After Authority explores the tendency in art cinema to respond to political transition by turning to ambiguity, a system that ideally stems the reemergence of authoritarian logics in art and elsewhere. By comparing films from Italy, Hungary, South Korea, and the United States, this book contends that the aesthetic tradition of ambiguity in art cinema can be traced to post-authoritarian conditions and that it is in the context of a transition away from authoritarianism where art cinema aesthetics become legible. Art cinema, then, can be seen as a mode of cinematic practice that is at its core political, as its constitutive ambiguity finds its roots in the rejection of centralized and hierarchical configurations of authority. Ultimately, After Authority proposes a history of art cinema predicated on the potentials, possibilities, and politics of ambiguity.
From Czarism and Bolshevism to the current post-communist era, the media in Central Asia has been tightly constrained. Though the governments in the region assert that a free press is permitted to operate, research has shown this to be untrue. In all five former Soviet republics of Central Asia, the media has been controlled, suppressed, punished, and often outlawed. This enlightening collection of essays investigates the reasons why these countries have failed to develop independent and sustainable press systems. It documents the complex relationship between the press and governance, nation-building, national identity, and public policy. In this book, scholars explore the numerous and broad-reaching implications of media control in a variety of contexts, touching on topics such as Internet regulation and censorship, press rights abuses, professional journalism standards and self-censorship, media ownership, ethnic newspapers, blogging, Western broadcasting into the region, and coverage of terrorism.
America’ s First Network TV Censor: The Work of NBC’ s Stockton Helffrich is a unique examination of early television censorship, centered around the papers of Stockton Helffrich, the first manager of the censorship department at NBC. Set against the backdrop of postwar America and contextualized by myriad primary sources including original interviews and unpublished material, Helffrich’ s reports illustrate how early censorship of advertising, language, and depictions of sex, violence, and race shaped the new medium. While other books have cited Helffrich’ s reports, none have considered them as a body of work, complemented by the details of Helffrich’ s life and the era in which he lived. America’ s First Network TV Censor explores the ways in which Helffrich’ s personal history and social class influenced his perception of his role as NBC-TV censor and his tendency to ignore certain political and cultural taboos while embracing others.
Author Robert Pondillo considers Helffrich’ s life in broadcasting before and after the Second World War, and his censorial work in the context of 1950s American culture and emerging network television. Pondillo discusses the ways that cultural phenomena, including the arrival of the mid-twentieth-century religious boom, McCarthyism, the dawn of the Civil Rights era, and the social upheaval over sex, music, and youth, contributed to a general sense that the country was morally adrift and ripe for communist takeover.
Five often-censored subjects— advertising, language, and depictions of sex, violence, and race— are explored in detail, exposing the surprising complexity and nuance of early media censorship. Questions of whether too many sadistic westerns would coarsen America’ s children, how to talk about homosexuality without using the word “ homosexuality,” and how best to advertise toilet paper without offending people were on Helffrich’ s mind; his answers to these questions helped shape the broadcast media we know today.
Through the twentieth century, from colonial Ireland to the United States, and from Franco's Spain to late Soviet Russia, to include sexuality in a novel signaled social progressiveness and artistic innovation, but also transgression. Certain novelists—such as James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Luis Martín-Santos, and Viktor Erofeev—radicalized the content of the novel by incorporating sexual thoughts, situations, and fantasies and thus portraying repressed areas of social, cultural, political, and mental life.
In The Artistic Censoring of Sexuality: Fantasy and Judgment in the Twentieth-Century Novel, Susan Mooney extensively examines four modernist and postmodernist novels that prompted in their day harsh external censorship because of their sexual content—Ulysses, Lolita, Time of Silence, and Russian Beauty. She shows how motifs of censorship, with all its restrictions, pressures, rules, judgments, and forms of negation, became artistically embedded in the novels' plots, characters, settings, tropes, and themes. These novels contest censorship's status quo and critically explore its processes and power. This study reveals the impact of censorship on literary creation, particularly in relation to the twentieth century's growing interest in sexuality and its discourses.
If you caught a movie in Kansas through much of the past century, you’re likely to have seen a different version than did the rest of America. Theda Bara’s depictions of wicked sexuality were off-limits, and a film such as the 1932 Scarface showed far too much violence for decent folk—a threat to Protestant culture and to the morals of the general population.
In 1915, Kansas became one of only a handful of states to establish its own film censorship board. The Kansas board controlled screen content in the state for more than fifty years, yet little is known about its activities. This first book-length study of state film censorship examines the unique political, social, and economic factors that led to its implementation in Kansas, examining why censorship legislation was enacted, what the attitudes of Kansans were toward censorship, and why it lasted for half a century.
Cinema historian Gerald Butters places the Kansas Board of Review’s attempts to control screen content in the context of nationwide censorship efforts during the early part of the twentieth century. He tells how factors such as Progressivism, concern over child rearing, and a supportive press contributed to censorship, and he traces the board’s history from the problems posed by the emergence of “talkies” through changing sexual mores in the 1920s to challenges to its power in the 1950s.
