Saturday, February 25, 2023

Authoritarianism Blooming Like Skunk Cabbage in Tennessee


I have occasional reasons to cross the state line into Tennessee. Lotsa North Carolinians do business in Johnson County. But after catching up on the craziness right now out our back door, I'm thinking of going cold turkey on the entire Volunteer State. Their leaders are currently volunteering to be the worst public dicks in the nation. Economic reaction is the only pressure that works. (See how NC suffered after the "Bathroom Bill" passed.)

Two days ago, on Thursday, February 23, Tennessee lawmakers officially passed joint legislation to create a new felony offense for anyone engaging in an "adult cabaret performance" on public property or in any location where the performance "could be viewed by a person who is not an adult." The criminalization of these "performances" would presumably extend to costumed dancers in Pride parades and to off-color jokes told by a trans comedian (there are plenty such professionals; check Netflix).

On the very same day, Thursday, February 23, Tennessee House Republicans also overwhelmingly passed a ban on gender-transition health care, including hormone therapy and surgery, for anyone under the age of 18. That's telling those "confused" teenagers! "You're going to be what I say you are. And you're grounded."

The Drag Show Bill (H6/S3), "An Act to Amend Tennessee Code," lists its favorite erotic fantasies -- topless, go-go, and all "exotic" dancers, plus strippers and "male or female impersonators who provide entertainment." That capaciousness for criminalizing sexy displays actually deploys the adjective pruient, a little used relic from an earlier era of shocked Victorian prudery. Any of the "entertainers" listed above who arouse pruient thoughts will be subject to prosecution. 

Pruient comes from Latin pruiens, originally meaning an itching (no lie!). For Roman soldiers, beset by fleas and lice and armor-rash, pruiens meant a physical itching but quickly took on a metaphorical meaning, itching for sex. In other words, it's ancient and obscure enough to become the standard for criminal intent in a new felony class in the State of Tennessee. 

The Tennessee legislators worry about the itch because they by God have the itch, feel the itch, and by-'n'-by scratch the itch (like all God's creatures). Their denial is a confession but also a power play. The Puritan tyrant is always covering for his own sin. Accounts for the obsession:

"Republicans are troubled by homosexuality and can't figure out how not to think about it."

--Garrison Keillor


Democrats hold a dismissible minority of seats in the two chambers of the Tennessee legislature. Republicans have a veto-proof majority in both houses and a Republican governor to boot, willing to sign whatever they want. One of the minority Democrats in the House, Rep. Justin Jones (who goes under the handle @BrotherJones on Twitter) stood up during the debate on the Drag Show Bill and delivered one blistering takedown of Republican hypocrisy (video can be seen here). “If we want to address the issue of obscenity and what’s harmful to minors, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle don’t need a bill — they need a MIRROR.”

If there's still a shred of justice at any level of power in this country, the Courts will see that the State of Tennessee is legally persecuting an identifiable group, and you simply cannot do that in our Republic.


Anonymous said...

If 'female impersonators' are covered, I wonder what happens to the old clips of Milton Berle from the Ed Sullivan Show?

Wolf's Head said...

So, you approve of perverts performing before children?

And you approve of children being sexually mutilated before they are 18 years old?

And thanks for noting we live in a Republic, by the way...

Red Hornet said...

Watch out, old hound dog is raising his hind leg to them old substations.
He likes his sex in the pitch black dark.

Anonymous said...

Wolf’s Head asks:

“And you approve of children being sexually mutilated before they are 18 years old?”

Wolf’s Head is spreading a misconception about accepted medical practice for treating young individuals with gender dysmorphia.

Gender reassignment surgery is not an accepted treatment or practice for minors among medical professionals. What is recommended is supportive therapy and hormone treatments during puberty to help with the process of someone with gender dysmorphia to determine the course of action they want to take as an adult.

“The truth is that data from more than a dozen studies of more than 30,000 transgender and gender-diverse young people consistently show that access to gender-affirming care is associated with better mental health outcomes—and that lack of access to such care is associated with higher rates of suicidality, depression and self-harming behavior.”

Wolf’s Head also said:

“So, you approve of perverts performing before children?”

I guess all those old movies and tv shows on dvd featuring Milton Berle, Flip Wilson, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, the Three Stooges, Danny Kaye, Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Laurel and Hardy, and Tyler Perry will have to go into the “adult” section of the public library since they’re all “perverts”.

I suppose that local organizations, like the Shriners or Lion’s Clubs, that regularly, up into the 1990s, had “beauty pageants” with their local, “straight” pillars of the community donned drag to raise money for various causes, up through the 90s were “perverts”.

I anticipate Wolf’s Head to respond that’s ridiculous since they weren’t “perverts”, but just (straight) actors playing a role. If that’s the case, then Wolf’s Head is really saying that any gay or lesbian person performing in drag is a “pervert”.

Is that what we’re really getting at here?

Or, Wolf’s Head say that “drag queens” are always trying to be sexually provocative and “obscene” in their performances.

In this case, is Wolf’s Head saying that the wide range of drag performers - from guys with beards donning a dress to drag queens that poke fun at the outrageous images we have of women and what’s desirable in their anatomy - is all a sexual turn on?

Wolf’s Head would probably object and say he’s seen articles or pictures online of drag queens performing obscene material in front of kids.

There, I have to ask if Wolf’s Head is basing his opinion on a few out of context descriptions, images, or video clips taken out of context and spread around right-wing social media?

Just what really is your beef here, Wolf's Head?

Is it really about concern for children? Or is it about finding new ways to punish and suppress free speech by LGBTQs?

Wolf's Head said...

Whenever your position is indefensible, always attack your opponent personally.

Seen that many times here and on other blogs.

Anyway, I support Tennessee's efforts to protect minors from child abusers and mutilators.

SO, impugn away...

Wolf's Head said...

I must note that I wrote my above post before the post from Anon 8:07 was up.

And I have nothing to add to my post from 12:32.

And if your concern is for children, Anon 8:07, do you support abortion?

Wolf's Head said...

More liberal hokum, you all will believe anything.

Quotes from the British Medical Journal.

Anonymous said...

"And if your concern is for children, Anon 8:07, do you support abortion? "

Of course, you do support as many guns as can be had, inside a school, because guns are not dangerous to children.

Wolf's Head said...

No, not "as many as can be had", but I definitely support trained and armed staff and parents.

Of course, guns are dangerous, otherwise they would have no value.

I grew up when we had school shooting teams who kept their guns at school, or allowed kids to bring guns to school so they could hunt afterschool on the way home, but we didn't have many liberals then to f*ck things up.

Don't remember many mass shootings then, how strange.

Seems your gun free zones are just killing fields for the deranged.

How's that working out?

Maybe if we had rainbow colored AR 15s they would be mandatory.

Anonymous said...

"Whenever your position is indefensible, always attack your opponent personally."

".. we didn't have many liberals then to f*ck things up."

Prove your own point. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

I shall now return us to the topic above....

Apparently, Gov. Bill Lee, who signed the above bill, id pictured in his high school yearbook...(wait for it).....dressed in drag. It's only immoral if you're gay, apparently.

Wolf's Head said...

Anon 7:08 I wouldn't consider that a personal attack, such as saying "We didn't have Anon 7:08 to f*ck things up'.

I think it's more of general attack against an entire group of people, so hate speech maybe?

Gov. Lee is hardly the right wing icon of morality, reason or tradition anyway, but he did the right thing.

Wolf's Head said...

It keeps getting better and better...

Anonymous said...

".. keeps getting better and better..."

A solution looking for a problem. It's the republican way.