Monday, January 15, 2007

Be careful what you ask for

What was at issue with Ferndale's gay rights ordinance wasn't just its poor wording, but the difference between being tolerant and advertising tolerance. The former is virtuous and the latter is vain. Virtue doesn't call attention to itself or expect rewards. Virtue requires neither accommodation or plurality. Virtue does what is right because its attentions are on others and not itself. Virtue keeps close company with character, demonstrated by our actions when no one else is looking. Except for certain self-promoting politicians and activists and prior to the passing of Ferndale's superficial Human Rights Ordinance, Ferndale had demonstrated the character of its tolerance by the actions of its citizens, but now it has exchanged virtue for vanity.

Our reward for advertising tolerance for sexual preferences and allowing sexual preferences to define our city is our city's attractiveness to businesses catering to the prurient. And why shouldn't businesses catering to sexual proclivities assume Ferndale is a desirable location? Hasn't Ferndale for several years now actively lobbied to attract charities, organizations, and events that exist only to protect, cater-to, and promote lifestyles defined by their sexual nature?

We shouldn't be surprised that Chosen Books, an adult book store previously located in downtown Royal Oak specializing in gay pornography, chose Ferndale as the most desirable location for an expansion (2500+ square feet).

What is surprising is city council's unanimous opposition. At last Monday's council meeting all the board members, including Craig Covey, went on record expressing their dismay to the store's locating in Ferndale (on Hilton just N. of 9 Mile) and
vowed to make sure its pornographic merchandise remained less then 20% of its total retail floor space as required by zoning ordinances.

It is also surprising that city council would single-out Chosen Books as the target of some new-found moralism when multiple video stores in Ferndale already sell and rent pornographic movies (they're hidden in that section behind the new releases with a beaded curtain and a sign that reads "Adults Only"). Why does council think Chosen is different? The only feature markedly different about Chosen is its emphasis on gay-oriented pornography. But why would that offend a city council that seemed unanimously supportive of the gay rights ordinance? Don't gays deserve the same access to pornography everyone else enjoys?

Don't misunderstand, I am not in favor of Chosen coming to Ferndale, but I've been consistently opposed to defining Ferndale by any of its residents' sexuality. I would much rather have a Barnes & Nobel or Borders. But while Birmingham and Royal Oak focused on ordinances that improved their city's attractiveness to more-attractive retailers with business-friendly ordinances and plentiful parking, Ferndale passed a less-than-attractive human rights ordinance, ignored its parking, and wonders why it's stuck with Chosen at the Sadie Hawkins dance.


  1. Sadie Hawkins dance? C'mon.

  2. C'mon? I thought it was one of my more clever references, especially since it was consistent with the theme of the article.

    Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Where Ferndale and local politics are concerned I'm interested in your thoughts and opinions and am willing to discuss them here or elsewhere.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. You're a very talented writer.

    Montreal has the gay village, and so does Toront, so maybe that's what Ferndale was going for?