Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Below the Belt

They've straightened out gay marriage. They've liberated Christians to proselytize (er, pray) in public buildings. Now, the Virginia House of Delegates has cracked down on "below the waist undergarments." Here's the low down: any one publically exhibiting indecent display of such undergarments is subject to a $50 fine.

My favorite part of this is that they defined underwear as "garments intended to cover a person's intimate parts." I'm confused by what, exactly, is the crux of the offense: the garments themselves, or the parts that they are supposed to be covering? If the garment is serving the purpose of covering said intimate parts, then at least those parts are not on display, so the flesh itself can't be offending anybody. The implication, then, is that it is not the body itself that offends, but the actual garment, because it suggests naughty things.

What seems like a joke today actually establishes a disturbing sort of precedent: the out-lawing of something which suggests the indecent. In the future, who is to set the standards of decency? What is indecent: brown shoes with black pants? What about my Run Against Bush t-shirt -- is that offensive? I'm sure it is.

Clearly, the trick to avoiding such fines is to go commando. No undies = no illegal display of undergarments, guaranteed. In that case, the House of Delegates closed this loop hole just in time!

Honestly, if you want to be offended, check out the Cost of War. Look at the pictures from the Tal Afar shooting. Ask yourself why most Americans never saw those pictures -- were they too offensive? Too graphic? Too revealing?

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