Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


East Tennessee Taliban

Some folks just don't get it.

We travel thousands of miles around the world to try and stop religious fundamentalists from trampling all over the rights of law abiding citizens and then right here in our backyard, the zealots are hard at work pursuing the same exact agenda. They want to regulate what a woman can do and tell her what she must wear.

As y’all may or may not know, I’ve been known to patronize an “adult establishment” from time to time. Enjoying good music and the beauty of a few lovely ladies wearing big smiles and little else is certainly a pleasantly harmless way to pass a couple of hours, but now, Knoxville City Council is about to vote for the second time on a series of ordinances that will, in effect, run any adult oriented business out of the city.

Wait, scratch that. Not any adult oriented business, just those that make the Council members get that squirmy feeling in their, err, members. Pick-up bars are still OK, and so is having dancers paid to dance. That is, of course, as long as they wear enough clothing to avoid the aforementioned squirmy feeling. Burkas work wonderfully in that regard.

Look, I'm basically a libertarian; I believe that if you're going to make a law, two things have to be true. First the law has to address a situation where one group is damaging another group through their activities. Second, the damage done by limiting freedom must be smaller than the damage being corrected. These new laws regarding the licensing of adult establishments do not meet either standard because there is no definitive evidence that there is any damage associated with the presence of nekkid women.

Unless you find women to be fundamentally unclean, like the Taliban, in which case you have an entirely different set of issues.

But that doesn't stop the hypocrites from trying. According to the City Council, adult businesses bring crime into the area, nasty crimes like drug dealing, prostitution, and general lollygagging about.

And you know we can’t stand for lollygagging about, now can we?

Unfortunately for the Council members, the crime statistics don't bear out their claims. Knoxville prostitution, as well as the drug trade, is centered around the eastern side of the city, where, oddly, there are no adult establishments to draw them. Police callouts and arrests also fail to support the Council. In fact, there are more arrests for PD, DUI, and D&D coming out of Cotton Eyed Joes than out of Th' Katch, which is just across Lovell Rd.

Perhaps the Council would be better off regulating line dancing instead of worrying about exotic dancing.

Finally it would be a very simple matter to demonstrate that any establishment that serves alcohol is far more injurious to the city than an adult bookstore.

Now, to be fair, City Council does have a study that shows that there is an increased amount of crime around strip clubs, however that study was done in California, and we all know just how many similarities there are between L.A. and West Knoxville.

Like, they both have McDonald’s on the main strip. Maybe we should be regulating Big Macs.

My best guess is that the Council must believe that every time a strip club is shut down in West Knoxville, a drug dealer on Magnolia goes straight, or a prostitute in LA decides to give up the street and go into government service, where her talents will certainly come in handy during those back room bargaining sessions.

It’s legislative acupuncture; quite the provocative concept, no? And to think we came up with it here in little old Knox Vegas.

Yes, I am mocking the City Council, and justly so; after all, they're making a mockery of our city. It just seems to me that in today's world, they should have a lot more serious things to deal with; say our city’s sad educational performance?

Now, since they can show no damage from a woman letting her boobies fly free, other than a potential case of whiplash from a motorboat gone awry, let's take a look at the damage done should the Council get its way. Roughly 150 dancers will be thrown out of work, and it’s a fair guess to say that, barring a business decision to relocate to Magnolia Ave, 99% will not be able to find a job where they can make a similar amount of money. (The average dancer, working 3-4 nights per week, will take home somewhere around $45-50K per year.) Many of these women are also single mothers, further limiting their opportunities to make a similar living. What happens to them? Where will they go once their livelihood is gone?

I can hear the ladies in the back saying "Serves them right! Now they'll have to get married or earn a real living like the rest of us!"

Envy and jealousy are not good foundations for public policy, ladies. These women went out and did a job you wouldn't dare to do; therefore they earned every penny they made, regardless of how you feel about the way they made it.

And of course, this is the real nut of the issue. The puritanical streak that runs through America cannot abide the idea of somebody making money from sex.

"It degrades women." "It degrades men." "It cheapens something sacred and holy!"

Why is sex degrading? Why is nudity offensive? For centuries women have been trading sex for security; why does placing a dollar sign on it make it so much worse?

And where are the feminists on this one? Adult women are making a rational decision concerning what job they want to do and what they want to wear to do it, and the city government is gainsaying that decision. And that’s what is truly degrading. It’s not that they’re forcing these women to put on a bikini, but that the city of Knoxville is placing their own judgment ahead of that of these dancers, robbing them of their autonomy.

And before you ask, no, I wouldn't want my daughter to be a stripper. Then again, I wouldn't want her to be a city council member either but I'm not about to try and run them out of business.

Then again…
Posted by Rich
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