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News » Private Eye

Missing Links

I finally agree with Sen. Chris Buttars on, of all things, evolution.



After 40 years, Utah’s private clubs may finally become extinct. While I can’t wait for July 1 to go into a private club without being asked for ID or a club card, until that bill actually passes both the House and Senate, until Governor Huntsman signs it into law, and until I pinch myself twice, I won’t be burning my private club memberships.

Too bad Draper Rep. Greg Hughes’ original bill was mucked over by myopic senators. Notably, if private clubs become nonprivate social clubs they will have to install ID-scanning devices and will be required to scan the ID of anyone they suspect to be under the age of 35. I know women of 17 who look like they passed 35 four baubles of jewelry ago. But messing with the 30-yearold business suit while trying to nab a 20-year-old frat boy chasing that cheap skirt is not very smart. How the Legislature decided that ID scanning someone nearing middle age keeps kids out of bars or drunks off the streets will be a lasting enigma of this legislative session.

Most minors stealing into a club are aided and abetted by vice cops who—unlike 99 percent percent of normal clubgoers—use an arsenal of tricks and guises to distract door personnel long enough to slip wannabe junior cops into clubs. Normal clubgoers don’t fake having phone or bathroom emergencies requiring an escort from a doorman and then have their young friends sashay up to the bar once the doorman’s Samaritan back is turned. That kind of trickery won’t go away. Keeping minors out of clubs is one thing, but annoying adults while invading their privacy is another. In Albuquerque, N.M., last month, I watched a doorman scan people entering a club on Historic Route 66. He didn’t scan me, so I guess in New Mexico, you only have to look under 23, not 35, to be scanned. I’ve won animals at Lagoon every year since 1968 because the barkers can’t guess my age. I’m among those doomed to be scanned.

And some doorman somewhere is doomed to have his ass chewed out as a result. Well, small doormen, anyway.

I was told in New Mexico that their scanners only give a “red light/green light” indication that the ID is valid and the user is over 21. Utah wants to go beyond that and will require certain data be stored for a week. Why? Because God created the Earth in a week, that’s why. It’s legislative-payback mentality—we gave you social clubs, we take your dignity. But, the bill is what it is—private clubs go away. The issues sure to come from scanning can be left to future legislative sessions.

Restaurants get an equal dose of confusion. While they lose the plexiglass Zion Curtain that prevents servers from handing a drink over the counter to drinking customers, they gain negative notoriety because all new restaurants will be required to build cocktail-mixing areas blocked from view of the public— especially childish senators—via a wall, enclosure or separate dining area. That’s another silly compromise. Getting rid of the plexiglass while keeping the kids at the table and away from a bar counter would be too easy a solution. So, segregate. Why? Because that’s what China and Berlin did. On the bright side, I learned today that I finally agree with Sen. Chris Buttars on, of all things, evolution.

In 2006, he tried passing certain anti-evolution legislation while claiming that “I don’t believe anybody in there really wants their kids taught that their great-grandfather was an ape” and that “the trouble with the ‘missing link’ is that it is still missing!” No matter that biologists cite common ancestry between apes and humans—not direct ape descendancy.

Meanwhile, at a Swedish zoo, Santino the chimpanzee has for years been piling rocks up in the morning and throwing them at visitors in the afternoon. Researcher Mathias Osvath believes such cognitive behavior shows that “our fellow apes do consider the future in a very complex way. It implies that they have a highly developed consciousness, including lifelike mental simulations of potential events.”

Proof, then, that Buttars—who does not consider the future in a complex way and lacks a developed conscience, is not an ape derivative. He was right all along.