Presents a legal history of literary censorship, discussing the conflict between artists and censors, legal attempts to block specific works, and the struggle of lawyers and publishers to gain First Amendment rights for literature
The First Amendment is vital to our political system, our cultural institutions, and our routine social interactions with others. In this provocative book, Kevin Saunders asserts that freedom of expression can be very harmful to our children, making it more likely that they will be the perpetrators or victims of violence, will grow up as racists, or will use alcohol or tobacco. Saving Our Children from the First Amendment examines both the value and cost of free expression in America, demonstrating how an unregulated flow of information can be detrimental to youth. While the great value of the First Amendment is found in its protection of our most important political freedoms, this is far more significant for adults, who can fully grasp and benefit from the freedom of expression, than for children. Constitutional prohibitions on distributing sexual materials to children, Saunders proposes, should be expanded to include violent, vulgar, or profane materials, as well as music that contains hate speech. Saunders offers an insightful meditation on the problem of protecting our children from the negative effects of freedom of expression without curtailing First Amendment rights for adults.
Celluloid Obscenity and Popular Cinema in Bangladesh
Author: Lotte Hoek
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Category: Performing Arts
Imagine watching an action film in a small-town cinema hall in Bangladesh, and in between the gun battles and fistfights a short pornographic clip appears. This is known as a cut-piece, a strip of locally made celluloid pornography surreptitiously spliced into the reels of action films in Bangladesh. Exploring the shadowy world of these clips and their place in South Asian film culture, Lotte Hoek builds a rare, detailed portrait of the production, consumption, and cinematic pleasures of stray celluloid. Hoek's innovative ethnography plots the making and reception of Mintu the Murderer (2005, pseud.), a popular, Bangladeshi B-quality action movie and fascinating embodiment of the cut-piece phenomenon. She begins with the early scriptwriting phase and concludes with multiple screenings in remote Bangladeshi cinema halls, following the cut-pieces as they appear and disappear from the film, destabilizing its form, generating controversy, and titillating audiences. Hoek's work shines an unusual light on Bangladesh's state-owned film industry and popular practices of the obscene. She also reframes conceptual approaches to South Asian cinema and film culture, drawing on media anthropology to decode the cultural contradictions of Bangladesh since the 1990s.
Beginning with an analysis of cultural themes and ending with a discussion of evolving and expanding political and corporate institutions, The Columbia History of Post-World War II America addresses changes in America's response to the outside world; the merging of psychological states and social patterns in memorial culture, scandal culture, and consumer culture; the intersection of social practices and governmental policies; the effect of technological change on society and politics; and the intersection of changing belief systems and technological development, among other issues. Many had feared that Orwellian institutions would crush the individual in the postwar era, but a major theme of this book is the persistence of individuality and diversity. Trends toward institutional bigness and standardization have coexisted with and sometimes have given rise to a countervailing pattern of individualized expression and consumption. Today Americans are exposed to more kinds of images and music, choose from an infinite variety of products, and have a wide range of options in terms of social and sexual arrangements. In short, they enjoy more ways to express their individuality despite the ascendancy of immense global corporations, and this volume imaginatively explores every facet of this unique American experience.
This collection of original essays represents some of the most exciting ways in which historians are beginning to paint the 1960s onto the larger canvas of American history. While the first literature about this turbulent period was written largely by participants, many of the contributors to this volume are young scholars who came of age intellectually in the 1970s and 1980s and thus write from fresh perspectives. The essayists ask fundamental questions about how much America really changed in the 1960s and why certain changes took place. In separate chapters, they explore how the great issues of the decade--the war in Vietnam, race relations, youth culture, the status of women, the public role of private enterprise--were shaped by evolutions in the nature of cultural authority and political legitimacy. They argue that the whirlwind of events and problems we call the Sixties can only be understood in the context of the larger history of post-World War II America. Contents "Growth Liberalism in the Sixties: Great Societies at Home and Grand Designs Abroad," by Robert M. Collins "The American State and the Vietnam War: A Genealogy of Power," by Mary Sheila McMahon "And That's the Way It Was: The Vietnam War on the Network Nightly News," by Chester J. Pach, Jr. "Race, Ethnicity, and the Evolution of Political Legitimacy," by David R. Colburn and George E. Pozzetta "Nothing Distant about It: Women's Liberation and Sixties Radicalism," by Alice Echols "The New American Revolution: The Movement and Business," by Terry H. Anderson "Who'll Stop the Rain?: Youth Culture, Rock 'n' Roll, and Social Crises," by George Lipsitz "Sexual Revolution(s)," by Beth Bailey "The Politics of Civility," by Kenneth Cmiel "The Silent Majority and Talk about Revolution," by David Farber
The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right
Author: Whitney Strub
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Perversion for Profit traces the crucial function of pornography in constructing the New Right agenda, which has emphasized social issues over racial and economic inequality. Whitney Strub vividly recreates the debates over obscenity that consumed ACLU members in the 1950s and revisits the deployment of obscenity charges against purveyors of gay erotica during the Cold War, revealing the differing standards applied to heterosexual and homosexual pornography. He follows the rise of the influential Citizens for Decent Literature during the 1960s and the pivotal events that followed: the sexual revolution, feminist activism, the rise of the gay rights movement, the "porno chic" moment of the early 1970s, and resurgent Christian conservatism, which currently shapes public policy far beyond the issue of sexual decency. Strub also examines the ways in which the Left failed to mount a serious or sustained counterattack to the New Right's use of pornography as a political tool. As he demonstrates, this failure has put the Democratic Party at the mercy of Republican rhetoric for decades.
