In this column, Dan Savage requested that his readers send their used sex toys to Kandiss Crone at WLBT 3 News in Jackson, Mississippi. Crone had just shot and aired a TV exposé of a local adult entertainment shop that was selling sex toys, and Dan suggested that readers e-mail her "and let her know what a great job she's doing for the community." Some readers cc:ed Dan on their communiqués to Crone:
Dear Ms. Crone:
I understand from your reporting that, in the state of Mississippi, it is illegal to own a "three-dimensional device" for the purpose of sexual pleasure, but owning a "three-dimensional device" for the purpose of killing another human being (a handgun) is okey-dokey and much encouraged by your politicians down there.
All I can say to that is, you sure live in one screwed-up state in one screwed-up country. Count me as one American living in Canada who is glad to have escaped!
I applaud your diligence in your attempts at exposing the perverted demons who buy and use sex toys. This unholy carnage must be stopped! Why should one need to use such devices for masturbatory purposes when there are so many prostitutes out there in need of work?
I suggest that you start a positive campaign for the turning away of our youth from such horrendous devices you spoke out against on your TV show, and toward the God's honest real thing for hire!
Keep up the good work,
Dear Ms. Crone,
I've just read your story describing the sting operation you and your crew performed on an area adult store.
It's an interesting coincidence, because just yesterday I went with two of my girlfriends—both recently divorced after abusive marriages—to our local sex-toy shop to buy vibrators. Not only did we have a great time picking them out, my friends were clearly thrilled to be taking what they felt was a significant step toward reasserting their strength and independence. One of them told me today that she became very anxious last night about sleeping in an empty house, but that using her new vibrator calmed her down enough for her to get to sleep. For my part, I was glad we'd made the shopping trip for another reason: I would much rather see my friends using their toys in the privacy and safety of their own homes than hitting the bars and having one-night stands with unknown men out of an unfulfilled need for sexual intimacy.
My point? Only that it is despicable to actively harass a local business for selling these products. In targeting Adult Video And Books, you implicitly condemn the physically and emotionally healthy activities that the store and its products facilitate. As a media outlet, you have a responsibility to your viewers not to cast shame upon the safe fulfillment of natural sexual urges and needs.
Dear Ms. Crone,
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your journalistic integrity and your commitment to protecting the community. I'm sure Jackson, Mississippi, will be much safer now that you have rid the streets of three-dimensional adult-pleasure devices.
Although there is primary data proving that orgasms boost the immune system, elevate mood, relieve stress, and, between you and me, Kandiss, are just plain fun, let's never forget that all of the above contribute to the degeneration of consenting adults everywhere.
So, once again, from the bottom of my cervix, I want to thank you for making it more difficult for the adults of Jackson, Mississippi, to find inexpensive, low-fat, aerobic, self-image-enhancing ways to feel good.
The world is truly a better place without vibrators. Now if we could only get rid of douchebags like you.
Dear Ms. Crone,
I am an historian of human sexuality and a proud owner of three vibrators. Actually four, if you count the antique one I inherited from an 88-year-old relative who died and whose children (who are in their 60s) found her 1950s-era vibrator and realized I would appreciate it. (She had been married for over 60 years, to a lovely man, when she died.) I haven't used hers, and don't plan to (the cord is kind of frayed), but I think it should let you know that nice women (like naughty women) have, for generations and generations, used vibrators to feel good, and there is nothing wrong with that. Vibrators often help women like me, in their 40s, get orgasms something like those we used to get when we were young, and they help our partners give us pleasure, which is good, good, good for long-lasting marriages, straight or gay.
Madam, do get a life, or at least get yourself a nice vibrator. I can recommend some if you like.
Alice D., Ph.D.
I just wanted to write and offer my heartfelt congratulations at your obvious intellect, professionalism, and journalistic integrity in doing your small part in clearing up the scourge of sex toys. I am sure your viewers appreciate the job you are doing in highlighting this important topic.
By important, I mean in relation to other trivialities, such as genocide in Darfur, an over $500,000,000,000 annual military budget this year (the biggest since WWII), the historical primary race, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the many, many tragic deaths caused by madmen (and women) who use lawfully purchased guns to massacre their innocent classmates around America. Keep up the GOOD WORK!
It is difficult to strike the right tone in addressing this letter to you. I think I should be straightforward.
I think your story about Adult Video and Books, the sex shop that you discovered to be selling sex toys, was not quality reporting. It is easy to point a finger and proclaim, "Look at the naughty, dirty sex," and I'm sure that stories like this boost ratings: Everyone likes a scandal that doesn't carry any moral obligation to act. You were, in my opinion, firing at a wide target, and one which might titillate your viewers without asking them to think about or improve life in Jackson.
More challenging work for a reporter is to outline the difficulties the homeless face, or perhaps take a careful look at whether money spent by lobbyists causes our representatives in Congress to vote against our interests. I think you're in a position to consider many important issues in the world today and to bring them to light in a way that challenges your viewers to actively do something to improve those issues. This, I think, is better than taking cheap jabs at people who use "three-dimensional devices." As in countries where ethnic cleansing causes people to live in fear, you might be surprised at how many of your colleagues and coworkers are users of these devices, but live in secret to avoid persecution.
Dear Ms Crone,
Gee, I feel so bad that I don't have any sex toys to send to you for proper disposal. I'm going to do my best to help you in your noble crusade! Will you accept bananas and cucumbers?
Just wanted to drop a note thanking you for making us all aware that some stores out there sell "three-dimensional devices" designed to be used in sexual ways. Keep up the good work and maybe law enforcement will finally act to rid us of these vile places.
I, for one, am glad you're doing this. I'd much prefer my young daughter explores her sexuality with whatever she can find around the house. There are always bottles, bananas, and I can't even think what all that she can use instead.
There's no health risk involved in using a banana instead though, right?
I can believe that a town in Mississippi still criminalizes the sale of sex toys, and I can believe that a spotlight-hog TV reporter staged a ratings grab about the sale of sex toys, and I can even believe that the local law enforcement ruined her day by saying they had bigger crimes to prosecute. And I can completely understand why anyone opposed to this cheap theatrical stunt would protest by sending their used sex toys to Kandiss Crone, c/o WLBT 3 News, 715 South Jefferson Street, Jackson, Mississippi, 39201. But I cannot believe that the reporter works for a station whose call letters shout out to lesbians, bisexuals, and trannies. That part, Dan, you must have made up. Right?
I mean, come on, the truth doesn't write itself like that.
Couple of comments on the Crone piece: First, she's been a reporter there since June 2007, so she probably doesn't have a great deal of say in her assignments. Not that this excuses her for being a good little soldier, but her fucktard of an editor could probably use some surplus three-dimensional devices of his own. Also, the greatest irony about the whole situation from this (relatively) humble attorney's perspective is that by showing it afterward to the store owner, the cops, and untold numbers of Concerned Viewers, Crone was herself in apparent violation of the statute, which declares that a "person commits the offense of distributing unlawful sexual devices when he knowingly sells, advertises, publishes, or EXHIBITS to any person any three-dimensional device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs, or offers to do so, or possesses such devices with the intent to do so."
Although the following statute provides an exemption for teeveenewz reporters, that only applies "where the signal transmitting the material or performance originates outside of the state of Mississippi." As WLBT-3's antenna is located outside of Raymond in Hinds County, Mississippi, Ms. Crone could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to a $5,000 fine and six months in the can for displaying some slick purple head. Luckily for her, I happen to know a damn good attorney.
The Latex Lawyer