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Announcement. We've finally gotten around to launching our new webzine/blawg: BurtLaw's The Daily Judge:
It is not an online newspaper and is not affiliated with or intended to be mistaken for any existing or previously-existing newspaper or journal. Rather, it is a so-called "blawg," a law-related personal "web log" or "blog," one with a subjective, idiosyncratic, and eccentric sociological and social-psychological slant that focuses not on the latest judicial decisions of supposed great importance but on a) the institution of judge in the United States and in other countries throughout the world, b) the judicial office and role, c) judicial personalities, d) the great common law tradition of judging as practiced here and throughout the world, e) judges as judges, f) judges as ordinary people with the usual mix of virtues and flaws, etc. We link to newspapers and other sources in order to alert the reader to ideas, articles, stories, speeches, law books, literary works and other things about "judges" that have interested us and that may interest the reader.
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Definition of a kiss: "The anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction." Dr. Henry Gibbons (1808 - 1884).
The Laws of Kissing. "Alice had always held that a good kiss could equal if not rival full love-making in the hands [or lips] of an able partner. She appreciated when a man took time and care with it, when he was challenged to explore the mouth's erotic, technically subtle possibilities. A good kisser needed the skill of a violinist or pianist, needed to know how to control and articulate every muscle of the mouth, needed to know the keyboard, rhythm and tempo, to know when to press hard and when to graze lightly and teasingly, when to open the mouth and when to apply distance. The good kisser had to control salival production and breathing rates, had to know how to sensually alter the positions of the head, to integrate the whole of the face into the kiss, to coordinate what was happening around the lips with the fingers' exploration of the ears and the nape of the neck, the temples and eyebrows. How rare good kisses had been in her experience." From The Romantic Movement, an excellent novel by Alain De Botton.
Romantic screen kisses. The most romantic screen kisses are in movies from the days when nude scenes were not only not obligatory but not allowed. My favorite is also Lisa Zeidner's favorite: "Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, jointly holding the phone to their ears in 'It's a Wonderful Life' (1946)." More ("When a Movie Kiss Is More Than a Kiss," New York Times 04.30.2000, reprinted at the author's site, LisaZeidner.Com).
Definition of a "Socratic kiss": "Socratic kiss [is] really a Platonic kiss, but it's claimed to be the Socratic technique so it'll sound more authoritative; however, compared to most strictly Platonic kisses, Socratic kisses wander around a lot more and cover more ground." More philosophers' kisses, including the "Sartrean kiss," the "Kantian kiss," and the "Aristotelean kiss" at The Philosophy of Kissing.
Islamic law on kissing, etc. a) Kiss lands Iranian actress, director in court (Miami.Com 10.03.2002); b) A Friendship sundered by Muslim code of honor (NY Times 02.01.2003).
Kiss me, thou newly-robed judge. In the Middle Ages the creation of a relationship of lord and vassal involved "a kissing," with the lord giving the vassal a full-mouth kiss. Kisses have also been used at times to seal the transfer of real property or as part of the process of clothing someone with the authority of a legal office, such as a judgeship. When the officiant at a marriage ceremony tells the groom that he "may now kiss the bride," the kiss is intended, at least in part, to signify the creation of the legal relationship of man and wife. The practice, now less observed than before, of kissing the Bible upon taking an oath to speak truthfully is meant similarly to signify that the taker of the oath realizes the importance of telling the truth. For an interesting analysis of types of "tactile legal communications," including kissing, that are common in so-called "performance cultures," see, B. J. Hibbits, Coming to Our Senses - Communication and Legal Expression in Performance Cultures, 41 Emory Law Journal 4 (1992), part II.C., reproduced online here. George Washington on April 30, 1789, set the precedent for the President to kiss the Bible upon taking the oath, a precedent not broken until March 4, 1853, by Franklin Pierce, who instead put his left hand upon the Bible. More on Inaugural precedents.
