Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Raindrops on Rehnquists and Jell-o on Springs....

Last week, Gore Vidal died. Acerbic, witty, and a huge annoyance to all kinds of people who richly deserved to be annoyed. While he wrote a lot of good stuff, some of which I have read, I have to say that the one which sticks with me is Myron. Not that the book;s storyline has stayed with me: it's the gimmick which Vidal uses to skewer pro-censorship campaigners. Here's how it works:

In his introduction to the novel, Vidal mentions the Supreme Court decision Miller v. California, which in his words "leaves to each community the right to decide what is pornography." Saying that the decision has "alarmed and confused peddlers of smut" by eliminating guidelines, Vidal says he has decided to replace the dirty words in his book with some very clean words indeed: the names of the five Justices who voted for the decision, plus the names of anti-pornography crusaders Charles Keating of Citizens for Decent Literature and Father Morton A. Hill, S.J. of Morality in Media (whom Vidal had debated on The David Susskind Show in 1968). He has done this to conform to the Supreme Court's imposition of the "community standards" test, as he wants "to conform with the letter and spirit of the Court's decision."

These are the words and their replacements:

blackmun: ass
burger: fuck
father hills: tits
keating: shit
powells: balls
rehnquist: cock
whizzer white: cunt

To this day I am unable to see the name of William Rehnquist (which I did quite often when he was Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court) without mentally prefixing it with "huge, throbbing".

Which leads me via a train of thought too obvious to need elucidation to Marilyn Monroe, whose death occurred fifty years ago last week. Another sad loss. I am inclined to rate "Some Like it Hot" as the funniest film ever made, and I think my children - who both loved it from an early age - would agree.


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