pageok
pageok
pageok
The Perks of Being a Professor or Student in Georgia:

I just read a case striking down (on slightly complex grounds that I won't get into here) Georgia's law banning the distribution and advertising of "obscene material" — including "[a]ny device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs," as well as hard-core porn of the sort that the law describes as "obscenity" — and found this exception:

(e) It is an affirmative defense under this Code section that dissemination of the material was restricted to:

(1) A person associated with an institution of higher learning, either as a member of the faculty or a matriculated student, teaching or pursuing a course of study related to such material . . . .

I know that some people think that professors and students — and especially law professors and law students — are especially in need of sex aids, but it's nice to see that under Georgia law they actually get a special entitlement to them! I realize, of course, that this is limited to people who are "teaching or pursuing a course of study related to such material," but courses of study are not hard to set up, especially given the availability of independent study projects . . . .

Thanks to How Appealing for the pointer to the opinion.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Wise Words,
  2. The Perks of Being a Professor or Student in Georgia:
DK:
OTH, to work for a state school in Georgia, you have to sign an oath of loyalty to the state, so it's not all about the perks. I'd be in real trouble if Georgia ever went to war with Florida.
2.16.2006 5:11pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Great minds run in the same path; the independent-study possibilities had occurred to me as well.
2.16.2006 5:17pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
I recall reading about a Missouri judge (or maybe Kansas) who used sex toys on the bench. Courtroom staff reported they could hear the puffing noise as he inflated the whatever under the bench while a glazed look came over his eyes.
2.16.2006 5:34pm
Ian (www):
Tom, the judge you speak of is from Oklahoma
2.16.2006 5:37pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Well, maybe the judge had a prescription.
2.16.2006 5:38pm
SKlein:
For years I've been blaming myself for the judge's glazed look when I was in the courtroom. I feel so much better.
2.16.2006 5:38pm
SB (www):
DK: I really hope I signed no such thing when I was a TA/RA at Georgia Tech! I don't recall doing so, anyway... *paranoid*
2.16.2006 6:01pm
Fishbane (mail):
If I recall correctly, the law also allowed exemptions for law enforcement. I suppose it is wise to provide relief to at least some sorts of ethical issues for cops.
2.16.2006 8:02pm
A. Nonymous (mail):
Far be it from me to contest with Prof. Volokh on any point, but I think he is drastically misunderstanding the point behind the "member of the faculty or a matriculated student" exception. An explanation of the history of the thing will help shed light on it and help those (even those who care not a whit about "original intent") come to terms with the statute.

You see the large majority of students in the Peach State, especially at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, had been for years under the mistaken impression that they were, you'll forgive me, getting things rammed or crammed up or inside them. This was known by a variety of terms, the classic being "That professor just shove (item) up my (orifice)."

Now, this lead to some confusion on the part of the faculty. They were doing no such thing you see to their students. On the contrary, the faculty argued, it was they that were having objects placed with great force into them by deans, trustees, boards and occasionally (only whispered mind you) department chairs.

And so confusion and chaos reigned until final the faculty and students en masse petitioned the General Assembly for some way to rectify this great misunderstanding as to precisely what was getting shoved into who and precisely by whom.

The General Assembly, having no particular interest and favoring neither side in this dispute, though it best to return the problem to the professors and students themselves. Let them use various and sundry devices upon their egg-head selves to determine just precisely whatever it was they were doing in that high falutin' education type place. The members of the General Assembly were far too busy to worry about what some Poindexters were prattling on about. They had important tasks to accomplish. Like Whittling. And Spitting. (Standing committees for which began with the body's founding in 1777 and remained until the mid 1900s when it was realized that the true mark of a "gentlemen" was to be able to do both at the same time, at which point the committees merged.)

But there was a problem, for you see in order to let the students and professors cram-away in their ivory towers and what not, the little problem of the obscenity law came up. The nerds and geeks simply could not, by law, thrust things to their brainiac hearts' content. So, the General Assembly took time away from the Great Spelling Debate of 1876 (the origins of which came from a misunderstanding as to how one spelled the name of the fruit that made the state so famous; the proponents of the "No 'A's in Peech" movement would eventually fail by one vote as one of their number choked on a pit of the aforementioned fruit and no one the chambers would deign to use that their foreigner Heimlich's maneuver or what not, leading to the Georgia colloquialism "He choked like a 'merican") to modify the obscenity law and permit the pinheads to jab away.

