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Yer drawls are showin!
February 10, 2005 7:23 AM   Subscribe

"This is the police, pull 'em up!" Perhaps feeling pressure from Louisiana to keep pace in the stupid laws arms race, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 60-34 on Tuesday to impose a $50 fine on anyone found wearing pants low enough that a substantial portion of undergarments is showing. The bill (still pending in the Virginia Senate), introduced by Virginia Beach fashion maven Algie Howell, has attracted international attention and charges of racism.
posted by casu marzu (42 comments total)

 
the Virginia House of Delegates voted 60-34 on Tuesday to impose a $50 fine on anyone found wearing pants low enough that a substantial portion of undergarments is showing

What about the butt crack? Does this law prohibit the display of crack, or were they afraid of antagonizing the powerful and monied plumber faction?
posted by orange swan at 7:30 AM on February 10, 2005


The great unintended consequence is this measure is easily defeated by just not wearing underwear. Probably not what the House was after.
posted by Mitheral at 7:34 AM on February 10, 2005


One step forward, two steps back.
posted by tweak at 7:38 AM on February 10, 2005


Well, this proves two things: a) Republicans aren't really in favor of smaller government, and b) Democrats aren't really in favor of personal liberty.
posted by sotonohito at 7:41 AM on February 10, 2005


While I personally think anyone who wears their pants low enough to show a substantial portion of undergarments is an asshat, I think Virginian lawmakers have better uses of their time.

Are whale tails 'substantial'?
posted by DBAPaul at 7:46 AM on February 10, 2005


Are you calling my ass "substantial?" Cause that's rude.
posted by sourwookie at 7:53 AM on February 10, 2005


The Virginia Plumbers Union surrenders.
posted by jonmc at 7:57 AM on February 10, 2005


The law is ridiculous, but I've lived in Virginia for years and the majority of the people I see with baggy pants at halfmast are White. Will Whites call 'racial profiling' if they're ticketed? How can Lionell Spruill so casually jump to accusations of Racism when there is no mention of race or profiling in the wording of the law?
posted by dhoyt at 7:58 AM on February 10, 2005


This is one of those post-election, pre-sanity laws that gets put through the legislature by some of the more colorfully outspoken elected officials. You have to have at least on in every governing body, otherwise you are obviously not truly a representative democracy because you don't represent the portion of the population that thinks thier morals are better than everyone else's and need to be enforced on others "for their own good".

Jack holes.


And yes, I live in VA.
posted by daq at 8:03 AM on February 10, 2005


The Virginia Plumbers Union surrenders.
posted by jonmc at 7:57 AM PST on February 10


Haha!
Beat me to it!
Do butt cracks even count or is it just underwear that's vulgar and offensive? I've seen some pretty cute thongs showing!
posted by nofundy at 8:08 AM on February 10, 2005


What if someone wears their pants at typical height, but has their thong strap pulled up?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:12 AM on February 10, 2005


Lucky for them they don't have any real problems that need to be dealt with.
posted by chunking express at 8:17 AM on February 10, 2005


Since thongs are insubstantial, I can't see how someone wearing one can be accused of showing a "substantial portion of undergarment".
posted by orange swan at 8:17 AM on February 10, 2005


What if someone wears their pants at typical height, but has their thong strap pulled up?

That'd be a Whale Tail
posted by DBAPaul at 8:21 AM on February 10, 2005


Y'know, I'm a skinny guy, and pants tend to run baggy on me so sometimes my shorts show. I'm not making any kind of fashion statement, in fact I find that whole look kind of cheesy. I guess I'll have to avoid Virginia on road trips, now. *sigh*
posted by jonmc at 8:23 AM on February 10, 2005


Displaying your thong would also be illegal. Cracks remain legal.

I'm so embarrassed that this has been introduced by a Democrat. I run the Virginia Family Values PAC, and I'm in the business of targeting crazy legislators who pass ludicrous laws, but they've always been Republicans.

It's likely that this bill was introduced by Howell to curry favor with his constituents, an older group who would love to see respect for them on the part of "those damned kids" codified in law. I suspect that he figured it would die in committee, or certainly never make it through a floor vote. The fact that it's survived to crossover (when the Senate and House trade bills and vote [or don't] on the other's) is amazing.

The good news is that the Virginia House of Delegates is largely a freakshow -- it's run by loopy Republicans who hate the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and love the idea of a nanny state of which they are in charge. Any nutty bill can get through. The State Senate, on the other hand, is very bipartisan, civilized, and reasonable. I'll be surprised if this so much as gets a floor vote in the Senate. It'll never pass.
posted by waldo at 8:23 AM on February 10, 2005


I'd love to see a demonstration/march against this...
no, wait, scratch that...
posted by hellbient at 8:34 AM on February 10, 2005


How can Lionell Spruill so casually jump to accusations of Racism when there is no mention of race or profiling in the wording of the law?

Because if this law were to pass - and waldo is right, it won't - enforcement of the law would be at the discretion of local jurisdictions. Which means that rich white kids in Chantilly could drop their drawers as far as they want and never be hassled by the law, while black kids in Hampton Roads and Richmond would find themselves regularly harrased about their Sean John and FUBU.

