Friday, January 05, 2007

Butts, Breasts, And Beer

[Posted by reader_iam]

And Santa, by golly!
The decision to let Shelton Brothers sell Santa's Butt Winter Porter and two other European beers reverses a decision last fall to deny the company's application to sell the beers in Maine.

After the denial, the Maine Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Belchertown, Mass., company in U.S. District Court in Portland accusing the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement of censorship

While welcoming the decision, owner Daniel Shelton said it's too late to sell the seasonal Santa's Butt beer because the holiday season is over. He said the lawsuit will go forward unless the state changes its rule allowing it to deny applications for beer labels because they contain "undignified or improper" illustrations.

"You can't have a law based on propriety and dignity. It's too vague," said Shelton.

By law, the state reviews between 10,000 and 12,000 applications annually for beer and wine labels. It typically denies about a dozen a year because they contain inappropriate language or nudity, or might appeal to children.

The label for the English-made Santa's Butt beer features an illustration with a rear view of a beer-drinking Santa sitting on top of a beer barrel.

The state also denied applications for Les Sans Culottes, a French ale, and Rose de Gambrinus, a Belgian fruit beer. Les Sans Culottes's label is illustrated with detail from Eugene Delacroix's 1830 painting "Liberty Leading the People," which hangs in the Louvre and shows a bare-breasted woman. Rose de Gambrinus shows a bare-breasted woman in a watercolor painting that was commissioned by the brewery.

We want to regulate labels on beer and wine bottles for the sake of the children? Because, what--they spend a lot of time hanging out in liquor stores or sections and might be affected adversely? Because there's the fear that some young kid, such as my 6-year-old, might say, "Wow, dad--Santa's got a butt!" Or, "Look, Mom, tits! I wanna beeeeeer, mommmyyyyyy, pleaeaeaease????"

My word, it's shaping up to be an utterly ridiculous day in my Internet travels, and it is putting me in a truly fine mood of vast amusement. How's your day going?