Among nervous city officials at election time memories are short and faces long. The political play is to the grandstand and every gimmick scores points. This explains the sudden crackdown on Boston's emporia of hotcyed culture, the Old Howard and Casino burlesque (or burlesk, in the Casino's cas) house.
The Old Howard's manager, feted at a city banquet last year as scion of gracious living and upright tradition, is today as purveyor of filth. This formerly honest family man is new a corrupter of youth, the incarnate devil who not only takes the hindmost, but swathes it in a G-string to waggle before adolescent eyes.
This ban is cheap political chicanery.
Hordes of Cabots, Lowells and O'Reilly's have accepted the art of Scollay Square in a proper spirit of clean fun. And Boston has been justly proud, in more tolerant times, to be known as the home of this nation's first legitimate theatre. In fact, the cavalier action of the police is a slap in the face of hospitality that reaches back to the stoning of British troops in '75.
Mary Goodneighbor, for instance, suffered the indignity of a police pinch in Boston after a triumphant tour of Baltimore. Shielded from publicity by the nom de plume of Irma The Body and an ostrich plume cunningly wrapped about her as a gown, Miss Goodneighbor plys her trade with many giggles and transports of joy. These the censor would call obscene. Little wonder the textile industry is moving southward.
The city owes Miss Goodneighbor and her friends a groveling apology. Neither the stresses of public life nor political maneuvres should intrude in the world of art. In Boston, as elsewhere, the exotic dance should be as unfettered by censorship as it is by clothing.