Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh, those wacky Brits.

In Canada, we're just coming down from the Victoria Day holiday, when our summer barbecues begin and the drinking hijinx are supposed to remind us that it's Queen Victoria's birthday.

Sexual regimentation was fundamental to social order during the Victorian dynasty, with sexual impulses (of women in particular) subjected to the strictest of controls, analysis, and barriers, most being rooted in misogynistic (or at least, ill-informed) suppositions. Great stuff for modern bondage fantasy, but I'd expect that being subjected to the public judgment of your neighbours wouldn't be all that much fun in 'real life.'

But this 2009, you say, not 1869. We don't have to worry about such things. Right?

Ask Caroline Cartwright.

There's a nifty little statute in Britain, the Anti-Social Behaviour Order, which gives the public certain powers when they're riled up about the goings-on in the neighborhood. Abandon your car on someone's property, and you're a fine candidate to be subjected with an ASBO. You and your skinhead buddies shout slurs to the Turkish people across the street, and you're a candidate for an ASBO. Spraypaint your tag on the post office, repeatedly harass that redhead, commit some obviously anti-social or abusive public behaviour, and you get slapped with an ASBO.

A "personalized criminal law," the ASBO enables citizens to file a legal complaint to "protect persons from anti-social acts," and it's no small feat to get one through the courts. First, the applicant must demonstrate that the defendant has "committed acts causing or likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress" and convince the court that only an ASBO will solve the problem. Hearsay is admissable evidence.

The defendant is then instructed to desist in the 'harassing, alarming, and distressing' behaviour. Breaching this order then changes the circustance from a civil matter to a criminal one, then to be tried in criminal court, and with criminal penalties (e.g., prison).

Did Caroline repeatedly kick the dogs in her area? Is she a vandal, a thief, an abuser? Does she threaten people, toss her trash out in the street, or shoot passers-by with a slingshot from her kitchen window? Nah.

Caroline's neighbours have subjected her to an ASBO because, well, she has great sex. In fact, she has such great sex that she screams and howls and cries out for more, shaking her bedframe with a thunder, rattling windows, heard far and wide. Poor Widow Tuffle can't bear to take her poodle out for walkies. The vicar can barely hear his own sermons on Sunday morning. The Johnson twins were perfectly scandalized during their game of hopscotch. It was awful.

Her neighbours were not, shall we say, enjoying it.

Leave it to the British to really appreciate Victorian values, despite being regarded by some as one of the most sex-positive nations in Europe. Identity crisis, anyone?

Naturally, in time, she violated the terms of her ASBO. After all, she had essentially been ordered by the court to stop having loud sex. Did she try to calm down? Probably. (And, please, no jokes about
gag orders
.) But the woman may be potentially facing jail time because of how loudly she cums.

"But I can't help it," she pleaded.

Me, I'd love to see the looks that her husband must be getting from the women he passes on the street. Dude's got game!

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once famously commented that "the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation." Perhaps the Cartwrights should seek asylum in Ottawa.

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