Monday, October 10, 2005

Doing up the chastity belt

It's now official; Orkland City Council are servants of the Religious Right. The OCC are pursuing a ban on established sex toy shop D.Vice in Ponsonby Road.

D.Vice is a NZ small business success story. Started up a little help from a small business grant/loan, the sex toy manufacturers have grown into a niche export market with stores in Orkland, Wellington, Melbourne and Palmerston North. The store gained some infamy when Marian Hobbs did a factory visit and inadvertently posed for the media wearing furry cuffs.

The store in Ponsonby Rd has operated for at least five years and it is part of the Ponsonby shopping district. No-one has had just cause to complain about its presence and everyone was happy (some more than others).

Two pieces of legislation changed all that; the Local Government and the Prostitution Reform Acts. The synchronicity of both laws passing so close together culminated in the largest attack of do-goodery in living memory, Orkland City Council's Brothels and Commercial Sex Premises Bylaw. It is a sad twist of Fate indeed that Tim Barnett's landmark Bill, designed to protect the vulnerable, was instead used by the OCC to drive them even further underground.

Not content with making a bad thing worse, the local council blue rinsers and Jesus freaks decided to sterilise the city of "commercial sex premises" as well. My thoughts on the bylaw went largely ignored by the OCC. The bylaw went through largely unchanged and passed by the Council one week before Christmas Day 2003, hardly a time that garners much media interest.

First, they came for the brothels. Now, under the benign leadership of Dick Hubbard, the OCC are trying to stick sex shops in the ghetto. Why persecute a profitable and harmless retail store? Because the law is on their side.

The same goes for picnics in Albert Park. The OCC has banned alcohol consumption in the city limits, eliminating the romantic luncheon with a bottle of bubbly as well as the homeless winos. If only it were just the Orkland local authorities playing Safety Nazi. Alcohol bans are springing up with alarming regularity. This plague of Pleasantville has spread to almost every council in the country. Even in liberal Wellington, alcohol is restricted to private establishments in the city and the Public Places Bylaw makes spontaneity punishable with a $20,000 fine. Bloody killjoys.

This all reminds me of a certain character called Judge Death. This dude came from a twisted dimension where policy analysts had worked out that crime was only committed by the living. Therefore, life was made a crime. The analysts were validated when, sure enough, the crime rate dropped.

from Judgment on Gotham; Grant, Wagner, Bisley, DC Comics 1991


Idiot/Savant says Judge Death was to blame for the "The Crime is Life, the Sentence is Death" policy, and not a bunch of analysts. Later stories, namely Young Death in the Megazine, revealed Sydney D'Eath came up with the idea with a little help from the Sisters of Death. However, as Judge Death's character morphed from the horrific original to the humourous repeat performances, the substance of the policy might have been compromised.

A quick look at the original Judge Death storyline way back in 1981 leaves the answer open. Judge for yourself, and if you want to read the entire first story, which also introduces the babelicious Judge Anderson from Psi Div, check it out here (login required). In the meantime, enjoy a slice of nostalgia and damn fine artwork.

from Judge Death; Wagner, Bolland, 2000 AD Prog 149, 1981