Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The War on Orgasms

This is one of those monumentally idiotic ideas that just makes me stare with jaw agape at the notion that a legislator would seriously propose it, much less that it would pass. A state rep in South Carolina by the name of Ralph Davenport has submitted a bill tha would ban the sale of sex toys:

The South Carolina bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport, would make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses.

But here’s my favorite part of the article:

Rep. Davenport, who is from Spartanburg County, did not return several messages Friday to talk about his bill, which was introduced last month.

Of course not. What on earth would he say? I would love to hear him try to explain why this bill is necessary. Are people using powerful vibrators to hold up liquor stores? Exactly what governmental interest is served by banning the sale of dildos? This idiot couldn’t even begin to make a coherent case for it and he knows it. But that doesn’t matter because three states – Texas, Alabama and Mississippi – already have laws that ban the sale of sex toys.

How the hell did such a law actually pass two legislative bodies and get signed by a governor in three different states? On what possible pretext? There are some positions that are so breathtakingly idiotic and ridiculous that taking them should render you unfit even to vote, much less to hold public office, and this is one of them. This is every bit as moronic as the boneheads in Congress renaming french fries “freedom fries” in the cafeteria. They should be drawn and quartered, tarred and feathered, ridden out of town on a rail and in all other ways humiliated for rank stupidity above and beyond the call of duty. And so should anyone who votes for them ever again. In fact, I suggest that we set up a Hall of Shame for bad ideas. The first induction class will be these laws and Gerald Allen’s incredible bill in Alabama to ban all books written by or about gays from the state.

And I like this blog’s suggestion that we set up an Office of National Dildo Control Policy. And further:

If the puritans of the South Carolina legislature are successful in criminalizing the pursuit of kinkyness, drug prohibition may give us some warning signs of what to expect. Lucrative black markets for pleasure gadgets will spring up overnight, putting armed salesmen on every urban corner. Sexually experimental youngsters will roam the streets looking for a fix, eventually coming across their first “gateway dildo” to harder plastics. Prisons will be clogged with people whose only crime was trying to relax with a hot bath, some candles, and ‘Johnny Depp Junior’ after a long day at work. Worst of all, shady opportunists will fashion vibrators out of cheap household appliances, maiming or killing unfortunate masturbators with electrical malfunctions.

Maybe we can even appoint a Dildo Czar; if we can get William Bennett away from the craps tables long enough, he’d be the perfect choice. And of course, we’ll have to outlaw “dildo paraphernalia” too; anyone caught with KY jelly will be booked for suspicion. Remember – if vibrators are outlawed, only outlaws will have vibrators.

Comments

  1. #1 theRidger
    April 25, 2006

    Well, one more reason (like I needed it) not to move to Texas.

    Singled out only because it has been suggested that I take a job there.

  2. #2 Left_Wing_Fox
    April 25, 2006

    While I have occasionally fantasized about beating an individual around the face and neck with a 16″ silicone jelly dong purely for entertainment purposes of the resulting trial, this strikes me far more perverse.

    Mentioned elsewhere, the wording of this will likely prohibit the artificial insemination of farm/zoo animals within South Dakota.

    Maybe Davenports cousin has a truckload of Adult Novelties that need to be unloaded in a hurry?

    Given the likelihood of people turning to alternative household items to fill the role of these departed items, I think it’s all just a fiendish plot to make their sexual partners taste like pepperoni.

  3. #3 Left_Wing_Fox
    April 25, 2006

    Whoops! I’m sorry, South CAROLINA. To many sex-crazy states to keep track of them all, I guess.

  4. #4 ThePolynomial
    April 25, 2006

    I just can’t wait to see the fronts that pop up around this ban…

    “Or we could show you some of our more expensive, round, elongated, vibrating paperweights in the back? For paper-weighting purposes only, of course.”

  5. #5 Kimball
    April 25, 2006

    Perhaps… he is answering to the all-powerful vegetable farmer lobby?

