Friday, June 10, 2005

Censorship in Texas: The Cheerleader Protection Act

OK - I just saw about the most disturbing follow-up to this story I posted originally on Thursday, May 5th here. This bill did not pass in the Texas legislature and on Fox News' Bill O'Reilly show, they recapped a discussion that happened between Mr. O'Reilly, Texas House Representative Al Edwards (sponsor of the Bill) and the head of a Cheerleading organization that occurred before the bill was voted on.

The head of the organization said she agreed the idea of a rule or law governing and restricting sexually explicit cheerleading was not a bad idea, she just wondered who was going to set the criteria for what was explicit? (Which I may add, is THE POINT.)

Representative Al Edwards of Texas replied "Any adult who has been involved in sex, knows it when they see it."

"Knows it when they see it"? Colleagues, if you ever want to see censorship at its best, all you have to do is follow this phrase. Because "knows it when they see it" can directly be construed as imposing one person's value's onto another. What offends the Texas Cheerleader Censor or the Rep. Al Edwards, may or may not be what is offensive to all. And for him to attempt a bill on such a subjective basis is appalling.

When I originally wrote this post I mentioned Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's quote regarding obscenity (click here) . But I did not write that he was speaking out against censorship in his case. Justice Stewart was saying that he would not be able to form a definition of "hard-core pornography" or be able to "intelligibly do so." He basically admits that to try to do so may be to "define what may be indefinable."

Unless you can define "sexually explicit" in such as way that everyone can agree, you will always have censorship in one form or another. I am glad the rest of the Texas legislature thought better of this and voted it down stating they had better things to occupy their time.

Like firing more teachers in Houston.

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