Bad Vibrations

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Cops in Texas help secure the homeland from the threat of sex toys.

Joanne Webb, a former fifth-grade teacher and mother of three, was in a county court in Cleburne, Texas, on Monday to answer obscenity charges for selling the vibrator to undercover narcotics officers posing as a dysfunctional married couple in search of a sex aid.

NEXT: Eight Dirty Words (Count 'em)

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  1. If Texas were to secede from the Union (as it has the right to do under the treaty through which in joined) I would move back in a heartbeat. No income tax, for starters. Lots and lots of guns and tasty critters to shoot them at, for another.

    Sure, there are some small-minded a-holes, but I hadn’t noticed a shortage of those anywhere else I’ve lived, most definitely including Washington DC and Boston MA.

  2. “Texas. It’s not just a place. It’s a state of mind.”

    After about this woman’s plight I find myself asking “What mind?”

    I confess that R.C. has a point that Texas doesn’t have a monopoly on holy rollers and the insipid laws they pass. If it weren’t for stupidity like this, the affore mentioned “dry counties”, and “respect my athori-tay” law enforcement, Texas would be a pretty nice place to live.

  3. The Texas right of secession is a myth:

    http://www.urbanlegends.com/politics/texas_secession_rights.html

    Texas has no more right to leave the union than any other state.

  4. steve 12:54,

    say it, brother!

  5. If you want to read about my adventures in Arkansas, Texas, and New Mexico, try my November archives. Anyone who thinks Texas in general is backwards has never been to New Mexico, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, etc. etc. etc.

    The main problem with Texas from my perspective is that except for the far western part it’s all flat. And, don’t try to tell me that the “hill” country isn’t just Bumpy Country. And, the problem with far western Texas is that it’s devoid of cities of any size. Only when you go past the mountains into El Paso do you get a “big” city, except I saw more people on the streets of Little Rock at night than I saw in EP.

  6. Ok Lady. Don’t make any sudden movements. Slowly place the vibrator on the floor, and then step back nice and easy now . . .

  7. Sebastian writes: “Texas has no more right to leave the union than any other state.”

    But do the other 49 states have a right to MAKE Texas leave the union?

    Please say yes.

    Or is it time to liberate Texas?

  8. What if President Dean signs a treaty recognizing Mexico’s territorial rights, and the Senate passes it 98-2. (Oh, who’s going to object? Oklahoma?)

    Would that work?

  9. ok, i got an idea…texas can secede from the union after exporting all the jackasses tom mentioned to long island. then we layer a series of dynamite charges from great neck to the south shore along the queens border and presto! texas can be happy and we can keep the long islander population at a manageable zero at the same time.

    so who’s with me?

  10. Lonewacko,

    “On (the Texas) frontier embattled with aboriginal natives and hostile Nature, cause and effect reigned, and had to reign, supreme. Ideas did not overpower the earth; unless man was in ceaseless action the earth overpowered him. The vast sweep of land and sky, the great plateaus, the savage drouth and frequent, howling storms, stripped man of intellectually conceived notions. Men succeeded, or lived and died, not because of what they believed but how they applied themselves.”

    –T.R. Fehrenbach, LONE STAR: A History of Texas and the Texans.

    In other words, Texas ain’t for pussies.

  11. wouldn’t that be “wasn’t” ? ๐Ÿ™‚

    in all seriousness, none of the stories i’ve read on the case actually list the reasoning behind banning sex toys. is it part of one of those funky “obscenity” statutes or is there some special category of law mandating what battery operated things go where?

  12. Damn you, Sebastian, and your facts! One of my favorite daydreams up in smoke!

    And not the fun kind, either.

  13. “…Men succeeded, or lived and died, not because of what they believed but how they applied themselves.”

    And this is an excuse for tossing a housewife and entrepeneur into jail for selling sex toys? Puh-lease!

    “In other words, Texas ain’t for pussies.”

    It’s not for the intellegent or toleratnt either.

  14. John: Take “Narcotics Squad”, X-out “Narcotics” and insert “Forfeiture”. That should clear up any confusion…

  15. Whoops: Make that “tolerant.”

  16. “In other words, Texas ain’t for pussies.”

