This election season has been the most highly charged in years — in more ways than one. In addition to being one of the most closely watched around the globe, it’s also been the most expensive. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics estimated that more than $2.4 billion was spent on the presidential election alone. The sex industry, realizing that perhaps they too had a stimulus package that the American people might be interested in, created dozens of politically-infused sex toys, videos and paraphernalia, inspiring a slew of terrible puns along the way. “Make this an
erection election to remember!” “Bypass the Bush and have some MILF.” “Emission accomplished!”
Certainly a lot of the hype associated with the political sex surge can be attributed to Vice-Presidential failure Sarah Palin, whose comparisons to Tina Fey and Satan earned her VPILF status and an impending major TV and book deal. It also earned her a career as a life-sized blow up doll. The “This is not Sarah Palin” love doll allows you to: “Cross party lines with your own inflatable running mate.” Works better when filled with hot air. Her sudden rise to infamy also made her an easy target for people like Hustler’s Larry Flynt, who gave the public a comic dose of Northern XXX-posure with his porn film “Nailin Paylin.” Also featured is a bi-racial lesbian threesome with Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice, some backdoor action with the Russians, and ongoing sexual commentary by “Bill O’Reilly.”
Palin wasn’t the only one from the GOP nominated for sex toy hall of shame status. The closeted Larry Craig, who was known for his
role in the un-ironically gay quartet “The Singing Senators” gay bathroom sex debacle in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. The St. Paul baseball team gave out 2,500 Larry Craig bobble foot toys – which feature a bathroom stall with two feet poking out of the bottom. The side of the toy says “For a good time call” – followed by the team’s ticket sales hotline. The toys sold on eBay with price tags as high as $152.
Then there was presidential hopeful John McCain, who has the sex appeal of a Swiffer mop sold on late night QVC. But even he didn’t escape. Babeland sex toy store in New York offered to give men a free “Maverick” penis sleeve for voting on election day: “Because that’s what our country needs right now: a magical solution to difficult problems,” said their website. They also gave away vibrators for the ladies, though thankfully not named anything like “Explore the Hills of Hillary” or “The Rice is Right: Condoleeza Double Dong.” Aside from the obvious humor potential these toys inspire, why is there sudden interest in pornifying politics?
In some cases, the symbolism is obvious. After eight years of getting fucked by Bush’s policies, Americans deserve to, um, poke fun at politicians in order to receive a little good-natured revenge. Witness the George Bush Butt Plug, whose ad reads: “This President will really f*** you up the butt. You’re already familiar with the sensation, so why not REALLY FEEL IT with our exclusive Presidential Pooper Plug.”
Is being memorialized as a butt plug a sufficient payback for the panoply of human rights violations for which the Bush administration is responsible? Like, oh say, invading Iraq and Afghanistan, for the terrible handling of New Orleans after Katrina, for reinstating the Global Gag Rule, torture, easing environmental regulations, warrantless wiretapping, racial profiling in the wake of 9/11, Guantanamo, etc? Hardly, but it is one small way in which we have learned to cope in the face of such atrocities.
How then does one explain this?
On the one hand, this IS America – land of consumerism and exploitation – and it seems that kitsch like the “Head O State” commemorative dildo was only a matter of time, especially in light of the Obamadness that has swept the nation since he made his riveting speech at the Democratic National Convention back in 2004. Americans now have someone to believe in, our faith has been reaffirmed in democracy and we can attest to some generational bragging rights. “Yes, I was THERE. I helped create this history!” Is it crass then, offensive even, to memorialize this historic moment with a $35 gold dildo? Or is it a testament to our entrepreneurial spirit? As the economy continues to crumble, people across the country are spend spend spending on everything Obama. Votive candles, thongs, toilet paper, wall hangings and yes, even sex toys. Stimulate the economy? Yes we can!
When I was growing up, one item on my “Things I Must Accomplish Before I Die” list was to be drawn as a character on The Simpsons. This, I thought, would surely guarantee my immortality. I knew I would never cure cancer or be featured in an inspirational quote calendar, so the only way for an average working class girl like me could achieve notoriety was to be on that show. I look at the sex toy craze in a similar way. People want to be a part of this amazing moment in time, especially those who feel they’ve been generally spurned by our government’s tendency to ignore everyone who’s not white, male and rich. So damn right we’re going to enjoy this moment. And if that translates to shoving a four-inch Bush caricature up your ass, then so be it.
God bless America.