Thus, two great Georgia traditions were born: the practice of professors and students associated with institutions of higher learning attempting to shove things up the various openings of one another and the Legislative practice of blaming all that obscene stuff on things kids were taught at "lie-beral" colleges and universities.
2.16.2006 8:26pm
Kieran Jadiker-Smith (mail):
Fear the government that fears your dildo.
2.16.2006 9:29pm
Cornellian (mail):
I look forward to the usual suspects making fools out of themselves by going on a crusade against vibrators, which are surely the downfall of civilization as we know it.
2.16.2006 9:40pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I've seen some real jerk-offs in the classroom, but this is the first I heard of giving them special legal handling ... I mean, status.
2.16.2006 11:46pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I look forward to the usual suspects making fools out of themselves by going on a crusade against vibrators, which are surely the downfall of civilization as we know it.
I'm rather curious to know what provoked Georgia to pass such a law, and when. (One of the electrical engineering magazines had an article in the 1970s about the patent history of this device, from the close of the 19th century.)

You can at least come up with some sort of public health rationale for a sodomy law (preventing the spread of AIDS, which at least in the case of anal sex is high risk). I can't quite see the public health rationale for a dildo ban. You could even argue that to the extent that it reduces the amount of sexual activity that could spread STDs, allowing vibrators should not only be lawful, but praiseworthy.
2.16.2006 11:54pm
A. Brophy (mail):
Alabama has a similar law, which was passed (as I recall) in 1998 and was (as I recall) upheld by a federal district court. There's a good note on this in the Alabama Law Review around 2002. I had thought Alabama was alone in this, but apparently not. So far as I know, Alabama's statute has no exception for university students.
2.17.2006 2:36am
DK:
SB, I had to sign a loyalty oath in '97 at georgia tech to be an RA. The requirement may have been different before or since. But it was buried among I9 and other forms in a big packet the HR office passed me, so, it could also be easy to miss (or easy for them to miss someone not signing it).

Kieran, the response is laughter, not fear. This is just another silly blue law, less harmful than the ban on sunday beer sales. The Atlanta area has no shortage of stores openly advertising these products. (However, I have not checked whether the merchanise lives up to the ads).
2.17.2006 8:18am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Clayton, Mississippi's high court recently reaffirmed such a law. Some of the "rational basis" arguments included "marriage experts" who said that excessive reliance on sex toys could be harmful to a marriage. Because of course, married couples shouldn't be able to figure these things out for themselves. See this article:
The arguments from "public health" are unintentionally amusing. Use of vibrators, it appears, can be "habituating." Now, there's a public health menace for you! On that basis, the Legislature could ban the sale of cigarettes, or chocolate--both of which have health consequences a little more severe than frequent orgasm. Unfortunately for sexual privacy, people are more likely to protest for their rights to lung cancer or obesity than they are their right to orgasm.
The article linked is perhaps more glib than informative, but makes some good points.

The origin of the Georgia law is a good question. Vibrators used to be used by doctors to masturbate "hysterical" patients; possibly the medical profession resented patients' taking matters into their own hands. It wouldn't be the first time.
2.17.2006 9:46am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Vibrators used to be used by doctors to masturbate "hysterical" patients; possibly the medical profession resented patients' taking matters into their own hands. It wouldn't be the first time.
From having read an article about the invention, I recall that part of why doctors took care of this for "hysterical" patients was that masturbation was highly, highly frowned upon--and certainly proper Victorian women would not even think of this (or at least, not follow thorugh without guilt). Once they reached a certain point of tension, doctors would "treat" the patients with an early version of the current device, although I don't think they were battery-operated.

