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Friday, October 27, 2006

Seattle Times: No Boners, Please, We’re Skittish

posted by on October 27 at 14:11 PM

The Seattle Times is on a roll: They’ve endorsed Reichert, McMorris, McGavick, and Johnson. And today they urged readers to vote “Yes” on the ridiculous “four foot rule,” which will make Seattle a lap-dance-free zone. Their four-foot-rule endorsement is, at least, a touch more honest than their “Golly! We just like Mike!” McGavick endorsement. They refuse to admit the real reason they endorsed McGavick—and Reichert and McMorris, for that matter: Frank wants his estate tax cut. Period. But they do admit to wanting their real reason for backing the four-foot rule: They want to shut down Seattle’s strip clubs:

Something happens when such rules are on the books and enforced. Call them market forces. Dancers work as contractors. They pay club owners for the opportunity to generate lucrative tips up close and personal with customers via so-called private dances. Separate dancers from their sources of income and the clubs cannot recruit enough interpretive artists or attract enough First Amendment supporters to stay in business.

Hm… something happens when such rules are enforced… I remember reading something about what happens when regulations like this are enforced… when blue-nose, sex-phobic crap like four-foot rules are enforced… where did I read that… it was pretty recently…

Oh, yeah. It was in the Seattle Times. Yesterday. In Danny Westneat’s column:

4 feet from making sense

My favorite factoid from Campaign 2006 is the one about the Seattle cop who bought 300 lap dances at local strip clubs.

He was undercover, out to clean up the naked city. The goal: Catch strippers or customers in acts of prostitution or other crimes. It was all on your tab—at the going rate of $20 to $40 per lap dance. That’s roughly $10,000 for the strip-club expense account for that one detective (not including tips!).

And what were the fruits of this yeoman effort? Essentially nothing.

Since 2001, despite the work of this cop and several others as described to the City Council, the city apparently failed to charge a single dancer with prostitution. Or a single customer with soliciting it.

They did ring up 40 strippers for some misdemeanors. Such as being too naked. Or “simulating a sexual act” (as opposed to the real thing, which they had a hard time finding).

So it has gone in Seattle’s inane war on strip joints.

I bring it up because Seattle voters must decide Nov. 7 whether to crack down on the clubs, with a “4-foot rule.” It mandates everyone stay 4 feet apart — which would doubtless require ongoing police “work” to enforce.

…I wouldn’t mourn the strip clubs if they all died. But I agree with Licata, who calls the 4-foot rule “overkill” for something that isn’t much of a problem anyway.

Seattle’s strip clubs: Not a problem. The city has wasted time and our money looking for problems in the strip clubs and they’ve got squat to show for it. So why not leave ‘em alone? Why not turn to more pressing matters, like schools and mass transit and violent crime? There’s no prostitution at Rick’s, folks. Just hard-up guys with lumps in their pants tossing twenties at pretty girls. Leave ‘em alone.

But if the city didn’t find any prostitution going on at Seattle’s strip clubs, can’t we just change the definition of prostitution? That’s the Seattle Times ed board’s position. While the police can still make a distinction between lap dances and prostitution—again, that once hard working detective got $10,000 worth of lap dances but didn’t uncover any prostitution—the Seattle Times wants to blur the line. From their endorsement this morning:

Dancing, naked or clothed, is a lawful expression of free speech. The U.S. Supreme Court said so. Grinding away on customers in the dark for tips is not. Lap dancing is sex for hire.

Alert the vice squad—and arrest that detective who spent $10,000 on “sex for hire.”

What this is really about is Puritanism, pure and simpleminded. The best definition of Puritanism is still H.L. Menckin’s: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” The Seattle Times, like the mayor and the city council, is haunted by the specter of boners. There are men at Rick’s and Seattle’s other three strip clubs with hard-ons. They’re not putting up campaign posters for Mike! McGavick or writing software or tossing fish around at the Market. They’re getting lap dances, getting hard, and then going home to beat off. Oh, the horror of it all. God fucking forbid.

Next Tuesday vote no on Puritanism. Vote no on the waste of finite police time and city resources. Vote no on needlessly harrassing dancers and horny dudes. Vote no on the four foot rule.

RSS icon Comments


I don't know what exactly the staff at the Times is getting out of these insane endorsements, but their credibility is now zero.

They don't even read their own damn paper.

Frak them!

Posted by Andrew | October 27, 2006 2:25 PM

I'm pretty sure the P-I endorsed this as well.

Posted by Levislade | October 27, 2006 2:29 PM

They endorsed MCMORRIS?!?!?!?! Are you kidding me??

Posted by makarune | October 27, 2006 2:49 PM

I've got a raging clue.

Posted by charles | October 27, 2006 2:51 PM

I wish the times was more metronatural.

Posted by The Red Times | October 27, 2006 3:01 PM

Maybe the Sonics will take The Times to Oklahoma City.

Posted by DOUG. | October 27, 2006 3:10 PM

For a town that was founded on the availability of hookers, and was sustained for decades by the taxes paid by "seamstresses", and eventually beat out the corporately-prefered Tacoma as the "Queen City" because of our prostitutes, I find this pretty damn embarrassing.

Let the boys see some titties up close and personal. Let them have a lap dance if they want. And let them have a drink while doing it.

Lou Graham and John Pinnell are spining in their graves.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | October 27, 2006 3:25 PM

The staff at the Times is clearly in need of an extra long, extra close lap dance. Perhaps The Stranger and club owners could spring for a few dancers to pay them a visit.

Posted by Sean | October 27, 2006 3:31 PM

Holy crap, I want that cop's job! Man, I've heard of some great careers - video game tester, those guys who made robots and then battled them on TV, beer taster - but getting paid by the city to enjoy $10,000 worth of lap dances? Nothing comes close.

Posted by Lark Hawk | October 27, 2006 3:31 PM

Speaking of lap dances, anyone here ever been to The Sands in Ballard? Is that place any good?

Posted by Micky | October 27, 2006 3:33 PM

Did the cop beat off or have sex before each time he got lap-dances so as not to ´react´ to the dances? Would a ´reaction´ be a kind of entrapment of the dancer? Was he paid for the time he had sex/beat off prior to the visits or was that on personal time? Maybe the cop was a woman in disguise or wore special equipment to conceal possible engorgement.

These are the kind of ridiculous and inappropriate questions that are begged by the government butting in where they have no fucking business. Electeds of Seattle: Do something for poor kids or address global warming or something, ya morons.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | October 28, 2006 11:30 AM

To be fair, a good amount of the blame for this is to be laid at the feet of Seattle's Neo-Liberals.

I remember listening to a show on KUOW a few years back when Strippergate happened. They interviewed one of the reporters from the Stranger (maybe Eli?) who was taking a somewhat moderate, normal person's stand, when a shrieking harpie called in and went on a tangent about the strip clubs, and how can't she drive her daughter past one (the implied message being that a girl sees a strip club, a girl becomes a stripper) and ended the call with her shrieking that the reporter and the KUOW person should be ashamed of themselves.

Crap. Pure crap. She's probably one of those people who would bore you to death with storied about her trip to Amsterdam.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | October 28, 2006 1:29 PM

Neo-liberals? Damn those free markets!

Posted by Arturo | October 28, 2006 5:20 PM

The Times should worry less about the difference between lap dancing and prostitution, and more about the difference between journalism and prostitution.

Posted by rodrigo | October 28, 2006 5:46 PM

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