    Which brings us back to the original topic…

  17. Mark S.,

    “Texas had a hard time visualizing the Christian martyrs…A few such men arrived on the Texas frontier, but blizzards or Indians usually got them. The parts of the Bible in which the children of Israel saw the sweetness in a harsh land, and piled up the foreskins of their enemies, to the Texan made more sense.”

    –T.R. Fehrenbach, LONE STAR: A History of Texas and the Texans.

  18. Texas apparently ain’t for the stimulation of pussies either.

  19. B.P.

    Why use a vibrator when you can have Big Tex?

  20. so you have something to do when you’re not collecting foreskins?

    how a pile of foreskins could appeal to anyone, regardless of context, is so far beyond me.

  21. dhex,

    The accumulation of your enemy’s foreskins differs little from Tamerlane’s towers of skulls, or a coup stick, or a display of scalps, or a pickle jar of ears. Each one represents an enemy you have vanquished.

    “Like all warrior-colored societies, the Texan despised cowardice in a way more secure societies could not understand. The physical coward, the man who rode away when the Comanches poured along the Brazos, leaving his womenfolk behind, was not tolerable for obvious reasons. But the cult of courage was mercilessly applied much further: the man who did not accept combat when it was offered, for any reason, was suspect.”

    –T.R. Fehrenbach, LONE STAR: A History of Texas and the Texans

  22. I’m confused. Is “Tom” calling me a pussy because I said Texas wasn’t quite as backwards as Arkansas or Tennessee? It really isn’t. It isn’t exactly, you know, cosmopolitan, but it’s not that bad. Or, at lease AR or TN bad.

    Austin is chocka with poseur college punks. Plus, traffic there is incredibly bad: San Antonio and Dallas are much larger, but even their traffic is better than Austin. The strangest, funkiest thing I was directed to was a guy who’s built a Watts Towers type of thing. I declined.

    I only ran into a few people who were gratuitously hicky, but they were real soul-sucking assholes. I saw a lot of pretty women in Dallas, but I drive a Jeep not a Lamborghini.

    I would have liked to unleash Lonewacko Jr. on the Tejanas of San Antonio, but I also wanted to get away from the flatlands. I was hoping to let him out once I got to El Paso, but there didn’t appear to be places where upper scale or bohemian tejanas go.

    But, overall, I wouldn’t have spent almost a few weeks in Texas if I didn’t find it slightly better than Little Rock or Knoxville.

  23. Lonewacko,

    No inference intended that you are a pussy, just that Texas cuts pussies in general little slack. I think Texas bored you rather than scared you.

    Some years back Wife and I were in Ohio at a dinner party when, after asking where I was from, a fellow guest replied, “Texas? I lived there for a year. What a shithole! I’d never go back there. Way too hot for me.” The mixed company crowd yucked this up (apparently it is good Yankee manners to insult a total stranger’s home to his face while in a cordial social setting). The only polite reply I could come up with was, “Well, Texas isn’t for everybody.”

    I agree that Austin is pretty pathetic. In the Willie and Waylon 70s you could go there, get high, and either kick ass or get your own kicked. Now it’s so PC that you’d think you’re in California.

    Re the lack of willing “upper class or bohemian” Tejanas, a friend who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley once told me (and this ties into the Strom Thurmond topic elsewhere) “You marry a white girl to fuck and have babies, but first you gotta find a colored girl or a Mexican girl who’ll show you how to fuck right.”

    Fieriest pepper sauce you could ever dip your chip in? Tejana nursing students. They know their way around the body.

  24. Lonewacko,
    My father’s family hales from TN. Real honest to gawd country folk. I can even remember when my grandmother’s bathroom was a pot on the back porch. I’ll be heading down there next week for the holidays. I’ve always liked the rural TN culture. True, they have the accent, and crappy public education. But they also have an honest hospitality and fondness for dry wit. Unlike the malicious politeness and intolerance I found amongst the true rednecks in Alabama and Louisiana.

    So I was wondering what you encountered that gives Tennessee the no. 1 (or 2) spot in your list of backward states? Go ahead and give me both barrels, I don’t rile none from what folk talk to my face.

