Tag: rude

Obscenity and the Law: The Trial of Stass Paraskos

As purveyors of filth and obscenity we know we’re lucky.  We live in a century, and a part of the world, where we can get away with it.

Had we lived in different times, we’d have felt the full force of the law.  A few hundred years ago, we may have been punished with the scold’s bridle.  Or been ducked in the pond.  Or humiliated in the stocks.  Or burnt as witches.

People are still prosecuted for obscenity in the UK. It’s been argued that in a world of online pornography and changing social mores that the 1959 Obscene Publications Act is something of an anachronism.  But the Act was always problematic.  It hinges on very subjective responses.

In 1966, Leeds-based artist Stass Paraskos was fined for lewd and obscene paintings.  But even back then, the courts had to use a different law to prosecute him.  The Vagrancy Act of the 19th Century included clauses about “wilfully exposing to view in any street or public place, any obscene print, picture or other indecent exhibition”.  It was that under which he was prosecuted.

The court case was widely criticised.  Many suggested that had the exhibition been in London rather than in provincial Leeds, no one would have batted an eyelid.  Eminent art critics tried to explain to the court that displaying a painting of a sexual act in public was not the same as actually having sex in public.  Prominent MPs spoke out on his behalf, and criticising the prosecution. But it all fell on deaf ears, and Paraskos was fined £5.

The actual painting is barely lewd at all.   There’s a bit of full frontal, but no more that your average Renaissance painting.  And yes there’s a bit more to it than that.  But you have to be looking for it.  Which says something about the person who originally alerted the police.  And the irony is that he produced far more naughty work after his prosecution!

The offending painting is currently on exhibition at The Tetley gallery in Leeds: Stass Paraskos: Lovers and Romances

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Profane or Obscene? It’s all Swearing to us!


The Etymology of Swearing

A little while ago we wrote about the Science of Swearing.  But we’re also interested in the etymology of swearing – that’s the origins of the words.  One thing we’re really interested in is the way the meanings and use change over time.  It’s all very studious round here you know.  Even during the summer holidays!

In our earlier article we said that swear words in every language fell into one of three categories. They are either about body functions or sex, or connected to religion.  But it’s not quite that simple.  At least, not historically.  There’s profanities (swearing or oaths) and there’s obscenities.  What’s the difference?

Profane? Obscene? It’s all Swearing.

Well, to be profane, is to be unholy.  So, a profanity is “taking the Lord’s name in vain”.  Jeez, Oh Lord! Hell!, Jesus Christ! For Gods sake!  All profanities.  And very very sinful they are too!  Then there’s the obscenities.  That’s the bodily functions stuff – bloody, shit etc.  And the sex – don’t forget the sex! – and genitalia.  And OMG (profanity) is there a shitload (obscenity) of that!   By the turn of the 20th Century, the two started to be pretty much lumped together as “swearing”.


What does it all mean?

The meanings of swear words get blurred when they get used as swearwords.  “Fuck” is an obvious example.   As an expletive, it really doesn’t mean “have sexual intercourse”.  We might sometimes use it in it’s literal sense, but mostly it’s the taboo that counts.  It emphasises bad.  Or sometimes good.  Or even indifference (“I don’t give a fuck”).  It also gets bunged in (sorry …) to sentences to mean whatever the (fuck) we want it to.  It’s original meaning is completely lost, once it’s used as a swear word. The important thing is that it’s an expletive.

The same goes for lots of obscenities.  When we call someone a cunt, we don’t actually mean they are a vagina.  Nor is “bugger the bills” a demand to have anal sex with your debts, however tempting that may be….

The Lost Words

What’s a real shame, is just how narrow our swearing vocabulary has got.   Lost in the annuls of time are chinkstopper, plugtail, fartleberries, lobcock, and huffle.  We’ll bring you more of that, if you can take it, next week.  Though top marks to you if you not only already know their meanings, but get them into everyday speech!

swearing swearingswearing

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A Short History of Saucy Postcards

Fancy a piece of rock, cock?

Saucy postcards were all the rage back in the mid 20th Century.  They might have gone out of fashion, but we’re carrying on the tradition!

Here at DYP we like to think we’re original.  But we’re not the first to produce risqué cards.  Some of them were pretty awful.  But we admire the stand they took against uptight politicians.

Saucy Postcards

Postcards first became popular at the end of the Nineteenth Century.  The Post Office gave permission for them to be sent through the post.  And it wasn’t long before they started getting a bit racy.  By the 1930s saucy postcards at the seaside became all the rage.  Cartoons featuring stereotyped characters – the fat vicar, the drunk, the “henpecked” husband – were mixed with a liberal smattering of bawdy innuendo.

The suggestive captions never quite spelt out sex.  But it was usually implied.  And the cruder they were, the more popular.  During the 1930s they sold at a rate of knots.  16 million cards were sold a year.

Various companies produced them, with numerous cartoonist working on them.  But the biggest name was Donald McGill.  His postcards were the most popular.  And they remain the most popular as collectors’ items too.

Donald McGill

Donald McGill was born into a straight-laced “respectable” Victorian family.  At 32 years of age, he gave up a secure job to start his career as saucy postcard artist.  He continued to work til his death at 87 years.  Throughout his career, he had to fight of not only the disapproval of his family, but the law.

Saucy postcards

During the 50s the newly elected Conservative government made a stand.  They believed that these cards were so outrageous, they were undermining the moral fibre of the country.  They were determined to stamp out such obscenity.  The 1857 Obscenity Act was called upon.  Shops were raided and closed down.  Artists were arrested and tried.  They almost broke the postcard industry.  In 1954 McGill was subjected to a show trial and sentenced with a huge fine.

