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The Word Is In The Law
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The Word Is In The Law
The law is the word even our sexual life.
[1,365 words]
Norman A Rubin
Correspondent (Israel) for the Continental News Service writing under the headline "Dateline - Middle East". Free-lance writer for the past sixteen years writing on various subjects - Near East culture and crafts, archaeology, history and politics; religious history and rites, etc.. Norman A. Rubin has been featured in publications world wide - Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem Dateline, Esra, Israel - Coin News, Minerva, Oriental Arts, etc. England - Ararat, Good Old Days (White Birches Publications), Letter Arts Review, Queen of All Hearts, etc. USA - Spotlight, Japan - International B, Hong Kong - Archaeological Diggings, Australia etc. - Norman A. Rubin can be found on the Web - asianart.com with articles on Japanese Ghosts and Chinese Snuff Bottles - bibarch.com on the subject of musical instruments in the Bible, etc.. For comments on his writing, Norman A. Rubin (Israel) can be addressed to [email protected]
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The Word Is In The Law
Norman A Rubin

The prude in the legal authority becomes a censor, whose function is to protect his fellow man against images, which they consider indecent and imoral, depraving and corrupting - especially against descriptions in words and sometimes in the innocent sight of pseudo sexual activity. However the existence of even the most strignent censorship had never prevented the writing, staging and presenting of erotic material to the public at large. In fact, the prudes among the enforcement officials with the power of the law had aided in making the notice of sex and its words and actions interested to the curious to the point where the tempted enjoyed the display of sex in both plays and and through descriptive words in books and magazines.

Some of the taboos in the authority of the law were laughable to the point of ridiculous. There were some outlandish laws in the pioneering days of America. For example, it was against the law in a small town in Ohio for a woman to undress in front of a man’s picture. And in the Kentucky frontier it was an act of law breaking when the woman of the house after laundering would hang out to dry both male and female underwear on the same line.

It is equally ridiculous when a husband kisses his wife he is fined for the act; yet in a small Texan town a young man was fined recently for lewd behavior, namely kissing his beloved while they were sitting on a bench in the town’s park. When there was water shortage in Boston in the sixties the authorities applied the Blue Laws, an antiquated set of laws of the Puritan era. The law prevented the good citizens from washing their cars as it was forbidden according to this law to wash one’s horse in the middle of the street. (A bit of curiosity - How were the authorities able to enforce another ruling that stated it was forbidden to bathe without a doctor’s prescription?

During the late forties in Lebanon of the lands where belly dancers who rotate their pelvises for the interest of tourists as well as the local machos, the authorities decreed the prohibition of the new American dance, the twist as being too unhibited, frankly too sexy to be performed in the country; and at the same period, The London Dance Institute followed suit. In Ho Chi Min City (formerly Saigon) the astute communists in the beginning of their rule were promoting an austerity law that will prohibit private or commercial dancing and beauty contests to stop western decadence.

In the city of the bean and cod, various Misery Martins were at one time scrutinizing books and plays for the feared words, direct or in the form of euphemism, for the organs of sex and their functioning. The phrase 'Banned in Boston' became a euphemism for a well-written book or play, albeit with a naughty word or two. Yet at the same period, in Scollay Square of that fair city, two burleque theaters featured daily shows that exhibited in the strip tease the fair bubbies and plump bottoms (and sometimes a bit more) of the various royalty of burlesque as they gyrated their way to fame and fortune. At a later date, both the venerable Old Howard and Globe burlesque houses famed in that fair city closed its portals in face of the increasing competition from the spirited display of nudity.

"With timid steps and tranquil downcast glance, Behold the well-paired couple now advance;

One hand holds hers, the other grasps her hips, but licensed to no neighbouring part to slip."

In the 1860's the newspaper the Washington Union dared not advertise due to stringent regulations, shirts and men's drawers under a bolder heading than 'Gentlemen's Belongings". In 1898, the Philadelphia’s Ladies Home Journal followed suit and annnounced that it would in the future avoid all reference to women's underwear.