In addition to revealing the fine points of film content deemed too sensitive for screening, Butters describes the daily operations of the board, illustrating the difficulties it encountered as it wrestled not only with constantly shifting definitions of morality but also with the vagaries of the political and legal systems. Stills from motion pictures illustrate the type of screen content the board attempted to censor.
As Kansas faced the march of modernity, even state politicians began to criticize film censorship, and Butters tells how by the 1960s the board was fighting to remain relevant as film companies increasingly challenged its attempts to control screen content. Banned in Kansas weaves a fascinating tale of the enforcement of public morality, making it a definitive study for cinema scholars and an entertaining read for film buffs.
Through unparalleled historical detective work, noted scholars Walter Laqueur and Richard Breitman reveal the inspiring tale of Eduard Schulte, the Breslau business leader who risked his life to gather information about such Nazi activities as the revised date of the German attack on Poland and the Nazi plan for mass extermination of European Jews. First published in 1986, Breaking the Silence is reissued with both a new foreword and afterword by the authors.
The director of the famed Bodleian Libraries at Oxford narrates the global history of the willful destruction—and surprising survival—of recorded knowledge over the past three millennia.
Libraries and archives have been attacked since ancient times but have been especially threatened in the modern era. Today the knowledge they safeguard faces purposeful destruction and willful neglect; deprived of funding, libraries are fighting for their very existence. Burning the Books recounts the history that brought us to this point.
Richard Ovenden describes the deliberate destruction of knowledge held in libraries and archives from ancient Alexandria to contemporary Sarajevo, from smashed Assyrian tablets in Iraq to the destroyed immigration documents of the UK Windrush generation. He examines both the motivations for these acts—political, religious, and cultural—and the broader themes that shape this history. He also looks at attempts to prevent and mitigate attacks on knowledge, exploring the efforts of librarians and archivists to preserve information, often risking their own lives in the process.
More than simply repositories for knowledge, libraries and archives inspire and inform citizens. In preserving notions of statehood recorded in such historical documents as the Declaration of Independence, libraries support the state itself. By preserving records of citizenship and records of the rights of citizens as enshrined in legal documents such as the Magna Carta and the decisions of the US Supreme Court, they support the rule of law. In Burning the Books, Ovenden takes a polemical stance on the social and political importance of the conservation and protection of knowledge, challenging governments in particular, but also society as a whole, to improve public policy and funding for these essential institutions.
In the world of globalized media, provocative images trigger culture wars between traditionalists and cosmopolitans, between censors and defenders of free expression. But are images censored because of what they mean, what they do, or what they might become? And must audiences be protected because of what they understand, what they feel, or what they might imagine?
At the intersection of anthropology, media studies, and critical theory, Censorium is a pathbreaking analysis of Indian film censorship. The book encompasses two moments of moral panic: the consolidation of the cinema in the 1910s and 1920s, and the global avalanche of images unleashed by liberalization since the early 1990s. Exploring breaks and continuities in film censorship across colonial and postcolonial moments, William Mazzarella argues that the censors' obsessive focus on the unacceptable content of certain images and the unruly behavior of particular audiences displaces a problem that they constantly confront yet cannot directly acknowledge: the volatile relation between mass affect and collective meaning. Grounded in a close analysis of cinema regulation in the world's largest democracy, Censorium ultimately brings light to the elusive foundations of political and cultural sovereignty in mass-mediated societies.
What does censorship do to a culture? How do censors justify their work? What are the mechanisms by which censorship—and self-censorship—alter people’s sense of time and memory, truth and reality? Thomas Bass faced these questions when The Spy Who Loved Us, his account of the famous Time magazine journalist and double agent Pham Xuan An, was published in a Vietnamese edition. When the book finally appeared in 2014, after five years of negotiations with Vietnamese censors, more than four hundred passages had been altered or cut from the text. After the book was published, Bass flew to Vietnam to meet his censors, at least the half dozen who would speak with him. In Censorship in Vietnam, he describes these meetings and examines how censorship works, both in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world. An exemplary piece of investigative reporting, Censorship in Vietnam opens a window into the country today and shows us the precarious nature of intellectual freedom in a world governed by suppression.
From Al Jolson in blackface to Song of the South, there is a long history of racism in Hollywood film. Yet as early as the 1930s, movie studios carefully vetted their releases, removing racially offensive language like the “N-word.” This censorship did not stem from purely humanitarian concerns, but rather from worries about boycotts from civil rights groups and loss of revenue from African American filmgoers.
Cinema Civil Rights presents the untold history of how Black audiences, activists, and lobbyists influenced the representation of race in Hollywood in the decades before the 1960s civil rights era. Employing a nuanced analysis of power, Ellen C. Scott reveals how these representations were shaped by a complex set of negotiations between various individuals and organizations. Rather than simply recounting the perspective of film studios, she calls our attention to a variety of other influential institutions, from protest groups to state censorship boards.
Scott demonstrates not only how civil rights debates helped shaped the movies, but also how the movies themselves provided a vital public forum for addressing taboo subjects like interracial sexuality, segregation, and lynching. Emotionally gripping, theoretically sophisticated, and meticulously researched, Cinema Civil Rights presents us with an in-depth look at the film industry’s role in both articulating and censoring the national conversation on race.
