Deep in the heart of Texas

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by numediaman, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2004
    Chicago (by way of SF)
    Deep in the heart of Texas they're nuts

    Leonard Pitts, Tribune Media Services.
    Published February 17, 2004

    It's just the sort of thing you'd expect from Iran.

    A woman runs afoul of local religious authorities who are angered by her refusal to cover up. But it isn't just her immodest style of dress that riles the ayatollahs. They have also heard rumors that she sells sex toys from her home and instructs women in their use. So she is arrested and now faces trial and a possible prison term.

    It's all true, except that it didn't happen in Iran. For all intents and purposes, though, it did happen in another country.

    Texas, to be exact.

    Our heroine is Joanne Webb. She's in her early 40s, a Baptist, a former grade school teacher. She's married with children and lives in Burleson, a suburb of Ft. Worth. Her hair is blond, long and curly, and she is said to be partial to wearing miniskirts and boots. For which, her attorney says, two pastors have asked her to leave their churches.

    But it's the sex toys that really got her into hot water. Last year, Webb became a representative for a San Francisco company called Passion Parties; her husband's construction business had hit a bad patch and she wanted to bring more money into the house. As a company rep, Webb hosted Tupperware-styled parties in private homes where she sold lubricants, lingerie and sex toys.

    Or at least she did, until Burleson police received an anonymous tip. The cops in this burg, where real crime has apparently been conquered, sent two officers undercover, posing as a married couple, to buy sex toys from Webb. She was arrested in November.

    It seems that Texas allows the sale of sex toys only if you don't call them sex toys: The state's decency laws forbid the sale of devices designed for sexual stimulation. They have to be marketed as novelties, and the salesperson is forbidden to explain their sexual function to a potential customer, as Webb allegedly did.

    Her attorney, BeAnn Sisemore, has announced that she plans to challenge the constitutionality of the Texas law in federal court. It is, she says, an overbroad statute that could theoretically send somebody to jail for selling condoms.

    That's all well and good, but frankly, there's another reason somebody needs to overturn the law: It is intrusively, abysmally, and fundamentally, stupid.

    What is it with Texas and the boudoir anyway? A few years back, you had police breaking into a private home and arresting two gay men for having sex. Now here's Joanne Webb facing a possible year in prison and $4,000 fine for trying to help couples spice up their sex lives.

    Heaven help anybody trying to get lucky in Texas.

    At the most basic level, though, the issues raised here are larger than our second largest state. They involve the right to go about your business unimpeded, to live your life without state intrusion. If what I am doing does not harm me, does not harm my neighbors, does not harm bird or beast, I am at a loss to understand how it is any of the state's affair.

    We are told by locals that Burleson is a conservative area where folks just don't want what they feel Webb represents. As Gloria Gillaspie, a local minister, explained to a reporter, "It's nothing vindictive against them. But this is a strong community of faith. We want a city that's wholesome and family-oriented."

    The irony is that conservatism supposedly is about reducing government intrusion, though I doubt you could prove that by Joanne Webb. After all, government intrusion has pretty much killed the little business she had built up. She has stopped hosting the parties and in any event, clients aren't exactly breaking down the door. The family is living on its savings.

    Meanwhile, a little town in Texas is protected from indecency, defined as adults talking about sex.

    The ayatollahs would be proud.
  2. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2003
    Terlingua, Texas
    Yeah, this broke back last summer, IIRC. Burleson is part of Texas' Bible Belt, which kinda peters out on the west side at Abilene and meanders east into deep East Texas. They hate dancing, since folks might find it to be as much fun as sex. They had a history of drinking wet and voting dry.

    We didn't get rid of Blue Laws on Sunday closing of stores until the early 1970s; liquor by the drink came about in 1973.

    For some fun reading about the behavior, hunt up William Cowper Brann; "Brann and the Iconoclast" and a few other books about him. He had his little newspaper in the late 1800s, early 1900s; of the vituperative school of newspaper columns. He had many a go-round with the Baptists of Baylor University, as well as with the KKK.

  3. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Reminds me of an old joke:

    Jews don't recognize Jesus as the Messiah, Protestants don't recognize the authority of the Pope, and Baptists don't recognize each other in the liquor store on Sunday.
  4. 3rdpath macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2002
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    ahhh, how morally corrupt the state would be without the fine southern baptists keeping a handle on things...

    this is a state that still beat segregation protesters in the early 1960's. the town of greenville's slogan was " the blackest land and the whitest people". liqour stores were (are?) closed on sundays, you could still get beer and wine. and not too long ago it was legal to drink and drive....ahhh, the good old days of the "beer barn" drive thru liqour stores.

    and sex is not to be enjoyed---it's for procreation only. unless you're the reverend robert tilton...and it's ok to choke your wife into a coma if your a minister ( walker railey) and having an affair. ya see, only the deeply religious can truly understand and appreciate the complexities of least in texas.

    and the hurst/euless/bedford area ( hurt/useless/bedsore to the locals..) is a scarey stepford wives area that thinks a chili's restaurant is high culture. just imagine snl's church lady amped-up on meth and you're halfway there....

    the funny thing is i can just imagine how many of the confiscated sex toys will migrate from the evidence room to the homes of the local police force.

  5. Neserk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2004
  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2003
    Terlingua, Texas
    For sure, I like my little corner of Texas better than "back there". Back when there was water in the Rio and there were a half-dozen river guides to the eligible gal, the deal was, "In Terlingua, you don't lose your girlfriend. You just lose your place in line."

    We stil don't need any "toys", down here.

    :D, 'Rat

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