“I have in my attaché case a few copies of some twopenny novels which I purchased recently at a city bookshop, and they reek with sex.”
So said Rev Arthur Lyons to a conference at the Wesley Church in 1933.
Apart from the fact they were not novels but magazines, the unfortunate expression ‘reek with sex’ only puts the Dodgy Perth office in mind of a kinky song Rihanna put out a few years back.
It seems odd that a Methodist minister would boast so openly of having erotic material in his briefcase.
Oh wait. It turns out Arthur only read them because he had to. So we don’t have to, you understand.
One publication in particular aroused the good preacher: Poppy’s Paper, Incorporating Nan’s Novels. According to Rev Lyons, this immoral periodical was typical of the sex-tainted books now in the hands of our young people.
And if they had this kind of thing, who knows what else may get in their hands?
Dodgy Perth has viewed many such 1920s and 30s magazines. They are certainly a little risqué for their time, and obsessed with ‘real life’ stories of marriages gone wrong. But far, far from pornographic. Even by the standards of the day.
Another speaker at Wesley Church, John Tucker, was also against dirty books, but had a more modern approach. He said young people were probably buying them out of curiosity, so if parents could be a little more forthcoming on the facts of life there would be less need for such literature.
Rev Tucker was in a minority.
Rev Jenkins leapt to his feet and shouted it was not enough to condemn books, but many films should be banned too.
At least Rev Lyons had actually seen some of the filthy material. One Rev Nye admitted he didn’t know anything about the subject, because he would not even touch dirty books, let alone read them. But that wasn’t going to stop him calling for a complete ban.
In addition, the reverend continued, we should also be banning so-called reputable novels, since these are more dangerous than magazines. At least with a magazine, you knew it was smut as soon as you opened it.
Thankfully today you wouldn’t find people claiming a new medium was corrupting our youth. That’s why everyone takes a sensible stance on video games and pop videos. Everyone, we tell you.