Stephen Prince has written the first book to examine the interplay between the aesthetics and the censorship of violence in classic Hollywood films from 1930 to 1968, the era of the Production Code, when filmmakers were required to have their scripts approved before they could start production. He explains how Hollywood's filmmakers designed violence in response to the regulations of the Production Code and regional censors. Graphic violence in today's movies actually has its roots in these early films. Hollywood's filmmakers were drawn to violent scenes and "pushed the envelope" of what they could depict by manipulating the Production Code Administration (PCA).
Prince shows that many choices about camera position, editing, and blocking of the action and sound were functional responses by filmmakers to regulatory constraints, necessary for approval from the PCA and then in surviving scrutiny by state and municipal censor boards.
This book is the first stylistic history of American screen violence that is grounded in industry documentation. Using PCA files, Prince traces the negotiations over violence carried out by filmmakers and officials and shows how the outcome left its traces on picture and sound in the films.
Almost everything revealed by this research is contrary to what most have believed about Hollywood and film violence. With chapters such as "Throwing the Extra Punch" and "Cruelty, Sadism, and the Horror Film," this book will become the defining work on classical film violence and its connection to the graphic mayhem of today's movies.
This book is about the stifling of dissent by an institution widely acclaimed as the bulwark of democracy in America. It may be no surprise to late twentieth-century cynics that institutions eventually destroy goals they were meant to achieve; but it is nevertheless a paradox that a society should repress intellectual freedom with the institution of education.
This special issue of Theater explores the political, cultural, and economic factors that have led to controversies surrounding live performance around the world. Recent global political shifts have resulted in renewed interest in questions of censorship and free expression and have demonstrated that theater has become a cultural third rail, igniting controversy and provoking attempts at suppression. Contributors explore manifestations of theater censorship—from New York to Birmingham (England) to Beirut to Tashkent (Uzbekistan)—and address both direct, state-sponsored suppression as well as the disparate cultural pressures that hamper theatrical expression, such as financial pressures and political, ethnic, and religious sensitivities.
The collection includes an essay that explores the function of live performance in recent freedom-of-expression debates, such as those featuring Janet Jackson and Don Imus, and persistent national anxieties about performers’ bodies. The issue also features an international censorship forum that brings together reports of incidents from Burma, Singapore, Germany, Italy, and the United States. A special report from Zimbabwe provides an in-depth look at the repression of oppositional theater by one of Africa’s most dictatorial regimes while another article looks at REwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony, a new musical composition that takes once-silenced voices recorded for South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and transforms them into a hymn for a postapartheid nation. The issue also includes the first publication of an inventive new play that is a satirical as well as chilling look at suppression and dissent in post-9/11 America.
Contributors: Howard Barker, Reverend Billy, Catherine Cole, Mike Daisey, Dean Damjanovski, Miriam Felton-Dansky, Jacob Gallagher-Ross, John Houchin, Rabih Mroué, Freddie Rokem, Tom Sellar, Fadi Toufiq, Praise Zenenga
For every movie shown on the big screen, there exists a behind-the-scene story of regulation and control. What social factors determine which movies get made and shown? What is censored? And how have the standards of what is considered taboo changed over time?
Controlling Hollywood features ten innovative and accessible essays that examine some of the major turning points, crises, and contradictions affecting the making and showing of Hollywood movies from the 1910s through the early 1970s. The articles included here examine landmark legal cases; various self-regulating agencies and systems in the film industry (from the National Board of Review to the ratings system); and, external to Hollywood, the religious and social interest groups and government bodies that took a strong interest in film entertainment over the decades.
"Katherine Eaton has compiled a collection of essays on the destruction of the arts in Russia in the 1930s. The essays provide information about what we know was lost, and speculation about what might have been lost, in the Stalinist Great Purge"
The question of why Plato censored poetry in his Republic has bedeviled scholars for centuries. In Exiling the Poets, Ramona A. Naddaff offers a strikingly original interpretation of this ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy. Underscoring not only the repressive but also the productive dimension of literary censorship, Naddaff brings to light Plato's fundamental ambivalence about the value of poetic discourse in philosophical investigation.
Censorship, Nadaff argues, is not merely a mechanism of silencing but also provokes new ways of speaking about controversial and crucial cultural and artistic events. It functions philosophically in the Republic to subvert Plato's most crucial arguments about politics, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. Naddaff develops this stunning argument through an extraordinary reading of Plato's work. In books 2 and 3, the first censorship of poetry, she finds that Plato constitutes the poet as a rival with whom the philosopher must vie agonistically. In other words, philosophy does not replace poetry, as most commentators have suggested; rather, the philosopher becomes a worthy and ultimately victorious poetic competitor. In book 10's second censorship, Plato exiles the poets as a mode of self-subversion, rethinking and revising his theory of mimesis, of the immortality of the soul, and, most important, the first censorship of poetry. Finally, in a subtle and sophisticated analysis of the myth of Er, Naddaff explains how Plato himself censors his own censorships of poetry, thus producing the unexpected result of a poetically animated and open-ended dialectical philosophy.