But regulations also applied to their English cousins. In 1936 a woman lunatic took off all her clothes in St. Paul's cathedral. The Daily Express, Daily Mail, and Daily Telegraph, and other periodicals in their reports of the incident described her as unclothed or unclad. Not one single daily newspaper was able to face the horror of printing the decent old English word 'naked'.

Following the 'Lady Chatterly's Lovers' trial in 1960 subsequent printing of the word 'fuck' in two British newspapers, the Guardian and the Observer: In their cover of the preceedings printed the word 'fuck' without recourse to the dash or asterisks. Later authors, editors and publishers felt free to follow suit.

But, as late as May 1962, shocked British Post office officials refused permission to a Crime Club to advertise on its envelopes a book called 'Bloody Instructions'. They reasoned that the word 'Bloody' might offend quite a number of people.

The Postal Services in the USA were no better. In proceedings against the magazine 'Esquire' in 1943-44 the 'snoopers and smutt-snuffers' of the U.S. Postmaster General objected to its use of the words backside, behind, and bawdyhouse.

"So isn't a pity, when we common people chatter Of these mysteries to which referred, that we use for such delicate and complicated matter Such a very long and not so ordinary words."

The lawmakers of struck down even the word ‘illegitimate’ New York who in 1925 laid down, "That in any local law, ordinance or resolution, or in any public or judicial proceedings, or in any process, notice, order, decree, judgements, record or other public document or paper, the term bastard or illegitimate child shall not be used, but the term 'born out of wedlock' shall be used in substitution therefore, and with same force and effect."

According to the 'Daily Telegraph' of Jan. 17, 1963, "the University of Califonia Language department was asked to make a study of possibly odjectionable three-letter combinations, not merely in English, but in seven commonly used foreign languages too! As a result the following prefixes were banned from Californian automobile licence plates: SEX, WED, BRA, ALE, BAD, BAG, BAH, BED, DAM, GOD, HAG, SAG, SOP, and so forth.

Today the British Ministry of Transport discreetly bans the use of combinations on the registration plates on vehicles. In London words on plates jump from EUC to GUC; Wolverhampton from EUK to GUK; Birmingham from BOC to DOC and from BOK to DOC; Leeds from AUM to CUM; and other cities and towns of the fair land followed suit.

Even to this very day in a town somewhere near Los Angeles a councilman suggested banning Tarzan books from young peoples's libraries, because of a complaint that Tarzan and Jane were unmarried when they lived in their treehouse. And their British cousins through a Nursing Association laid down the rule that skirts of nurse's uniforms should be below the knees as "patients would see the girl's stocking tops when they bended down to tuck in the sheets."

Even the law took a hand in determining the type of swimsuits suitable for the ladies. A by-law of 1910 in Broadstairs, England decreed that for the sake of decency and order, every person (female) above the age of ten years shall wear a suitable swim costume or dress from the neck to the knees." And the police in Britain continued to hold up the law towards indecent dress; in 1959 they arrested a man for sunbathing in his shorts in Hyde Park.

And if one wants to be interested to the reason why young men to turn to criminal ways should read the report of an American prison doctor in the late forties who remarked that he felt rolled stockings had a direct bearing on crime incitation. The good medic made it clear in an article to good women that they could not copy these unholy styles and be innocent of a share, though directly or indirectly and unconciously, in the crime wave. He even reproached mothers for sending girls of ten into the streets with bare feet.

Ad infinitum to the taboos towards the sphere of sex as they continue forever more. "We have no words in English.... which is not either a long abstraction or an evasive euphemism, and we are constantly running away from it, or dissolving it into dots and asteriks."



""During the late forties in Lebanon of the lands where belly dancers who rotate their pelvises for the interest of tourists as well as the local machos, the authorities decreed the prohibition of the new American dance, the twist as being too unhibited, frankly too sexy to be performed in the country; and at the same period, The London Dance Institute followed suit." Perhaps it wouldn't be too much to ask for a period? This sentence is way too long, and poorly constructed. The biggest problem is, it has soooooo many friends. The content of your piece is good, but the structure and spelling errors sure did frustrate this reader." -- Sylvia.


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© 2003 Norman A Rubin
February 2003

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