Friday, April 11, 2008

Ya Got Trouble in River City

Has Indiana always been so morally, um, confused?

Indiana has a new law that requires bookstores to register with the government if they sell what is considered "sexually explicit materials." The new law, H.B. 1042, was signed by Governor Mitch Daniels on March 13, and calls for any bookseller that sells sexually explicit materials to register with the Secretary of State and provide a statement detailing the types of books to be sold. The Secretary of State must then identify those stores to local government officials and zoning boards. “Sexually explicit material” is defined as any product that is “harmful to minors” under existing law. There is a $250 registration fee. Failure to register is a misdemeanor.

My first thought was How do you spell unconstitutional?

Who gets to decide what is harmful to minors? And how is this determination made? What about magazines, TV, movies? Is sexual material evil but violence okay? Geeze, Indiana, get a grip!

Then I thought of that song from The Music Man, Ya Got Trouble, and am now wondering if this musical might have been making a joke about something to which I have spent my life being ignorant. Re-reading the lyrics of this song, where the singer warns against the dangers of allowing a pool hall into the town so that he can introduce and promote his desire to start a marching band, I thought, hmmm. Has Indiana always been morally retarded?

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