Honorable mention, 2017 Best Monograph Award from the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS)
From Shortbus to Shame and from Oldboy to Irreversible, film festival premieres regularly make international headlines for their shockingly graphic depictions of sex and violence. Film critics and scholars alike often regard these movies as the work of visionary auteurs, hailing directors like Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier as heirs to a tradition of transgressive art. In this provocative new book, Mattias Frey offers a very different perspective on these films, exposing how they are also calculated products, designed to achieve global notoriety in a competitive marketplace.
Paying close attention to the discourses employed by film critics, distributors, and filmmakers themselves, Extreme Cinema examines the various tightropes that must be walked when selling transgressive art films to discerning audiences, distinguishing them from generic horror, pornography, and Hollywood product while simultaneously hyping their salacious content. Deftly tracing the links between the local and the global, Frey also shows how the directors and distributors of extreme art house fare from both Europe and East Asia have significant incentives to exaggerate the exotic elements that would differentiate them from Anglo-American product.
Extreme Cinema also includes original interviews with the programmers of several leading international film festivals and with niche distributors and exhibitors, giving readers a revealing look at how these institutions enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the “taboo-breakers” of art house cinema. Frey also demonstrates how these apparently transgressive films actually operate within a strict set of codes and conventions, carefully calibrated to perpetuate a media industry that fuels itself on provocation.
Forbidden Knowledge explores the censorship of medical books from their proliferation in print through the prohibitions placed on them during the Counter-Reformation. How and why did books banned in Italy in the sixteenth century end up back on library shelves in the seventeenth? Historian Hannah Marcus uncovers how early modern physicians evaluated the utility of banned books and facilitated their continued circulation in conversation with Catholic authorities.
Through extensive archival research, Marcus highlights how talk of scientific utility, once thought to have begun during the Scientific Revolution, in fact began earlier, emerging from ecclesiastical censorship and the desire to continue to use banned medical books. What’s more, this censorship in medicine, which preceded the Copernican debate in astronomy by sixty years, has had a lasting impact on how we talk about new and controversial developments in scientific knowledge. Beautiful illustrations accompany this masterful, timely book about the interplay between efforts at intellectual control and the utility of knowledge.
During much of the military regime in Brazil (1964-1985), an elaborate but illegal system of restrictions prevented the press from covering important news or criticizing the government. In this intriguing new book, Anne-Marie Smith investigates why the press acquiesced to this system, and why this state-administered system of restrictions was known as “self-censorship.”
Smith argues that it was routine, rather than fear, that kept the lid on Brazil's press. The banality of state censorship-a mundane, encompassing set of automatically repeated procedures that functioned much like any other state bureaucracy-seemed impossible to circumvent. While the press did not consider the censorship legitimate, they were never able to develop the resources to overcome censorship's burdensome routines.
Framing American Politics
Karen Callaghan University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005 Library of Congress JA85.2.U6F73 2005 | Dewey Decimal 320.973014
Most issues in American political life are complex and multifaceted, subject to multiple interpretations and points of view. How issues are framed matters enormously for the way they are understood and debated. For example, is affirmative action a just means toward a diverse society, or is it reverse discrimination? Is the war on terror a defense of freedom and liberty, or is it an attack on privacy and other cherished constitutional rights? Bringing together some of the leading researchers in American politics, Framing American Politics explores the roles that interest groups, political elites, and the media play in framing political issues for the mass public.
The contributors address some of the most hotly debated foreign and domestic policies in contemporary American life, focusing on both the origins and process of framing and its effects on citizens. In so doing, these scholars clearly demonstrate how frames can both enhance and hinder political participation and understanding.
Western commentators have often criticized the state of press freedom in China, arguing that individual speech still suffers from arbitrary restrictions and that its mass media remains under an authoritarian mode. Yet the history of press freedom in the Chinese context has received little examination. Unlike conventional historical accounts which narrate the institutional development of censorship and people’s resistance to arbitrary repression, Freedom of the Press in China: A Conceptual History, 1831-1949 is
the first comprehensive study presenting the intellectual trajectory of press freedom. It sheds light on the transcultural transference and localization of the concept in modern Chinese history, spanning from its initial introduction in 1831 to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. By examining intellectuals’ thoughts, common people’s attitudes, and official opinions, along with the social-cultural factors that were involved in negotiating Chinese interpretations and practices in history, this book uncovers the dynamic and changing meanings of press freedom in modern China.
J. M. Coetzee presents a coherent, unorthodox analysis of censorship from the perspective of one who has lived and worked under its shadow. The essays collected here attempt to understand the passion that plays itself out in acts of silencing and censoring. He argues that a destructive dynamic of belligerence and escalation tends to overtake the rivals in any field ruled by censorship.
