What with everything going on with Charlie Sheen and a one Mr. Muammar Gaddafi, there’s just so much material. SO MUCH MATERIAL. And there’s only one small problem with that: EVERY ONE HAS BEEN THERE. Those two are the village bicycles at this point – everyone’s had a ride. I’m out here busting my hump, trolling the internet for worthwhile mindless fodder, such as John Edwards hiring Obama’s old lawyer, the necessity of fighting in the N.H.L. or the live sex classes going on at Northwestern University. But it turns out we don’t need to go to the dark ends of the intarwebs, or Illinois, even, to find nasty news of the weird. We need go no further than the Queen City of The Ozarks, our very own Springfield, Missouri to find the salacious dirt that is grist for a mindless mill. Really, we are leaders in so many ways here in the Show-Me-State. It’s not enough that we “enjoy” the lowest taxes on smokes in the nation (psst- we could double that tax and still be 49th, haters), that we’re arguably leading the nation in meth lab incidents, and that our county is first out of 114 in the state in child abuse/neglect cases. No, we have a new slice of gossip pie right here in the city that boasts of being home to the worldwide headquarters of the Assemblies of God: we got us a good old fashioned prostitution ring running wild. By “wild”, of course, I’m talking about “involving 5 people”. But how do we ramp up a scandal involving the world’s oldest profession? We infuse it with potential harm to children; we find out that it involves a local school teacher! The alleged acts of ill-repute took place in a basically derelict old building in our downtown, and I took the opportunity to satirize it in a blurb on Fair City News. (In case this is your first day on the internet, all of the text in blue indicates a link to the issues). But really, there was no need, since this kind of comedy is intrinsically humorous without needing to dress it up. It leaves us, the public, three ways to look at it:
- Relax, already. Consenting adults, we assume, are exchanging cash for pleasure. I, too engage in this; it’s called “drinking a beer down at the Pub and paying cash for it”. It’s also known as “going to the movie theater, handing them cash, and them pleasuring me by entertaining me with 2 1/2 hours of cinematic delight.” At this point it’s perfectly legal for a single young male to meet a single young female, flirt with her shamelessly and find themselves engaged in the business of freakiness. But as soon as money trades hands - BOOM! – you’re breaking the law, buster. Perhaps instead of outrage, we should spend more time on Craigslist as a method of keeping our panties out of a collective wad.
- We should be even more outraged. In a section of the country that touts family values, God-fearin’ and all as a selling point, why do we have such high rates of crimes against kids, super cheap cancer sticks and outrageous cases of meth mouth? One way that Springfield tries to draw in businesses and people is to sell its low cost-of-living and affordable housing. The dark side of that reality is shockingly low wages, a relative dearth of cultural attractants and an environment that fosters cyclical trash. Think Winter’s Bone, which is the rural version of what we deal with on the north side of Springfield every day. While it provides for great material for fire department stories and continued employment, it really is a bleak tale.
- They really just don’t pay teachers what they’re worth. As a way of using mockery to highlight a serious issue, I say this with the tongue out of the cheek. Spend a day in your kids kindergarten, especially you dads out there, and marvel at how those teachers don’t spend their free time shaking babies. While the wonderment of a child learning is awe-inspiring indeed, most of the time they’re shrieking and trying to burn the building down. And when they get to high school and really know all there is to know? How those teachers don’t choke the ever-loving shit out of those kids is a miracle in and of itself. Whatever they are making, it’s not enough, despite how much conservatives will screech about how easy teachers have it. They’re responsible for educating our future leaders, and somehow we feel that middle to lower class wages is “spoiling them”. No wonder they have to resort to offering more lucrative business opportunities. Remember, when in doubt, it’s ALWAYS a union’s fault, as is evidenced currently in Wisconsin, where I hear there is a life size portrait of Bernie Madoff hanging in the governor’s mansion.
I’m sure as the details emerge, we’ll act shocked, as fair citizens should, but it’s not as though this game is new to the world. I’m more shocked that this is still in issue in today’s society. The banner under our local newspaper reads “Tis A Privilege To Live In The Ozarks”. Apparently, those privileges extend beyond the realm of mega-churches and cheap housing; you just need to look in the right section of Craigslist.