  6. #6 Matthew
    April 25, 2006

    It’s good to hear that South Carolina has solved the problems of crime, poverty, and terrorism. It must be great to live in such a perfect state that they have time to debate trivial matters.

  7. #7 tacitus
    April 25, 2006

    Now I’m beginning to see why Christian Exodus has targeted South Carolina for their future home and theocratic state.

  8. #8 tacitus
    April 25, 2006

    Oops – trying again:

    Now I’m beginning to see why Christian Exodus has targeted South Carolina for their future home and theocratic state.

  9. #9 chezjake
    April 25, 2006

    Naw, it’s just part of a deceptively simple plot to keep us evil liberals from moving into their wingnut state.

  10. #10 SkookumPlanet
    April 25, 2006

    Ed
    I’ll second all your suggestions. If the Hall of Shame comes to fruition, Dildo Czar could be a title honoring outstanding achievement. I particularly like the name you’ve given it — Woo. To borrow an expression from PZ and gang — What about fingers + tongues? Illegal use of the tongue?

    On your recent “Abstinence-only Insanity” topic I posted a quotation from scripture explaining that particular insanity, but I quoted the revised version. The unrevised version explains this particular insanity and how such laws got passed. The two passages illustrate the type of textual changes instituted in the revision.

    Almighty Laissez Faire bequeatheth us a nation, leader among nations, nation of all nations since nations began.

    Armageddon may cometh, or cometh not. Oil may cometh, or cometh not. Temples may cometh, or cometh not. Dildoes may cometh, or cometh not. KayWhY may cometh, or cometh not. Citizens may cometh, or cometh not. It all mattereth not.

    Distract them with manna, deliver them their dreams, deny them relief from fear of sex, decieve them with false promise. Doeth thusly and the nation will be thine. Then the other nations of the Earth shall trembleth prostrate before thine power.

    And Great Strauss prophesized, “Doeth thusly and the faithful voteth, hallelujah, and voteth again, hallelujah, and voteth again, hallelujah, and voteth again, hallelujah, and voteth again, hallelujah, and on down through the Great Chain of the Ballots of the Holy Booths. Hallelujah!

    “So speaketh the Great Strauss,” sayeth RNC, and the 10,000 Legislative Apostles listeneth and then speaketh as one, “So shall it be done.”

    Verily the words of Leo the Great Strauss came to pass.

    Holy Straussian Plan for the Republic
    Book of the 10,000 Legislative Apostles
    Chapter of RNC
    Verse 2010|0425|10:49am
    [Great Synod of Lubbock authorized ver., non-revised [apostate], 2199.]
    .

  11. #11 windy
    April 25, 2006

    Mentioned elsewhere, the wording of this will likely prohibit the artificial insemination of farm/zoo animals within South Dakota.

    So what? Those farm and zoo animals will just have to go get their inseminations done somewhere else, instead of forcing their wicked ways on South Dakotans!

  12. #12 Mark Paris
    April 25, 2006

    This is the perfect opportunity for me to introduce my working theory of government. I don’t think it’s original, but see what you think. Virtually all government believe that you belong to the government. Governments want to control you, personally. The government can take your property or money. The government can force you to send you children to school until they reach a certain age. The government can require you to serve in the military and kill and be killed at the government’s order. The government is the only agency that can take your life. Except in extreme circumstances, you cannot take another person’s life, or even your own. Witness the uproar over assisted suicide. Since you belong to the government, it makes perfect sense that the government would want to control your reproductive behavior. In the case of the government of the United States, there was originally an idea that government derived its power by the consent of the governed. This pernicious notion has long since been abandoned. Democrats typically want to control your life in certain ways, while Republicans want to do it in other ways. In the case of Republicans, they are very, very interested in what goes on in your bedroom. I think this is related to the Judaic law, where government control of reproduction was quite explicit.

  13. #13 Ian Gibson
    April 25, 2006

    Are people using powerful vibrators to hold up liquor stores?