  25. dhex,

    look at the Texas Penal Code, chapter 43. The relevant sections are 21 and 23.

    http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/pe/pe0004300.html#top

    Also look at this:

    http://volokh.com/2003_12_14_volokh_archive.html#10716061696920730

    Tim

  26. Tom from Texas:

    “Texas? I lived there for a year. What a shithole! I’d never go back there. Way too hot for me.”

    Whenever it gets over 100 degrees and the air-conditioning goes out I just walk out into my garage. Hanging on the wall, dusty, left over from the couple of years we spent in Pennsylvania and Nebraska, is a snow shovel.

    You never have to shovel hot.

    Also met a guy who said he could never live down here in Texas because we don’t have four seasons, like up North. “Hell,” I said. “We had three seasons just last week.”

  27. Tom from Tejas,

    The notion that Tejas as a frontier was any more “tough” than any of the “frontiers” that Europeans “conquered” is rather disingenuous and ahistorical. It wasn’t the literal graveyard that Africa was for Europeans prior to introduction of quinine in the 19th century for example; in other words, it didn’t kill off 8 or 9 out of every 10 settlers, as was the case of European settlements in Africa in the 18th century. In fact, the settlement of Tejas was relatively easy in comparison to say the original settlement of Virginia in the early 17th century.

  28. Larry,

    Apparently you are a “pussy” for not being able to deal with snow. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. everyone knows the real fab five are jalen rose, chris webber, juwan howard, ray jackson, and the underrated jimmy king.

  30. Married couple? Isn’t this straight up Griswold?

  31. What the hell is this? I saw this snippet here and figured there had to be something else going on… so I read the short article. She really did get arrested and charged for selling a vibrator. Vibrators are illegal somewhere in the US? That’s insane.

  32. it’s simple – why would people bother buying stuff or going to church when they can stay at home and fuck themselves and their friends?

    or it’s entirely possible that texas really is the joke it’s made out to be back east.

  33. The portion of Lebanon TN north of the freeway shopping district was one of the hickiest in-city places I saw in 10,000+ miles of driving. The Newport TN newspaper had a story on its front page announcing that they were looking for the people who had put KKK flyers into hundreds of their newspapers. The public access cable TV in Knoxville advertised the “real deal in Tennessee mountain rasslin'”, complete with a trash-talking host who threatened people who called into the show. Whether it was fake or real doesn’t really matter, now does it.

    Plus, despite spending a couple days in Knoxville, the Pope refused to give me an audience.

  34. people everywhere can do that with or without a vibrator.

  35. Put her in the jail cell next to Tommy Chong. That’ll teach her a lesson!

  36. Actally, steve, some people need the help. Which makes this morally equivalent to arresting someone for selling a wheelchair.

  37. Ah, Jean Bart, but some would trade Texas weather any day for that of colonial Virginia. Only in Texas can you be killed by blizzards, hurricanes, heat, tornados, lightning, ice storms, etc., all in the boundaries of one state in the same year.

    Yes, the Euro death toll from disease in the tropics was frightening (I would actually rank Haiti ahead of Africa in that regard), but among the United States, Texas had and still has more ways to kill you than any of the others (all the way up to lethal injection and being dragged to death behind a pickup).

    Texans are easily the most transparent and the most misunderstood of any Americans. This often is not a pleasant place to live; most people remain here based on the attitude “Fuck it, we ain’t leavin’,” not so much because of a love for the place like North Carolinians have for the Great Smokies, Virginians for the Tidewater, or Californians for the Sierra Nevada.

    I think that’s why George W. Bush confuses – and scares – so many people. He is the most Texan of even our Texas-born presidents.

  38. Just checked out the Cleburne, TX Times-Review.

    First newspaper I’ve ever seen with an Opinion section and no opinions.

    http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/news/opinion/

  39. yelowd: if yer fortunate enough to have a good female friend this holiday season, give them the gift of some AA powered buzz buzz and then come back and tell me people do it that way anyway.

    it’s like comparing bud light with DMT.

