Lennie Lower Mocks Censorship
by Lennie Lower, an Australian humourist during the 1930s and 1940s
I have observed the evil influence of films on the child mind.
Practically every kid in our street has a wooden tommy-gun for purposes of robbery and massacre.
One poor child died horribly 12 times in the one day — three times as a bank-teller, four times as a gangster, twice when, leaping from the top of a dirt-box, his parachute failed to open; stabbed in the back twice, and drowned when the raft on which he was drifting sank with all hands in the middle of the street.
The submarine commander responsible for all this was shot between the eyes before he could submerge.
This might explain why all the rubbish-tins are so knocked about in our street.
I mean, it’s a pretty good rubbish tin that can stand up to being a submarine, a bank, Gestapo headquarters, a wild horse, a pill-box, and a depth-charge all in the space of an hour.
Last time I saw our rubbish tin was yesterday morning. A witch-doctor was summoning his evil tribe to attend the burning alive of a victim tied to a telegraph pole in the heart of the jungle.
He was doing it on our rubbish tin with half a brick.
He was just about to be saved by Constance Bennett, or maybe it was Ginger Rogers; anyhow, a woman living on the edge of the jungle came out and demanded her clothes-line and then slapped Ginger Rogers for wearing her best curtains as a train.
Why a Red Cross nurse should be wearing a train is not apparent to me. Maybe it was a left-over from his previous act.
All this shows the horrible influence of films as mentioned by the Central Methodist Mission superintendent.
Dracula, who lives a couple of doors from me, has cost me fourpence already this week. He bears a terrible lipstick scar across the throat.
The previous Dracula suffered a fate which should meet with the approval of the Central Methodist Mission superintendent. He was scarred from ear to ear with some kind of stuff that took nearly a fortnight to wear off, and his mother had hysterics; and when his father came home he wanted to know what she was doing to allow their child to run loose like a lunatic hooligan in the street, and all the neighbours were hanging out of their windows pretending to dry their hair.
Rumour got around that the husband could be heard strooping his razor and the whole street waited for the first blood-curdling screams; but it turned out that he was only going to have a shave, which was a great disappointment for everybody.
Unfortunately, the films don’t only affect the children.
I have a strong suspicion that I am a Japanese spy this week. I have not been ambushed so far, but there’s something brewing.
If I may make a suggestion — of course, Mr Lower — I think that the Central Methodist Mission superintendent might do something constructive about these horror shows.
Why not put on a show of his own?
I’ll bet he’d have ’em packed in the aisles with a squad of laymen controlling the queues.
Say something about the cannibal chief who bursts into tears when presented with a string of pink beads and a bowler hat purchased with subscriptions donated to the Missionary Fund by the local Sunday school pupils.
He could be depicted scornfully spurning a slab of boiled missionary and opening a tin of beans instead.
This would show that he had seen the light or something.
Failing that, I suppose we’ll have to stick to the old bran-tub lucky dip at the church bazaar with a spot of house-housie on the side.
We certainly can’t have our kids going to the dogs by abandoning themselves to the made lure of Saturday matinees once a week.
Definitely, something must be done.
In Michigan, they aim to ban anything that tends to make vice more attractive and virtue a back number. Films must have no bedroom scenes, no bathroom scenes, no scanty clothing scenes, no demonstrations of passionate love, and no scenes of blood-shed or violence.
We look forward to the times when there will be no bathrooms, or if there are, when they are hermetically sealed and are referred to, when it is impossible to refrain from mentioning them, as the “B.”
Soap, in these happy times, on account of its close association with the naked flesh, will be referred to as “S,” and will be sold in packets labelled “Dog Biscuits.” When retiring to the “B.R.” (bedroom), the pure-minded man will not clothe himself scantily, but rather don an over-coat, and, having locked the door, stand up in the wardrobe and go to sleep.
Demonstrations of passionate love will be confined to hand-shaking, and then only under proper supervision.
Violence and bloodshed will not be permitted, except in surgeries and dental parlors.
As for women — women will not be permitted at all.
Or perhaps they might be kept in compounds, wearing long chaff-bag coverings and stove-pipe leggings.
Anything calculated to arouse the baser passions, such as a knife and fork, will be used only by people of repute. Square plates, of course. We can never look on a round plate without blushing at its curves.
If any reader can think of any other improvements, we will be glad to put them into effect, or ban them, or burn and prohibit and disinfect them.
We get a sensual pleasure out of banning things, and pure minds are full of things to ban.
[More political writings by Lennie Lower are available at LennieLower.info.]