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Lottery is gambling, not economic development

S tate Sen. Philip Moran’s stated reason for introducing a lottery bill in the Legislature reminds me of a satirical review of the erotic novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” back in 1959.

Moran, a Republican from Kiln, a Hancock County hamlet once called the moonshine capital of the nation, calls his proposal  to establish a state lottery “an economic development bill, not a lottery or gambling bill.” He says the main objective would be to stop the flow of revenue to Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee and bring some money  in from Alabama which doesn’t yet have a lottery.

However you feel about a lottery — and likely a majority of people in the state favor one — calling it an economic development bill is a stretch.

But in Mississippi anything that can be masked as economic development has a good chance of passing the Legislature — with the exception of raising taxes to fix crumbling highways or improving education which would be real economic development steps.

Maybe they will designate whatever profit the state earns from a lottery to highways, but it won’t bring in the money that simply updating the fuel tax would, thereby  letting those of us who use the roads pay for them without the costs of  administering a lottery.

Even if a lottery helps the flagging state economy and sends a few million dollars to patch potholes, it’s still gambling.

Which brings me to a review of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” in a 1959 issue of Field and Stream Magazine which mostly covers hunting, fishing and outdoor life.

“Lady Chatterley's Lover” is no more shocking than cheap novels you can buy in any town these days. In fact you can see it illustrated  in the  movies.

But before 1959 such things were banned in the United States and England.

The novel, by D.H. Lawrence, was first published privately in 1928 in Italy, and in 1929 in France and Australia.

According to Wikipedia: “An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books. Penguin won the case, and quickly sold three million copies. The book soon became notorious for its story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working class man and an upper class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then-unprintable words.”

In November, 1959, after paperback editions of the book were being legally sold in the United States, Ed Zern penned this tongue in cheek review of the novel for Field and Stream:

(begin italics)

Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley’s Lover has just been reissued by the Grove Press, and this fictional account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is still of considerable interest to outdoor minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper. Unfortunately one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savor these sidelights on the management of a Midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer’s opinion this book cannot take the place of J.R. Miller’s Practical Gamekeeping.

(end italics)

“Practical Gamekeeping” didn’t exist. Zern, a writer, conservationist and illustrator who died in 1994, just made that up.

Too bad he isn’t still around to handle publicity for the Mississippi Legislature or better yet be a member of that august body

After all, Lady Chatterley’s lover was a gamekeeper. But the novel’s main selling point was sex, not tending to pheasants; just as Moran’s bill is about gambling, although there may be a little economic development involved. Depends on where you want to put the emphasis.