>Is It Free Speech or Isn’t It?

>First a word from our sponsors….

Sylvia Day, author of Bad Boys Ahoy, Ask For It and The Stranger I Married was kind enough to give me the following quote for Mirage.

With sexual tension as scorching as the desert the novel is set in, MIRAGE is the kind of historical romantic adventure I cut my teeth on and have been missing for years. Ms. Burns has written a cinematic, compelling, and highly recommended treat! Sylvia Day, nationally bestselling author

Now On With The Show!

There is a LOT happening all over the place for me to pick and express an opinion since early last week. Of course, as usual I don’t hear about any of it until the whole thing has morphed into something else. However, yesterday I stumbled across an interesting issue in the news clippings at work.

According to Associated Press reporter Bob Lewis there is a bill here in Virginia aimed at certain drivers who display testicles off their tow hitch.

“RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Drive in Virginia with outsized rubber replica testicles dangling from your trailer hitch and face a fine under a bill before the General Assembly.

Taste and even decency notwithstanding, Del. Lionel Spruill introduced the bill Tuesday as a safety measure: male genitalia swaying from a car distracts other drivers.

His bill would make displaying the ornamentation a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250.”

A Bull Should Be So Happy

I’ve seen these things hanging off the back of a truck on my way home at night. They’re bigger than a well-hung bull, and actually quite disgusting looking. The first time I saw them I wasn’t so much offended as I was scornful. My immediate thought was…”This guy thinks he’s a major stud and has to tell the world.” My second thought was “Poor man was probably short-changed by nature and has the need to make other people think differently.” I then followed it up with a “What a redneck jerk, glad he’s not anyone I know.”

So what does this erotic romance writer have to say about the proposed legislation?

Here, here, Delegate Spruill.

Free Speech

I am a firm believer in free speech, but I don’t believe this is free speech. It’s a form of pornography. If someone had a silhouette of a couple making love on their truck’s mud flaps, you can sure bet people would be screaming about it. For me, there comes a point in time when something that might affect a child crosses the line. This is one of those times. We have laws in this country about pornography and how one is not allowed to expose children to it. These same laws apply to writers like me of erotic romance. I have to be extremely careful of what I put on my website, primarily because parents aren’t responsible enough when it comes to watching where their kids go on the Inet.

I don’t see this public display as being any different than a vehicle traveling along the highway with a porno movie playing on the screen that I might pass with my youngest in the backseat. If I recall correctly, that particular issue has already been resolved through the courts, and the car with the porno movie lost.

While I’m not crazy about people riding around with bumper stickers that say F*ck You on it, at least a parent can explain it away as foul language, which generally will suffice most kids. A parent doesn’t have to explain to a five or six year old that the word refers to a sexual act.

Is It Free Speech Or Is It Pornography

With these testicles, it gets a lot trickier. A picture is worth a thousand words is the old adage. Exactly what do you reply when kids ask, “What’s that hanging off the back of that truck?” Ummm, well honey, that’s ummmm….(keep in mind you’re driving along a highway and you’re now distracted as you struggle not to hit the car in front of you). In my mind, its one thing to display a foul word on a bumper sticker and quite another to expose children or others to private body parts or pornography in public. In Virginia, there are laws against public nudity, and while these testicles hanging from a tow hitch on the back of a vehicle aren’t real, they certainly wouldn’t qualify as an anatomical replica meant to educate the public. They’re definitely meant to imitate the real thing albeit oversized.

I’m getting to the point where societal behavior incites the type of irritation in me that makes me feel like I’ve suddenly gone conservative. HORRORS of horrors! People acting badly, snarkily, rudely, etc. irritates me to no end, and I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that someone else’s rights end when they interfere with my rights.

My right is that I’m entitled to drive along a busy highway with my kid in the back, and not be distracted by the sight of these oversized balls dragging on the ground. Not be distracted with questions a parent shouldn’t have to answer to a five or six-year-old. Not to mention the question of what happens if the damn things fall off and my tires hit them (they come in brass too). Might or might not be a hazard issue. It will be interesting to see where this legislation goes. I don’t like to see laws restricting our freedoms, but protecting children is very important to me. Of course, I really could be becoming a prude in my aging and that’s not a happy thought for me. *sigh*


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About Monica Burns

A bestselling author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.

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