Almost 100 years ago, a document entitled the Motion Picture Production Code (henceforth referred to as the 'Hays Code' with the full text of it after these introductory notes) was written and which was binding upon movie studios in the United States in order for the films which they produced to be distributed to theaters. It was drafted in response to the inability of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) to self-police as the then-new medium of film making (especially films with sound) had already demonstrated for almost a decade that it was a potent vehicle for the transmission of degrading and immoral content. The promulgation of the code was primarily due to an increase in the number of boycotts and protests that were being organized by a wide swath of Christian groups in response to the morally objectionable content being disseminated by the studios to the public at large, and the studios were fearful of eventual oversight of film content and their production procedures along with the consequential interference and control by the government. It was ratified and agreed upon in March of 1930, but was not enforced until 1934. During that interval it was merely winked at by the studios, producers, and directors. But, once again, pressure started to rise from good people taking a stand against the profaning of art and the corruption of hearts and minds, and so the studios placed Joseph Breen (1888 - 1965) at the head of the Production Code Administration (PCA). For the next 30 plus years, no film was released that had not been scrutinized through the lens of the Hays Code.
Its drafting in 1929 was overseen by William H. Hays, Presbyterian elder and president of the MPPDA from 1922 to 1945, and authorship was primarily by the American Jesuit Priest Daniel A. Lord (1888 - 1955) and the prominent Roman Catholic layman and publisher Martin Quigley (1890 - 1964). The code has been described as "a polished treatise reflecting long and deep thought in aesthetics, education, communications theory, and moral philosophy"1(Thomas Patrick Doherty, Pre-Code Hollywood, [New York: Columbia University Press, 1999], 6). While there are exceptions of course, in the main, the movies that were made during that period of 1934 - 1968 (the 'Golden Age' of Hollywood) were superior in language, story, and morality to the movies being made today and indeed for the past several decades.
Looking at the description of the code, it is indeed telling that if one were to inquire of today's average consumer of popular fare (let alone those who mistakenly identify themselves as 'conservative') what words such as 'aesthetic,' 'education,' or 'philosophy' (moral or otherwise) denote and connote, they would manifest a helplessness and vacuity only to be matched by the prostrate intellectual and moral response that they gave when challenged on questions of murdering of the unborn, marriage laws, the homosexual agenda, mental 'illness,' etc. Does this entail that everyone needs to be a philosopher or actually educated2I am loathe to qualify that word here, but the word 'education,' like so many seminal words of our civilizational inheritance, has, in the vernacular of today, been drained of just about all meaning due to sloppy thinking, conflation, and equivocation. in order to contribute to the defense of what is right? Of course not. But, as will be made clear later, if one is not willing (or able) to put in the necessary hard work to muster a rigorous moral and intellectual defense, at the very least, such a person should not be pretending that they are able to do so3For when they do, and inevitably flummox it, they undermine the work of those striving to defend the truth competently and merely affirm and lend credence to the lie that the moral, rational, and historical evidences for conservatism are unfounded or easily repudiated. nor should they be aiding and abetting the very enemy which they claim to be against by handing their time and money over to organizations and companies which have an abiding and well-established animus towards what is true, and should instead seek to keep their minds uncluttered, placing only that which is good, true, and estimable there so that they will be capable of relaying such in a worthy, dependable, and effective manner. In short: stop being a poseur.
Various authors have offered differing hypotheses as to how the code actually came to be ratified and for what reasons. But, regardless of why the studios decided to adopt and eventually enforce the code, the decisive action that the movie industry in Hollywood took came about because of a broad contingent of Christian groups from both the Catholic and Protestant traditions which unequivocally condemned the material being churned out by the studios and actively boycotted those films that were morally corrupting. If we were to put on the hat of a cynic, we might say that the code came about due to fear of reduced profits on the part of the movie industry investors. Regardless, without the efforts of committed Christians, without their conviction, and without their sobriety of mind, the collapse of the West which we are currently enduring and which is accelerating, would have been hastened and we'd be far worse off than we already are, if even extant.
