Archive for the ‘Cultural Issues’ Category

Quote of the Day

Friday, May 9th, 2008

An anonymous Roane County citizen on the alleged gay nudist “resort”:

“We have between $40 and $60 Million dollars in school needs and a haywire $10 million jail project and you don’t hear much of a peep out of folks, but let gays and lesbians threaten to take their clothes off at a private resort…”

Estes Kefauver Was a Blithering Idiot

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Interesting article at CNN on a nearly forgotten chapter of twentieth century history: the Great Comic Book Scare:

World War II was over, but as the 1940s gave way to the 1950s, a new evil lurked in the land. Ten-Cent Plague

It attracted a youthful audience — boys, mostly — who fell victim to its colorful images, dripping in red, and gave money to its purveyors.

Authorities took notice. The United States had a new menace, they said, one whose name started with “c” and whose first syllable rhymed with “bomb.”

Comic books.

At the time comic books were very popular among youth, perhaps because they were quite good at pushing the envelope. Comics of the time frequently featured gory violence, attractive (if unrealistically drawn) women, and controversial social commentary. A few years before Elvis shocked the world on the Ed Sullivan show, do-gooders and politicians believed comic books were corrupting the youth. A well-meaning but goofy psychiatrist named Frederic Wertham even wrote a book (sensationally entitled Seduction of the Innocent in which he argued that comics were responsible for juvenile delinquency.

Across America comic book burnings were held. Entire cities banned the sale of comic books. Tennessee’s very own Democratic Senator Estes Kefauver, fresh off his hearings on organized crime, took the logical next step in his anti-crime crusade and launched a Senate inquiry on comic books and their effects on children. He brought in Wertham himself, as well as Bill Gaines, boss of the popular and controversial EC comics line, proving that the wasting of taxpayer money by the federal government is hardly a new problem.

All in all, it was a very strange time. If any of this sounds interesting, you should definitely read The Ten-Cent Plague by David Hajdu. I read it over the weekend and loved it. A true story of mass hysteria, it is both amusing and frightening.

UPDATE: No, I don’t really think Kefauver was an idiot. The title of this post is a bit of hyperbole. Kefauver did some good things while in the Senate, but on this issue I do think he was out to lunch.

Gay Nudists Are Coming!

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

It looks like my hometown of Harriman might soon boast a gay nudist resort:

A small Harriman community may seem like the last place for an adult only, alternative lifestyle, nudist resort, but an investor from Ohio says it’s perfect.

The Rosebud Lodge Resort and Campground would cater to the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender community.

The resort is planned to be built on 60 acres of property along the Clinch River on Skyline Drive.

However, the property still needs to be rezoned as a commercial area.

I personally don’t care if it opens or not. It seems to me there are more important things to worry about. But I suspect the county commission will refuse to rezone the property, thus killing the deal.

Partisan Prostitution Prosecution

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Michael Barone has some interesting thoughts on Eliot Spitzer and his prostitution charges. Barone points out that prostitution openly exists in our society and we seem pretty selective in how we enforce the laws against it. But this raises a bigger question: Should there be laws against it?

That Spitzer is a scumbag is undeniable. He should resign if for no other reason than sheer stupidity. Prostitution is a moral scourge, and we should expect more from our elected officials. But should it be illegal? I think not.

Prostitution is exploitative, but only to those who choose to be exploited. I feel great sympathy for many of the women involved as I think most do not actually want to be prostitutes. But I don’t believe putting them is jail is going to save them. Only they can do that, through choices or faith. We can (and should) certainly try to point them in right direction, but only they can change their lives.

In the meantime, forcing them underground and under the “protection” of pimps and gangsters is not beneficial to anyone. Prostitution should be legalized, with some regulation to prevent the spread of STDs and to remove the criminal element (as much as possible).

We should certainly make moral judgments about leaders who would involve themselves in such debasing behavior, but it doesn’t follow that such behavior should be illegal.

Cross posted at Tennesseefree

Abortions on the Decline

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Most Americans can agree this is good news:

The number of abortions performed in the United States dropped to 1.2 million in 2005 — the lowest level since 1976, according to a new report.

Still too many to be sure, but progress. The article credits both a decline in women choosing abortion and the availability of the controversial morning after pill for the decline.

Mitt’s JFK Moment

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave a speech today addressing concerns about his Mormonism. I don’t have much reaction except to say that it’s a shame that, in 2007, he had to give it. Bigotry is still alive and well in America.

Before God or Uncle Sam?

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Stephanie Coontz has an interesting article in today’s New York Times on the history of marriage. She contends that the government has no business being in the marriage business:

Perhaps it’s time to revert to a much older marital tradition. Let churches decide which marriages they deem “licit.” But let couples — gay or straight — decide if they want the legal protections and obligations of a committed relationship.

Certainly if marriage is the sacred institution most believe it to be, it doesn’t need the government to protect it. It is also interesting to note that the more government has become involved in marriage, the greater we see increases in divorce rates and cohabitation. I’m not saying that government is responsible for this, but it clearly suggests that if we want to protect marriage, using the power of government to do it might not be the best strategy.

Via Ben Cunningham.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Of all the major candidates from president, only one — longshot Mitt Romney — has unequivocally endorsed the federal anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution. Many of my fellow conservatives will disagree, but I think this a positive development.

Kissing a Crime?

Friday, April 27th, 2007

In India, it might be:

An Indian court issued arrest warrants for Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Thursday for kissing at a public function, according to media reports.

For those who haven’t been following, Richard Gere kissed Indian actress Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness function. In India, public displays of affection tend to be taboo, especially in rural areas which tend to be highly traditional and conservative. In such areas, kissing in public may violate obscenity laws. Thus Gere and Shetty’s kiss is quite the no-no.

It certainly seems to me that we’re seeing some bad behavior all around. Gere should have known better, especially since he’s a “frequent” visitor to India (in the video, Shetty does not appear a willing participant). But it also sounds as though a small town judge might also be trying to get some publicity about the deal. And some traditionalist political leaders are getting to rile up their followers. In the end, though, not much will really come of this.

In case you haven’t seen her, below are some pictures of Ms. Shetty. Gere might spend some time in jail for kissing her. Does anything think maybe it would be worth it?

UPDATE: Alex Knapp likens this situation to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

On Civil Unions and Gay Cooties

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Fox News is reporting:

Gov. John Lynch told The Associated Press on Thursday he will sign legislation establishing civil unions in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire thus will become the fourth state to adopt civil unions and the first to do so without first having a court fight over denying gays the right to marry.

“I believe it is a matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination,” Lynch said in an interview.

New Hampshire now joins Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Connecticut as states that allow at least some form of legal recognition of homosexual unions.

Call me a RINO, but I see nothing wrong with this. I’ve heard all the arguments against gay marriage and/or civil unions, and they’re all weak. Most of them seem to be based on an irrational fear of gay cooties (wish I could take credit for coining the term, but it comes from SayUnce). I fail to see how such laws will destroy marriage, harm children, or bring about the fall of Western Civilization. It seems to me that most people opposed are just letting their own predjudices and insecurities cloud their judgment. People should have the right to do what they want so long as they harm no one else, as John Stuart Mill said.

Anyone who wants to convince me of the error of my ways is welcome to make use of the comments.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.