Monday, May 02, 2005

Sweet home Alabama: Shakespeare, sodomy, and sexual misconduct

Here's a story to make your skin crawl: Alabama State Representative Gerald Allen has tabled a bill in the legislature that would prevent public libraries and other state institutions from purchasing works by gay authors or about gay characters (is Stewie Griffin gay? so long Family Guy!) or that somehow violate, or rather endorse violations of, Alabama's strict sex laws. Says Allen, "I don't look at it as censorship. I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children". Sure, and that Nazi book-burning was all about keeping warm during those long Prussian winters. Allen's view: "Dig a hold and dump them in it." Thankfully, there were not enough state representatives present when the bill came to a vote (i.e., no quorum), but we might not have seen the end of it.

PolySciFi Blog examines the issue here. The key language of the bill:

  • No public funds or public facilities shall be used by any state agency, public school, public library, or public college or university for the purchase, production, or promotion of printed or electronic materials or activities that, directly or indirectly, sanction, recognize, foster, or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of the state of Alabama.

By the way, "the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of the state of Alabama" include the following:

  • DEVIATE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.

So it's not just homosexuality. It's also oral and anal sex between unmarried heterosexual partners. I'm not sure what happens if an "act of sexual gratification" involves "the sex organs" of more than one person. I'll look into that and report my findings here at The Reaction.

In response, another good blogger, Julie Saltman, is asking readers to "list our five favorite 'printed or electronic materials or activities that, directly or indirectly, sanction, recognize, foster, or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of the state of Alabama'." In that spirit, here are mine:

  1. Plato, Republic: No, not because there's any pedophilia (don't buy into that myth), but because a lot of it's about sex and nudity and men and women training together and close relationships between men and...
  2. Pink Floyd, The Wall: Allen would have both the double CD and the DVD to toss into his hole of shame. There isn't much in the way of homosexual behaviour, but the movie certainly wouldn't be acceptable (think "Young Lust"), and, generally, I'd be honoured if my favourite band were banned in Alabama.
  3. Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Trivia question: What is main character Tomas's favourite part of the female body? Hint: that part of the body, male and female, isn't legal in Alabama. (Answer at end of post.)
  4. Gunther Grass, The Tin Drum: Well, it's anti-Nazi, for one, but there's also a famous scene (that caused the film version to be banned across the U.S. when it was released) that certainly wouldn't be acceptable. Alabamans do not -- repeat, do not -- engage in cunnilingus (especially minors). Ever.
  5. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World: For all the drug use, of course. But perhaps I should instead suggest Woody Allen's Sleeper. One word: orgasmatron. Alabamans do not -- repeat, do not -- have orgasms. Ever.
Also, anything by Shakespeare.

Celebrate these works as much as you can. They're not safe.

Any other suggestions?

(Answer: What is the anus, Alex?)

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