From Osip Mandelstam commanded to compose an ode in praise of Stalin, to Breyten Breytenbach writing poems under and for the eyes of his prison guards, to Aleksander Solzhenitsyn engaging in a trial of wits with the organs of the Soviet state, Giving Offense focuses on the ways authors have historically responded to censorship. It also analyzes the arguments of Catharine MacKinnon for the suppression of pornography and traces the operations of the old South African censorship system.
"The most impressive feature of Coetzee's essays, besides his ear for language, is his coolheadedness. He can dissect repugnant notions and analyze volatile emotions with enviable poise."—Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"Those looking for simple, ringing denunciations of censorship's evils will be disappointed. Coetzee explicitly rejects such noble tritenesses. Instead . . . he pursues censorship's deeper, more fickle meanings and unmeanings."—Kirkus Reviews
"These erudite essays form a powerful, bracing criticism of censorship in its many guises."—Publishers Weekly
"Giving Offense gets its incisive message across clearly, even when Coetzee is dealing with such murky theorists as Bakhtin, Lacan, Foucault, and René; Girard. Coetzee has a light, wry sense of humor."—Bill Marx, Hungry Mind Review
"An extraordinary collection of essays."—Martha Bayles, New York Times Book Review
"A disturbing and illuminating moral expedition."—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review
The Hatred of Literature
William Marx Harvard University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PN45.M387313 2018 | Dewey Decimal 801.9
For 2,500 years literature has been condemned in the name of authority, truth, morality and society. But in making explicit what a society expects from literature, anti-literary discourse paradoxically asserts the validity of what it wishes to deny. The threat to literature’s continued existence, William Marx writes, is not hatred but indifference.
Hollywood Diplomacy contends that, rather than simply reflect the West’s cultural fantasies of an imagined “Orient,” images of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ethnicities have long been contested sites where the commercial interests of Hollywood studios and the political mandates of U.S. foreign policy collide, compete against one another, and often become compromised in the process. While tracing both Hollywood’s internal foreign relations protocols—from the “Open Door” policy of the silent era to the “National Feelings” provision of the Production Code—and external regulatory interventions by the Chinese government, the U.S. State Department, the Office of War Information, and the Department of Defense, Hye Seung Chung reevaluates such American classics as Shanghai Express and The Great Dictator and applies historical insights to the controversies surrounding contemporary productions including Die Another Day and The Interview. This richly detailed book redefines the concept of “creative freedom” in the context of commerce: shifting focus away from the artistic entitlement to offend foreign audiences toward the opportunity to build new, better relationships with partners around the world through diplomatic representations of race, ethnicity, and nationality.
David Freedberg University of Chicago Press, 2021 Library of Congress N8740.F74 2020 | Dewey Decimal 201.67
With new surges of activity from religious, political, and military extremists, the destruction of images has become increasingly relevant on a global scale. A founder of the study of early modern and contemporary iconoclasm, David Freedberg has addressed this topic for five decades. His work has brought this subject to a central place in art history, critical to the understanding not only of art but of all images in society. This volume collects the most significant of Freedberg’s texts on iconoclasm and censorship, bringing five key works back into print alongside new assessments of contemporary iconoclasm in places ranging from the Near and Middle East to the United States, as well as a fresh survey of the entire subject. The writings in this compact volume explore the dynamics and history of iconoclasm, from the furious battles over images in the Reformation to government repression in modern South Africa, the American culture wars of the early 1990s, and today’s cancel culture.
Freedberg combines fresh thinking with deep expertise to address the renewed significance of iconoclasm, its ideologies, and its impact. This volume also provides a supplement to Freedberg’s essay on idolatry and iconoclasm from his pathbreaking book, The Power of Images. Freedberg’s writings are of foundational importance to this discussion, and this volume will be a welcome resource for historians, museum professionals, international law specialists, preservationists, and students.
The Indecent Screen explores clashes over indecency in broadcast television among U.S.-based media advocates, television professionals, the Federal Communications Commission, and TV audiences. Cynthia Chris focuses on the decency debates during an approximately twenty-year period since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which in many ways restructured the media environment. Simultaneously, ever increasing channel capacity, new forms of distribution, and time-shifting (in the form of streaming and on-demand viewing options) radically changed how, when, and what we watch. But instead of these innovations quelling concerns that TV networks were too often transmitting indecent material that was accessible to children, complaints about indecency skyrocketed soon after the turn of the century. Chris demonstrates that these clashes are significant battles over the role of family, the role of government, and the value of free speech in our lives, arguing that an uncensored media is so imperative to the public good that we can, and must, endure the occasional indecent screen.
This enlightening book offers a collection of histories of underground papers from the Vietnam Era as written and told by key staff members of the time. Their stories, building on those presented in Part 1, represent a wide range of publications: countercultural, gay, lesbian, feminist, Puerto Rican, Native American, Black, socialist, Southern consciousness, prisoners’ rights, New Age, rank-and-file, military, and more. Wachsberger notes that the underground press not only produced a few well-known papers but also was truly national and diverse in scope. His goal is to capture the essence of “the countercultural community.” This book will be a fundamental resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of a dramatic era in U.S. history, as well as offering a younger readership a glimpse into a generation of idealists who rose up to challenge and improve government and society.
