California Politician Discovers That You Can't Ban Specific Type Of Music; Admits 'I Didn't Know What Was Going On'

from the no-pacifiers! dept

Sinan Unur points us to a story about California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, who last year totally and completely overreacted to the news that a teenager died at a rave, by introducing legislation that tried to completely ban raves. After finding fierce opposition to the law (leading another politician to talk about the power of the “rave lobby”), Ma changed her legislation and somewhat candidly admits that she only learned after she introduced the bill that the government isn’t allowed to ban types of music:

“We found out later on that, Constitutionally, you can not ban a type of music,” said Ma. “Plus, I, like my opponents said, I didn’t really know what was going on.”

It’s really quite incredible to see a politician admit such a thing.

But seriously, if you’re an elected official and you only learn later that (a) you can’t ban a type of music and (b) that you were trying to legislate without knowing a damn thing about what you were legislating, perhaps it’s time to find a more productive line of work. One that doesn’t impact the lives of others.

Ma admits that she finally went to a rave herself, and it wasn’t that bad. However, she still felt the need to “do something!!!!” and ended up getting a bizarre law passed in California that bans certain events on state property… but part of that is that it bans things that she saw at a rave, and assumes are associated with raves: gloves with lights on them, walking around with stuffed animals, and most bizarre: no pacifiers. You see her talk about this — and she seems really proud of the pacifier bit — at 4:20 in the video above. The statement there is so bizarre, and so out of touch, it’s really funny. She gets all worked up about how a rave must be just like an old fashioned concert, in the most condescending tone possible. Here’s the quote, but honestly, you have to see her say it to really do it justice:

“You can’t wear gloves with lights. You can’t walk around with stuffed animals. All the things with rave culture… the promoters have tried to break down, and make it more like a concert, where people go to a concert to enjoy themselves. And not have things that traditionally, in the past, are associated with raves. No pacifiers! Nobody was allowed to have… um… pacifiers in their mouths.”

Of course, we can add this to the long line of ridiculous moral panics from clueless politicians. In the future, perhaps people will include Ma’s ridiculous quotes, along with the warnings about the evils of the waltz:

The indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced … at the English Court on Friday last … It is quite sufficient to cast one’s eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs, and close compressure of the bodies … to see that it is far indeed removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is … forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.

And remember, no pacifiers!

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Comments on “California Politician Discovers That You Can't Ban Specific Type Of Music; Admits 'I Didn't Know What Was Going On'”

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94 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

And remember, no pacifiers!

So will we see babies at state events patted down and their pacifiers confiscated now? Will small children be tazed for carrying around their dangerous stuffed animals and spreading rave culture? This is a perfect example of why politicians need to wait for the drugs from their ‘research’ to wear off before writing legislation.

Lord Binky says:

Re: Re: Raves?

It is much better for these kids to grind their teeth down to nub, fracture their teeth and jaws, or in the more ambitious of partakers who fail to notice their temporary compulsion has them chew through their lips or mouth. It is well known that in codger-logic if you remove the accessories, the issue is solved especially when it makes the activity more dangerous. Just remember, this is for the children…..who survive.

PaulT (profile) says:

Hmmm… reminds me of something.. oh yeah:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Justice_and_Public_Order_Act_1994

I can happily conclude that this ended all raves and similar events in the UK and successfully outlawed any related types of music. Every type of behaviour associated with raves, ranging from glowsticks to ecstasy to furry boots and flashing dummies (pacifiers, if you must) disappeared the moment the law was passed.

/sarc

xenomancer (profile) says:

Uhhhhhh

Wait, wait, wait… She admitted she was completely wrong in how she was approaching the situation AND in how she was attempting to resolve her moral queasiness. So, how the hell does she get away with the SAME EXACT CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION in her revised law? Yes, I’m making the argument that a pacifier, LED gloves, and stuffed animals could plausibly be construed as protected speech. Also, her new law is completely impotent outside of state property, where most raves actually occur. She’s done nothing to protect anyone. NOTHING!!! Next time I see someone killed by a stuffed animal I may eat some crow, but until then I say she has a severe case of the head-up-ass-itis that’s been spreading around the government recently (and there’s probably a huge pile of sand in there for her to burrow her head into as well).

