Controversial satirist Lenny Bruce, who would've been 81 today (October 13), continues to be censored, albeit indirectly, 40 years after his death.
One of his bits, a dialogue not at all daring by today's standards--in fact, it's really tame by comparison, but the hypocrisy lingers on--was about "the attraction that all the purists support in Las Vegas....Tits and ass."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Ah, tits and ass, that's what the attraction is."
"Just tits and ass?"
"Oh, no. An Apache team and tits and ass."
"Well, that's all I actually go to see--the Apache team. And that's just one hotel. What's the second biggest attraction?"
"More tits and ass."
"Get off it! The third?"
"Tits and ass, and more ass, and tits, and ass and tits and ass and tits and ass."
"Do you mean to tell me that Life magazine would devote three full pages to tits and ass?"
"Yes. Right next to the article by Billy Graham and Norman Vincent Peale...."
Flash ahead to the present. Tod Brilliant sent out a press release via PRWeb to promote his upcoming photography show. Attached was an image dedicated to Lenny's daughter, Kitty, who owns the original artwork. The piece includes an uncovered breast and, inspired by that particular routine, the words "tits and ass" on a stealthily modified theater marquee.
However, PRWeb expurgated it. A spokesperson explained: "We will need to remove one of the photos. It's against our adult policy. We'll have to remove it for the release to go out....PRWeb doesn't distribute anything above PG rating....Even 'tasteful' nudity as art will not be released."
Brilliant was reminded of "Lenny's frustration with our collective fear of our own bodies, or as he said famously, 'If something about the human body disgusts you, the fault lies with the manufacturer.'"