It sounds like a very bad parody that Firesign Theater would do.
2.17.2006 11:04am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Anderson writes:


Clayton, Mississippi's high court recently reaffirmed such a law. Some of the "rational basis" arguments included "marriage experts" who said that excessive reliance on sex toys could be harmful to a marriage.
I recall that when my wife and I got married, our pastor handed us a set of audiotapes produced by the Church of the Nazarene about sex--really intended, as our pastor explained, for people quite a bit more naive and younger than my wife and I. The content of the tapes was factually correct, and emphasized that anything that a married couple did that gave them pleasure and didn't make them feel uncomfortable or guilty was good in God's eyes. (Church of the Nazarene is quite fundamentalist--no dancing, no movies, no alcohol--but any form of sexual activity between husband and wife that feels good, definitely okay!)

One of the tapes made the point that vibrators and similar sex toys, if used repeatedly, put you at risk of becoming dependent on them for orgasm--probably not a good idea. I don't find this hard to believe.

Because of course, married couples shouldn't be able to figure these things out for themselves.
Ah, the essence of liberalism: you are too stupid to figure out if a gun in your house makes you less safe or more safe, so we will do our best to prevent you from having to make that choice.
2.17.2006 11:24am
Anderson (mail) (www):
One of the tapes made the point that vibrators and similar sex toys, if used repeatedly, put you at risk of becoming dependent on them for orgasm

I believe Xaviera Hollander made the same observation in The Happy Hooker. Probably true, but also probably true of any sexual practice relied upon exclusively.

Anyway, when Anderson, Clayton, the Church of the Nazarene, and Xaviera can all agree, that just makes the Georgia law even more absurd.
2.17.2006 11:58am
Wrigley:

Ah, the essence of liberalism: you are too stupid to figure out if a gun in your house makes you less safe or more safe, so we will do our best to prevent you from having to make that choice.


Obviously, there are absolutely no differences in terms of externalities between gun safety and possible dependence on sex toys. How could one ever treat them differently? I was once blind, now I can see . . .
2.17.2006 1:34pm
RJL (mail):
How do these laws get passed?

It usually only takes one legislator to propose it, and then everyone else either has to support the bill or case a vote in favor of vibrators.
2.17.2006 1:46pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


Ah, the essence of liberalism: you are too stupid to figure out if a gun in your house makes you less safe or more safe, so we will do our best to prevent you from having to make that choice.


Obviously, there are absolutely no differences in terms of externalities between gun safety and possible dependence on sex toys. How could one ever treat them differently? I was once blind, now I can see . . .
It sounds like you are looking for an excuse to write laws based on the assumption that adults are morons--rather like the argument in favor of the Georgia law. You have demonstrated my point, however, and that is the same attitude that says, "You'll get dependent on vibrators, you are too stupid to make these decisions for yourself" is that of liberals who figure, "You are too stupid to figure out if a gun in your home is too dangerous for you to have."
2.17.2006 4:02pm
Wrigley:
Honestly, I can't tell if you gathered my point, so I'll try again, sans sarcasm.

Guns kill other people. Guns also fall accidently into the hands of children who hurt themselves or others. No consent is involved with those people. The costs are not internalized via market forces.

Vibrators (according to the stupid rationale we're imputing to the law) can cause those who choose to use them to become dependent. Maybe their consensual partners too. Those costs are not borne by 3d parties. Thus this law is different than gun control.

Because this is a fairly libertarian group, I'll refrain from making too much out of the fact that the same stupid argument that we are imputing to the vibrator law motivates (mostly) all drug laws. Thus, vibrator law is much closer to drug laws than gun laws.
2.17.2006 4:33pm
Wrigley:
The final point being if we are to criticize the vibrator laws as "the essence of liberalism," that must also describe drug laws. Somehow, that seems odd . . .
2.17.2006 4:35pm
Brandonks (mail) (www):
How about the Sheriff's department that goes after prostitutes by giving them business?

Sheriff's Have Sex in the Line of Duty
2.18.2006 4:14pm
kentuckyliz (mail) (www):
Sodomy isn't just anal sex. In Kentucky, sodomy includes oral sex. Makes it even more fun to know I'm breaking the law. LOL

Long ago I told a boyfriend he could be replaced by a machine. Prophetic word. LOL
2.20.2006 7:47pm