  40. More evidence in favour of the independance of Texas. It would remove a sizeable chunk of reactionaries from the political spectrum; eliminate quite a number of dry counties; cancel out the power that that state has over our nations’ public school textbooks; improve the image of our tourists abroad (“no, no, that isn’t an American, it’s a Texan”); remove the Cowboys from US football; reduce the number of running jokes (like this episode) from the national psyche; and protect our posterity from another GWBush.

  41. notice, of course, that the sex toy parties were nark’d on by an “anonymous tipster” – now that blows my mind.

  42. Didn’t SCOTUS declare an Alabamastan law prohibiting the sale and ownership of sex toys unconstitutional?

  43. “Texas had a hard time visualizing the Christian martyrs…A few such men arrived on the Texas frontier, but blizzards or Indians usually got them. The parts of the Bible in which the children of Israel saw the sweetness in a harsh land, and piled up the foreskins of their enemies, to the Texan made more sense.”

    Errrr… what the hell does this have ANYTHING to do with the stupid law that they’re prosecuting this woman for? Are you saying that the law is justified because Texas was founded by fire-and-brimstone JEEZ-us freaks?

  44. Garth and dhex,

    We will gladly leave you, only if you will take back all the Yankee rustbelt scum that migrated here in the late 70s and totally fucked up the place. And please also take the asshole Californians who are now ruining the Hill Country.

    Texas. It’s not just a place. It’s a state of mind.

  45. I just looked up Cleburne, Texas (population 28,000+). Most towns that size where I come from have a sheriff and a few deputies. Evidently they have an entire “narcotics squad”. What the hell is going on down there. This place sounds like Bogota.

  46. She had my sympathies until;

    “We have a real problem with drugs in our schools,” she said

    Let me correct her, you have a real problem with Narcotics officers, does Tulia ring any of your jingle bells? Or has certain vibration frequencies jarred some brain cells loose?

    Sorry H&R, I had to get a drug war rant in someplace!

  47. Well, Joe, so is a bong to those people who are using it for ‘medicinal’ purposes. The question is: who decides?

  48. “we just have smoke-free bars.”

    We haven’t gone there quite yet. Although this is the south and the law is looked upon as just sort of a general guidline anyway. It’s not illegal until you get cought. We’re like France in that way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  49. Hmmm…if they’re putting her in jail for selling wimpy, pink vibrators, it’s a good thing she wasn’t selling these ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  50. Sebastian: I suppose you’re right: Texas has no more right than any other state to leave the union. But to my way of thinking, that still means they get to leave the union if they want – nothing says they /can’t/, so I guess they can. Personally, I’d be tickled pink if they did, as I think it would improve both Texas and the rest of the US (it might take the feds down a notch, for one thing), and I’d give serious thought to moving there.

  51. Not the first time…

    WHITE OAK [Texas] ? A Longview woman who sells sex toys has been charged with felony obscenity after White Oak police found some of her wares in her car during a traffic stop

    The arrest report describes the 17 items as “obscene materials and obscene devices,” but Police Chief Charlie Smith said the items were mostly lotions and objects defined in a dictionary as having the shape and often the appearance of the male genitalia, used in sexual stimulation. Police find 17 sex toys in local woman’s car during DUI traffic stop: November 21, 2002

  52. Tom From Texas,

    The Monica story made Frenchmen pity Clinton I think; but I recall opinion polls in France giving him a favorable rate of 30%, and this was constant. Anyway, in the 1990s, foreign opinion of Clinton wasn’t important; and really foreign opinion of Bush isn’t either. At least in light of domestic politics. Of course that’s true of most countries.

    Re: Dry Counties – America has places where the law still stops alcoholic consumption? What the fuck!?!?!

  53. JB,

    Consumption is still legal everywhere, IFAIK. “Dry” generally refers to the inability to sell alcohol commercially. Sorry if I was not clear enough on that.

  54. Tom From Texas,

    What confuses me is the desire to ban vibrators. ๐Ÿ™‚

  55. grizzly,

    Insanity! Where you do buy your wine for meals?

