Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas' latest jihad seems to Tailpipe a little more serious and disturbing than his past push to remove chewing gum from the sidewalks. Now he wants to remove from those same sidewalks the freedom of the press. Or at least to hinder it with obstructive bureaucracy and energy-sucking regulations.
Seems Gretsas, who sometimes reminds the 'Pipe of that movie character who can't seem to keep his arm from shooting into a Heil salute, can no longer stand the sight of all those wild news racks on his city's streets, even certain stylish red-and-yellow ones that contain the publication you're reading right now.
In a proposed ordinance, our little führer suggests that news racks in Fort Lauderdale bring visual chaos (which in some circles is known as metro ambiance, signifying something called democracy).
Gretsas wants to remove all the news racks and replace them with "modulars" holding two to 16 "pockets" each. Along the beach, the modulars would all be beige; everywhere else, they would be dark green.
Companies that deploy the news racks would be required to get a "certificate of compliance" from the city that would include all kinds of information, such as "plane coordinates certified by [a] professional surveyor and mapper for center of each newsrack."
Ve have vays of making you conform, Yankee pig.
But wait — there's more. Gretsas even specified the brand of news rack everybody should buy: ShoRack Models K49-16 or K-100. (City Attorney Harry Stewart informed Gretsas that this was patently illegal, so it will be mercifully struck from the ordinance.)
Certainly, Mayor Jim Naugle, a rigorous conservative, opposed these burdensome, possibly unconstitutional regulations on area businesses, right? He did what he could to strike down this attack on freedom, didn't he? No. He supported it. In fact, the only commissioner who has criticized the plan is Charlotte Rodstrom.
Thankfully, there will be public discussion on the matter before a vote. Fight it with everything you have, people. Your favorite read might depend on it.
So what's with comic books these days? Tailpipe used to love to follow the exploits of all his favorite superheroes in full pixilated color, though his parents watched their kid suckin' up his comics with lip-curling disapproval: "Can't you find something useful to do?" True, there was a wacky, aimless aspect to the hobby. Debates raged behind closed doors about what would happen in a mano-a-mano duel between Superman and Batman (and, later on, whether Robin was really Batman's bitch). But graphic sex, unpatriotic story lines, and heavy gore? Fuhgeddaboudit.
The comic-book set nowadays, though, says that all that saving-the-world-from-evil-one-kick-at-a-time stuff is, well, dull. This century's fans are into Japanese anime tales, especially the yaoi. The climax of yaoi (pronounced "yowee") stories is often hot butt sex between male protagonists. Sometimes, they even sexually assault each other after a good scrum, then passionately profess their love for each other.
There's also, for a certain group of connoisseurs, "tentacle rape," where people get it on with clutchy aliens.
At a recent anime convention in Fort Lauderdale, a group of underaged anime readers gave the 'Pipe an update on the latest in anime sexual trends. Between giggles and eye rolls, they explained that it's largely about the butt sex. To a lesser degree, it's also the draw of girl-on-girl interludes known as yuri. Some of them acknowledge that they haven't quite decided whether they like girls or boys yet, and through anime, they say, they can explore both sides.
Tailpipe was feeling especially past his prime after referring to the books as comics; every hip 14-year-old knows to call the Japanese illustrated novels manga. "Don't use the word comic, please!" one youngster pleaded.
In real life, when they meet other fans, the adolescents get to experiment by simulating same-sex dry-humping. Since their anime heros typically go at it fully clothed, so do they. Some even do dry-humping for money — the latest in sexual pay for service. For a buck, some young men said, they'll happily bump and grind with a buddy for you.
As Tailpipe tried to keep up with the conversation, the tweens suggested a demonstration of a pastime they call "Plush Puppet Porn." With the help of stuffed dolls, two 14-year-olds began simulating anal sex between two of their favorite anime characters. "This is why Itachi is good," said one, flashing his doll's bare bottom. The only other narration he offered as the dolls slammed into each other was "Butt rape!"
One of Tailpipe's pipettes used to take dance lessons at a tender age from a wise old dancer who frowned upon some of the lascivious moves that one or two of the pipette's classmates were unleashing. "None of that — just do the steps," she'd say. After one class, the teacher shook her head, confiding to the 'Pipe: "Some moves just don't make any sense if you've never had sexual intercourse."