Thursday, March 17, 2005

No Ban on Car Video Screen Porn

Speaking of California, I noticed this bill a few months ago when it was first introduced. Now everyone can say a car-screen video porn ban had it's day in the sun (so to speak) or on the floor of the California statehouse. The bill sought to ban x-rated movies from car video screens. The scenario:


You're cruising down Interstate 80, kids crammed into the family sedan, when Junior spots the flickering images on the video screen in the Honda Odyssey one lane over and starts snickering. Taking your eyes off the road, you spy the featured attraction: writhing naked bodies enjoying fleshly pleasures in the porn epic "Caught from Behind." Ah, the challenges of modern parenting.

Is this a huge (heh, "huge") problem in California? (Truly the land of opportunity flowing with milk, honey and porn.) Is it that drivers are trying to get a better view? ("Oh, no? Is that porn? I'd better check!") Or is it that they can't change lanes? The California Highway Patrol has given fewer than 1000 tickets for "distraction by video screen" and I'm guessing only a fraction of that is for porn. Normally, I'd think I was missing something, but this is California, after all. I'd rather see lawmakers concentrating on the out-of-control mini-van driving moms trying to re-load Disney's Aladdin while three kids are screaming in the back. Some of us are more offended by Disney videos than full-core Channel 85 doggie-style. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"We've had a number of people complain that stopping at a light they've seen sexual acts of the kind we don't want to speak of displayed on the video screen in the car in front of them,'' said Assemblyman John Benoit, R-Palm Desert (Riverside County).

So Benoit, a former California Highway Patrol commander, introduced legislation that would have made it illegal for anyone to exhibit "sexually explicit material in a motor vehicle . . . knowing that the material is visible to the public."

The California Highway Patrol agrees that driving distractions are a concern, though it doesn't differentiate between porn videos and other entertainment offerings shown in the back seat and doesn't take positions on legislation. The CHP doesn't keep statistics that single out video-watching -- G- or X-rated -- as the cause of accidents.




Of course, family activists loved this bill (porn is bad! down with porn!) while civil rights activists hated (porn for everyone if they want it!) and even a contingent felt it was unfair for drivers to be responsible for the viewing habits of their passengers. (Are you kidding me? It's a mini-van for cryinoutloud.) And speaking as one who has watched porn in the low-rider Caddy ahead of me at a red-light on 38th street, I feel I can ring in on this issue. Either way, it's dead now. (I even feel a little oily that I spent so much time on this rant!) I'm going to go take a shower now. Hmmm. Naked. Mmmmm. Porn.

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