Evidence that much of our politics is driven by busy-body puritanical older women with nothing better to do but bitch about others.
I personally believe politics in these United States is driven by four factors.
(1) A conflict between those who believe mankind can evolve to a higher state of perfection if only led by the proper leaders, and those who believe mankind is inherently flawed and the best we can do is provide guide rails.
(2) A conflict between Populists, those who believe anyone with undue power must have their wings clipped for the better good, and those who see this sort of populism (against the wealthy, against corporations, against powerful politicians) as dangerous and hypocritical demagoguery.
(3) Regional conflicts between 11 American “nations”, regions with similar cultural and ideological viewpoints that would, in places like Europe, balkanized into separate countries years ago. (In fact, one could consider the American Civil War as an attempt at the balkanization of the United States.)
(4) Busy-bodies; meddling or prying people–generally women in our country–who see something they don’t like and actively meddle, involving politicians and passing laws if necessary, because something they see offends their sad and lonely sensitivities.
Whether we like it or not, part of our politics is defined by Gladys Kravitz, the snooping neighbor who lived next store to the Tates on the TV show “Bewitched”, constantly calling the cops because she saw something she didn’t like. It’s defined by meddlers who don’t like how much we weigh, or how we dress, or what we eat, or how we play.
And these meddlers–mostly at the local level, but sometimes their meddling and snooping reaches national levels–have found supporting politicians on both sides of the aisle. It’s not to say there is no role for local officials in settling disputes between neighbors. But this goes beyond settling disputes.
It goes to things like this bit of bullshit, promulgated by former Detroit mayoral candidate Jerroll Sanders:
A small shawarma chain in Detroit is taking some heat for its “sexually suggestive” uniforms, but the owner claims he never intended for the clothes to be so provocative.
And what was the provocative uniform being worn by the wait staff at Bucharest Grill? Was it short-skirts which landed just an inch or two below the rear end and a short mid-riff shirt? Was it “short-shorts” so short they showed the bottom portion of the rear end? Was it a thin string bikini with dental floss g-string bottoms, covered with a semi-transparent skirt?
Well, not quite.
But rather than offend your eyes by showing an image to this extremely offensive uniform, I’ll instead place a link here. Fortunately the photo I found is slightly out of focus, and needless to say, at least according to mayoral candidate and confirmed busybody and meddling snoop Jerroll Sanders, not safe for work.
If you feel inclined, go look at the offensive uniform. I’ll wait.
I know! How terrible is it for a waitress to wear a hooded long-sleeve top that completely covers her head, her arms, and long black pants that completely cover her entire body–but then has the audacity to draw attention to her rear end with the words “We Deliver!”
OMG! She may as well be splayed, naked in front of us, having sex simultaneously with two men!</sarcasm>
Welcome to 21st century politics.
Unfortunately, this is modern politics. And so much of modern politics are the Gladys Kravitz’s of the world, concerned that somewhere, somehow, someone may be having more fun than her–and this bit of fun must be hunted down and exterminated for the Greater Good.
I mean, Just Think Of The Children!™
I wish I knew an anecdote to this, but sadly some meddlers and snoops have constituencies, and some meddlers and snoops have groups behind them who need something to be offended at. While those groups may have memberships so fucking dirt dumb that they confuse the three-star symbol at the center of the Tennessee flag with a satanic symbol, the people who lead these organizations require some sort of conflict in order to keep their organization alive.
So sometimes a restaurant owner gets bullied into submission by a maniac with a chip on her shoulder.
Because she is Offended!
Sadly it happens in so many places, in so many towns around the country. Hell, just a few weeks ago I watched a flame war arise on the web site Nextdoor, a web site which connects neighbors together, over the issue of teenagers disrespecting bicyclists. Apparently an older woman’s husband was disrespected as a truck full of teenagers passed by, and one of the teenagers in the back flipped the husband off. So he followed the truck to their house, and now the local neighborhood busy-body was demanding all her neighbors with children better discipline their teenagers.
Personally, and I pointed this out in the thread, I’m more concerned about the fact that her husband followed those children to their home, apparently angered by some sort of altercation he could have just shrugged off as “kids being kids.” (Because nothing sets an example like threatening to escalate being offended into a violent confrontation.)
But, to the mind of the local “snoop”, kids are never just kids. They must be disciplined and kept in line. They must be respectful to their elders–even if their elders have to physically confront them.
And if they are not appropriately respectful, We Need A Law.
There is always Child Protective Services. Because nothing says “respect your elders” like destroying a family.
I have absolutely no fucking patience for snoops and busy bodies and those who are offended that somewhere, someone may be having more fun than them.
And I believe the right answer to this form of busy-body bullshit is to call them out, humiliate them in public, and reveal them for who they are: people who actively need to get a fucking hobby.
