Reading Shame Agent and knowing that it was an element behind the lankmark obscenity case Redrup v. New York, something any lawyer well-versed in censorship and the First Amendment knows, makes me amazed to think that this rather sexually tame and funny book was considered so offensive as to throw a man in jail for selling it — and had the feds known who wrote it, they may have gone after the author.
Archive for First Amendment
But what is the story behind this almost-naked woman pointing a heater at this fellow’s noggin?
You never know what you’d get with a Saber or Fabian from Sanford Aday’s company — sometimes good stuff, sometimes awful shit.
The book — short, at 35K words or so — starts off with Eddie, a newpaper reporter, getting a vist by a girl named Sharon who says he has to help her, her life is in danger, someone is out to kill her. He suggests that she hire a private eye but she thinks having a reporter writing about her plight would protect her, if the public knew.
He goes along, as he thinks about her pussy and his “shaft gets hard looking at her.” Thats the thing with this one, publihsed in 1969: the indency laws had become lax and the books started to get hardcore. So there’s plenty of sex here — straight and lesbian, and lots of talk about vaginas and dicks.
Hardcore has its place, I have certainly written my share of it, but here it seems to only cheapen the novel than add to it, almost as if the sexual asides and thoughts were added in to an existing manuscript.
Plus, it’s hard to follow what the hell is going on. I was lost. I couldn’t get past page 50. What was this all about, or was the set-up just an excuse to write explicit sex scenes? Sharon takes Eddie to her big home — she’s rich — where her mother and a servant live, and all kinds of sex follows.
This is porn, but I ca’t say it’s good porn.
Others might like it.
Have no idea who “Mel Corbin” is. Seems the name is only on this one book. Could have been Aday writing under a pen name.
It’s interesting to consider that had Saber published this novel ten years earlier, a lot of people would have been behind bars, and indeed, by 1963, Aday did wind up doing time for Sex Life of a Cop, which was far less explicit than So Wild the Flesh. But the cops and local authorities in Fresno, California, had been after Saber for a while, losing several court cases on obscenity. With J. Edgar Hoover watching quietly, gioing after all sleaze publishers, they were bound to get Aday on something, just as they got William Hamling and Earl Kemp later on.
We must keep in mind that it was not long ago, in America, that people were illegally spied on and harassed by the government and went to jail for practicing first amendment rights. And while things are different now, as George Orwell warned us in 1984, things could easily revert back to 1950s suppression and repression.
In that light, the fact that Saber published a book like this as an act of free speech is not only comendable, but noteworthy in the history of publishing and the First Amendment.
This nifty little Saber Books novel, Sex Life of a Cop, was instrument in putting its publisher, Sanford Aday, in hot water and almost behind bars.
Aday was an unsuccessful novelist — out of his ten written manuscripts (housed in the special collections at Cal State, Fresno, only 2 were published. Part of it was his books were too racy for the mainstream,. Frustrated, he started his own press, with three imprints: Vega, Saber, and Fabian. These books often pushed the enveloped when it came to incest, homosexuality, and detailed sex acts. As such, the cops and goveerment were after him for obscenity.
He vigorously fought against censorship. He faced several charges in Hawaii, Arizona and Fresno. Then, as a jab to the local cops, he published Sex Life of a Cop, by an alleged former cop, publicizing the book as being a true account of how cops are crooked and take liberties with the law and sex.
Well, you don’t do that without pissing off the powers that be, so they really went after him. In the 50s-60s, the First Amendment and freedom of opinion/expression did not exist when it came to the law guys — after all, Jim Morrison was arrested on stage in New Haven when he made fun of the cop who maced him backstage. Lenny Bruce would get arrested when he made fun of the cops in the clubs where he he did his act.
Saber and the other imprints mostly seemed to publish unknown pen names. They did publish one Orrie Hitt, Love Princess, and one by John B. Thompson, Hard Way.
He was eventually tried and convicted along with associate Wallace de Ortega Maxey for shipping an obscene book into Michigan in 1963. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison and fined $25,000.
The conviction was eventually overturned.
Sex Life of a Cop by Oscar Peck was the only book of seven deemed obscene by the jury.
Other Saber Books –