My first reaction to this Huffington Post story, the front-page headline of which referenced only sex-shop purchases and not the issue of misspent taxpayer funds (at least it did when I first saw it; it's apparently not linked from the front page at all anymoree), was “so what if he bought something at a sex shop? People have sex, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” Then I saw that the story was about a mayor improperly taking about $154 thousand in improper expense payments (he owes the town about $170 thousand, but that includes interest and investigative costs), and I thought, “well, there’s certainly something wrong with that.” Then I noticed that the sex-shop complaint only accounted for a relatively trivial $67 of the total (about 0.04 percent, if my cypherin’ is correct), but… OMG! It was at a gay sex shop, and, setting aside the misappropriation of public funds, there’s nothing wrong with shopping at a gay sex shop, per se.
Now, my own town is in the midst of a controversy regarding a former mayor who paid himself — improperly, many of us believe — a big chunk of self-determined extra compensation, so I’m far from sympathetic to mayors who dip into the public till. And while Jackson, Miss., mayor Greg Davis doesn’t need to apologize to anyone for being gay, he does need to apologize for hypocritically hiding behind the façade of a straight (married) “conservative” lifestyle for purposes of getting elected (and, in 2008, running for Congress). He probably should resign, as it appears Jackson’s Board of Aldermen may ask him to do today. All that said, though, highlighting a $67 purchase at Priape (even briefly) as the headline, instead of the tiny, relatively unimportant detail is actually is, strikes me as pandering to both sex-negative and homophobic impulses.
Shame on you, HuffPo!