Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 05:47:15 -0800


Subject: does Comm Decency Act prohibit mentioning "Dole" on the net?

This came from some anti-censorship lists:

Tehran (Reuter) - For the past few weeks, the behind the doors discussion

at many Iranian newspaper and magazine publishing outfits seems to be

revolving not around political, social and economic issues, but the

spelling of Bob Dole's name instead. It turns out that the proper spelling

of the Republican Party's likely nominee, Dole, is exactly the same as that

of the word penis in Persian. "At first it might seem funny to some people,

but it's creating a serious issue for us. How can we write headlines using

that word?," said Majid Fanni, a prepress specialist at a Tehran service


Professor Hassan Khadem, a Persian literature lecturer at New York

University added "It's actually not a real problem. In Persian, certain

vowels are optional. [Therefore] they could write his name a couple of

different ways to avoid the ambiguity. But for an exact pronunciation,

'Dowl' as opposed to 'Dol', well, they'd have to spell it that way." Fanni

explained "It's not easy. In print, especially for headlines, we don't use

[optional] vowel symbols. Because of that, his name can be read in that


International organizations are quite familiar and cognizant of these types

of issues. General Motors for example, spends over 300,000 dollars a year

just researching car names to make sure they are not trade marked, as well

as being acceptable in foreign countries.

Ali Zarkoob, a grade school teacher in Western Tehran said "I'm sure kids

will find it very funny. The humor magazines will probably go crazy over it

too." A columnist for Tehran's Hamshahri daily who requested to remain

anonymous stated "It's a real problem that no one wants to face. Think

about it. What should we write if he wins? 'Clinton loses Presidency'?

That's not right. 'Penis wins US Presidency' isn't exactly acceptable