In 1960s government relaxed a little bit, and the postcard industry recovered.  But through the 70s and 80s, the quality of art work deteriorated.  Changing attitudes meant that people weren’t so keen on the stereotypes and sexism.  The cards saw a decline in popularity.  McGill never made a lot of money from his art.  Perhaps because he kept getting fined?

Its funny to look back on those cards and think they caused such outrage.  We’re sure we’d be up in court too if we went back to the 50s.  Society seems to realise that morals aren’t undermined by a bit of cheeky.  And aren’t we glad of that!


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Non religious Easter Greetings Cards

calories non religious easter greetings cards

Non Religious Easter Greetings Cards – sounds completely ironic doesn’t it? Being a non religious person but living in a country that has lots of religious festivals and Bank Holidays, it’s quite difficult to avoid them. However, I do quite enjoy the gathering of friends and family for an Easter Sunday feast! I love the rustle and garish foil covered chocolate eggs. I guess I really enjoy the pagan side of the festival as apposed to the Christian side of things. And that’s ok.

So with that in mind, I’ve created three cards based on chocolate consumption and the dreaded lactose intolerance! (more…)

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What stops you from buying at an online shop?

Father's Day greetings card

What stops you from buying at an online shop? Well it is a question I’ve asked myself quite a lot recently, since I’ve wanted to understand shopping habits of my customers. I have access to the information of customer click-through from my own sites, to understand how customers experience and use my shop. Which is very useful information and helps me try to improve my shop and make it easier for you to use.

The part I can’t work out is how it makes you feel – I want you to have an amazing experience and of course purchase outrageously naughty cards. (I know my work makes many of of you chuckle!)

I’ve read an awful lot about buying online and of ways to entice your customers, improve traffic and sales but it all feels wrong. I don’t want to bombard you with lots of messages, promotions, sales and gimmicks because I don’t want to experience that myself when I’m shopping online.

I get frustrated when I come to a new site and I’m met with pop-ups every twenty seconds, where sites seem to offer perpetual discounts. It devalues your product and makes me feel like you don’t value me as a customer. The biggest culprit for this is Gap, I love their clothes but I now refuse to buy anything at full price because there is likely to be a sale on in a couple of weeks time. My argument is that if they made their products lower in price in the first place, would they need to keep offering discounts to gain more customers?

As a small business it’s quite difficult to offer sales as every penny counts but I also understand we love to feel that we’re getting our moneys worth too. It’s very tempting to offer sales and discounts but really are we just kidding ourselves?

It seems a lot of the online business advice wants shops to push towards these gimmicks and yet I bet they’re equally frustrated when they visit sites that do this back. Frustration is not an emotion I want you to experience when shopping with me, I want to make the process as smooth and easy as possible, so I’ve stripped it back and made it as simple as I could. (Though website building is not my forte! Remember I’m just a printer!) Yes I offer an incentive to sign up to the newsletter, where you can get 5% off of your order and I also have a pop up to share DYP via social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I would love you to share my work with your friends and family, I wouldn’t be able to do this job without so many of you supporting me. But I also understand that it’s a massive ask on the part of your visitor and impedes your online shopping experience. I’ve tried to use plugins to let customers sign in from social media, or to integrate my shop within Facebook for example. Though if I’m honest I felt they were gimmicky and causes further dilution of the excitement of using the shop – another barrier to enjoying being online.

Do I have the answer? No not yet, I’m still relatively new to this and so I’m just blogging about my findings and musings about online shopping. I use a lot of my own gut instinct but I won’t lie that there are times it feels like I’m shouting into a void of noise known as the internet! The hardest part is trying to get awareness and raise my brand so that people find me. I don’t have a massive marketing budget, in fact it’s incredibly tiny and so that is why I find myself spending hours scheduling posts, or reading up on marketing so that I can find my audience.

So what does stop me purchasing online? Hidden postage charges, added taxes, page after page of checkout processes and pop ups. All of these things I’ve tried to address as best as I could with what I have available to me through my Shopify theme. Postage for example, is determined on the price of your shopping cart and country, as opposed to weight. I don’t add extra charges in and I limited the number of check out pages. Hopefully these things help make the experience smoother.

Ultimately though, you have to like what you’re buying and I need to be fulfilling a need you as the customer have, otherwise you wouldn’t have found me in the first place! So that feeds back into brand awareness and people being able to see you…I think I’m going to be some time at this game yet or win the lottery to have a larger marketing budget to gain a wider audience!

So on that note I shall go and mull some more!



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Outrageous Explicit Cards We Sell

HB slack twat cards

Outrageous Explicit Cards We Sell are only available to buy here at the DYP shop. You’ll find some of the naughtiest of the cards with words that are pretty outrageous and explicit but we know you’ll love them!

For a long time I tried to find greetings cards that were not slushy, or twee. That wasn’t embellished with glitter and had teddy bears or words of vomit inducing poetry plastered over them. So I decided to create my own work, to fit with people who I knew felt the same about cards. They wanted explicit greetings that made them giggle, be shocked and proper belly laugh.


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Happy Fucking Valentines

Valentines day cards

In the coming weeks I’m going to be sharing the rather cheeky and straight up Valentines offerings for 2015.

So have a butchers here at this straight to the point Valentines Card! Says it all really!

Happy Fucking Valentines

Digitally printed onto 400gsm luxury stock, I can personalise this card and post it out to a recipient if you happen to live away from each other or in the same house or on a mountain. You catch my drift.

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