(cross-posted from the syntax of things)
in october of 1999 with very little opposition the house passed h.r. 1887, a bill with a rather clumsy title called the "to punish the depiction of animal cruelty" law. the bill, which amended title 18, made it illegal in the united states for anyone to create, sell, or possess depictions of animal cruelty with the intention of placing that depiction in interstate or foreign commerce for commercial gain. for the purposes of this bill:
"the term `depiction of animal cruelty' means any visual or auditory depiction, including any photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, electronic image, or sound recording of conduct in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed, if such conduct is illegal under Federal law or the law of the State in which the creation, sale, or possession takes place, regardless of whether the maiming, mutilation, torture, wounding, or killing took place in the State"
(just so you're aware, the links in the following paragraph will lead you to content that is not safe for work [NSFW]. proceed with caution, and you have been warned...)
what was at issue when the bill was introduced were what are known in the foot fetish community as "crush videos". in these videos (click here for a list of titles - NSFW), women, who are usually scantily clad if they're wearing anything at all, stomp on a variety of small animals and insects while wearing stiletto heels, all for the gratification of whoever gets off on that sort of thing. i'm not going to get into any slippery-slope arguments involving animal cruelty vs. free speech or federal regulation vs. state's rights here - chances are you already have an opinion on this. i refer you to this page (also NSFW) for more detailed information about the crush video phenomenon, or even a wikipedia entry about it. if (and ONLY if) you have a strong stomach, the snopes urban legend reference pages has an especially NSFW page about this, complete with linked screen captures.
(NSFW links end here)
seriously, this is some fucked-up shit.
anyway, this bill passed overwhelmingly, 372-42, with 17 no-votes, and was signed into law by then-president clinton. of those 42 "nay" votes, 35 of them were republicans.
and, as if you couldn't see where i was going with this, one of them was rep. charles taylor.
congressman taylor, why did you vote "nay" on this bill?
was it a "states rights" issue? while that phrase just smacks of racism, especially here in the south, i could go out on a limb and agree that the states already have animal cruelty laws in place, although some states' laws are weaker than others. hey, cockfighting fans vote too, right?
i could probably also see where your "nay" vote would make sense when it comes to your continued claims to be a "fiscal conservative", at least out of one side of your mouth while the other side supports ridiculously huge pork barrel projects like the road to nowhere.
but for god's sake, man, you had to realize that a "nay" vote on this bill pretty much exclaims in not so many words that you actually support the production and sale of crush videos, that you're actually fighting in congress for foot fetishists who enjoy beating off while watching kittens get their heads stomped. maybe one or more of your constituents in the 11th district actually would have benefitted if this bill were to be defeated? maybe you would have voted "yea" if the bill came up during an election year?
now would be a good opportunity to call congressman taylor's office and ask if taylor still supports the killing of small animals in the prurient interest. his asheville office # is (828) 251-1988, and his washington office # is (202) 225-6401.
that's pretty much all i can say about this right now without getting even more sick to my stomach.