Ribbed for Spot’s Pleasure

In Washington, the Folger Shakespeare Library has the coffee table book prototype on display. The book, recently restored and some 400 years old, contains an illustrated history of the world and is reported to have been “flipped over by bored visitors in 16th century living rooms.”

Don Paterson walked away with the ?10,000 T.S. Eliot Prize, but he says it’s tough living being a poet. It takes Paterson a year to come up with a whole poem. While declaring poetry an “amateur pursuit,” Paterson’s still shocked that poetry is as much work as any other form of writing.

Today’s obscenity racket: Passion Panties, a Tupperware-style sex toy company, has had one of its representatives arrested in Texas. The representative had even joined the local Chambers of Commerce. But that didn’t stop authorities from citing a state law prohibiting the sale of obscene devices, which are legally defined as items “designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” What’s interesting is that, like the “entertainment purposes” rap in Alabama, commerce is not addressed. So I’m sensing a common theme here. You can sell, sell, sell just about anything under the sun. But heaven forbid that you design, market, or entertain. The Texas law is so nebulous that one can make the case that maxi-pads or ribbed rubbers are “obscene items” by way of stimulating gentials. But since the law stipulates “human genital organs,” presumably a vibrator deisgned and marketed for cocker spaniels is peachy keen, right?