  56. Tom from Texas,

    I would say that Clinton was as disliked in France as Bush is; I have never liked as U.S. President (of course I was never happy with Mitterand or other French Presidents – I can tolerate Chirac because he has a good government made up of people like Rafarin and Sarkozy who are reducing the size of the government and hitting hard crime – but that’s not really love for him). Anyway, I think people who love Bush forget how disliked Clinton was in France.

  57. JB,
    I truck it over to the next county about 15 miles away. There’s a liquor and wine shop about 3 feet over the line.

  58. What I’m saying is that there are elements of the population that think the marketing and selling of fake battery-powered cocks through cute, Tupperwareish “parties” is against their community’s moral standard.

    Presumably the people attending the parties and buying the vibrators are members of the community as well, but their opinions aren’t as important as the benighted religious freaks’ are.

  59. …there are elements of the population in Texas and everywhere else that can say, in a single breath, “No one can tell me what to do.” and “There ought to be a law.”

    ๐Ÿ™

  60. “Yeah, we’re pretty “backward” here in New Mexico. You are kidding, right?”

    No, not at all. I’m basing that mainly on Carlsbad and Alamogordo, with some assistance from Deming, Lordsburg, and other small towns.

    Carslbad was populated by more or less nice people, but they were also cut off from the outside world a bit. For instance, there was no AOL access number there, despite having 20,000 people living there and getting 20,000+ people a month coming to Carlsbad caverns. According to one person, the town elders like to keep things stuck in the 70s.

    Alamogordo was a pit. I had a bad incident both days I stayed there, and that was one of the few places where I feared being harrassed by the local cops. I’m only surprised that I never heard Dueling Banjoes being played at the local mall. Avoid that city at all costs.

    I didn’t make it to the northern part of the state; when I see “5” and “12” on the weather map, I realize I’m in the wrong state.

  61. Garth,

    Actually, I was born at Walker AFB in Roswell (oh, those Air Force days). On our last trip through NM (OK, my first visit there since 1977), I tried to find a convenience store to pick up a 6-pack of beer. When I did finally find one, I was carded. That made me pull my largely grey beard in puzzlement. Everyone gets carded, the clerk told me. Even the obvious geezers who are old enough to have voted for Harding? I asked. Everyone, she replied, and store clerks have to have an individual license to sell, which takes three months to approve. So given the turnover of clerks, many of the corner markets have closed up or else stopped selling hootch. Any truth to that?

    Back on the subject of vibrators, I suspect the real issue here is collection of sales tax. Since Texas doesn’t fuck its citizens with an income tax, sales tax collection is very important (that’s why many communities really, really hate flea markets and garage sales, as they see them as nothing more than an untappable cash business). Many of these neighborhood plastic lingham parties could therefore be viewed by some as a kind of tax dodge (personally, I don’t kow the vendor’s or company’s rules on collecting and/or reporting tax).

  62. Tom from Texas,

    OK I will give you the southern part of the state as being a bit off. And the “carding” rules are a bit ridiculous (but I have seen stings against clerks in action – seriously! – so you can’t really blame ’em for enforcing the stupid rule).

    As for selling booze: yes, there is some stupid rule that states that employees aged between 19 and 21 may only serve alcohol once they have completed a certification program… but I know of no other rule (though I should probably look it up since I have been volunteer bartending as weddings and am probably a scofflaw at this point). And unlike much of the East US, out here they sell alcohol in grocery stores, convenience stores, just about everywhere except on some of the reservations – speaking of which, much like dry counties elsewhere, having dry regions increases the incidence of drunk driving… another negative externality of dumb gubmint regulation.

  63. Jean Bart,

    I recll hearing very little over here of foreign opinion of Clinton. The U.S. media helped elect Clinton and helped protect his image to large extent until about 1998, when the sperm-stained dress details became too juicy to ignore. Our media has detested Bush from the get go and so we hear much more about what ill others think of him.

  64. Mark S.,

    What I’m saying is that there are elements of the population that think the marketing and selling of fake battery-powered cocks through cute, Tupperwareish “parties” is against their community’s moral standard. Many Texans have a definite Old Testament view of how to respond to things.

