Stripping Mothers of Their Rights

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Maybe
I'm starved for heroes in these pusillanimous times, but I have
found a new one in Anette Pharris, the Tennessee woman charged with
"contributing to the delinquency of a minor" because she
hired a stripper for her son's birthday party. This is a lady
who, despite her regrettable lack of morals and motherly instincts,
possesses enough other virtues to compensate. She's got guts, gumption,
and the "you-mind-your-business-and-I'll mind-mine" sensibility
that Americans used to own in spades.

In
buying such sordid entertainment for her family, Mrs. Pharris has
done the nearly indefensible. And the usual suspects have rushed
to condemn her. Don Aaron, spokesman for the Nashville police, self-righteously
sniffed, "We don’t think the Nashville community is ready to
allow adult entertainment in the form of a nude dancer around teenagers
at a birthday party."

Speak
for yourself, Don. Anette and the 30 or so folks at her son's birthday
party are members of that community, too; in fact, as Anette pointed
out, “We even had grandpa [at the party]." Seems that if Anette
et al. let you decide what sorts of parties you’ll throw for
your kids, you ought to extend the same courtesy to them.

But
Don wasn't finished: “Minors are not permitted in adult establishments
in Nashville or anywhere in this state. A person shouldn’t be allowed
to circumvent that law by hiring a stripper…”

And
what is Anette's reaction to this invocation of “the law”? Does
she collapse like a politician's promise? Does she cringe, grovel
and throw herself on the nation's mercy? Whine about being a victim
of childhood strippers herself? Indulge in an orgy of self-flagellation
so Big Government Daddy will like her again?

No!
She stands firm! And even tells off the cops! In fact, she
courageously and cleverly indicts the whole police department for
its hypocrisy: AP quotes her as saying "a stripper was nothing
to get upset about in their neighborhood, where prostitution and
drug use are common."

Preach
it, sister! Remember that Anette yet faces a court date, with her
future and no doubt a sizeable portion of her assets hanging in
the balance. Yet she is undaunted at Leviathan's power and fearlessly
lashes its minions with the truth.

Behold,
too, the admirable pith of her statement to the Tennessean
newspaper: “It’s a bunch of bull. I tried to do something special
for my son. It didn’t harm him.”

I'm
not a mother and know nothing of child-rearing, so I'll leave the
substance of her remark to the experts to debate. But I have enough
faith in Anette to know that when those experts vehemently and sanctimoniously
disagree with her, it won't ruin her day. No, our Anette will shrug
— actually, she'll probably flash them the finger — and toss off
another memorable quote, like this one: “Who are they to tell me
what I can and can’t show to my own children? Let he who is without
sin cast the first stone.”

Whoa!
Seems Anette has not heard that raising children takes a village.
Nor does she consider anyone but herself and her indicted co-conspirator,
a.k.a. husband, entitled to rear their children.

Will
Anette's questionable taste in birthday entertainment scar her children
for life? Are they doomed to promiscuity thanks to this party? Again,
I'll leave that to the experts. But I will venture to guess that
these boys have received a powerful lesson in feistiness and refusal
to kowtow to the authorities, qualities as rare anymore as they
are valuable. And let's say, once they graduate from minors to majors,
that the Pharris men have a steady stream of strippers stepping
in and out of their homes; I'd still choose them for neighbors
over the smug busybodies who turned their mother in.

Which
brings us to the drugstore jerks, I mean, clerks who ratted Anette
out after they developed the pictures she shot at the party. The
Tennessean doesn’t reveal which drugstore snitched. I hope
the paper's deliberately being coy to protect an advertiser: I hope
there are enough red-blooded Americans left that a store so careless
of its customers' privacy, so quick to turn snoop on them, would
suffer a boycott were its name revealed. But I'm an idealist.
More likely, the oversight is just that. Perhaps some enterprising
soul will do us all a favor and ferret out the store's identity.
Then those who don't similarly wish to explain their tastes and
habits to a grand jury can avoid processing their film there.

I
also hope the folks so eager to prosecute the spirited Anette are
planning to go after Michael Chertoff as well. He’s the Secretary
of Homeland Security who lusts to turn American airports into giant
peepshows by installing "backscatter" X-ray machines:
these see through clothing and will allow Federal screeners to view
passengers who walk through them in their birthday suits. All in
the name of fighting terrorism, of course. Thus, while Anette merely
enabled her son to watch a stripper's act, Chertoff wants him to
be the act the next time he flies.

Now
who's contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

June
1, 2005

Becky
Akers [send her mail] writes
primarily about the American Revolution.

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