    Exactly. Now criminals will have to revert using to automatic weapons (which are legal of course) instead!

    Nice to see legislators keeping their priorities in order!

    Can’t these people at least get reprimanded for wasting everybody’s time?

  14. #14 Ahcuah
    April 25, 2006

    You asked:

    How the hell did such a law actually pass two legislative bodies and get signed by a governor in three different states? On what possible pretext?

    The Alabama version of the law was upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said

    In this case, the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) invites us to add a new right to the current catalogue of fundamental rights under the Constitution: a right to sexual privacy. It further asks us to declare Alabama’s statute prohibiting the sale of “sex toys” to be an impermissible burden on this right. Alabama responds that the statute exercises a time-honored use of state police power–restricting the sale of sex. We are compelled to agree with Alabama and must decline the ACLU’s invitation.

    You can see the opinion here. (PDF File)

  15. #15 wheatdogg
    April 25, 2006

    In my state, we have “dry” counties, so we also have “last stop” liquor stores just outside the county lines. So, will North Carolina and Georgia have “last stop before South Carolina” sex toy stores if this bill actually becomes law?

    Will SC then need to have border guards to check for contraband?

  16. #16 Miguelito
    April 25, 2006

    Is “sodomy” still illegal in these places? If not, they’re going to have to make it illegal also, including oral sex.

    Furthermore, sex for anything but procreation will have to be made illegal. They’ll have to make female circumcisions mandatory, just in case.

  17. #17 Paul Riddell
    April 25, 2006

    As for Texas having that law, I’m reminded of one of Molly Ivins’s columns in the late Dallas Times Herald some twenty years ago. She was mentioning how the Texas Legislature was going over its penal code for various legal transgressions, and was having its usual fun over obsessing over sex crimes more than, say, whitecollar crime. Anyway, the Lege had spent days yammering about defining what qualified as a sex crime, and as the discussion was winding up to a close, a representative from Dallas piped up “Hey, we forgot ‘mouth-to-anus with chickens’!” As Molly pointed out, “And they put that in. You do not want to have your sex lives dictated by this bunch.”

    Sadly, I’ve lived in this town, on and off, for over a quarter-century, and I’ve become convinced that Dallas’s stupidity is communicable. After all, every time we get some corporate crook who’s let free by a judge who refuses to recuse himself from judging a family friend, a judge who decides to give probation to football players who gang-rape a 16-year-old, or a governor lying about his involvement with pay-for-play shenanigans at a particular university because “there wasn’t a Bible in the room” (all real cases), the other idiots point to Dallas and yell “Well, they did it!”

  18. #18 Johnny Vector
    April 26, 2006

    The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said:

    In this case, the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) invites us to add a new right to the current catalogue of fundamental rights under the Constitution: a right to sexual privacy.

    Creamed Jesus on toast, what part of The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people don’t they understand?

    Where’s an originalist when you need one?

  19. #19 Fredrock Flintstone
    April 26, 2006

    I think the best way to highlight the sheer evil stupidity of this is to suggest that the proposed law does not go far enough; only things primarily intended for self-stimulation are covered, leaving the door open to a broad range of immoral behavior. The law should cover the sale of any object which could be used as a sex toy. I’d pay to see the debate on that provision.

    Even if passage would risk the closure of my chain of South Carolina Drinking-Glass-Full-of-Warm-Beef-Liver Outlets.

  20. #20 Mark Paris
    April 26, 2006

    ” … hat part of The enumeration in the Constitution ..

    This is just another illustration of the great irony of the Bill of Rights. Part of the debate over including these ten amendments when the Constitution was voted on by the states was whether enumerating rights would lead to the assumption that the enumerated rights were the only rights. Some insisted that to be the case; others said if we don’t enumerate these critical rights, we might lose them. Both sides of the debate were correct.

  21. #21 John Cercone
    April 26, 2006

    “Alabama responds that the statute exercises a time-honored use of state police power–restricting the sale of sex”

    How are sex toys any different than condoms or Viagra(TM)?

