Keeping a breast of things

THE United States has much on its plate but putting politics to one side the Land of the Free is the world’s largest exporter of pornography and Americans the most avid watchers of porn.

Okay! Your point is? Having completed both volumes of a major work on classical sculptures a major American periodical showed interest in reviewing my books. This is where things began to unravel.

Having attached the appropriate images to the written content, there was a problem. Being inspired by the Greek and Roman tradition some of the sculptures depicted figures of unclothed athletes and suchlike.

The male figures presented a small problem as these statues portrayed the penis. Yes, these accessories are a fact of life without which there wouldn’t be 325.6 million Americans.

The editor’s problem was the risk he ran if he was to illustrate these traditional statues in his upmarket periodical. He writes: “The only thing that worries me is all these penises. I may have to limit the review to one or two photos.”

There was little point in his substituting female figures as women do have breasts. These fixtures are also an essential to the recycling of the human race.

The editor went on to write: “I say this because my readership is so sensitive about this.”

The speciality of his periodical is heretical political history so is something of a minefield in terms of contentious content. But, the issue that caused the greatest loss of subscriptions was an edition that carried the renowned image of a partially clothed Cleopatra on her deathbed.

I recall a Daily Mail columnist describing his experiences after he and his lady wife had visited New York. As guests, the dinner table talk was good natured and the wine glasses were filled, but just the once.

At some point, his wife timidly asked if it would be possible to have a little more wine. Her request was met with a stony silence broken only by their host whispering in her husband’s ear: “Excuse me; does your wife have a drink problem?”

One of the world’s most famous artworks is that by Eugène Delacroix. The painting, which can be seen in the Louvre, depicts Liberty leading the July Revolution of 1830 that toppled King Charles X of France. The painting was blocked by Silicon Valley’s Facebook as one of Liberty’s breasts was uncovered.

A Danish travel agent was blocked for its illustration of the mermaid statue set in the harbour of Copenhagen. The most blocked image on the social platform is a classical painting of a mother breastfeeding her infant.

It’s time to give the prudish Victorians a miss; they too would have mocked American hypocrisy.


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