The Golden Age continued up through 1968 when it was abandoned in favor of the 'less repressive' (read 'more licentious') Motion Picture Association film rating system that persists up to this very day. Throughout this period, from the very beginning to the end, man's religiosity was on full display as various studios, producers, directors, and actors worked assiduously to satisfy the letter of it while entirely seeking to desecrate the spirit of it.
I must confess that as I peruse the code, I am convicted that many of my favorite movies and shows over the years have violated the standards set out in the coming paragraphs of the Hays Code and I am tempted to think: "This show or that movie isn't really so terrible. I really enjoyed it and I like to watch it again from time to time. If this code was enforced, I'd miss out." But, if the authors of the code and the many forgotten generations of the faithful before them who built our civilization were right, then many of the horrors done to life and conscience which we now see daily might have been avoided if our standards for entertainment were of the highest nature in thought and execution. To not be willing to abjure such fare in exchange for a society in which the murder of the unborn, the mutilation of children in pursuit of the transvestite's dream, the open sewer which is and has been the normalization of homosexuality, and all of the trickle down effects of it such as the destruction of the family, the disappearance of personal accountability courtesy of the rise of the psychological world view, and the eventual (and inevitable) financial bankruptcy that serves as capstone to the moral bankruptcy, is a picture of the very selfishness and solipsism that rules the very things decried. Now that the final bells tolling the demise of our civilization ring in the massive social and societal debts accrued from the moral collapse of the past five plus decades, it is indeed telling that many more people are now starting to pay attention to social (i.e. moral) problems. Unfortunately, they're just as inept and ill-equipped now as they were when they opened the doors to the very calamities form which they are now only beginning to suffer. The mind boggles to see such as these confused and surprised by the imminent and present financial collapse, but this merely underscores the reality that the inability to see its inexorable coming was due to a pathological myopia born of ignorance of history and human nature and its no less destructive sibling of an apathy so all-encompassing that even thoughts for the preservation of one's self or one's progeny couldn't pierce the entertaining fog.
The main problem (if so it can be called) with the code is that it requires that people who call themselves 'conservative' do something other than complain and be 'shocked, shocked!' at what is transpiring in these darkening days. Complaining is easy, making actual changes in one's life is uncomfortable, unsettling, and ultimately entails, that which must not be countenanced, the horror of all horrors: spending time thinking about and digging into something other than the pursuit of the maintenance of comfort, maintaining one's standard of living, and pleasure. To a person from past generations who was not reprobate, the contents of the code would be 'common' sense and they would wonder as to how any person could protest in any way except through defect of character. Hence, if we do protest, we must come to the realization that we are defective in character. Jesus said "you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." Therefore, knowing that we are defective in character is not such a bad thing, because acknowledging it and following through with the necessary correctives, leads to the only freedom worthy of the name. So, if we find that we struggle with these defects, we must consider the following as we approach what we consider to be entertainment 4'Better' should be here taken to connote: exhibiting more wisdom, a better spouse, a better child, a better citizen, etc. We are not talking here about accidental betterment, but contingent betterment.:
- How has any of the content which used to be prohibited but is now ubiquitous, made me a better person?
- How has it made anyone a better person?
- How has it improved the living conditions or lot of any person other than those who purvey such material?
- How has it contributed to any good thing in the civilization of the West?
- Am I a fraud for espousing conservatism while my proclivities and tastes (i.e. lack thereof) declare just the opposite?
To summarize all of the previous and all of what is to follow: what resides in the heart and mind of a person will determine how they approach and live their life. For good, for evil, it's all there. To even question that what goes into a person's mind has a deep and abiding impact upon how they view the world and how they will think and eventually act, is in itself a declaration of one's unhingedness. And so, one cannot on the one hand claim to be a conservative, while on the other proclaim just the opposite by engaging in and feeding the mind upon stultifying and debasing entertainments as are to be found in abundance in today's music, reading, movies, and shows. Such 'conservatism' is a farce and should be repudiated wherever it is to be found. Irving Babbitt's aphorism from Rousseau and Romanticism is particularly apropos of this phenomenon: "The special mark of the half-educated man is his harboring of incompatible desires."