    By their logic, is not the sale of condoms or Viagra(TM) selling sex?

    This is a serious question? Is there a legal distiction?

  22. #22 Mark Paris
    April 26, 2006

    John Cercone, you’re looking for something rational. The state’s desire to control sex, as well as other aspects of an individual’s life, is not based on rationality. Look at my earlier post: the state (not a state) believes that it owns your life. It can control it in any way it wants to. The will of the state is formed by the particular prejudices and desires of the individuals who control the state, and is expressed through the laws they pass. For example, in Georgia, and probably many others, drunk driving laws are erratically enforced and penalties for killing someone while driving drunk are usually fairly minor. On the other hand, the penalties for using other types of drugs are often quite severe. I think the reason is that most legislators drink (and probably drive under the influence) but they don’t use those other drugs.

  23. #23 David
    April 26, 2006

    Mark Paris: You are reifying. The state believes nothing, owns nothing, and does nothing. It is an abstraction that stands for the organized action of real people. Some people in government want to control other people’s behavior. Some others probably actually believe that they are doing the people’s will and upholding their rights. Others are just feeding at the public trough. Perhaps I am overreacting to your comments, which do after all address legitmate worries, but I am provoked by the strain of neohegelianism (via Hayek) that I often hear in libertarian comments. It blows my irony meter.

  24. #24 Mark Paris
    April 26, 2006

    David, if you read my last comment, just prior to yours, you will see where I say, “The will of the state is formed by the particular prejudices and desires of the individuals who control the state, and is expressed through the laws they pass.” I realize that a state has no will of its own, just as a business or a newspaper has no wil of its own. But attributing will to an organization is a common and accepted use. I think it’s fine to do it as long as you understand that it is individuals who are doing the willing.

  25. #25 Mark Paris
    April 26, 2006

    And, by the way, I am anything but a libertarian.

  26. #26 Mark Paris
    April 26, 2006

    And, David, another by the way: what I was doing was more personifying than reifying, but I understood what you meant.

  27. #27 KeithB
    April 26, 2006

    While I know it was only rhetoric, I don’t think you want legislators “drawn and quartered”:
    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_239.html

    Tarring and Feathering could be fun, though:
    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_020.html

  28. #28 paleotn
    April 26, 2006

    Alright you wankers. Enough of this beat up on South Carolina bit. Look, Davenport is from Spartanburg. The upstate. That corner of our fair province is well known for its over abundance of fundie, evangelical nut jobs. Heck, Greenville is the home of Bob Jones “University” for crying out loud. I personally don’t claim them as true South Carolinians for obvious reasons. To be honest, many of us truly wish they’d hook up with their christian exodus, snake handling, cousin copulating, hill billy brethren in various border states and form their own little Jebus Land, leaving us the hell alone down here on the coast.

    On the bright side, this whole flap does get the ole entrepreneurial juices flowing so to speak. Forget running coke, weed and guns up and down I-95. Elicit adult novelties. Now THAT’S got possibilities!

  29. #29 Ed Brayton
    April 26, 2006

    Johnny Vector wrote:

    Creamed Jesus on toast, what part of The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people don’t they understand?

    Where’s an originalist when you need one?

    In reality, most who call themselves originalists completely ignore the 9th amendment. That’s certainly true of Bork and Scalia. There is a good deal of irony in someone claiming to be an originalist while reading an entire passage right out of the Constitution.

  30. #30 Raging Bee
    April 26, 2006

    Yeah, paleotn — including the possibility of “dildo wars” between rival gangs of smugglers, and the new ONDCP repeatedly denying the physical or psychological benefits of orgasms. Which could get just as bloody, and even more ridiculous, than the current War on Drugs (and the Unarmed Sick People Who Use Them).

  31. #31 Ed Brayton
    April 26, 2006

    The irony of all of this is that, if South Carolina passes this ban, it will probably give Judith Reisman an orgasm. And orgasms make Judith a bad girl.

