Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Boss Wants To Boss Carolinians About Restrooms ... But Demands Private Potty and Shower on Tour

North Carolina's recently enacted bathroom bill is causing quite a stench.

PayPal reacted by announcing that it would drop plans for a processing center in the States ... while providing no indication that it would discontinue doing business in Saudi Arabia, where homosexual acts are punishable by the death penalty.

San Francisco and Washington, DC, and New York announced bans on nonessential travel by government employees to the State ... taxpayers in those jurisdictions can send thank you notes for the savings to my attention.

But, and more disappointing to folks who don't really care whether they're listening to good rock and roll or great rock and roll, Bruce Springsteen announced the cancellation of his scheduled April 10th show in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Bruce announced his cancellation on the front page of his website, Here's a screen capture:

Springsteen objects to the State of North Carolina correcting a change in the law that the City of Charlotte attempted to foist on its citizens, including businesses that transact business with the City or that provide services inside the City. Charlotte opened fire with its sweeping ordinance changes, which included striking down this section of the existing Charlotte Ordinance:
Sec. 12-59. - Prohibited sex discrimination. 
(a) It shall be unlawful to deny a person, because of sex, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a restaurant, hotel, or motel. 
(b) This section shall not apply to the following: 
(1) Restrooms, shower rooms, bathhouses and similar facilities which are in their nature distinctly private. 
(2) YMCA, YWCA and similar types of dormitory lodging facilities. 
(3) A private club or other establishment not, in fact, open to the public.
Yes, that's right. The Charlotte Ordinance used to permit sex-based discrimination on access to restrooms, shower rooms, bathhouses, similar facilities, YMCAs, YWCAs, similar lodging facilities, and private clubs. The change in the Charlotte ordinance stripped privately owned businesses of the power to maintain separate toileting and showering facilities, and lodging facilities, based on sex. You know those days, when there were "Men's Rooms" and "Women's Rooms" at restaurants, movie theaters, clubs, and the like. Charlotte stripped out from its laws the exemption allowing separate facilities.

That is what provoked the State to act.

I realize there are hard cases out there. I understand that there are individuals who suffer a kind of body dysmorphia, and do not feel themselves to be the gender that their plumbing suggests that they are. And, candidly, I have never been one to check other folks in the restroom I am using to make sure that we are all just guys here. (Of course, former House Speaker, Denny Hastert, with his recliner set where he could look into the shower stalls in the boys locker room at the high school where he was the wrestling coach proves that some folks will do just that.)

Some of what is at play here, it seems to me, is not so much whether someone who identifies as male is using the men's restroom, but that someone who identifies as male is demanding the right to be told it is okay to use the men's bathroom despite obvious, well, equipment issues. The same, of course, would hold for the transgendered born in a man's body but identifying as a female. There is a meme circulating on the web these days suggesting that we have all likely used the same public restroom facilities at the same time with a transgendered person. I happen to think that is likely true. So the controversy isn't really over the fact of such uses. It is, as I suggested, over a demand for recognition of the right to do so.

Now, about Bruce Springsteen.

Well folks who are from below the Mason-Dixon Line, we are often viewed as the backward stepchildren of the Nation. So we are privileged to be taught right from wrong by the likes of the Boss and his E Street Band.

Well, we would be taught right from wrong, if, of course, they demonstrated this new openness and gentleness they find shockingly absent in the potty law.

Evidence exists, however, to the contrary. Evidence that damns Bruce's teaching. Evidence that Bruce values privacy in the potty and the shower. Evidence that he values that same privacy for his wife, for his kids, for his band mates.

The Smoking Gun website has gathered special conditions riders from many famous performers over the years. For example, they have the rider showing that Luciano Pavarotti required venues to provide him with a golf cart for transportation within venues and they also have the rider showing that Van Halen required M&Ms as part of their "munchies" but warned venues "absolutely no brown ones."

As it happens, the Smoking Gun received the Bruce Springsteen rider for its 2002 tour. And it is in the rider that Springsteen's hypocrisy is revealed. There, Ts crossed and Is dotted, Bruce demands private potty and showering facilities for himself, and the same for his wife, and for the E Street Band. He also demands a private potty for his kids, who get their own backstage room. Here's that rider excerpt:

You can see that excerpt, and the riders for his wife, for the band, and for his kids, on the Smoking Gun's website here.

A wag once said that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

Springsteen's hypocrisy is to demand of you what he does not demand for himself, that you surrender concern for those joining you in the bathroom and in the shower. I'm all for learning, but I think I'll wait for another teacher.