How to kiss. The best how-to manual on kissing is William Cane (a/k/a Michael Christian), The Art of Kissing (Rev. ed. 1995). Cane recently has branched out into how-to videos. More. "Kissing experts" like Cane have identified a number of varieties and types of kisses, sort of the kissing equivalent of the "167 different positions!" other kinds of how-to manuals used to trumpet. One type that you will not find described in any of the kissing manuals is the "judicial kiss." In this kiss "the judge" positions "the kissee" between himself and a mirror so that he may both a) keep an admiring eye on himself and b) keep a watchful eye on himself lest he do something that might be either improper or create the appearance of impropriety. Typically this kiss is rather cold and analytical. If both parties are judges, two mirrors are required, as well as a space heater to provide some needed heat.
Kissing = danger = regulation, by church, by custom, by law. According to Voltaire (Kissing, Philosophical Dictionary), it is a sense of "danger" that underlies the attempt by religious bodies, social institutions and governmental authorities to regulate kissing more closely than it previously had been regulated. Once upon a time "[i]t would have been an incivility, an affront, for an honourable woman, when she received a lord's first visit, not to have kissed him, despite his moustaches." But experience showed that "there was a great danger between fresh, red mouths of twenty to twenty-five years old." Voltaire described this danger well: "there is one nerve of the fifth pair which goes from the mouth to the heart, and thence lower down, with such delicate industry has nature prepared everything! The little glands of the lips, their spongy tissue, their velvety paps, the fine skin, ticklish, gives them an exquisite and voluptuous sensation, which is not without analogy with a still more hidden and still more sensitive part. Modesty may suffer from a lengthy savoured kiss between two Pietists of eighteen." This danger "caused women to be confined among the Orientals, so that they might kiss only their fathers and their brothers; custom long since introduced into Spain by the Arabs." Voltaire ends his essay by quoting Montaigne on "kissing": "One should speak thereof shamelessly: brazenly do we utter 'killing,' 'wounding,' 'betraying,' but of that [i.e., kissing] we dare not speak but with bated breath."
When kissing one's fiance was "highly improper" but kissing one's cousin was not. A fellow named Woodpecker Tapping wants to kiss his bride-to-be, Maria Maguire, but she, who lets her moron of a cousin, Alfred Foodle, kiss her, will not allow Woody to peck her because they are not yet married and therefore it would be "highly improper." See, Synopsis by Arthur Robinson of W. S. Gilbert's 1892 operetta, Haste to the Wedding, with music by (not his usual partner but) George Grossmith.
Guess which country in the 1930's made it a crime for homosexuals to kiss. Germany. An 1871 law in Germany, known as Paragraph 175, prohibited male homosexuality. Adolf Hitler broadened the law to expressly prohibit acts short of homosexual penetration, including homosexual kissing and hugging. Eventually, the Nazis sent known homosexuals to concentration camps, where they were required to wear the Pink Triangle to distinguish them from Jews, who were required to wear "Star of David."
Guess which state in the good ol' USA made "sex criminals" of homosexual men caught kissing in public in the 1940's and '50's. California.
When the customs and rules of immigrants re kissing conflict with the laws and mores of the receiving country. In 1996 the Maine Supreme Court, in the Kargar decision, a decision that other courts might not necessarily follow, reversed the child sex abuse conviction of an Afghan immigrant who claimed that his kissing his 18-month-old son's penis was a traditional way of demonstrating love for one's child in Afghanistan and was not motivated by a desire for sexual gratification.
Some unusual laws and ordinances regulating kissing. One frequently comes upon lists of quirky laws that may or may not be "on the books" anymore and that presumably are not only never enforced but not enforceable. Some strange laws about kissing:
a) At one time apparently there was an ordinance in Eureka, California, forbidding men with moustaches from kissing women. Queries: did it purport to regulate only public kissing? Was there an exception for kissing one's spouse? Why didn't it apply to women with moustaches?
b) A Tulsa, Rhode Island ordinance once forbade kisses lasting more than three minutes. Query: Only public kisses lasting more than three minutes?
c) Riverside, California once had a public health ordinance, presumably designed to prevent the spread of tuberculosis, that required people to wipe their lips with carbolized rose water before kissing.
d) France and Wisconsin and probably other jurisdictions have had laws on the books at one time or another prohibiting kissing by passengers on trains.
Elementary tort law: a kiss as a battery. "...Battery is a dignitary tort, and protects against invasions of one's bodily integrity. An unwanted kiss, while not phycially harmful, invades the bodily integrity of the plaintiff...." R. Brill, "Battery," Torts Review (Chi-Kent Law School, Fall 2002).