  32. #32 wheatdogg
    April 26, 2006

    How come the ID crowd doesn’t argue that orgasms must be the result of an intelligent designer? Because if they are, he/she/it was a mighty intelligent designer.

  33. #33 shargash
    April 26, 2006

    So, will North Carolina and Georgia have “last stop before South Carolina” sex toy stores if this bill actually becomes law?

    Oooh! I want to invest in North of the Border. Now that could be an interesting rest stop (anyone who drives I-95 will understand the reference).

  34. #34 SharonB
    April 26, 2006

    You asked:

    How the hell did such a law actually pass two legislative bodies and get signed by a governor in three different states? On what possible pretext? /quote

    They were passed and signed, because no one wants to be tarred in an election season as “encouraging the use of sexual toys for use [by children] outside of marriage.” You just ~know~ that is how the GOP-RR would frame the argument, and politicians are notoriously gutless. “Blah, blah, my opponent is pro-sex-toy [aka, PRO-masturbation], as shown by his refusal to back this bill outlawing the use and sale of … blah blah…”

    Incidentally, I would say that this bill is not about the control of sexuality / reproduction. It is about the control of FEMALE sexuality and reproduction, a religio-patriarchal obsession of fundamentalist extremism, whether Kristo- or Islamo- fascist. That is why condoms and Viagra(tm) will never be on the list, but vibrators, and female contraceptives will be.

  35. #35 Mark Paris
    April 26, 2006

    “It is about the control of FEMALE sexuality and reproduction…”

    SharonB, you nailed this one (so to speak). That is exactly what most sex laws are about. I think the fundamentalist males fear that if women ever discover their own sexuality and enjoy it, none of them will ever come back to their (the males’, that is) beds.

  36. #36 Gretchen
    April 26, 2006

    If I lived in South Carolina, I’d be celebrating Dildo Day right about now.

  37. #37 Jeremy Pierce
    April 26, 2006

    It is about the control of FEMALE sexuality and reproduction, a religio-patriarchal obsession of fundamentalist extremism, whether Kristo- or Islamo- fascist. That is why condoms and Viagra(tm) will never be on the list, but vibrators, and female contraceptives will be.

    Not in this case, anyway. From the article:

    “The sheriff’s office there seized movies, sex toys, sexual-enhancement pills and surveillance tapes from two businesses in January.”

  38. #38 David
    April 26, 2006

    Right Mark. I think it is pretty clear what you meant; there is a lot of room in ordinary language before we really hit reification. I confess, I am a bit touchy about the subject. I posted hastily in response to a pet peeve, and certainly did not intend to give offense. I mainly agree with you about the impulse to control, though I would take out the idea of the state claiming to own the people and just say that busybodies poke their noses where they have no right.

  39. #39 Mark Paris
    April 27, 2006

    David, I understand pet peeves and English usage. My own personal pet peeve is “to beg the question” used to mean “to raise the question” or something similar. I have trouble keeping myself from immediately writing to the offender when I see that.

    As to poking noses, I was going to mention that Democrats seem to want to poke their noses into the boardroom while Republicans want to poke theirs into the bedroom, but I thought better of it. Until just now.

  40. #40 raj
    April 28, 2006

    I have trouble keeping myself from immediately writing to the offender when I see that.

    Maybe you’ll get over it some day. The problem that you have is that language marches on, even if some who use the language don’t.

    Clearly, the usage should be “raises the question,” not “begs the question.” But try to persuade people to use the former instead of the latter. It would be like urinating into the wind.

  41. #41 Jim Lippard
    April 28, 2006

    This was attempted by a legislator in Arizona in 1989. This bill criminalized the possession of five or more dildos, arguing that this created a presumption of an intent to traffic in them. I don’t remember the legislator’s name, but I’m pretty sure she was from either Mesa or Glendale and was not re-elected in the wake of the ridicule.