Tracing attacks on free speech from Plato's Republic to America's campuses and newsrooms, Jonathan Rauch provides an engaging and provocative attack on those who would limit free thought by restricting free speech. Rauch explores how the system for producing knowledge works in a liberal society, and why it has now become the object of a powerful ideological attack. Moving beyond the First Amendment, he defends the morality, rather than the legality, of an intellectual regime that relies on unfettered and often hurtful criticism. Kindly Inquisitors is a refreshing and vibrant essay, casting a provocative light on the raging debates over political correctness and multiculturalism.
"Fiercely argued. . . . What sets his study apart is his attempt to situate recent developments in a long-range historical perspective and to defend the system of free intellectual inquiry as a socially productive method of channeling prejudice."—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Like no other, this book restates the core of our freedom and demonstrates how great, and disregarded, the peril to that freedom has become."—Joseph Coates, Chicago Tribune
"The philosophical defense of free speech and free thought that seems to have been forgotten. . . . A powerful argument."—Diane Ravitch, Wall Street Journal
“A liberal society stands on the proposition that we should all take seriously the idea that we might be wrong. This means we must place no one, including ourselves, beyond the reach of criticism; it means that we must allow people to err, even where the error offends and upsets, as it often will.” So writes Jonathan Rauch in Kindly Inquisitors, which has challenged readers for more than twenty years with its bracing and provocative exploration of the issues surrounding attempts to limit free speech. In it, Rauch makes a persuasive argument for the value of “liberal science” and the idea that conflicting views produce knowledge within society.
In this expanded edition of Kindly Inquisitors, a new foreword by George F. Will strikingly shows the book’s continued relevance, while a substantial new afterword by Rauch elaborates upon his original argument and brings it fully up to date. Two decades after the book’s initial publication, while some progress has been made, the regulation of hate speech has grown domestically—especially in American universities—and has spread even more internationally, where there is no First Amendment to serve as a meaningful check. But the answer to bias and prejudice, Rauch argues, is pluralism—not purism. Rather than attempting to legislate bias and prejudice out of existence or to drive them underground, we must pit them against one another to foster a more vigorous and fruitful discussion. It is this process that has been responsible for the growing acceptance of the moral acceptability of homosexuality over the last twenty years. And it is this process, Rauch argues, that will enable us as a society to replace hate with knowledge, both ethical and empirical.
“It is a melancholy fact that this elegant book, which is slender and sharp as a stiletto, is needed, now even more than two decades ago. Armed with it, readers can slice through the pernicious ideas that are producing the still-thickening thicket of rules, codes, and regulations restricting freedom of thought and expression.”—George F. Will, from the foreword
By producing literature in nontraditional forms—books made of cardboard trash, posters in subway stations, miniature shopping bags, digital publications, and even children’s toys—Chileans have made and circulated literary objects in defiance of state censorship and independent of capitalist definitions of value. In The Labor of Literature Jane D. Griffin studies amateur and noncommercial forms of literary production in Chile that originated in response to authoritarian state politics and have gained momentum throughout the postdictatorship period. She argues that such forms advance a model of cultural democracy that differs from and sometimes contradicts the model endorsed by the state and the market. By examining alternative literary publications, Griffin recasts the seventeen-year Pinochet dictatorship as a time of editorial experimentation despite widespread cultural oppression and shows how grassroots cultural activism has challenged government-approved corporate publishing models throughout the postdictatorship period. Griffin’s work also points to the growing importance of autogestión, or do-it-yourself cultural production, where individuals combine artisanal forms with new technologies to make and share creative work on a global scale.
Lessons in Censorship
Catherine J. Ross Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress KF4155.5.R67 2015 | Dewey Decimal 342.73085
American public schools censor controversial student speech that the Constitution protects. Catherine Ross brings clarity to court rulings that define speech rights of young citizens and proposes ways to protect free expression, arguing that the failure of schools to respect civil liberties betrays their educational mission and threatens democracy.
Published between 1762 and 1765, these writings are the last works Rousseau wrote for publication during his lifetime. Responding in each to the censorship and burning of Emile and Social Contract, Rousseau airs his views on censorship, religion, and the relation between theory and practice in politics. The Letter to Beaumont is a response to a Pastoral Letter by Christophe de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris (also included in this volume), which attacks the religious teaching in Emile. Rousseau’s response concerns the general theme of the relation between reason and revelation and contains his most explicit and boldest discussions of the Christian doctrines of creation, miracles, and original sin. In Letters Written from the Mountain, a response to the political crisis in Rousseau’s homeland of Geneva caused by a dispute over the burning of his works, Rousseau extends his discussion of Christianity and shows how the political principles of the Social Contract can be applied to a concrete constitutional crisis. One of his most important statements on the relation between political philosophy and political practice, it is accompanied by a fragmentary “History of the Government of Geneva.” Finally, “Vision of Peter of the Mountain, Called the Seer” is a humorous response to a resident of Motiers who had been inciting attacks on Rousseau during his exile there. Taking the form of a scriptural account of a vision, it is one of the rare examples of satire from Rousseau’s pen and the only work he published anonymously after his decision in the early 1750s to put his name on all his published works. Within its satirical form, the “Vision” contains Rousseau’s last public reflections on religious issues. Neither the Letter to Beaumont nor the Letters Written from the Mountain has been translated into English since defective translations that appeared shortly after their appearance in French. These are the first translations of both the “History” and the “Vision.”
