Barr defends 'crush' videos 

Sex, guns & washed-up rockers -- now it's fetish porn

Ever heard of "crush" videos? No? Well, that's probably a good thing. But allow me to enlighten you anyway. "Crush" videos involve the videotaping of scantily clad women in high-heeled shoes who torture, mutilate, and kill small animals. The videos are produced for the gratification of a fetishist audience of severely mentally disturbed enthusiasts estimated to number no more than 2,000 people worldwide.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, "Why would Jeff Berry be wasting my time with an essay about such disgusting stuff? How is this a political issue?"

Well, it's a political issue because 7th District Rep. Bob Barr voted late last year against a measure to make the production and sale of these outrageous and disgusting videotapes a federal crime. He even argued passionately in a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee against federal interference in the practice. By his actions, Barr vigorously endorsed the practice of videotaping the torturing and killing of domestic animals for the purposes of sexual gratification.

Whether you are liberal or conservative, Barr's vote is beyond human decency.

The Republican-sponsored measure, H.R. 1887 -- made necessary by a dearth of local laws against the bizarre activity -- passed the House with ease, and was quickly ratified by unanimous consent in the Senate. President Clinton signed it into law on Dec. 9 of last year. The only other Georgia congressman to vote against the measure was the notoriously cantankerous Rep. Charlie Norwood, who almost always votes against any new law, regardless of its merits.

But Barr, who has scratched and clawed his way to prominence in right-wing fringe politics, has outdone himself this time. Never mind that Georgia's self-anointed defender of "family values" has already been revealed to have a rather checkered past, including three marriages, allegations of serial adultery, and most hypocritical of all, arranging an abortion. The congressman has emerged unscathed from those revelations.

But this matter is indefensible. No amount of pseudo-federalist libertarian jargon is going to rationalize his vote on H.R. 1887.

Remember folks, we're not talking about garden-variety porno here. These aren't depictions of consenting adults engaged in kinky sex acts. We're talking about real sicko stuff, the kind of material that has absolutely no redeeming social value. We're talking about Jeffrey Dahmer kind of stuff.

And it just gets weirder.

Just two weeks ago in Marietta, Bob Barr enthusiastically received the fund-raising support of rock icon Ted Nugent, the supremely obscene and gun-obsessed wildman from the arena-rock days of the '70s. You may remember Nugent's biggest hit, a lengthy FM-style jam called "Stranglehold," in which Nugent revels in his fantasy of strangling and beating a woman. You may also remember Nugent's on-stage banter, which included misogynistic language that would make a gangsta rapper blush.

Barr's association with Nugent comes as a result of both men holding seats on the National Rifle Association's board of directors. These two bizarre bedfellows have become so close that Barr recently penned an awkward but enthusiastic review of Nugent's new book, God, Guns, and Rock and Roll -- a profanity-laden tale of crazed right-wing fanaticism and hackneyed rock 'n' roll clichés. In this tome, Nugent wallows in his own filthy excesses, subtracting significantly from Rep. Barr's dwindling reserve of dignity.

I may be a Democrat, but -- contrary to Republican dogma -- I believe firmly in family values, and I think that it is inappropriate and undignified for a congressman to associate himself with people like Ted Nugent and the producers of pornographic animal "crush" videos. But Bob Barr seems to think that it's perfectly acceptable.

I wonder what the voters will think in November?


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