"They even picked up a phallic-shaped cup."
When I was a kid, my Mom didn't take me into "Spencer Gifts." And by the time I was in high school, and was able to wander around the Mall unattended, she must have figured that if I were to wander in there I wouldn't be harmed by anything I saw.
Apparently, today, some parents aren't content to rely on parenting. They are appalled that their child could go into Spencer's and see cartoon penises. Of course, they could tell the kids "don't go into Spencer's." But since they have no faith in their children, they want Spencer Gifts to change.
They conducted a hidden camera investigation, sending in 13 year old girls to buy objectionable items. They were shocked when the girls were sold the items, one of which had a suggested age rating of 18 or older. Nobody bothers to point out whether those age ratings are enforced or proscribed by law. My understanding is that they are voluntary recommendations from the manufacturer and not enforceable by law. The second Spencer Gifts they investigated did hassle a second group of youngsters in the store, and would not sell them the items.
What struck me initially was that these people appear to think that Spencer Gifts has changed over the years. Here's a news flash: Spencer Gifts is not getting more edgy. You're getting old.
I remember it being quite risque when I was a youngster. Although my parents didn't take me shopping in there, they did tell me what sort of stuff was in there. And I did see some of it when I got a little bit older. I object to the historical revisionism of middle age. Note, when you were a kid, and before you were even born:
Spencer Gifts is a tacky, tasteless gift shop. You can't legislate tact or good taste.
The parents were not mollified when they saw the second store did stop the kids from buying stuff. The argument then became "we don't even want the kids to see penis cartoons!" Lady -So don't take your kids in there!
These are the same people who have convinced you that movies are getting more and more rude and crude. if you're ever bored and want to try a fun experiment, rent some "PG" movies from the 70's and early 80's and compare them to today's PG and PG-13 movies. Guess what - movies have become almost completely sanitized when it comes to risque content and language. Don't rent a rated "R" movie from the 70's. Your post-millennial sensibilities will not be able to handle the shock.
I completely appreciate that some people have good taste. We'd never allow half of the stuff at Spencer Gifts in our house. That's why we choose not to shop there. (But when I was a teen, it was the only place I could get a decent black light bulb.) Make your own decisions for yourself. Please, stop trying to make other people's decisions for them. The endgame of this scenario is to make it so difficult for places like Spencer Gifts to exist that they can't exist for anyone.
It brings to mind the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated. I highly recommend it. It tells the tale of the runaway, twisted hyper morality that has given us films with overblown violence and nonexistent sex. It reveals that right-wing Christian moralists who prefer to remain anonymous judge films harshly for any sort of what they deem sexual content, but give a pass to all sorts of killing and violence. A tiny bit of Maria Bello's pubic hair shows up in a loving, intimate scene and the MPAA raters hit the roof. But they don't bat an eye when a killer stabs a woman through her breast implants in a similarly rated film.
Something is wrong.
I understand if people don't like certain aspects of society. But, for the good of a free society, you need to ease off on trying to sanitize it. You think you're doing good for the community, but you're making decisions for adults, who should have the freedom to make those decisions for themselves. Your morality is not demonstrably superior to their own. So, ease off. And teach your kids about how you think their world should be. And let them become adults and decide for themselves.Posted by James at March 6, 2008 9:57 AM