Florida Congressman Say Texas Is Crazy, Cites Dildo Law

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Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings caused tremors throughout the Lone Star State when that Texas is a “crazy state" and incorrectly cited a law involving dildos. (© Madeline Gray/ZUMA Press/Corbis photo)
Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings caused tremors throughout the Lone Star State when he said Texas is a ‘crazy state’ and incorrectly cited a law involving dildos. (© Madeline Gray/ZUMA Press/Corbis photo)

Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings got himself into some hot water not long ago by saying that Texas is a “crazy state.” He offered proof by saying on CNN, “One of their cities has a law that says that women can only have six dildos, and the certain size of things. And if that ain’t crazy I don’t know what is.”

Many Texans responded as one might expect, with a great deal of bravado and chest thumping. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for instance, took time out from trying not to go to jail for corruption (he’s under indictment right now) to say, “He called Texans crazy. He is right. We’re crazy about jobs. We’re crazy about opportunity … And we’re particularly crazy about the Second Amendment and the 10th Amendment. What we’re not crazy about is a government that taxes too much, borrows too much, spends too much.” Texas also elected Rick Perry and George W. Bush to the governor’s office — to paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Crazy is as crazy votes.”

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The congressman walked his statement back a little saying, “I love Texans, but I do not like their policy makers who are in the majority. The simple fact of the matter is, evidently, I touched a nerve deep in the heart of Texas. And I would ask them to tie a yellow rose around it and do like ‘Frozen’ and ‘Let It Go’.”

Well, I am not prepared to let this story go away just yet.

Now to be fair to Texas, Hastings’ claim isn’t entirely true — by that I mean his claim about the law (as a Colorado boy, I tend to agree with him about Texans being crazy). In 2008, a court struck down a Texas law that the judges said “criminalizes the selling, advertising, giving, or lending of a device designed or marketed for sexual stimulation unless the defendant can prove that the device was sold, advertised, given, or lent for a statutorily-approved purpose. The statute, however, does not prohibit the use or possession of sexual devices for any purpose.

The language of the law itself stated, “A person commits an offense if, knowing its content and character, he wholesale promotes or possesses with intent to wholesale promote any obscene material or obscene device” and “A person who possesses six or more obscene devices or identical or similar obscene articles is presumed to possess them with intent to promote the same.” Nowhere does the law mention dildos by name nor does it refer to their sizes. The law was merely content to address obscene devices as a broad category.

Despite the inaccuracies in the Hasting allegation, I’d say that he’s got a case. Someone in what the late journalist Molly Ivins always referred to as “The Lege” actually spent time and effort putting this into the law. Now, what has me curious is the specific number. What The Lege meant to do was to reinforce public morals (which no body of politicians is competent to do). So, you would think that zero would be the acceptable number of obscene devices. But no, the good legislators in Texas decided that up to five obscene devices would not undermine the morals of the Lone Star State. What is it about that sixth device that would turn Lubbock and Amarillo into Sodom and Gomorrah?

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Six is just a weird number to select — 10 is a good round number. Or a dozen, like donuts — a baker’s dozen even. A score? But those numbers might be considered too many. Most people engage in sex as couples so maybe one each? Or two each, if you need a spare. Six falls in between — not enough for an orgy but excessive for most couples (at least to hear them tell it).

And the law does not address the quality of obscenity. Erotica is using a feather while pornography is using the whole chicken. The chicken is still but one device, although it is covered in feathers (unless you’re really twisted). Surely, the amount of damage to public decency varies from device to device. A dozen of one type might not do anywhere near the harm that a single device of another type might do.

That said, I think Hastings probably should tread carefully when it comes to crazy since he represents a district in Florida. In the Sunshine State, the law forbids sex except in the missionary position, and it is illegal to have sex in any position with a porcupine. Apparently, it was a big enough problem to require legislation. No wonder they can’t count votes there.

Jeff Myhre is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.

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