Public Decency: Topless Triumph


Man may insist on being what Carlyle called the only "clothed animal," but defining "public decency" is among the law's most hopeless chores. Thus in Caracas last summer, a clever cop arrested a topless-bathing-suit wearer simply for not carrying identification papers. But in Cannes, another cop could think of no such evasive tactic when he spotted Claudine Durand, 21, on the beach. Barebreasted, the pretty Parisian gym teacher was playing pingpong before fascinated spectators.

Claudine was charged with "an outrage to public decency," which carries a rap of up to two...

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