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Rubber Ducky, You’re The One

Posted by Bob · October 16th, 2004 · 3 Comments

The pendulum of morality swings back and forth as a reaction to current events. It’s effected by presidents (Clinton), Super Bowls (Janet Jackson) and now finally this: the Rubber Duck of Spring Hill, Tennessee.

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Katherine Williams says the yellow ducky sponge she put on sale at a flea market is merely a child’s toy. City officials say the vibrator inside makes it a sex toy.

But officials in this Nashville suburb backed off from citing Williams for violating the city’s sexually oriented business ordinance because she had already taken down her display by the time police responded to complaints Saturday. Nearby vendors also refused to be witnesses in the case.

“We’ve declined to prosecute because of a lack of evidence,” City Administrator Ken York said Tuesday.

Williams, whose Passions & Pleasures business sells lotions and adult novelties at in-home parties, described her product line as “PG-13” and said she got only two negative comments at the flea market.

“Nothing we do is nasty, unless you have a nasty mind,” she said, turning a knob on the yellow ducky’s tail to make the sponge vibrate. “My 3-year-old son loves to play with this duck in the bath. He puts it on his neck and on his head.”

Williams said she’ll be back at the flea market next year.

“If she does, she’ll be cited into court,” York said. “That duck is a sexual toy, and it was on display. That was a vibrator on display in public view.”

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/archive/2004/10/14/spongeduck.DTL

Has this moral pendulum finally swung too far to the right?


The most intriguing quote from that news article is this one:

Nothing we do is nasty, unless you have a nasty mind…

So just what kind of person makes a phone call to the local authorities to report a vibrating duck violation? Just how motivated do you have to be to keep your town protected from this sort of threat to make that phone call? I will offer this person the benefit of the doubt and go on the assumption that the duck in question was surrounded by other “novelties” that would not be considered appropriate for three-year-olds. But even with this assumption, why couldn’t this person live by the advice I grew up with in Old New England…

Mind your own business.

There are so many threats out there common to us all. There are threats to our safety, our way of life, our liberties and even the quality of the air we breathe. We’re in the middle of perhaps the most important presidential election of this new century. But the current culture in America seems to be swinging very hard to the right, to the point of establishing a country where everyone “is just like us”. Let’s be clear, I don’t want an adult bookstore built next door to me either but this conservative mindset has given itself permission to police the general population with its own set of laws. America was once proud of the fact that every voice was worth listening to. Now an individual has to be concerned with being branded “UnAmerican” or, worse, “UnBeliever”.

The Republican Party mobilized a vocal and often radical branch of Christianity as a way to help topple Clinton. This branch is fed its Daily Word through its own fair-and-balanced television network and the pulpits of pastors who realize that they can fill the seats by riding this wave. The current administration galvanizes this branch of support by appointing John Ashcroft as Attorney General. And the end result is that a huge block in the foundation of our liberty has been removed: the block that advocated separation of church and state.

Ironic isn’t it? The Pilgrims came to Massachusetts to find religious tolerance. Now, the average person on the street in Spring Hill, Tennessee finds themselves intolerant of a vibrating rubber duck. Even if it was a sex toy, where was the traditional American tolerance that says you have your values and I have mine?

And just to add more irony, let me mention Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker and now Bill O’Reilly. Why is it when these men are caught literally with their pants down they are offered forgiveness while the woman in Spring Hill is offered a trip to court?

The answer is that by undermining the separation of church and state, the Republicans have granted tacit approval for this sect to act as moral police in local communities. And should “one of their own” stray from the path, they are offered a second chance. The risk is really only to people who are non-believers in the new order.

And this may be new information for some in the self-appointed morality police:

Matthew 7:
1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Everyone must judge for themselves what is right and wrong, what is acceptable and what is not. However, that is an individual right that cannot be taken away by any government, official or unofficial. Issues of local standards and individual integrity are too important to leave the decisions to a vocal sect. Tolerance of differing opinions is not only “American”, its the morally correct thing to do.

