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The porn and I

NOTE: I wrote this piece many many years ago when I was working for the Charlevoix Courier newspaper up in Northern Michigan.

Someone, whose opinion I respect, recently said writing about controversial issues is pointless. He asked how many minds I thought I could change.

To him I say, I don’t know. But I would rather try and fail, than do nothing while people are persecuted for exercising their God-given rights of freedom.

In spite of all the evils in the world needing to be fought, some of us still use our energy to howl about consensual acts.

I harken back to Ronald Reagan, who, annoyed by his opponents repetitious ramblings said, “There you go again.” Well, here they go again—So here I go again.

Merriam-Webster’s says pornography is, “The depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.” Some say it’ll be the downfall of civilization as we know it—an old standard as far as inane arguments go.

All this brings us to “Xpectations,” the new adult bookstore near Petoskey. Since the company won the right to open its doors until a zoning dispute is settled, I’ve watched as letter after letter to the editor of some local newspapers have been written by folks seething over the store’s existence.

Some letter writers have even gone so far as to make veiled threats toward anyone who would patronize the purveyor of pornography.

Another letter writer challenged the community to, “Keep an eye on the business,” and said we should, “Watch, watch and watch,” the store.

She ended her testament to tyranny by dreamily suggesting license plate numbers of patrons might appear in the newspaper.

Harass and intimidate people for legal actions?

What’s next? Would these oppressors stand outside the local pub and photograph the town drunkards?

Why not wait outside McDonald’s to point the finger of shame at portly patrons?

Some of us scheme to fight poverty and inequality, while others plan to punish adults for merely exercising basic liberties.

Eventually, these fearful angry mopes always use the “safety of children” and “cancer on the community” cards—which the letter writers have.

Strong words for a store which sells bachelor and bachelorette party supplies, novelties, magazines and movies—all of which are legal.

I cruised over to see this so-called den of ill repute. It is in the middle of nowhere. The door bears a large, “Must be 18 to enter,” sign.

A Christmas tune played as I entered the clean, well-lit store—not exactly downtown Zeboim.

The clerk said the other stores peacefully coincided with their respective towns for years, even winning landscaping awards. He said anyone looking younger than 18 is asked for a drivers license to prove their age or given the boot.

Is it ironic that these opponents admonish a controlled environment such as Xpectations while some local party stores sell porn in plain sight? (You know which ones I”m talking about.)

Have they also forgotten there are at least two video rental chains in the Charlevoix-Petoskey area with large adult movie sections?

If your youngster runs roughshod on U.S. 131, you’ve bigger worries than a VHS of New Wave Hookers 5. (Yes, I own this title.)

Of course, lazy parents will always expect the village to raise their child.

In the end, it’s not a matter of love or hate of porn, it’s whether you think it right to impose your subjective moral or religious standards on others.

Unfortunately, archaic fears and misinformation about sex, drugs, skin color and religion will always exist—Components of the human condition to be sure, but parts which must constantly be challenged.

I say put your time into preventing drunk driving, spousal abuse, hunger and we’ll all be safer and happier.

Besides, left alone, customers will decide whether the business profits or dies.

To those who fear misogyny, tumbling property values, and devastated communities, there are bad apples in every facet of business.

To run Xpectations out of town because some bookstores are sleazy would be like abolishing marriage because some men beat their wives—impinging on personal freedom is the real unnatural act here.

And to those giddy over the idea of publishing the license plate numbers of those who visit Xpectations, mine is: ZSX 603—Your move.

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