(1997) 16 Cal.4th 561, 582;
People v. Louis
(1986) 42 Cal.3d 969, 984-988.)4.Poetry or Painting Are More Expressive and Ambiguous andThus More Likely to be Protected by First Amendment.(a)
In re Ryan D.
notes that “As an expression of anidea or intention, a painting – even a graphicallyviolent painting – is necessarily ambiguous because itmay use symbolism, exaggeration, and make- believe.” (100 Cal.App.4th at p. 857.)(b) But see
In re George T.
(2002) 102 Cal.App.4th1422, review granted, S111780, in which majorityrefused to accord any significance to factcommunication was in form of poem, with title and byline, and was labeled “Dark Poetry,” or that minor asked student to whom he gave poem if there was a poetry club at school.Dissent quotes
McCollum v. CBS, Inc.
(1988) 202Cal.App.3d 989, 1002: “Poetry is not intended to beand should not be read literally on its face, nor judged by a standard of prose oratory. Reasonable personsunderstand . . . poetic conventions as the figurativeexpressions which they are. No rational person wouldor could believe otherwise nor would they mistake. . . poetry for literal commands or directives toimmediate action. To do so would indulge a fictionwhich neither common sense nor the FirstAmendment will permit.”C.Some principles that have developed in appellate review of section 422 cases.1.Threat Need Not be Unconditional.In
People v. Bolin
(1998) 18 Cal.4th 297, 338, courtdisapproved holding of
People v. Brown
(1993) 20Cal.App.4th 1251 that a threat which is conditional inany respect is not covered by section 422. Approves
People v. Stainfield
(1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 1152,1157: “The use of the word “so” indicates thatunequivocality, unconditionality, immediacy andspecificity are not absolutely mandated, but must be