Trails (profile) says:

Re: Uhhhhhh

Replace “could plausibly” with “most definitely”. While wearing a pacifier or carrying a stuffed animal may not be hugely sopphisticated speech, that’s not the point. Further, the gov’t can only abridge the freedoms of the people with justifiable cause. Preventing people from wearing LED gloves doesn’t stop people from taking ecstasy. At all.

It’s moronic. It’s overbearing, and it accomplishes nothing. The good news is that Susan Ma admitted on camera she didn’t “know what was going on” when she legislated something, which is excellent fodder for attack ads against her, so we can hope her political carrier comes to a grinding halt.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Uhhhhhh

>>So, how the hell does she get away with the SAME EXACT CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION in her revised law?

Obviously you are not part of the music industry, otherwise this would be clear to you. If you start making some types of music illegal then you cut into industry profits and available campaign funding. In that case it is legitimate to appeal to constitutional issues. If something only involves personal expression then you are just a whining pirate. /sarcasm

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Uhhhhhh

She managed to drive the event from CA, now its in Vegas. I don’t remember any sort of uproar over it coming here. We even had the Fox news local affiliate hype up the revenue it brought. However, with everything else going on in this town no one even noticed.

So, yeah it performed its job admirably. It got those damn ravers out of her town/state for a while.

Anonymous Coward says:

But seriously, if you’re an elected official and you only learn later that (a) you can’t ban a type of music and (b) that you were trying to legislate without knowing a damn thing about what you were legislating, perhaps it’s time to find a more productive line of work. One that doesn’t impact the lives of others.

Admitting mistakes and trying to learn from them is better than believing you can do no wrong and lashing out at anyone who tries to prove otherwise.
If more elected officials had that seemingly basic ability, Bradley Manning would be a free man today.

fogbugzd says:

Re: Re: Re:

Politicians caught in the heat of a moral panic always grasp at the externals and miss the point. Next up: California lawmakers eradicate measles by making it illegal to wear red spots. In a related note, ASCAP points out that pacifers are often used during raves and sucked in time with the music thus creating a public performance. California lawmakers rush to impose a you-must-be-a-criminal tax on pacifiers.

Anonymous Coward says:

I love raves, but ill go ahead and admit that I find the pacifier thing slightly creepy. I wouldn’t try to ban it, cause I understand that when you are on ecstasy I’m sure sucking on a pacifier is awesome. I’ve never seen someone with a stuffed animal at a rave but I’ve seen many people dressed AS animals. This whole thing is just a poignant example of how out of touch politicians are.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: The Pacifier

Ah, the pacifier. Giving an infantile appearance to possibly underage girls (and often, boys). Troubling.

BUT. The pacifier serves a purpose. A purpose not unlike it’s intended purpose: to give the mouth something to do.

Sucking on a pacifier is presumably awesome when on Ecstasy. (I say “presumably” because I’ve never tried either.) Of course, lots of things are awesome on Ecstasy. Like curling up in the bassbin. Or trying to figure out where your ride went.

But back to the original point: when on Ecstasy, your mouth needs something to do. The Brits have a great word for it. “Gurning.”

Because of the amphetamine content in most, if not all, Ecstasy (it’s a cheap cutting agent), the user’s jaw tends to clench up and without the use of a pacifier (or gum, another popular, but more internal, pacifier), much gnashing of teeth would ensue.

So, much like everything else at a rave, including the LED gloves, the pacifier is a tool, for lack of a better word. (The LED lights allow you to amuse yourself and others for hours on end, depending on battery life.)

Additional fun fact: because speed was used to cut Ecstasy, the amped-up club kids began demanding faster and faster beats, which lead to the breakneck breakbeats of the early 90’s, as heard in action on (most prominently) Prodigy’s “Music for a Jilted Generation.” The older, more sedate beats just couldn’t keep up with this blend of hallucinogens and amphetamines.

Additional not so fun fact: Ecstasy also makes you incredibly dehydrated, which is why you’ll see many ravers drinking nothing but water all night long. Unscrupulous promoters and club owners have been known to shut of the water in the restrooms in order to force their E’ed-up patrons to buy $6 bottles of water. People like this should be given a guidebook entitled “How to See the Sahara on $6 a Day” and dropped off in the dead center.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Crap, if you think techno started in the 90s in Germany, you need to set your watch back to 80s Detroit… Influenced by Kraftwerk admittedly.