Because news is a weapon of war--affecting public opinion, troop morale, even strategy--for more than a century America's wartime officials have sought to control or influence the press, most recently by "embedding" reporters within military units in Iraq. This second front, where press freedom and military imperatives often do battle, is the territory explored in The Military and the Press, a history of how press-military relations have evolved during the twentieth and twenty-first century in response to the demands of politics, economics, technology, and legal and social forces.
Author Michael S. Sweeney takes a chronological approach, considering freedoms and restraints such as the First Amendment, court decisions, and government and military directives that have affected the press during World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the more recent conflicts. He explores the ongoing themes of wartime censorship and propaganda, as well as operational security in the battle zone. In chapters addressing the recent shift in military strategy in dealing with the press, Sweeney discusses new forms of control--from embedding journalists and discouraging unaccredited "unilaterals" to developing the news agenda through a barrage of briefings, sound bites, and visuals and appeals to patriotism that border on domestic propaganda. With profiles of a few specific journalists--from Richard Harding Davis covering the Spanish-American War to Christiane Amanpour reporting from the conflicts in Bosnia and Iraq--this deft blend of journalistic history and analysis should serve as a call-to-arms to a public not always well served by a military-press standoff.
Who decides what movies we should see? In some of the nation's largest cities motion pictures are screened by review boards meeting in secret. Their files are seldom open to inspection, and they often wield a nearly absolute power over what the public is shown. This is the story of motion-picture censorship in America. It begins in 1915 when the Supreme Court denied freedom of the press to movies. In a fast-moving account of court cases and behind-the-scenes skirmishes, Ira Carmen follows the history of movie censorship to the present day. He shows how very recent court decisions reflect new thinking on censorship and the nature of obscenity. Today, forty-seven states and countless cities and towns have obscenity laws on their statute books. Are the censors stout guardians of the public morality . . . or witch-hunters? In a series of dramatic interviews with film censors in major cities, Carmen captures the flavor of the struggle between censor and exhibitor. The interviews reveal how censors think—what kinds of films they suppress and for what reasons, how they feel about foreign films as opposed to American, how they are influenced by court decisions, and how well they abide by those decisions. This pioneering book reveals what effect court decisions really have at the grassroots level. It examines the role of the constitution in the censorship debate and asks how effective the American political and judicial systems have been in coping with the problem. Finally, it offers a challenging analysis of what kind of censorship, if any, is needed in a free society.
The result of years of critical analysis of Israeli media law, this book argues that the laws governing Israeli electronic media are structured to limit the boundaries of public discourse. Amit M. Schejter posits the theory of a "mute democracy," one in which the media are designed to provide a platform for some voices to be heard over others. While Israel's institutions may be democratic, and while the effect of these policies may be limited, this book contends that free speech in Israel is institutionally muted to ensure the continued domination of the Jewish majority and its preferred interpretation of what Israel means as a Jewish-democratic state. Analyzing a wide range of legal documents recorded in Israel from 1961 to 2007, Muting Israeli Democracy demonstrates in scrupulous detail how law and policy are used to promote the hegemonic national culture through the constraints and obligations set on electronic media.
In 1963, Michigan State University, the nation’s first land grant college, attracted a record number of National Merit Scholars by offering competitive scholarships. One of these exceptional students was Michael Kindman. After the beginning of the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, Kindman, in line to be editor-in-chief of the official MSU student newspaper, felt compelled to seek a more radical forum of intellectual debate. In 1965, he dropped out of school and founded The Paper, one of the first five members of Underground Press Syndicate. This gripping autobiography follows Kindman’s inspiring journey of self-discovery, from MSU to Boston, where he joined the staff of Avatar, unaware that the large commune that controlled the paper was a charismatic cult. Five years later, he fled the commune’s outpost in Kansas and headed to San Francisco, where he came out as a gay man, changed his name to Mica, and continued his work as an activist and visionary.
After the Supreme Court's rejection of legal movie censorship in the 1950s and the demise of the Hays Production Code in the 1960s, various public groups have emerged as media watch dogs, replacing nearly all other sources of control. Responding to explicit violence against women, negative stereotypes of gay and lesbian images, "racist" representations, and "blasphemous" interpretations of the Bible, groups from bot Left and Right have staged protests in front of theaters and boycotted movie studios. The New Censors shows how groups on the Left empowered by social movements in the 1960s, and groups on the Right propelled by the successes of the New Christian Right and "The Moral Majority," have used similar strategies in attempting to control movie content.
The New Censors, the first study of the complex ways movies have been shaped in the years since the demise of the Code, covers a wide range of movies, protests, and government actions. From feminists against "Dressed to Kill," to religious campaigns against "The Last Temptation of Christ," to homosexuals ire over "Basic Instinct," Lyons links a study of public outrage against movies to the broader culture wars over "family values," pornography, and various lifestyle issues.
