can be bizarre. I lived there for a while in a dry county, which also happened to have one of the highest alcoholism rates in the state. The largest town in the county had long sought to become wet, but the county always outvoted it to keep it dry thanks to an unholy alliance of bootleggers and Baptists.

Then by some miracle, a bill passed to permit towns above a certain size to become wet independently of their counties, and IIRC this bill somehow passed without any votes from legislators in the dry counties. How the dry county delegation managed to pull that one off without leaving any fingerprints has to be a terrific story, but I've never heard the details. Anyway, my town was eligible and the locals were excited at the prospect.

Well, others were less thrilled - you should have heard the outcry. For instance, the town had one of those picturesque town squares where they still held markets every First Monday of the month (your lost baggage may be there too). But the drys circulated an illustration of the square after legalizing liquor sales, complete with strip joints and gay bars, and...well, you can't fully appreciate just how absurd that was unless you'd lived in the area at the time. Anyway, the town went wet, and although I left no more than a year later I don't recall any particular ill effects.

But I'm not living in AL nowadays, so (assuming that they don't vote for gay marriage...) their laws are none of my business. As for Glenn Reynolds, who lives in neighboring TN, I'd think he'd be for the ban. Now Tennesseeans can build a bunch of sex toy stores on the TN/AL border alongside all the fireworks places (and liquor stores, in case there are still some dry counties nearby). Border towns like South Pittsburg will make out like bandits, and the state will suck down tax dollars from Alabamians.

And let's not forget the service industries - haven't we all heard that old song "Tennessee Stud"? Isn't Tennessee the Volunteer State? (Even Alabamians will vouch for them - they told me nothing sucks like a Big Orange. To which the Tennesseeans would respond by telling you what AL women put behind their ears to attract men - their ankles.)

So if I were GR I'd encourage such bans in AL and in all the other bordering states too.

I'll close by noting that IMO this excessive interest in the sexual options of Alabamians is at least as weird as the sex toy ban. Sheesh, don't these people have anything better to worry about?

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