Where text highlighted in yellow is encountered in the below transcription of the Hays Code, that is to indicate where I have taken the liberty to call out portions of it which I believe to be particularly relevant to its metaphysical underpinnings as well as those items whose violation and overthrow have had particularly insidious effects upon the hearts, minds, and therefore actions (or lack thereof) of the Western mind in general and America in particular.
The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (Hays Code)
Authored by Daniel A. Lord and Martin Quigley. Edited by William H. Hays
If motion pictures present stories that will affect lives for the better, they can become the most powerful force for the improvement of mankind.
A Code to Govern the Making of Talking, Synchronized and Silent Motion Pictures. Formulated and formally adopted by The Association of Motion Picture Producers, Inc. and The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. in March 1930.
Motion picture producers recognize the high trust and confidence which have been placed in them by the people of the world and which have made motion pictures a universal form of entertainment.
They recognize their responsibility to the public because of this trust and because entertainment and art are important influences in the life of a nation.
Hence, though regarding motion pictures primarily as entertainment without any explicit purpose of teaching or propaganda, they know that the motion picture within its own field of entertainment may be directly responsible for spiritual or moral progress, for higher types of social life, and for much correct thinking.
During the rapid transition from silent to talking pictures they have realized the necessity and the opportunity of subscribing to a Code to govern the production of talking pictures and of re-acknowledging this responsibility.
On their part, they ask from the public and from public leaders a sympathetic understanding of their purposes and problems and a spirit of cooperation that will allow them the freedom and opportunity necessary to bring the motion picture to a still higher level of wholesome entertainment for all the people.
Reasons Supporting the Preamble of the Code
- Theatrical motion pictures, that is, pictures intended for the theatre as distinct from pictures
intended for churches, schools, lecture halls, educational movements, social reform movements, etc., are
primarily to be regarded as Entertainment.
Mankind has always recognized the importance of entertainment and its value in rebuilding the bodies and souls of human beings.
But it has always recognized that entertainment can be a character either helpful or harmful to the human race, and in consequence has clearly distinguished between:
- Entertainment which tends to improve the race, or at least to re-create and rebuild human beings exhausted with the realities of life; and
- Entertainment which tends to degrade human beings, or to lower their standards of life and living.
Hence the moral importance of entertainment is something which has been universally recognized. It enters intimately into the lives of men and women and affects them closely; it occupies their minds and affections during leisure hours; and ultimately touches the whole of their lives. A man may be judged by his standard of entertainment as easily as by the standard of his work.
So correct entertainment raises the whole standard of a nation.
Wrong entertainment lowers the whole living conditions and moral ideals of a race.
NOTE, for example, the healthy reactions to healthful sports, like baseball, golf; the unhealthy reactions to sports like cockfighting, bullfighting, bear baiting, etc. Note, too, the effect on ancient nations of gladiatorial combats, the obscene plays of Roman times, etc.
- Motion pictures are very important as Art.
Though a new art, possibly a combination art, it has the same object as the other arts, the presentation of human thought, emotion, and experience, in terms of an appeal to the soul through the senses.
Here, as in entertainment, art enters intimately into the lives of human beings.
- Art can be morally good, lifting men to higher levels. This has been done through good music, great painting, authentic fiction, poetry, drama.
- Art can be morally evil in its effects. This is the case clearly enough with unclean art, indecent books, suggestive drama. The effect on the lives of men and women are obvious.
It has often been argued that art itself is unmoral, neither good nor bad. This is true of the thing which is music, painting, poetry, etc. But the thing is the product of some person's mind, and the intention of that mind was either good or bad morally when it produced the thing. Besides, the thing has its effect upon those who come into contact with it. In both these ways, that is, as a product of a mind and as the cause of definite effects, it has a deep moral significance and unmistakable moral quality.
The motion pictures, which are the most popular of modern arts for the masses, have their moral quality from the intention of the minds which produce them and from their effects on the moral lives and reactions of their audiences. This gives them a most important morality.
- They reproduce the morality of the men who use the pictures as a medium for the expression of their ideas and ideals.
- They affect the moral standards of those who, through the screen, take in these ideas and ideals.
In the case of motion pictures, the effect may be particularly emphasized because no art has so quick and so widespread an appeal to the masses. It has become in an incredibly short period, the art of the multitudes.
