Thursday, January 3, 2008

Siloam Represses Those Good Vibrations

Mayor Moose Van Poucke and the Siloam Springs Board of Directors unanimously enacted an ordinance Wednesday night that prohibits a sexually-orientated business from operating within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, hospital, place of worship, school, park, playground, public library, recreational area, bowling alley or skating rink, historic places or any place selling or distributing alcohol in their fair city. They even declared passage an emergency, so it goes into effect today. Not at all what you'd call "business friendly," but there is no indication that the local Chamber spoke up in defense of commerce.

"We had a business that set up on U.S. 412 a couple of years ago that sold
adult novelties," said Siloam Springs City Manager David Cameron. "That caused some concern, that they could just come in like that. There was quite a bit of outcry to get something set up to regulate places like that." The good citizens of Siloam will not tolerate any novelty in their town, whether it be thoughts, deeds, or peddling of merchandise.

I guess banning retailing to the industrial park is better than Alabama, which passed a law attempting to criminalize the sale of vibrators, but why would the good citizens be upset about selling perfectly legal toys like vibrators a couple of football fields away from a bowling alley? Even if they are, wouldn't group therapy be better than laws stifling the American spirit of capitalism and free enterprise?

As much as Benton County politicians resent it, this is still the 21st Century. You can buy personal vibrators at Wal-Mart, and 45% of Americans report that they have used such devices for personal satisfaction. Barnes and Noble sells a handy user's manual, and Johns Hopkins University Press has published a scholarly tome on the history of the little appliances. The Kennedy Center hosted a showing of a documentary film about the excitement of electronic erotica, and I seem to recall that the Beach Boys had a popular song that went something like, "I'm picking up good vibrations; she's giving me excitations."

It may very well be a city named after the Pool of Siloam, mentioned in the Book of John, Chapter 9, where Jesus was said to have restored the sight of a blind man, but the residents seem to have an overwhelming fear of going blind. Freud coined the term "return of the repressed" to explain such neurotic symptoms. The cure might be found in the Relaxation Response, if they don't try to ban that, too.

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