I do not fault anyone for their own beliefs when they differ from mine. I do fault an administration for basically creating and supporting a state religion.

And just for fun imagine that there was never a conservative block that was fed a Daily Message through slanted news networks and pulpits. Imagine that there was a block of highly-liberal voters that could be fed a daily message and motivated to vote. Now try to imagine what this block of voters could hand the Republicans the White House. Can you imagine their campaign slogan?

Perhaps “a rubber duck in every tub”?

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sean // Oct 17, 2004 at 2:05 pm

    Just how motivated do you have to be to keep your town protected from this sort of threat to make that phone call?

    “Speaking from experience”, I might say revolted rather than motivated, there — just for the particulars of it.

    There are threats to our safety, our way of life, our liberties and even the quality of the air we breathe.

    Some might wonder if wane “morality” serves to threaten all of the above — perhaps, upon the fostering of general weakness in the social body.

    The Republican Party mobilized a vocal and often radical branch of Christianity as a way to help topple Clinton

    Brand-“Christian” sensation-mongers

    Myself, I was a part of the Freewill Baptist church, years ago. None of what we were taught seems to compute with the practices of some who may ever have “Christian” stamped above their names.

    The current administration galvanizes this branch of support by appointing John Ashcroft as Attorney General.

    Pardon my asking, seriously, but: What did Ashcroft do?

    Speaking of Bush, I hear that Bush had some experience, during his first presidential campaign, in catering himself for the audience of the James Robison show, .

    (Ref: PBS “Frontline”, The Choice 2004. . It was a generally-adequate documentary, by the by-and-by. home-page; seperately: videos and downloadable transcripts)

    I think that it serves in explaining the manner of some of Bush’s statements, during the debates — that he was, probably, catering to, e.g., “the James Robison audience” and who-else.

    Kerry, noticeably, sees fit to keep his religious expressions – inasmuch as he may – out of the governmental sphere, given the (“famous”, sometimes “infamous”?) so-called “separation of church and state” “issues”, of the Constitution and US federal practice — rather, the real words and basis of said clause, as he understands it.

    (Speaking of, this looks like a substantial set of pages about said “separation” stuff — even better than the direct quote the I’d wanted to put in, here, from ye “olde” Constitution)

    I suppose that I’ve gone off-topic and used up my time allotment.

    This is some nicer weather that the area is having, though, no? first thick cloud-cover of the season? (All them strawberries and peaches and such .. but there is no Strawberry, Grape, or Raisin avenue. “I must lobby the contingents for fruit-named streets” — “oh, but maybe Fruit covers it, altogether”, heh.)

  • 2 Rick Horowitz // Oct 18, 2004 at 8:30 am

    Fun group, those Freewill Baptists.

    It would be interesting to know what they think of the whole Bush Eschatological Thing.

    Frankly, having (repeatedly) read the Christian Bible and even translated parts of it on my own — one of those friendly Freewill Baptists spent almost two years helping me learn Koiné Greek — I’ve often wondered why there isn’t some small group of Hal Lindsayans warning the world of how closely what’s happening with this Presidency fits into eschatological prophecies.

    I mean, heck, if I were ever tempted to believe in Christianity, it would be because of just how tightly it looks to me like his Crusade does track with the eschatology of the New Testament.

    The problem with that, though, is that I’d have to lay down my (purely ideological, for those readers from the Justice Department) weapons and just go with the flow.

    I mean, if I were such a Believer, there’d be no fighting it, would there? Bush would be “destined” to win just as clearly as I, a Bush-resister, would be destined to be persecuted for it.

    Thanks goodness I have the free will not to cave in to Republican theocratic rule!

  • 3 Mark King // Oct 18, 2004 at 2:07 pm

    Isn’t one of the major tenets of the Baptist faith that if you hold someone under water long enough, they will eventually come around to your way of thinking?

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