Sunday, 2 January 2011

“SMUT” IS FAVORABLE PUBLIC PRESS DEBATE


A teenager on his way to school stopped at a candy store to load up for the day. He had a soft drink, got a pack of cigarettes, four candy bars and three magazines, 35 cents each.

The cover of one magazine showed a snarling brute at a Nazi torture room hipping a nearly-naked red-haired girl. The second had the photo of a nude girl, most of her body obscured by a block of type. The third featured a story labeled “Phony Surgeons Who Stalk Our Operating Rooms.”

These are magazines which are called smut publications. The $1.05 spent by the boy may seem a pittance. But along with hundreds of thousands of other teenagers and adults, the dimes and nickels spent on such magazines, books, and other materials ranging from offensive to hard-core pornography make it a major industry.

It is estimated at $2 billion a year. This is more than was spent in 1962 at all the movie box offices ($82 million), at all professional, semi-professional and amateur baseball, football, hockey, basketball, tennis and other sports entertainment ($1.9 billion); or was collected by the makers of cigarettes, cigars, pipe and chewing tobacco ($1.1 billion). It is more than was taken in by the radio-television industry ($1 billion).

What sort of magazines are these? How are they produced? Who buys them?

One side says such material is smut. It argues that such magazines introduce teenager to a world of Lesbians, homosexuals, sadists, masochists and other deviates. The other side argues that such material acts like a safety valve. It is in this way that all sorts of sexual feelings are harmlessly dissipated.

By legal definition, these magazines are not pornographic. If they were, they could quickly be put out of business or driven underground.

Since they are not:
1. They can be purchased by anyone regardless of age, sex or mental condition.
2. All that is needed is the price, generally from 25 cents to 75 cents.
3. They can be found displayed on open racks in drugstores, supermarkets, terminals, newsstands.
4. They are sold in practically every town and city in America.

There are many general-interest, high-fashion, digest-size, adventure, nudist, art, physical culture and entertainment publications which contain photographs or drawings of nudes. Scarcely an eyebrow is raised.

“If a news magazine or a fashion magazine publishes a nude figure within context of a specific event or theme, we certainly are not contending this is a move toward smut,” says a district attorney who has prosecuted dozens of pornography and obscenity cases.

Charles H. Keating Jr., Cincinatti attorney who is co-chairman of Citizens for Decent Literature (CDL), says: “It may seem silly to say you can tell which are objectionable just by looking at them, but it is true. I don't want to sound like a witch hunter or professional bluenose, but these magazines and paperbacks have a quality about them that sets them aside. There are perhaps 80 or 90 general distribution magazines which introduce the high schooler to a world of Lesbians, homosexuals, sadists, masochists and other deviates.”

The CDL is a national organization whose sponsors include prominent clergymen, political leaders and government officials.

There are four major categories of magazines in question.

Slicks - There are about 40 titles, most of them trying to cash in on the success of Playboy, considered a man's magazine and not on the CDL smut list. The slicks are printed on glossy paper, use color, tend editorially and pictorially to appear high-toned. The major feature is the photo essay showing an attractive, young, shapely girl. She is nude.

Men's Adventure  - These usually have lurid action-type covers with sensational, eye-catching titles. There are at least 25 different magazines. The art and text tend toward depicting or describing physical brutality, perversion of all sorts, generally concealed in a right-versus-evil struggle.

Body-Builders - These  purport to be devoted to developing bulging biceps. Many are thinly-veiled publications aimed at homosexuals.

Nudist - This  s used to be the province of the nudist groups. Sun worshippers depicted generally had the sexual appeal of a herd of rhinos wallowing at the mud hole. Now the air brush has been put away, and young, attractive nudists, mostly models, are shown with clear and uncluttered detail.

(Source: The Nudist Newsletter #148/1964;

article reprinted from The Paducah Sun-Democrat)

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