I am kind of whacked about House Bill 4260, the Man’s Right to Know Act, which is pending for consideration in the Texas legislature. The proposed bill proposes to fine men $100.00 for each time they masturbate, more specifically, for each and every “masturbatory emissions.” Emissions means, “emissions outside of a woman’s vagina, or created outside of a health or medical facility” – then the $100 civil penalty kicks in – for each emission. The offending conduct is considered an act against an unborn child, failing to preserve the sanctity of life. A masturbatory emission is defined as an emission which takes place outside a woman’s vagina or a hospital. The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Jessica Farrar, explained later the bill was intended to be satirical, to make a point surrounding legislators’ persistent attempt to regulate a woman’s body, somewhat akin to “take that”. For some reason, I’m not laughing, can’t laugh … will not laugh. I don’t believe her. This is a call to action, resist! Whack! Whack!
My form of resistance is to write an open letter to the State Representative, asking her to withdraw the bill, amend, clarify; joke or no joke.
“Dear State Representative Farrar:
I write this letter because of my concerns with regards to H.R. 4260. Don’t’ you see the unintended consequences of your bill? Don’t you? First, there are too many holes in the bill for comfort. The bill requires the State to level a fine for “each masturbatory emission.” It seems to me the bill fails to protect the non-emitter. Electing to whack, hold, grab, pull, prevent emission, building in a presumption of emission, by the act itself. This is unfair.
My other problem: do you want to make liars out of some of us? Much like those who lied to us years earlier, predicting our demise, the loss of sight, blindness.
“I didn’t emit. I didn’t emit.”
I recognize the Snapchat generation couldn’t care less; filming, snapping, telling on themselves, showing all, posting each and every emission, believing the snap disappears, into the ethos, never to be seen again. Excuse me for a moment … whack, whack, whack. The Act will drive some of us to the recesses of society, to counselors (for our guilt), hiding in corners, confessing our sins, confused with the loss of control over our bodies.
What about multiple emissions performed in the same event? Ma’am, there are some talented whackers out there. You thought about that, have you? Are you trying to make criminals out of men? Do you hate us? Are you lesbian? What’s the issue? I know during the elections one of the candidates admitted, “Someone has to be punished.” He wasn’t talking about men. I know. I know. I know, it takes two to tango, but come on – it seems to me you are criminalizing victim-less conduct.
What about the trial? The proposed bill says the fine is civil. I doubt this. What happens when the victim disagrees with the proposed civil fine? Are they subjected to confinement when refusing to pay? Do you admit the bill will ultimately impose a presumption of emission, to avoid creating proof problems for the prosecution? A presumption imposed on proof of the act, an assumption there was an emission, to avoid the messiness a fully prepared case would entail, requiring measurement, quantifying the amount of the emission.
Ma’am your fatal attempt at satire fails woefully. I’m insulted. Nothing in the bill grabs and holds my gay brothers. Exempting them from liability, seemingly exempting them from the Act, whacking away and allowing them to defend on constitutional grounds, claiming the law is not applicable to them; while channeling the rest of us to hospitals seeking to fall under the exception to the law. What if we are situated in a part of the state where there is no health facility or hospital?
If you pretend this is about regulating health and safety, you still fail. Your bill is unconstitutionally vague, and requires reworking. It has no language requiring ones admission in the hospital. You are creating a dangerous environment for me and others, requiring us to invade the space of the smokers, standing outside, in the corners, to the side of the doorway, abiding by the smoking law, now encumbered and partnered which others who have decided to go to the hospital to whack away. I am not imagining. Nothing in Bill 4260 requires admission to a hospital. Whack, whack.
One final point, who receives the civil penalty? Is this like the lotto promise, that the lotto dollars would go to the schools to educate Texas children? Look where that promised got us. Seems to me you are imposing a sin tax. Maybe even viewpoint discrimination, striking at the core of the right of self-expression. Using taxpayers’ monies to legislate your views, when life begins, is that your aim? Come on, don’t go there.
Whack, whack, whack!
Please withdraw your bill. We get your point and you’re not funny!”
Postscript: Don’t believe a word I said. The letter is a satirical treatment of the Representative’s bill, attempting to aid in her point; a societal insistence on packaging a women’s body; commoditizing that which is not a commodity – something we (not the Southern “we”, instead the collective “men” we) simply don’t own. Written in the tradition of Mark Twain, The Onion, Charlie Hebdo, Chris Rock, hoping, just hoping, … the challenge is appreciated, even if done circuitously, while my tongue remains firmly implanted, in cheek.
So I muse.