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California: Where yes means yes – maybe!

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed the “yes means yes” bill into law. The law, which applies to California colleges and universities that receive state money for student financial aid, states that silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent for sexual activity. The law indicates that anyone who is either drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep cannot grant consent. The seven college students in California that don’t fall into any of these four categories are said to be generally disturbed by this new law.

Many on the left, who have for decades complained about the conservatives that they claim advocate for government intrusion into one’s bedroom, apparently see no problem with this law and its intrusion into one’s bedroom.

With this in mind, can the following scenario be too far down the road?

Scene: A college party – one that occurs practically every weekend at every college in California.

Jason: Janet, how’s the tequila?

Janet: Hard to tell, I’ve lost feeling in my tongue.

Jason: Good. I love you! Want to go to my place.

Janet: Okay!

Ed Bickley: Hold on! Hold on!

Jason: Dude, who are you?

Bickley: The name is Ed Bickley. I’m a compliance officer for the California Office of Amorous Activity – Heavy Petting Division.

Jason: Huh?

Bickley: I am here to make sure that the “yes means yes” law is followed.

Jason: Come again?


Janet: Jason, is this the cousin you were telling me about? You know, the one that still wets the bed?

Jason: No, this isn’t him. I don’t know this guy. Dude, you don’t still wet the bed, do you?

Bickley: I haven’t wet the bed since I was thirty. But that has nothing to do with this. I’m here to make sure that any sexual activity is agreed to by both parties and that neither party – and by neither party, I mean the female – is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep. It’s the law. The “yes means yes” law.

Jason: Whatever happened to no means no?

Bickely: That is so 2005! Haven’t you heard about the campus rape culture?

Jason: Heard about it? That’s all the professors talk about, even my algebra professor. They make males feel guilty just for, you know, having the wrong chromosomes. I confessed twice in my first semester – and I hadn’t even had a date. It was a requirement for passing my English 101 class. It still only got me a C. Go figure!

Bickley: Janet, if I may call you Janet, are you asleep?

Janet: Not yet, but if this conversation goes on much longer…

Bickley: Jason, exactly what are your intentions with Janet tonight?

Jason: This is getting a little personal. I don’t think I should be having this conversation with you.

Bickley: But you should be having this conversation with Janet.

Jason: I was getting there, until you showed up.

Bickley: This is important – and it’s the law. The state of California wants to make sure that you are not a misogynist.

Jason: I am not! I’m an art history major! Ask anybody here. Well, those that aren’t throwing up at the moment.

Bickley: Janet, are you unconscious?

Janet: This is ridiculous!

Bickley: It’s on the form. I have to ask the question. Are you drugged?

Janet: Well, not yet.

Bickley: Are you drunk?

Janet: Um, sort of. I was just telling Jason about my tongue.

Bickley: That’s it! Jason, this doesn’t look good for you. Do you have an attorney?

Jason: What do I need an attorney for?

Bickley: Well, you really don’t need one. Under this law you have no rights anyway. But I can tell you that the state of California has no record of Janet affirming her intent to have sexual activity with you tonight. Although you have not yet engaged in such activity, it is the opinion of the Office of Amorous Activity you were planning on engaging in such activity at some point during the course of this evening with Janet.

Jason: Well, yes, that was the plan. But she…

Bickley: We have no affidavit from Janet indicating that she was in any way in agreement with your plans.

Janet: But I did agree.

Bickley: I’m sorry, but without a notarized affidavit the state of California must intervene.

Janet: Give me the damn form! I’ll sign it.

Bickley: But it won’t be notarized.

Janet: It’s 11:30 at night. Where am I going to find a notary?

Bickley: Not my problem. You two just didn’t plan ahead. Jason, I am scheduling you for a meeting with a campus counsellor on Monday to discuss your propensity towards being a sexual predator.

Jason: Dude, this is insane!

Bickley: It’s the law. In the meantime, this campus police office will assist you to your dorm room.   You’re just lucky I intervened when I did. Otherwise, you’d be looking at some serious jail time and probably end up with a face tattoo that says “Lucky”.

Jason: But…but.

Bickley: Janet, please come with me. (Janet follows Bickley out of the party.) So, Janet, want to go to my place?

The party of free love suddenly discovers that it isn’t exactly free. Fortunately, they know who will pay the bill and the collection agency is, naturally, the government.

Curtice Mang is the author of the two books, including the new book, The Smell of Politics: The Good, The Bad, and the Odorous. He can be contacted at, where one can also purchase his books; or contact Curtice at mangwrites at


1 Jeff Edelman { 10.27.14 at 9:30 pm }

The name of this stupid law reminds me of an old Benny Hill bit in which he asks a woman, “When you say no do you really mean yes?” To which she responded, “No.” Wish I could have found it online to provide a link, but couldn’t.


Curtice Mang Reply:

So much of progressivism can be reduced to British comedy. If you search some of my prior posts here, you will find a few Monty Python references.


David J Gill Reply:

Now for something completely different….
There is nothing inherently Progressive about this issue. A good number of those who are troubled by this simplistic “zero tolerance” promoted by those who want to define “consent” in a zero tolerance standard are Democrats / Progressives. Even the anti-Feminism movement gaining attention recently is populated with Progressives or those with a generally left of center view point.

Of course I understand the significance of the problem this law aim to address, but the potential for abuse of the statute seems enormous.

But more broadly I get the feeling, these days, that the other side of the aisle wants to label anything they don’t like as “Progressive.” This is the new term the right wishes to stigmatize since “Liberal” has been rehabilitated. Progressivism is not identical to Liberalism. And how can Conservatives vilify a political viewpoint that aims for sensible reform and effective change… free of ideology. (It seems like Conservatives would disparage “Common Sense” or “Responsible Government” if those were ISMS from the left.)


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