"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 13 April 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Naked Eye


[Information is not knowledge, Knowledge is not wisdom,]

Much like the better-publicized

War on Drugs, the War on Sex is

not yet won. Up on the front

lines, Wisconsin tax officials

are struggling to figure out how

to enforce a new tax on sexual

products and services.

Legislators there have leveled a

5 percent charge on the types of

adult entertainment that

purportedly cause wife-beating

and child abuse, with the money

raised by the new tax going to a

special fund for the victims of

the sexy stuff. Looks like Ted

Bundy's estate just won the

lottery. Among the targeted

products are vibrators and what

the Associated Press describes

as "dirty playing cards."


That's right: Vibrators cause

domestic violence; shopping is

not a victimless crime. Among

the other possible items - and

venues - to be specially taxed

as violence-inducing are cakes

shaped like breasts and penises,

nightclubs that book comedians

who use obscenities, and what

the AP calls "steamy novels."

The author of the smut-tax

legislation, Representative Dean

Kaufert, acknowledges that state

investigators trying to decide

what to tax under the new law

"almost went to Marshall Field's

lingerie department." (It was a

gun in his pocket!)


Not that there's any great lack

of anti-sex agitation in other

places. In Denver, city

officials are debating enhanced

zoning restrictions that would

prevent new strip clubs and

adult movie theaters from

opening. The clever


First-Amendment approach: Rather

than ban the new businesses

outright, the city hopes to

simply prevent them from opening

near certain kinds of other land

uses - schools, say, and homes,

and day-care centers, and arts

facilities, and amusement parks,

and all other areas where

children are known to play, and

whole chunks of city-declared

"family shopping areas," and ...

Well, everywhere, but keep it

under your hat. "That," huffs

City Councilperson Susan

Barnes-Gelt, "gives us one more

reason to build new day-care

centers in the city." Yes,

that's a perfect reason to open

a day-care center: to stop

adults from seeing naked bodies.


Interestingly enough, no new

adult-entertainment facilities

are actually trying to open in

Denver. Although the two doing

business almost within spitting

distance of the state capitol

still appear to be doing pretty

well for themselves.


Tied up in all this distaste and

bad rhetoric is the terrified

yet grateful notion that sexual

depiction is a kind of voodoo, a

power that just takes you over

against your will; allow your

eye to fall upon the idol, and

it seizes your soul. Lust is

something that just happens to

you, and so are your reactions

to it.


[Wisdom is not truth,
 Truth is not beauty,]

And where does that notion come

from? All those news clips of

The Candidate emerging from

church on Sunday morning

indicate the common point of

reference. There's only one name

for the thing that seizes your

soul against your will, a power

referred to over and over in

online discussions of so-called

"pornography addiction." Here,

in case you lack this particular

cultural background, is how the

Devil gets into your pants:


The mind is like the chain link
fence behind a catcher - it will
be deformed with a depression
where ball after ball has
stricken (sic) it. So too, when
image after image strikes the
brain, we begin to respond to
those images automatically.


Er - how about passing the time

with a little game of



Not every decent person dragged

into a love of filth approaches

the question of his compulsive

masturbation as a matter of

epistemology; some seek

understanding through

hermeneutics. "It was hard to

believe that I was possessed by

demons," reads one post to a

porn-addiction site, "but the

Bible does confirm their



Of course, the demons are sneaky

little devils, land sharks that

get you to open the door by

claiming to have a candy-gram: I

didn't mean to enter the

dirty-movie theater, but, I, uh,

had a flat tire, and I was

looking for a jack. "One of the

biggest problems I have," reads

still another post to the same

site, and emphasis added, "is

the ready accessibility of porn

via the Internet. It appears

when you least expect it, and

just when you think you can deal

with it - you can't."


[Beauty is not love, Love is not music,]

A challenge to Suck readers: Go

try to stumble across

alt.sex.pictures accidentally.

Whoops! How'd that happen? We

can't help but recall the letter

published by sex columnist Dan

Savage, a couple of months back,

from a reader who said that he

was het, but had been trapped

into receiving a blow job by a

masseur who stuck his thumb up

the ass of the helpless straight

customer - disabling his ability

to physically resist.


Among the real-life battle tales,

absolutely our favorite story

from a man fighting to stay pure

is this one:


Hotel room previews are an
especially bad temptation for me
on business trips when I am away
from my friends and relatives in
the privacy of that room. After
submitting to the tempatation
(sic) several times, I began to
call ahead and ask the hotel to
remove the television from the
room prior to my arrival. They
all refused.


Then I decided that this game was
deadly enough for me to take the
lesser of two evils: I decided
to disable the television as
soon as I arrived. I did this by
cutting the signal cable with a
wire cutter. No hotel ever
confronted me with my


Finally, I designed a plug lock
that was made simply from a
piece of PVC tubing and two end
caps and a bicycle lock.... Now
when I go to a hotel, I slide
the plug into the tube, pull the
cord into the slit, slide on the
cap that has a hole, thread my
bicycle lock through the hole
and close the lock.


Now the TV can't be plugged in
because the plug is locked into
the tube. I take the lock key to
the front desk and ask them to
put it in the safe. This puts
enough distance between me and
the temptation for me to be able
to handle it by prayer and
reliance on the Lord.


OK, now: How nuts is that? Is it



[Music is THE BEST - Frank Zappa (R.I.P)]

And so, stuck with the terrible

possibility of being tricked -

tricked, I say! - into

participating in shameful sexual

mercantilism, decent folk

everywhere (at least the ones

who can't afford the padlock and

the length of PVC) work with

their god-fearing political

representatives to prevent the

Medusa from drifting across

their line of sight, rendering

them helpless, rock-hard stiffs.

We remember with particular glee

a scene from our newspaper days,

when an entire congregation

turned up at a city council

meeting to protest the opening

of, get this, a "bikini bar";

one congregant after another

asserted the connection between

exotic dancing and the horrors

of rape and pedophilia. Sitting

in the back of the room,

scribbling notes and resisting

the urge to snicker, we were

pretty sure they were protesting

a bit too much. Favorite quote:

"It all just makes me sick,

actually." No doubt.


Note that the cure, both in law

and in church, sounds

suspiciously like the disease,

or at least a particular genre

of the evil media in question:

"Take our Lord's yoke upon you

and He will give you rest...."

(Submit to the power - it feels

good, once you get used to it.)


It's hard to turn on the

television or pick up the

newspaper these days without

hearing laments about the growth

of dirty-minded culture: South

Park, Jerry Springer, and

naughty Web sites are all, the

argument goes, warping our minds

and weakening our society. In

this kind of near-hysterical

environment, not every sex

warrior is elected or baptised

to the battle; some are hired to

it. Defending one of his shows,

Dawson's Creek, against

allegations of cultural

line-crossing, WB Network

President Jamie Kellner insisted

last week that an episode

depicting a sexual relationship

between a high school teacher

and one of her students had

concluded in a socially

responsible way. "Kellner said

the episode ultimately sent a

positive message," read a report

in Monday's New York Times,

"because the teacher lost her

job, and Pacey was ostracized at



Not quite as positive as a

flogging in the public square,

but it's a start. The shame,

after all, is the hottest part.

courtesy of   Ambrose Beers