Whether you love it, hate it, or have never thought about it, chances are somebody wants to ban it. Here’s a tip-of-the-iceberg roundup of bans and would-be bans: There are a lot on smoking (for example, here and here), including smoking clubs. Same for gay marriage, both here and abroad. The ban wagon continues with gay sex, sex toys, cockfighting, nude dancing, strip clubs, strong booze, beer ads, “marijuana dispensaries,” billboards, all terrain vehicles, limited terrain vehicles (that is, motorized scooters and pocket bikes). “We certainly have to take a stand,” says a city councilman. “It’s getting out of control.” (He means pocket bikes, not the urge to ban things.) Have to mention those who want to ban guns or have alreadyÃ¢â?¬â??for the time being at leastÃ¢â?¬â??banned assault weapons. Also slots, shock jocks, mining permits, driving while talking on the phone, flying the Confederate flag while camping, and chewing gum while doing anything (although this ban has apparently been “relaxed”). There are bans on Indian movies, turbans, veils, Al Jazeera, selling gutka, pan masala, frogs and turtles, and feeding pigeons: “We have sent warnings to about three individuals who are constantly feeding these birds,” says the man from the Public Works Department. Can’t feed animals, but can’t hurt them, either. In other words, not so fast with those plans to hunt bears, eat their organs or put them in the circus. We also have to prevent animals from hurting people, so no pit bulls. Although sometimes pit bulls escape bans, which relieves at least one concerned citizen because, “If you ban this dog, what dog is next?” It’s also forbidden to “knowingly or intentionally combine, produce, manufacture or distribute any compound containing the plant material known as angel’s trumpet, also known as brugmansia arborea, for human consumption or with the intent to sell, distribute or dispense same for human consumption.” And no “insulting friendly nations” or “causing harassment, alarm or distress.” And for the love of all that is decentÃ¢â?¬â??no toe licking!
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.