“The book is indispensable.” —Booklist “Detailed, objective, and valuable.” —Kirkus Reviews “Generating a gamut of emotions, the entire package is an important documentation of a revolution in American culture.” —Publishers Weekly 10th Anniversary Edition—Includes a New Preface by the Authors When it first came out in 2002, The Trials of Lenny Bruce quickly established itself as the definitive work on Lenny Bruce’s free speech battles over his provocative comedy. Originally packaged with an audio CD, this 10th Anniversary Enhanced eBook edition includes audio from Lenny Bruce’s most controversial performances, as well as exclusive author interviews with George Carlin, Hugh Hefner, Paul Krassner, Margaret Cho, and the lawyers who defended and prosecuted him. Also included are archival audio clips secretly recorded during Lenny’s New York obscenity trial. The Trials of Lenny Bruce is an important document of the free speech struggles of an icon of American comedy who, by speaking his mind and fighting the good fight, paved the way for every standup comedian, satirist, and social critic who followed him. Not only did The Trials of Lenny Bruce set the record straight on Lenny, being named one of the best books of the year by the L.A. Times, the authors led the successful push for the late comedian’s posthumous pardon in 2003 for his 1964 conviction on obscenity charges in New York.
We live in a time much like the postwar era. A time of arch political conservatism and vast social conformity. A time in which our nation’s leaders question and challenge the patriotism of those who oppose their policies. But before there was Jon Stewart, Al Franken, or Bill Maher, there were Mort Sahl, Stan Freberg, and Lenny Bruce—liberal satirists who, through their wry and scabrous comedic routines, waged war against the political ironies, contradictions, and hypocrisies of their times. Revel with a Cause is their story. Stephen Kercher here provides the first comprehensive look at the satiric humor that flourished in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. Focusing on an impressive range of comedy—not just standup comedians of the day but also satirical publications like MAD magazine, improvisational theater groups such asSecond City, the motion picture Dr. Strangelove, and TV shows like That Was the Week That Was—Kercher reminds us that the postwar era saw varieties of comic expression that were more challenging and nonconformist than we commonly remember. His history of these comedic luminaries shows that for a sizeable audience of educated, middle-class Americans who shared such liberal views, the period’s satire was a crucial mode of cultural dissent. For such individuals, satire was a vehicle through which concerns over the suppression of civil liberties, Cold War foreign policies, blind social conformity, and our heated racial crisis could be productively addressed. A vibrant and probing look at some of the most influential comedy of mid-twentieth-century America, Revel with a Cause belongs on the short list of essential books for anyone interested in the relationship between American politics and popular culture.
The last two decades have seen a resurgence of critical and popular attention to Virginia Woolf's life and work. Such traditional institutions as The New York Review of Books now pair her with William Shakespeare in promotional advertisements; her face is used to sell everything from Barnes & Noble books to Bass Ale. Virginia Woolf: Lesbian Readings represents the first book devoted to Woolf's lesbianism. Divided into two sections, Lesbian Intersections and Lesbian Readings of Woolf's Novels, these essays focus on how Woolf's private and public experience and knowledge of same-sex love influences her shorter fiction and novels. Lesbian Intersections includes personal narratives that trace the experience of reading Woolf through the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Lesbian Readings of Woolf's Novels provides lesbian interpretations of the individual novels, including Orlando, The Waves, and The Years. Breaking new ground in our understanding of the role Woolf's love for women plays in her major writing, these essays shift the emphasis of lesbian interpretations from Woolf's life to her work.
From the author of Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser's Reefer Madness: and Other Tales from the American Underground follows the money to uncover made the country rich: porn, pot and exploitation. In three linked essays, Eric Schlosser uncovers how dirty dealings and secret vices are part of a global black market on which we all depend. Reefer Madness traces the history of the contemporary 'war on drugs' from its origins in Reagan's social conservatism through to its profound impact on civil society, creating a justice system that punishes marijuana offences more harshly than rape and murder. An Empire of the Obscene tells the story of Reuben Sturman, the billionaire 'Walt Disney of porn' who most effectively exploited economies of scale to create a business that now saturates America and the world with graphic sexual imagery. In the Strawberry Fields shows how public demand for a soft red fruit is causing mass migration from Central America and changing California's political economy forever. 'An amazing secret history of America's favourite vices' Independent 'A shocking journey through the underside of the world's mightiest economy' The Times 'Schlosser tells us things we already suspect to be true, but don't dare think about' Daily Telegraph 'Superb ... mind-blowing ... quite simply the non-fiction book of the year' The List Eric Schlosser is an author and investigative journalist based in New York. His first book, Fast Food Nation, was a major international bestseller. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone and the Guardian.