My opinion of these video among others linked: fucking awesome. Your opinion might differ but they predate what most Americans call “techno” at least, for the most part…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avj9V-fU4mY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCXOBIH6fOw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpQ_ZtngcdA&feature=related

Anonymous Coward says:

I bet she’s a politician who thinks she always has to be combating some new moral menace in order motivate people to come out and vote for her.

It wouldn’t be the first time politicians have campaigned against some non-existent moral threat, such as Sharia law in America, as if 2% of the population can somehow force their religion upon the rest of us.

xenomancer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I honestly tried to come up with a decent list. Then I struck algorithmic gold when I let go of the pretense that politicians are basically decent human beings just trying to get through the day like the rest of us. To that end, I give you the core of my loop:

void Print(string name_of_politician, string reason_for_cluelessness){
cout << name_of_politician & ” is clueless because ” & reason_for_cluelessness;
}

To build your own list simply pass the name of any given politician for the name_of_politician argument and bang your head on the keyboard for the reason_for_cluelessness argument.

Honestly, I find it hard not to think of most politicians as clueless. Sure, there are a few great people trying to do good for those they represent. But, they are far and few between the execrable corpuscles I see spewing bilious fodder between grandstanding gestures of grandeur these days.

pahosler (profile) says:

I once had a neighbor that sold X to folks. I would see people going into his place all the time with pacifiers in their mouths. I naturally had to ask why all these grown people going in and out of his apartment were sucking on pacifiers! He told me that people that use X tend to grind their teeth and the pacifier helps to keep from wearing their teeth down to their gums.

That was nearly ten years ago. Now I see the pacifier thing every where. Even when I take my kids roller skating, the rink concession stand sells blinking LED pacifiers. My kids wanted them because they looked “cool” and the other kids had them. Sorry, but you aren’t allowed to have a new binky until you are addicted to drugs! Of course I don’t allow my kids to wear their pants below their asses either, at least not until they are in prison and can advertise the need for anal sex in the proper environment. I know, I know, I’m a horrible parent.

pahosler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

you know what annoys me? X! The frigging first letter of the drug is E! Ecstasy, right? Why do Yanks call it X when it’s clearly E????

It might have something to do with the fact that when it was becoming popular here in the Colonies back in the mid 1980’s the popular street name was simply X, and I have seen it spelled Xtasy or even eXtasy clearly emphasizing the “X”.

Now back to your beans and toast you Limey!

no one in particular says:

Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:34am

The sad thing is that every generation suffers for the follies of politicians. The truth is children as young as 11 have already had sex tried prescription drugs been drunk and sent pictures of themselves naked to a boyfriend or girlfriend it is not the music it is not the setting it really comes down to the parents

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:34am

For what its worth, I’ll throw this in about parenting:
I’m a 22 year old Irish male, and I have never had sex, used only prescription drugs (while ill of course, but generally I hate the thought of taking any kind of medicine), never been drunk (have had about 3 cans in my entire life) and have never ‘sexted’.

What’s that? You think my parents must have been saints or something to get a lad this well behaved.
Ummm….no. They were complete monsters. Mother was an abusive b*tch and the father…let’s just say he should be kept well away from pre-teen girls at all times.

Just thought I’d share this with the people who often shout for better parenting. In the end, its the child who makes the choice to do good or bad. In my case, you can say I was the ultimate rebel, in that I went the complete opposite of my parents.

Onnala (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:34am

I have known people that have done all of the above, yet turn out just fine as well. They had a wild youth and a lot of fun, but end up setting down and having a family and kids.

However I can see that good parenting could help someone with a natural inclination to be bad, choose to be good instead.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 25th, 2011 @ 7:34am

Of course kids can still make it in other ways if the parents are deadbeats, kids certainly have other influences on them than just their parents and many psychologists say that young kids can get away with a single positive adult role model. The parents are the ones with the responsibility though, just hoping they luck out and the kid ends up ok despite them being deadbeat losers is not what I would call a good plan.

Overcast (profile) says:

“We found out later on that, Constitutionally, you can not ban a type of music,” said Ma. “Plus, I, like my opponents said, I didn’t really know what was going on.”

I suspect most TechDirt bloggers/commenters were already WELL aware of this.
Does that mean that the defacto blogger out on the intarwebz is more qualified for political office than the candidates in them now?