    Honestly, the reflexive anti-religious and anti-religion attitude exhibited around here at times is ridiculous.

  65. perhaps…

    or considering the rather ridiculous and awful nature of religions in general in application….especially in areas like this story, which is one of the few places where the western religious tradition has any aboveground holds in u.s. law. the last holdouts of american sharia, if you wanna be cute about it.

    it is one thing to say ” we don’t want you throwing dildoes at our children, missy” and another to say “the very possession of these is a blow against our community, even when they’re not being pushed on anyone in any way.”

    the first is common sense – some of those things are heavy! the second is as fucking crazy as any PC speech code or liberal jackassery you can think of.

    a lot of this is even more suspicious in light of how poorly the entire western religious tradition treats women, both scripturally and historically. even the catholics, who are the only continuously surviving historical legacy of goddess worship and female divinity in the west, still treat women as objects of scary boobyness. a law against devices which excite female pleasure – another great and terrible satanic honeytrap – that’s got hebraic storm god written all over it.

    but anyplace that bans blowjobs officially, in statute, is fucked. i mean, that’s just…insane. i’ll take the snow and the smushing on the 6 train and the rest, thank you very much. sodomy is a confusing thing to ban, but shit…everyone loves blowjobs, right?

  66. I saw someone mention “dry counties” in Texas a few posts ago, and I wanted to relate some info on that. I can’t speak for Texas, but in Alabama there are quite a few dry counties and if you look at this map:
    http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/alabama/politics/alcohol.jpg
    you will notice that most of them are located in the northern part of the state around the Tennessee River and its tributaries. This is not because people there are more “backwoods” or “redneck” than any other. It’s because of …..wait for it…. The Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA shares profits with counties within states that have a TVA presence that are dry. The wet counties don’t get to participate. (I’m having a hard time getting exact #s for each county, but the state gets about 10 mil and then redistributes that back to the counties) In counties with a large enough population, they make enough money off of alcohol sales to forgo it, but in small counties such as mine, (pop. +/- 35,000) the tax revenue can’t make up the difference. It’s government bribery at it’s social engineering best (or worst as the case may be) and not because the people are any more “backwoods” than anywhere else (at least not exclusively)
    Just thought I’d share.

  67. Tom from Texas,

    Texas may have been tough on settlers, but here in New Mexico we had the only native american revolt which succeeded in kicking the European community out entirely for a time. Do you know where they fled to safety? Texas.

    LoneWacko,

    Yeah, we’re pretty “backward” here in New Mexico. You are kidding, right?

  68. “What I’m saying is that there are elements of the population that think the marketing and selling of fake battery-powered cocks through cute, Tupperwareish “parties” is against their community’s moral standard.”

    I’m sorry, but fuck the community and their “moral standards.” This woman’s business hurts absolutely, positively NO ONE. The products she sell hurt absolutely, positively NO ONE. It is the backwards, bigoted anti-sex ayatollahs of the religious right who are the problem.

    The Lone Star state’s holy rollers don’t like vibrators? Fine, they don’t’ have to buy them. But as long as this woman isn’t rigging dildos with plastic explosives, or spiking the edible body lotions with anthrax, then NO ONE should have right to step in and stop her from selling these items.

    “Honestly, the reflexive anti-religious and anti-religion attitude exhibited around here at times is ridiculous.”

    Newton pointed out that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This is as true in politics as it is in physics. A woman is dragged into jail for selling a harmless object on religious grounds. Those of us who are skeptical of religion react by pointing out the folly and questioning the wisdom (not to say, intelligence) behind this act. It’s as simple as that.

    It’s like the old Vaudeville gag: “Stop laughing at me!” “Then stop being so darn funny.” If you want the “anti-religious” attitudes to stop, then convince the Christian Right to keep their faith in their pants and leave everyone else alone.

  69. so does being a dry county mean alcohol can’t be sold there or can’t be consumed there as well? the concept is foreign to us debauched city folk…we just have smoke-free bars. ๐Ÿ™‚

  70. does texas crack down on regular tupperware parties as well?

    if not, then it’s obviously a judeo-christian “our god is afraid of vaginas, great and terrible though He may be” issue again.

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