- The motion picture, because of its importance as entertainment and because of the trust placed in it by
the peoples of the world, has special Moral obligations:
- Most arts appeal to the mature. This art appeals at once to every class—mature, immature, developed, undeveloped, law abiding, criminal. Music has its grades for different classes; so has literature and drama. This art of the motion picture, combining as it does the two fundamental appeals of looking at a picture and listening to a story, at once reaches every class of society.
- By reason of the mobility of film and the ease of picture distribution, and because the possibility of duplicating positives in large quantities, this art reaches places unpenetrated by other forms of art.
- Because of these two facts, it is difficult to produce films intended for only certain classes of people. The exhibitors' theatres are built for the masses, for the cultivated and the rude, the mature and the immature, the self-respecting and the criminal. Films, unlike books and music, can with difficulty be confined to certain selected groups.
- The latitude given to film material cannot, in consequence, be as wide as the latitude given to
book material. In addition:
- A book describes; a film vividly presents. One presents on a cold page; the other by apparently living people.
- A book reaches the mind through words merely; a film reaches the eyes and ears through the reproduction of actual events.
- The reaction of a reader to a book depends largely on the keenness of the reader's imagination; the reaction to a film depends on the vividness of presentation.
Hence many things which might be described or suggested in a book could not possibly be presented in a film.
- This is also true when comparing the film with the newspaper.
- Newspapers present by description, films by actual presentation.
- Newspapers are after the fact and present things as having taken place; the film gives the events in the process of enactment and with apparent reality of life.
- Everything possible in a play is not possible in a film:
- Because of the larger audience of the film, and its consequential mixed character. Psychologically, the larger the audience, the lower the moral mass resistance to suggestion.
- Because thru light, enlargement of character, presentation, scenic emphasis, etc., the screen story is brought closer to the audience than the play.
- The enthusiasm for and interest in the film actors and actresses, developed beyond anything of the sort in history, makes the audience largely sympathetic toward the characters they portray and the stories in which they figure. Hence the audience is more ready to confuse actor and actress and the characters they portray, and it is most receptive of the emotions and ideals presented by their favorite stars.
- Small communities, remote from sophistication and from the hardening process which often takes place in the ethical and moral standards of larger cities, are easily and readily reached by any sort of film.
- The grandeur of mass settings, large action, spectacular features, etc., affects and arouses more intensely the emotional side of the audience.
the mobility, popularity, accessibility, emotional appeal, vividness, straightforward presentation of fact in the film make for more intimate contact with a larger audience and for greater emotional appeal.
Hence the larger moral responsibilities of the motion pictures.
- No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.
- Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.
- Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.
Reasons Underlying the General Principles
- No picture shall be produced which will lower the moral standards of those who see it.
Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrong-doing, evil or sin.
This is done:
- When evil is made to appear attractive and alluring, and good is made to appear unattractive.
- When the sympathy of the audience is thrown on the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil, sin. The same is true of a film that would throw sympathy against goodness, honor, innocence, purity or honesty.
Sympathy with a person who sins, is not the same as sympathy with the sin or crime of which he is guilty. We may feel sorry for the plight of the murderer or even understand the circumstances which led him to his crime: we may not feel sympathy with the wrong which he has done.
The presentation of evil is often essential for art or fiction or drama. This in itself is not wrong provided:
- That evil is not presented alluringly. Even if later in the film the evil is condemned or punished, it must not be allowed to appear so attractive that the audience's emotions are drawn to desire or approve so strongly that later the condemnation is forgotten and only the apparent joy of sin is remembered.
- That throughout the presentation, evil and good are never confused and that evil is always recognized clearly as evil.
- That throughout, the audience feels sure that evil is wrong and good is right.
- Correct standards of life shall, as far as possible, be presented.
A wide knowledge of life and of living is made possible through the film. When right standards are consistently presented, the motion picture exercises the most powerful influences. It builds character, develops right ideals, inculcates correct principles, and all this in attractive story form.
If motion pictures consistently hold up for admiration high types of characters and present stories that will affect lives for the better, they can become the most powerful force for the improvement of mankind.
