First they came for the strippers…

I don’t frequent strip clubs, but I support their right to exist without hassle. Voters in Seattle seem to agree, and threw out a proposed law, sponsored by Mayor Nickels, banning lap dances and requiring bright fluourescent lights and generally making it impossible for them to do business. But that didn’t stop the mayor from sending a vice squad to Rick’s, one of four strip clubs in Seattle, in order to bust the strippers for–get this–touching customers. The shock!

I wouldn’t care so much except that it’s part of a trend, very much driven by the mayor, to stamp out all forms of fun that he thinks are not sufficiently family-oriented. He seems to have a thing against bars and live music venues as well, and is trying to pass legislation that would make them responsible for any bad behavior that occurs inside or outside their clubs, and is gathering crime statistics in preparation to prove his point that these places need more regulation.

The result: last Saturday at the Crocodile, the staff was patting down customers for drugs and paraphernala. Now, the Croc is about the most white bread mainstream indie rock venue in Seattle–a good place for live music, but not exactly a den of iniquity. But they’re running scared. One of the nice things about going to club shows is that the venues treat their customers like adults instead of criminals, unlike, say, the security at the Paramount or the arenas. Not anymore.

I long for San Francisco, where the newspapers thought they had a big scoop because they caught then-mayor Willie Brown attending a party in which a nude dancer urinated into a Jack Daniels bottle and carved a pentagram on somebody’s back. Rush Limbaugh and a few outsiders made a huge deal out of it, but the response of most SF residents was a shrug. And the lobbyist whose birthday was being celebrated, Jack Davis, is still making deals.

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