There are few things in this world, the one we call “Las Vegas,” that are more obnoxious than the act of flipping business-card-sized advertisements of mostly naked women in the faces of locals and tourists walking on the Strip.
We would like to find the dunderheads who actually hire these “escorts” and beat them, not for the sin of illegally hiring a prostitute, but for encouraging the flip-flip-flip by the in-your-face jackasses peddling the services.
Fortunately for the legions of recent immigrants seeking entry-level work in the sex-trade advertising industry, the right to flick the little cards into your face at every opportunity is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. The old white men who wrote our Bill of Rights wisely realized that without constitutional protection, small-minded moralists would keep our streets and sidewalks clean of soft-core pornographic trash of the smallish size. So the flip-flip-flip goes on.
CityLife, of course, is a paper product of a larger version. It is about the same size and shape as many of the rather explicit catalogues for models “direct to your room!” that you can find on the Strip and in other commercial areas of our town. People may find the advertising for some services unnecessarily sexy, but they have at least one very important advantage: they do not involve short-statured people flip-flip-flipping the hooker ads in your face.
Why the connection? Because the Clark County Commission is considering a ban on news racks. County staff insists that the ban is not related to the often naughty if not downright nauseating content of the news racks - and here, we’re speaking only of CityLife’s content, not the hooker ads - but to pedestrian safety. The problem, according to staff: All these many news racks (there are, by the county’s count, 311 on the Strip) are forcing innocent pedestrians (who are not at all raging drunks) into the traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard (where the drivers also are not at all raging drunks)!
We salute the county’s newfound appreciation for pedestrain safety. This is clearly not a safe city for pedestrians, but we don’t see news racks on the sidewalk as the primary reason that people are mowed down more-or-less indiscriminatly while crossing the streets here. And in any case, there are plenty of areas where the sidewalk is more than wide enough to accommodate a news rack and many drunken revelers.
In the face of what would certainly be a lawsuit from the ACLU of Nevada and the paper peddlers, the county commission wisely decided last week to kick the can down the road on the news rack ban. Good move.
But it will come up again, as it has in the past. Just remember - if we don’t have news racks, there is an alternative. Flip. Flip. Flip.