Rebecca Morean

Turning Over Stones

Rebecca Morean

Rebecca Morean
Yellow Springs, Ohio,
April 25
Associate Professor
Sinclair Community College and The Antioch Writers' Workshop
Novelist and mom. Dog walker and goat milker. Warrior against the ravages of ignorance (and time). Addicted to popcorn and sea coasts. Loves Rocks. (Also known as Abbey Pen Baker for one particular series.)


Rebecca Morean's Links

My Links
SEPTEMBER 5, 2011 12:16AM

Touchdown Strippers

Rate: 6 Flag


Irony is a bitch.  Or maybe, after all, it’s the male equivalent. 


In mid August I took my two youngest children 17 and 13 to Disney World for two days and then on to my cousin’s house in Boca Raton.  Many of my friends who don’t own televisions were appalled I would take my children to a mouse driven icon of materialism.  I think these people must fly.  A lot.  Because, clearly, if they had driven they would have identified a more potent danger than the allure of gift shops, sanitized streets and exhausted families.  


We packed the car and drove from Yellow Springs, Ohio to Orlando in 18 hours. I had to drive because plane tickets were out of the question: $1800 for the three of us to fly and that was more than my budget for the entire week away.  I drove because I am a single mom with diminishing income every child’s eighteenth birthday.  I drove because, after the launch of the two older children, I can’t sell the four bedroom albatross I no longer need but used to require. I drove because my kids are good at road trips and I always stop for bathroom breaks.  Plus they get snacks I don’t usually buy. 


So we drove south.  Into the South.  I, a northerner all my life, living in California then Vermont, was only once in Arkansas, with my (then) husband to adopt our son. I stayed two weeks, just little John and me and Star Trek Next Generation. I remember people there were all so nice, and the frozen yogurt, tasty. But I flew that time.  


Being in a car, you get to see gas stations, small towns and billboards.  And there are many, many billboards along Interstate 75 South.  Among them:  Get the Progressives Out of Office, Vote. Take Back Our Country, and Get Liberals Out of the White House.   


These were not yard signs.  These were giant billboards, bigger than my kitchen, lining Interstate 75.  Though privately outraged and fantasizing about gasoline cans and matches, I understood some rich person with a bizarrely atrophied sense of social responsibility had invested in his or her right to free speech.  Fine.    


But it didn’t end there.  Tennessee, Georgia and even northern Florida turned out to be shamelessly checkered with billboards so wrung with irony my brain numbed.  There was the pregnant woman, head bent down in shame and in the foreground, a muscular old white man with a flowing snowy beard and hair pointing at her.  Below this echoed: "I knew You Before I Made You in the Womb"—God.    As if this were a direct quote.


Then we passed a second one of a cute burbling baby with a bow on her head: My heartbeat began at 18 days.  The kicker was that sandwiched between the two, not thirty feet apart was a billboard proclaiming Strippers: Need We Say More?   Or how about Asia Pen, an establishment offering 100% Asian girls?   

Cora, my 17 year old, who is Korean, sat in the car, mute, furious.  I suggested she write the good Governor of Georgia a letter and ask if it would be dandy if billboards offered 100% African Girls, or 100% Jewish Girls, or 100% Swedish Girls, just like some of the restaurant billboards offered 100% Angus burgers. Instead, she took a picture.   My son, thankfully, slept through most of Georgia. 

It was all a bizarre sex sandwich—the tease of strip joints wedged between no choice outcomes.  And this, not in privacy of a bedroom laptop or on in back of Hustler.  No.  All on a strip of asphalt, an Interstate, mind you, our taxes support.  We counted 46 billboards in Georgia alone, neatly halved between bawdy calls for strip joints and rallying cries for anti-choice. 


Hell, yes, you need to say more.  


God zapped our famous Ohio touchdown Jesus a year ago.  Those billboards better be next.   

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
You said it right!
I have seen those billboards many times and it curled then fried my brain. I hate that part of this system that allows signs like that to be out where "families" can see them. I use to drive the interstate and I've seen them for a long time, it came to the point where when your eyes saw them you diverted them to stay on the highway because if you do keep looking at them you want to blow them up and then laugh.
I use to drive a truck across country and the things I saw were ... well pretty much along the same lines, but Georgia and parts of Florida applied freedom the wrong way far tooooo much.
Billboards advertising women are bad enough, but bringing it down to a race is worse. I agree 100%. Isn't that racism?? Hum. Yes it is.
Did you happen to see any billboards advertising men? I think not, but it might be around the ugly courner one day. It seems we can't stop them. That is really sad. I feel for our children. I feel for this country.
Thank you for writing this statement. It's true and shameful.
Have a better day today.
Hysterical, in a frightening way.
sad descriptor of America at it's absolute worse.
Roadside documentation of our society's race to the bottom.....what's that bumper-sticker adage: if we are not outraged, we're not paying attention! Thanks for this alert to another aspect of America the Beautiful.
Unfortunately - sex sells no matter what the cost. Something that I think is a personal thing between the two lovers and is no one else's business. We must come up something of our own to sell to combat this. Rated with a Jali Smile. :-)
And these billboards (representing the hardening conservative oppression of all facets that allow free thinking and "Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness"), sums up why in January of 2000, my husband & I packed up our dog, small child and half of our belongings to move to CA without jobs or a home because it had to be better life for us all...and it is.
Painfully, I feel it is important to see what is the reality of others in our country. United we stand, united we fall. Without dialogue how can we stand?
Sassy, sarcastic, and saucy. Loved it. Wanted to hear more about Kora's reaction. It makes me sick to think of her looking at those. You write with wit and awareness -- what a combination!
I did not know irony was glad to have learned something today. Great post BTW.
This was really great, on SO many levels!
Ah, the price we pay for freedom of speech. How schizoid!
Who says we don't live in a pluralistic society?

The presence of $tripper$ in God's Country is oddly comforting.