- Law, natural or divine, must not be belittled, ridiculed, nor must a sentiment be created against it.
By natural law is understood the law which is written in the hearts of all mankind, the greater underlying principles of right and justice dictated by conscience.
By human law is understood the law written by civilized nations.
- The presentation of crimes against the law is often necessary for the carrying out of the plot. But the presentation must not throw sympathy with the crime as against the law nor with the criminal as against those who punish him.
- The courts of the land should not be presented as unjust. This does not mean that a single court may not be presented as unjust, much less that a single court official must not be presented this way. But the court system of the country must not suffer as a result of this presentation.
- Crimes Against the Law
These shall never be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime as against law and justice or to inspire others with a desire for imitation.
- The technique of murder must be presented in a way that will not inspire imitation.
- Brutal killings are not to be presented in detail.
- Revenge in modern times shall not be justified.
- Methods of Crime should not be explicitly presented.
- Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc., should not be detailed in method.
- Arson must subject to the same safeguards.
- The use of firearms should be restricted to the essentials.
- Methods of smuggling should not be presented.
- Illegal drug traffic must never be presented.
- The use of liquor in American life, when not required by the plot or for proper characterization, will not be shown.
The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.
- Adultery, sometimes necessary plot material, must not be explicitly treated, or justified, or presented attractively.
- Scenes of Passion
- They should not be introduced when not essential to the plot.
- Excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures, are not to be shown.
- In general passion should so be treated that these scenes do not stimulate the lower and baser element.
- Seduction or Rape
- They should never be more than suggested, and only when essential for the plot, and even then never shown by explicit method.
- They are never the proper subject for comedy.
- Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden.
- White slavery shall not be treated.
- Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races) is forbidden.
- Sex hygiene and venereal diseases are not subjects for motion pictures.
- Scenes of actual child birth, in fact or in silhouette, are never to be presented.
- Children's sex organs are never to be exposed.
The treatment of low, disgusting, unpleasant, though not necessarily evil, subjects should always be subject to the dictates of good taste and a regard for the sensibilities of the audience.
Obscenity in word, gesture, reference, song, joke, or by suggestion (even when likely to be understood only by part of the audience) is forbidden.
Pointed profanity (this includes the words, God, Lord, Jesus, Christ - unless used reverently - Hell, S.O.B., damn, Gawd), or every other profane or vulgar expression however used, is forbidden.
- Complete nudity is never permitted. This includes nudity in fact or in silhouette, or any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture.
- Undressing scenes should be avoided, and never used save where essential to the plot.
- Indecent or undue exposure is forbidden.
- Dancing or costumes intended to permit undue exposure or indecent movements in the dance are forbidden.
- Dances suggesting or representing sexual actions or indecent passions are forbidden.
- Dances which emphasize indecent movements are to be regarded as obscene.
- No film or episode may throw ridicule on any religious faith.
- Ministers of religion in their character as ministers of religion should not be used as comic characters or as villains.
- Ceremonies of any definite religion should be carefully and respectfully handled.
The treatment of bedrooms must be governed by good taste and delicacy.
- National Feelings
- The use of the Flag shall be consistently respectful.
- The history, institutions, prominent people and citizenry of other nations shall be represented fairly.
Salacious, indecent, or obscene titles shall not be used.
- Repellent Subjects
The following subjects must be treated within the careful limits of good taste:
- Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishments for crime.
- Third Degree methods.
- Brutality and possible gruesomeness.
- Branding of people or animals.
- Apparent cruelty to children or animals.
- The sale of women, or a woman selling her virtue.
- Surgical operations.
Reasons Underlying the Particular Applications
- Sin and evil enter into the story of human beings and hence in themselves are valid dramatic material.
- In the use of this material, it must be distinguished between sin which repels by it very nature, and
sins which often attract.
- In the first class come murder, most theft, many legal crimes, lying, hypocrisy, cruelty, etc.
- In the second class come sex sins, sins and crimes of apparent heroism, such as banditry, daring thefts, leadership in evil, organized crime, revenge, etc.
The first class needs less care in treatment, as sins and crimes of this class are naturally unattractive. The audience instinctively condemns all such and is repelled.
