Skip to main content

Global Eye - March 4, 2005

What on God's earth could possibly constitute a bona fide "legislative" use of the "vibrators, dildos, anal beads" and other stimulators covered by the Alabama law?

By Chris Floyd

Sex, sex, sex -- how it haunts the damp and fervid dreams of the Bushist Party faithful. And nowhere more so than in the depths of Dixie, where stout Christian soldiers were singing hosannas last week after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their righteous warfare against the foulest form of evil in the modern world:

Genital stimulators.

After prayerful consideration, the Supremes refused to hear challenges to an Alabama law that forbids the sale or distribution of "any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs," Reuters reports. The law was aimed not only at public vendors of sexual enhancement but also at the growing number of private "Tupperware-style parties," where suburbanites gather to peruse the latest marriage-goosing gadgets.

But let's be fair. In their compassionate conservatism, the Bama Bushists did provide some exceptions to their iron grip on the state's genitals. For example, the law generously allows the sale of sexual devices "for a bona fide ... legislative, judicial or law enforcement purpose." Here the mind reels (and the stomach turns): What on God's earth could possibly constitute, say, a bona fide "legislative" use of the "vibrators, dildos, anal beads" and other stimulators covered by the law?

On second thought, don't ask. Instead, let's just rejoice in the knowledge that, thanks to the Supreme Court, Alabama politicians, judges and sheriffs can diddle themselves to their heart's content with all manner of manipulators, while your ordinary desperate housewife will have to do without them.

Yet as we all know -- and as the state of Alabama itself acknowledged when confronted with statistics from the law's challengers -- the vast majority of the now-banned Bama buzzers were sold to good ol' gals, most of them in down-home, red-meat, church-blessed heterosexual marriages. The salt of the earth, in other words -- the only kind of people worthy of full citizenship in Bushist philosophy. So why were these exemplary matrons targeted by the mullahs in Montgomery? That question leads us to another curious lacuna in the law -- a gap mirrored in similar sex-toy restrictions in Georgia and George W. Bush's home state of Texas.

As the challengers pointed out -- and the Supremes ignored -- the state's crusade against artificial exciters somehow failed to include Viagra, Levitra and other chemical erector sets designed to address male shortcomings in the pleasure department. Now, it would be uncharitable to conclude from this that the Bushists have, shall we say, special needs in this regard. Although it's true they exhibit a strange fascination for big missiles, military uniforms and naked Arab men in chains, we don't mean to suggest that they need outside help to achieve a more normative sexual response to a woman.

No, the real reason why girl toys are banned while boy boosters get greenlighted is simple: The laws in Bush's Texas and like-minded states aren't actually designed to restrict sexual aids as such. They are meant to clamp down on the sexual pleasure of women in particular. They are part of Bush's worldwide war against women, which we have often detailed here -- a war in which the Bushists are allied with their putative enemies, the radical Islamists. These two groups share an overwhelming fear of the freedom and inviolability of a woman's body, her ability to control her own sexuality and fertility. This freedom threatens social, cultural, political, economic and even psychological structures that in some cases go back thousands of years. It is this idea, that of woman's autonomy, which is the true crux of modernity; it is the real dividing line -- not technology, ideology or the much-vaunted "clash of civilizations."

This profound upheaval has provoked fierce, panicky and often violent resistance. To his shame, Bush has aligned America time and again with misogynist bastions like Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Libya in opposing international efforts to guarantee the rights of women. Even as we speak, Bush operatives are trying to blow up the landmark 1995 international agreement on the status of women, when the nations of the world pledged themselves to establishing women's equality in all areas of life, including health, education, employment and political participation. It also declared that women should be able to "decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality ... free of coercion, discrimination and violence."

But the Bushists clearly don't want women's sexuality to be free of coercion, discrimination and violence. That's why they are sandbagging the 10-year review of the 1995 declaration, now underway at an international conference in Beijing, The Associated Press reports. Bush is refusing to reaffirm the declaration unless draconian language is added to ensure that the agreement "does not create any new international human rights," as the Bushists put it. In other words, a little fancy talk about equality is fine -- as long as it doesn't actually change anything, as long as the coercion and violence can go on.

This is all of a piece with Bush's savage elimination of U.S. funding for women's health clinics in the poorest regions on earth. For want of this indispensable American aid -- mere pittances that wouldn't fund a single hour of Bush's rape of Iraq -- clinic after clinic has been forced to close, destroying the only source of medical treatment and reproductive health care for the most vulnerable women in the world. It has been a literal death sentence for thousands of women -- and their infants -- in the past four years: a silent holocaust created at the stroke of Bush's pen.

The bedroom farce in Alabama -- sweaty-palmed pols in a tizzy over vibrators -- may be an amusing bit of provincial comedy. But it masks a sinister tragedy of global proportions.


Popular posts from this blog

Arundhati Roy: The 2004 Sydney Peace Prize lecture

The 2004 Sydney Peace Prize lecture delivered by Arundhati Roy, at the Seymour Theatre Centre, University of Sydney.

Peace & The New Corporate Liberation Theology

It's official now. The Sydney Peace Foundation is neck deep in the business of gambling and calculated risk. Last year, very courageously, it chose Dr Hanan Ashrawi of Palestine for the Sydney Peace Prize. And, as if that were not enough, this year - of all the people in the world - it goes and chooses me!

However I'd like to make a complaint. My sources inform me that Dr Ashrawi had a picket all to herself. This is discriminatory. I demand equal treatment for all Peace Prizees. May I formally request the Foundation to organize a picket against me after the lecture? From what I've heard, it shouldn't be hard to organize. If this is insufficient notice, then tomorrow will suit me just as well.

When this year's Sydney Peace Prize was announced, I was subjected to some pretty arch remarks from those who k…

Thirst for blood and oil

There is a war going on in the Middle East; one in Iraq and the other in Lebanon. It is a war against innocent civilian population, played out by faceless enemies of humanity. Is it only a war in the name of religion, gods, and land? It is also a war in the name of black gold – OIL!

The United States and Britain are only too happy to occupy Iraq and see various parts of it blow up. Iraq's sin is that it has a lot of Oil. But, then, Iraqis are not enough educated and sophisticated people to understand that no one really cares about whether it is Shia oil or Sunni oil. It is a crying shame that Iraqis kill each other in the name of the two factions of Islam – again their only reason for killing is to set the supremacy – and to gain power. Saddam knew too well that Oil was more powerful than anything else in today's world. And Oil is the very reason why he was toppled and put behind bars. It wasn't Saddam's Human Rights violations that the Western governments were too con…

Where the People Voted Against Fear

by Eduardo Galeano; Inter Press Service; November 18, 2004

A few days before the election of the President of the planet in North America, in South America elections and a plebiscite were held in a little-known, almost secret country called Uruguay. In these elections, for the first time in the country's history, the left won. And in the plebiscite, for the first time in world history, the privatization of water was rejected by popular vote, asserting that water is the right of all people.

* * *

The movement headed by President-elect Tabare Vazquez ended the monopoly of the two traditional parties--the Blanco and the Colorado parties--which governed Uruguay since the creation of the universe.

And after each election you would hear this exclamation: 'I thought that we Blancos won but it turns out we Colorados did"--or the other way around. Out of opportunism, yes, but also because after so many years of ruling together, the two parties had fused into one, disguised as two.