Yes, I do think that’s the case. Day after day, we get more evidence of that, in massive supply. There is no shortage of supply of political idiocy, not even a slight one.

But I will give credit where it’s due – at least one comments of hers seems to be accurate, “I didn’t really know what was going on.”

Prof Allen (profile) says:

Let's do the math...

So, there were 10,000 people at one event on one day.

That even was held for 6 years.

That’s the equivalent of one person spending 60,000 days (over 164 years) somewhere.

And one person died.

It seems like raves are the safest place to be.

Now, the one teenager who died had drugs in her system. I’m sure that no teenager has ever taken drugs except at a rave, right?

I’m tempted to say: If our politicians were numerically literate, we would not have to put up with this.
But, the truth is that they know exactly what the numbers are. They are not mistaken. They are not stupid. They are evil.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Let's do the math...

“They don’t even say that she died *because* she had taken drugs. They only say that she had “ecstasy in her system”, which is a completely different thing.”

A little bit of my old British rave knowledge here, but the reason they say that is usually because the drug is rarely the primary cause of death. Most die from either heat exhaustion or water intoxication. That is, they either drank way too much water or didn’t rest enough because they and/or the people around them didn’t know how to use it relatively safely.

Of course, a politician would never admit that because: a) it’s not as easy to push “drugs are bad” point, and b) it would reveal that education about how to deal with the effects of drugs is what’s lacking, not the inherent effect of the drug itself.

Pjerky (profile) says:

Gotta love moronic politicians

I have always found it funny how politicians seem to think that events, activities, and cultures that they don’t like will just disappear whenever they write a law banning it or part of it. Most people have no clue what laws exist and what don’t and often when they find out about a ridiculous law they just ignore it. Laws like these are nearly impossible to enforce and highly impotent.

Also, this woman is a complete idiot and should be kicked out of office. But then again I feel that way about most politicians. In the end I think we would do better without the vast majority of them (and lawyers, and lobbyists).

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

“But seriously, if you’re an elected official and you only learn later that (a) you can’t ban a type of music and (b) that you were trying to legislate without knowing a damn thing about what you were legislating, perhaps it’s time to find a more productive line of work. One that doesn’t impact the lives of others.”

I disagree. We need more people like her in politics. I don’t mean the learning about the Constitution after introducing legislation part. I mean the learning about the Constitution and doing some research before voting. Yes, we would all like them to do research and think before introducing legislation, but that’s not going to happen. So kudo to Ma for clearing the low bar. Most of her colleagues can’t even do that.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You mean to say that Assemblywoman Ma is justified in trying to banning pacifiers, LED gloves and stuffed animals at rave parties? Let me repeat that list for you: pacifiers, LED gloves and stuffed animals. Once again, the list of dangerous items that apparently lead to drug use: pacifiers, LED gloves and stuffed animals… I don’t really care about the tone of the article. The facts themselves are completely absurd. How is it the government’s business if I want to suck on a pacifier, while carrying my stuffed animals and wearing LED gloves? This is a completely unwarranted and stupid intrusion into people’s lives.

Anonymous Coward says:

But seriously, if you’re an elected official and you only learn later that (a) you can’t ban a type of music and (b) that you were trying to legislate without knowing a damn thing about what you were legislating, perhaps it’s time to find a more productive line of work. One that doesn’t impact the lives of others.

Then there would be no laws, no lawmakers, and no politicians whatsoever… wait, that’s a good idea.

Anonymous Coward says:

I do not think it means what you think it means

Did anyone actually read this law before commenting? I don’t see any mention of pacifiers or stuffed animals in the text of the original bill, any of the amended versions, or the bill as passed. You can track the history at http://info.sen.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_74&sess=CUR&house=B&site=sen. While admittedly the original bill was silly (and pretty clearly unconstitutional), the act as passed just says if a state agency is planning a big event on state property, the agency has to assess the danger and may require the promoter to implement an “event action plan.”

That doesn’t sound nearly crazy enough to be a result of the political process, though, does it? Unless… maybe this is a case where the political process … worked pretty well?

… nah.

Renee Marie Jones says:

Clueless politicians

Well, you kinda have to expect this. Republicans firmly believe that you can decide any issue strictly from believe and ideology without any thought or even knowledge of the thing you are legislating. It’s part of the hatred of intelligence and learning that permeates American society. This is what you get.

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