Equal application and equal enforcement are two very different things.
posted by junkbox at 8:35 AM on February 10, 2005


I'd love to see a demonstration/march against this...

With Madonna as the poster girl.
posted by orange swan at 8:39 AM on February 10, 2005


Another stupid law here in Virginia (this one likely to pass) is the establishment of a "Traditional Marriage" license plate. I took the liberty of mocking up how it would look on a car.

:)
posted by waldo at 9:06 AM on February 10, 2005


That's great, waldo. And I'm all smiles at the thought that if they DO bring in traditional marriage plates pro-gay marriage drivers will have lots of fun subverting the plates through the wonder of personalized license plate choices.

Not that it wouldn't be better to simply not have the "Traditional Marriage" license plates at all, but you know, every cloud has a silver lining, every stupid law its occasion for hilarious subversion...
posted by orange swan at 9:17 AM on February 10, 2005


What if someone wears their pants at typical height, but has their thong strap pulled up?

What if you're wearing those ultra short jogging shorts and your boxers are hanging out of the legs?

What about union-suits in public?!

So many questions. I hope the VA State Police are ready to set up a Bloomerknicker Task Force.
posted by tpl1212 at 9:23 AM on February 10, 2005


Well, this proves two things: a) Republicans aren't really in favor of smaller government, and b) Democrats aren't really in favor of personal liberty.

In other news, pigs are conspicuously failing to sprout wings and fly.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:29 AM on February 10, 2005


yeah, and so much for casual Fridays.

Fight the good fight Waldo...I couldn't hack Richmond after 8 years. The blue haired ladies that run the city seem to just get replaced by other blue haired ladies...
Best people anywhere though...
posted by hellbient at 9:35 AM on February 10, 2005


When underwear is illegal only criminals will wear underwear... or something like that.

Gonna have the police out with tape measures trying to establish what "substantial" is?

Long underwear and shorts.
posted by edgeways at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2005


This will never survive a court challenge. It's just politicians posturing, they know it's unconstitutional.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2005


Dear lord, they've effectively banned superheroes from Virginia! They're gonna be in so much trouble when Dr Fear gets out on parole...
posted by terpsichoria at 10:28 AM on February 10, 2005


I say again, U.S. Out of My Pants!
posted by obloquy at 10:46 AM on February 10, 2005


Simple defense: any garment worn in such a manner as to be visible is not an undergarment. That is, clothing not covered by other clothing is not under anything, hence not underwear.

This points out that the definition of underwear is at best unclear, and there is no definitive precedent for a judicial ruling on such a definition.

Say there's a man wearing nothing but a skimpy bikini-like thing. Does it make a difference whether or not to call it underwear, if the tag says "speedo" versus "ftl?" For all practical purposes, no. Manufacturer's intentions, "normal" use, etc., all are irrelevant.

"I meant for it to be like that, so it's not underwear, it's outerwear."

[and no, I don't like the style either, but that doesn't matter]
posted by yesster at 11:25 AM on February 10, 2005


I posted the "failed and laughed at" bill last April. This must be a serious problem in Lousiana. Tom Ridge is available, maybe he can come up with a "buttcrack early warning system" with color codes and everything.
posted by Eekacat at 12:51 PM on February 10, 2005


oops


Maybe they should make a law against being a moron (noticing the second link. I SWEAR I clicked it....)
posted by Eekacat at 12:55 PM on February 10, 2005


What if you're wearing those ultra short jogging shorts and your boxers are hanging out of the legs?

What if, um, other things are hanging out of your ultra short shorts?
posted by Cyrano at 1:16 PM on February 10, 2005


Yes Virginia, there is a panty clause.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:41 PM on February 10, 2005 [1 favorite]


you know, this reminds me of a question someone i used to work with asked some people who followed this fashion ... "how do you run from the cops with your pants like that?"
posted by pyramid termite at 1:46 PM on February 10, 2005


Personally, I want gangbangers to be wearing their trousers down low. If I ever meet any in a dark alley, I'll be running hundreds of yards away, while they're still tripping over their pants.
posted by jonp72 at 2:01 PM on February 10, 2005


Crack kills! Wait a sec... what kind of crack are we talking about?
posted by jonp72 at 2:02 PM on February 10, 2005


Oh, man. Superman's going to be pissed when he hears about this.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:15 PM on February 10, 2005


Update : Bill pantsed by Virginia Senate.
posted by casu marzu at 2:31 PM on February 10, 2005


Any person who, while in a public place, intentionally wears and displays his below-waist undergarments

*sigh* Nothing like using nonsexist language in state laws . . . .
posted by JanetLand at 2:48 PM on February 10, 2005


Next thing they're going to make us cut off our queues ...
posted by Kevin1911 at 6:43 PM on February 10, 2005


weapons-grade pandemonium for the win!
posted by soyjoy at 9:07 PM on February 10, 2005


Emo kids beware.

(looks down at my own pants)

I suppose if I visited this state I could always go commando so that my whole ass was one show and not just my boxers.
posted by 13twelve at 5:00 AM on February 11, 2005


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