Hence the important objective must be to avoid the hardening of the audience, especially of those who are young and impressionable, to the thought and fact of crime. People can become accustomed even to murder, cruelty, brutality, and repellent crimes, if these are too frequently repeated.
The second class needs great care in handling, as the response of human nature to their appeal is obvious. This is treated more fully below.
- A careful distinction can be made between films intended for general distribution, and films intended
for use in theatres restricted to a limited audience. Themes and plots quite
appropriate for the latter would be altogether out of place and dangerous in the former.
The practice of using a general theatre and limiting its patronage to "Adults Only" is not completely satisfactory and is only partially effective.
However, maturer minds may easily understand and accept without harm subject matter in plots which do younger people positive harm.
If there should be created a special type of theatre, catering exclusively to an adult audience, for plays of this character (plays with problem themes, difficult discussions and maturer treatment) it would seem to afford an outlet, which does not now exist, for pictures unsuitable for general distribution but permissible for exhibitions to a restricted audience.
- Crimes Against the Law
The treatment of crimes against the law must not:
- Teach methods of crime.
- Inspire potential criminals with a desire for imitation.
- Make criminals seem heroic and justified.
Revenge in modern times shall not be justified. In lands and ages of less developed civilization and moral principles, revenge may sometimes be presented. This would be the case especially in places where no law exists to cover the crime because of which revenge is committed.
Because of its evil consequences, the drug traffic should not be presented in any form. The existence of the trade should not be brought to the attention of audiences.
The use of liquor should never be excessively presented. In scenes from American life, the necessities of plot and proper characterization alone justify its use. And in this case, it should be shown with moderation.
Out of a regard for the sanctity of marriage and the home, the triangle, that is, the love of a third party for one already married, needs careful handling. The treatment should not throw sympathy against marriage as an institution.
Scenes of passion must be treated with an honest acknowledgement of human nature and its normal reactions. Many scenes cannot be presented without arousing dangerous emotions on the part of the immature, the young or the criminal classes.
Even within the limits of pure love, certain facts have been universally regarded by lawmakers as outside the limits of safe presentation.
In the case of impure love, the love which society has always regarded as wrong and which has been banned by divine law, the following are important:
- Impure love must not be presented as attractive and beautiful.
- It must not be the subject of comedy or farce, or treated as material for laughter.
- It must not be presented in such a way to arouse passion or morbid curiosity on the part of the audience.
- It must not be made to seem right and permissible.
- In general, it must not be detailed in method and manner.
hardly need further explanation than is contained in the Code.
- The effect of nudity or semi-nudity upon the normal man or woman, and much more upon the young and upon immature persons, has been honestly recognized by all lawmakers and moralists.
- Hence the fact that the nude or semi-nude body may be beautiful does not make its use in the films moral. For, in addition to its beauty, the effect of the nude or semi-nude body on the normal individual must be taken into consideration.
- Nudity or semi-nudity used simply to put a "punch" into a picture comes under the head of immoral actions. It is immoral in its effect on the average audience.
- Nudity can never be permitted as being necessary for the plot. Semi-nudity must not result in undue or indecent exposures.
- Transparent or translucent materials and silhouette are frequently more suggestive than actual exposure.
Dancing in general is recognized as an art and as a beautiful form of expressing human emotions.
But dances which suggest or represent sexual actions, whether performed solo or with two or more; dances intended to excite the emotional reaction of an audience; dances with movement of the breasts, excessive body movements while the feet are stationary, violate decency and are wrong.
The reason why ministers of religion may not be comic characters or villains is simply because the attitude taken toward them may easily become the attitude taken toward religion in general. Religion is lowered in the minds of the audience because of the lowering of the audience's respect for a minister.
Certain places are so closely and thoroughly associated with sexual life or with sexual sin that their use must be carefully limited.
- National Feelings
The just rights, history, and feelings of any nation are entitled to most careful consideration and respectful treatment.
As the title of a picture is the brand on that particular type of goods, it must conform to the ethical practices of all such honest business.
- Repellent Subjects
Such subjects are occasionally necessary for the plot. Their treatment must never offend good taste nor injure the sensibilities of an audience.