This a excerpt from on going back and forth email rants between myself and my old friend Blaine. I have tried to convince him to start his own blog but I guess he is too shy. But here is a taste on how awesome it would be.
I picked up an old copy of a book about the Olympia Press, the publisher of pornographic books that also brought books like 'Lolita', and 'Tropic of Cancer' to press. (It was supposedly named after that painting, at least in part.) It's funny the way that many of the book sales were driven specifically because the books were considered filth, and were banned in English speaking countries. Once those bans were lifted, Olympia could no longer make any money. (Well, that, and the fact that the guy who ran Olympia was a litigious bastard.) The same thing happened in the eighties with Tipper Gore's PMRC.
Many mediocre Heavy Metal band sold millions of albums after being featured in a Congressional hearing. Nothing boosted sales like having a Senator's Wife call your album a piece of subversive filth. There was one album in particular: "Fuck Like A Beast" by a band named WASP. It was a terrible album—worse then terrible, it was a bad album. It sold millions! And only because its cover was a constant feature of any picture of those PMRC hearings. It was a photo of a guy's crotch featuring a cod-piece with half of a circular-saw blade sticking out of it.
I almost wish that the conservatives would start to ban books again—we could all move to Canada and start an underground press. The so-called protectors of morality just never learn. People like the thrill of the forbidden. Nothing boosted drinking more then Prohibition. And I've even heard that major drug use in this country didn't start until after Nixon started a publicity campaign against drugs. (If Nixon's against it, then it must be cool!) I've even found a quote from U. S. Grant's Memoirs that mentions the same phenomena:Up to the time of which I write, and for years afterwards--I think until the administration of President Juarez--the cultivation, manufacture and sale of tobacco constituted a government monopoly, and paid the bulk of the revenue collected from internal sources. The price was enormously high, and made successful smuggling very profitable. The difficulty of obtaining tobacco is probably the reason why everybody, male and female, used it at that time. I know from my own experience that when I was at West Point, the fact that tobacco, in every form, was prohibited, and the mere possession of the weed severely punished, made the majority of the cadets, myself included, try to acquire of using it. I failed utterly at the time and for many years afterward; but the majority accomplished the object of their youthful ambition.