It’s a shame that so much of our politics is driven by this sort of nonsense–even to the point where we are cowed from exercising our legal rights because we’re afraid someone may take offense. So we don’t invite friends over late at night because we’re afraid some neighbor may call the cops–even if we take great pains to make sure the ambient noise level does not rise above legal limits. So we don’t wear something that someone may think is too revealing–even though it falls well within the limits of any sorts of laws on indecent exposure.
Fun fact: after reading a local news article, out of curiosity I looked up North Carolina’s indecent exposure laws. And, as it turns out, indecent exposure in North Carolina is defined as “willfully exposing the private parts … in any public place and in the presence of other person or persons.”
Two court cases addressed the definitions of “public place” and “private parts”; in the former, “public place” also includes areas on private property that is in plain view of a public place. But, more interestingly, “private parts” was defined in State v Fly as only meaning the genitals. The ruling explicitly stated the law did not prohibit women from wearing a thong or g-string in public:
To hold that buttocks are private parts would make criminals of all North Carolinians who appear in public wearing “thong” or “g-string” bikinis or other such skimpy attire during our torrid summer months. Our beaches, lakes, and resort areas are often teeming with such scantily clad vacationers. We simply do not believe that our legislature sought to discourage a practice so commonly engaged in by so many of our people when it enacted N.C.G.S. § 14–190.9.
Moreover, State v Jones held that a women’s breasts do not violate N.C.G.S. § 14–190.9 as they are not considered “private parts”:
By G.S. § 14-190, the General Assembly has seen fit to classify as a criminal act the indecent public exposure by a male or female of his or her private parts and to ordain the punishment therefor. We are not at liberty to include acts not within the terms of the statute. The female breasts are not private parts within the terms of the quoted portion of the statute.
We are of the opinion, and so hold, that the exposure by a female of her breasts to the public view in a public place is not an offense under G.S. § 14-190. Neither the legislature, by its enactment of laws, nor the courts, by interpretation thereof, can make a man a gentleman nor a woman a lady this molding must come from other elements of society.
Therefore, it would be perfectly legal for a woman in the state of North Carolina to wear nothing but a g-string and go topless, according to the laws of North Carolina.
(Note: I am barring any “disturbing the peace” charges that may arise if a woman were to do so, say, in downtown Raleigh. I’m also excluding any local laws which may serve to prevent a woman from walking topless and in a g-string through Raleigh–though note that according to North Carolina law, state law precludes local laws from re-regulating the same area unless explicitly allowed so by that law. So while a Raleigh city ordinance may be passed to (say) define “disturbing the peace” as wearing clothing or acting in a way which causes a commotion, the City of Raleigh cannot pass an ordinance which redefines indecent exposure so as to include women’s breasts or men’s buttocks.)
And yet, if you ask most North Carolinians (as I did when I first got here) what the indecent exposure laws are–and the answer you get back ranges from a belief that women must cover their entire breasts and buttocks to a belief that breastfeeding in public is illegal.
This despite the fact that N.C.G.S. § 14–190.9 explicitly permits breast feeding: in section (b):
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.
(Note the wording of the law permits breast feeding even if subsequent changes to the rest of the ordinance or subsequent rulings decide that women’s breasts are somehow “private parts.” Meaning the wording of section (b) did not change the legislative intent or prior court rulings over women going topless.)
Hell, the belief that North Carolina’s indecent exposure laws are far more restrictive than they really are (by law, stated legislative intent and supreme court rulings) runs rampant, thanks to the snoops and meddlers of the world. Just look at the answers offered on Trip Advisor when someone asked about going topless on the Outer Banks of North Carolina:
I don’t know of any NC beach that allows that. You have to follow the same laws on the beach as if you were on a public street in NC. I guess if you were up around Carova or an isolated beach without houses around you could go topless…but if the beach patrol see you I’m sure there will some type of fine or arrest.
I know Molly but it was just info on both and by the way it is not legal on Coquina Beach or Pea Island National Refuge however it has been done I have seen toless in frisco too but it doesn’t make it legal. You stand a chance of gettin g a ticket if you caught any where on the Outer Banks topless or nude
It’s not to say that going topless wearing nothing but a thong may be morally wrong. Nor is it to suggest that you won’t get angry stares or even be harassed by local authorities asking you to “cover up”, because somewhere, someone was offended.
But we’ve confused immoral with illegal.
This is just a long-winded way of saying the Gladys Kravitz’s of the world are winning.
To some extent, they have won.
Somewhere, someone is having too much fun, and they are succeeding at having it stopped.
And thanks to them, we no longer know the difference between tacky (such as printing words across the rear end of yoga pants) and indecent, thanks to the Gladys Kravitz’s.
All we know is that the police have shown up in order to start asking questions. And the politicians, ever desiring to please another constituency by “doing something”, is poised to take away another freedom.