Saturday, September 3, 2011

Op-Ed: Enzyte Bob on "Threats To This Thing Of Ours"

Doc here with an insightful editorial from senor Journal writer, Enzyte Bob.  EB is deeply embedded in the Florida adult theater scene and it's influenced by what is happening there right now.  However, it's message can be applied anywhere in this thing of ours.

Here is Enzyte Bob...


Good Afternoon Good Doctor,

I have noted with dismay that, over the past decades, yes decades, that things are changing for the worse in "this thing of ours" and I wanted to wax philosophic a bit.  In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, I was a fairly regular attendee at ABS’s in the greater Palm Beach, Florida area.  Please do not think me a wealthy member of the Palm Beach set; I was one of the suckfish that serviced their community from time to time.

I regularly went to a small ABS that was not far from my home.  One day the County Commission passed a law that said there could be no doors on Video Booths.  They did this under the guise of “fire safety”.  Should the building ever catch on fire, the doors, that had locks on them, could trap the occupants and endanger their lives.  Now, I am not the smartest guy in the world, but I seriously doubt that the county had any desire to save people like me that they had probably labeled perverts.  Had everyone that attended gone up in flames, they would have been happy, but it was a good, and more importantly, apparently legal, way to eliminate the privacy of the booth. 

Eliminating privacy, of course, left police able to cruise through and observe what was going on in the booths and make arrests.  They did not actually make many arrests, as the fact that the doors were no longer there led to a curtailing of activity.  Lawyers would say the removal of doors had a “chilling effect”; and chilling it did.  The bookstore I was familiar with, The 45th Street Adult Bookstore, was actually eventually bought by the county and demolished.  This exact same thing happened in Okeechobee County, FL, but they took a slightly different tact. 

Okeechobee County, a very conservative, and very Bible-belt kind of community, required booth doors, but it did not make the ABS unprofitable enough and the county was not interested in buying it anyway.  They preferred much more Draconian measures.  When the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 (Charley, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis and Wilma) had an impact on this ABS, the building was damaged.  County officials were quick to condemn the building as unsafe for occupancy and forced its closure.  They then refused to grant any building permits to repair the premises, on what grounds I am not sure.  However, the owner sued to require them to issue the permits and lost at the local level.  The county made it abundantly clear that they would fight any appeal to the last dollar.  This resulted in the owner making a purely financial decision.  Between the lost business, the damaged building and repair costs, and the impending legal fees, he just gave up.  He spray painted a commentary blaming the county on the outside of the building for its closing and boarded the place up.  The county tried to force him to take the commentary off the building, but that was protected by the First Amendment and since they had gotten what they wanted anyway, they did not force the issue.  Had he had to go to Court and won, the county would have to pay his legal fees.  It was a Mexican restaurant the last time I was through the town.

Now that we are living in the era of Neo-conservative, Right-Wing Christian, Wingnuts, this thing of ours is in grave jeopardy.  My apologies to the members of the Tea Party that enjoy this thing of ours, but while their brand of fiscal conservatism may be incredibly appealing, it also comes with the fact that they want to take away, by pretty much any means necessary (you know, crowds with flaming torches and pitchforks) our ability to enjoy it.  The reason is that they do not view this thing of ours as being consistent with Christian values and, in their world, Christian values are the only values that are correct and good.  This is not a secular view of what our government should be.  They believe that we are, and ought to be, a Christian Nation and that will have costs to us.

The goal is really simple; drive every adult theater, bookstore, toy store, strip club and swingers club out of business.  These places are immoral according to the Christian Right (please see comments that New Orleans and Las Vegas were struck by natural disasters because they were “dens of iniquity”).  Regulate them into non-profitability and force them out of business, even buy them and bull-doze them when the owner is on his last financial legs; if a natural disaster can be used to facilitate this goal, all the better.

I do not know how to save this rapidly dwindling thing of ours to be quite honest.  I am not sure that we, as practitioners, can declare ourselves to be a minority and claim Constitutional protections from an oppression by the majority.  It clearly worked in the South with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but this thing of ours; not so much?

Well, Doc, I have now completed my rant, and I forgive turning The Journal into a soap box where I can espouse my personal beliefs regarding freedom as related to this thing of ours, but I felt compelled.

While we can, I hope everyone has fun, but…..Hey, let’s be careful out there!

Enzyte Bob
Still Smilin’