Why a Kiss On the Lips (or Even the Hand) Can Still Stir Controversy

By NewsDude ,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2007 10:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – Richad Gere and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are hardly soulmates, but both got into trouble last week for kissing (not each other) in public. The actor was hanged in effigy by an angry mob for kissing a female Bollywood star during a charity event in India; the Iranian president  reprimanded by religious leaders for a peck on the gloved hand of a former teacher.

The Times’ Paul Vitello uses these kisses as the starting point to explore the origin, nature and power of kissing. Want to know the difference between the basium, the osculum and the savium kiss? Vitello shows the way. And reminds us of all those other poltical moments when a kiss was deemed to be much more than just a kiss.