This book provides a contemporary history of controversial movies and a timely discussion of how cultural politics continues to affect the movie industry.
From the 1905 opening of the wildly popular, eponymous Nickelodeon in the city's downtown to the subsequent outgrowth of nickel theaters in nearly all of its neighborhoods, Pittsburgh proved to be perfect for the movies. Its urban industrial environment was a melting pot of ethnic, economic, and cultural forces—a “wellspring” for the development of movie culture—and nickelodeons offered citizens an inexpensive respite and handy escape from the harsh realities of the industrial world. Nickelodeon City provides a detailed view inside the city's early film trade, with insights into the politics and business dealings of the burgeoning industry. Drawing from the pages of the Pittsburgh Moving Picture Bulletin, the first known regional trade journal for the movie business, Michael Aronson profiles the major promoters in Pittsburgh, as well as many lesser-known ordinary theater owners, suppliers, and patrons. He examines early film promotion, distribution, and exhibition, and reveals the earliest forms of state censorship and the ensuing political lobbying and manipulation attempted by members of the movie trade. Aronson also explores the emergence of local exhibitor-based cinema, in which the exhibitor assumed control of the content and production of film, blurring the lines between production, consumption, and local and mass media. Nickelodeon City offers a fascinating and intimate view of a city and the socioeconomic factors that allowed an infant film industry to blossom, as well as the unique cultural fabric and neighborhood ties that kept nickelodeons prospering even after Hollywood took the industry by storm.
In the late 1990s Angels in America,Tony Kushner’s epic play about homosexuality and AIDS in the Reagan era, toured the country, inspiring protests in a handful of cities while others received it warmly. Why do people fight over some works of art but not others? Not Here, Not Now, Not That! examines a wide range of controversies over films, books, paintings, sculptures, clothing, music, and television in dozens of cities across the country to find out what turns personal offense into public protest.
What Steven J. Tepper discovers is that these protests are always deeply rooted in local concerns. Furthermore, they are essential to the process of working out our differences in a civil society. To explore the local nature of public protests in detail, Tepper analyzes cases in seventy-one cities, including an in-depth look at Atlanta in the late 1990s, finding that debates there over memorials, public artworks, books, and parades served as a way for Atlantans to develop a vision of the future at a time of rapid growth and change.
Eschewing simplistic narratives that reduce public protests to political maneuvering, Not Here, Not Now, Not That! at last provides the social context necessary to fully understand this fascinating phenomenon.
From Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter, from Internet filters to the v-chip, censorship exercised on behalf of children and adolescents is often based on the assumption that they must be protected from “indecent” information that might harm their development—whether in art, in literature, or on a Web site. But where does this assumption come from, and is it true?
In Not in Front of the Children, Marjorie Heins explores the fascinating history of “indecency” laws and other restrictions aimed at protecting youth. From Plato’s argument for rigid censorship, through Victorian laws aimed at repressing libidinous thoughts, to contemporary battles over sex education in public schools and violence in the media, Heins guides us through what became, and remains, an ideological minefield. With fascinating examples drawn from around the globe, she suggests that the “harm to minors” argument rests on shaky foundations.
Addressing the ever-changing, overlapping trajectories of war and journalism, this introduction to the history and culture of modern American war correspondence considers a wealth of original archival material. In powerful analyses of letters, diaries, journals, television news archives, and secondary literature related to the U.S.'s major military conflicts of the twentieth century, Mary S. Mander highlights the intricate relationship of the postmodern nation state to the free press and to the public.
Pen and Sword: American War Correspondents, 1898-1975 situates war correspondence within the larger framework of the history of the printing press to make perceptive new points about the nature of journalism and censorship, the institution of the press as a source of organized dissent, and the relationship between the press and the military. Fostering a deeper understanding of the occupational culture of war correspondents who have accompanied soldiers into battle, Mander offers interpretive analysis of the reporters' search for meaning while embedded with troops in war-torn territories. Broadly encompassing the history of Western civilization and modern warfare, Pen and Sword prompts new ways of thinking about contemporary military conflicts and the future of journalism.
Philosophical esotericism—the practice of communicating one’s unorthodox thoughts “between the lines”—was a common practice until the end of the eighteenth century. The famous Encyclopédie of Diderot, for instance, not only discusses this practice in over twenty different articles, but admits to employing it itself. The history of Western thought contains hundreds of such statements by major philosophers testifying to the use of esoteric writing in their own work or others’. Despite this long and well-documented history, however, esotericism is often dismissed today as a rare occurrence. But by ignoring esotericism, we risk cutting ourselves off from a full understanding of Western philosophical thought.
Arthur M. Melzer serves as our deeply knowledgeable guide in this capacious and engaging history of philosophical esotericism. Walking readers through both an ancient (Plato) and a modern (Machiavelli) esoteric work, he explains what esotericism is—and is not. It relies not on secret codes, but simply on a more intensive use of familiar rhetorical techniques like metaphor, irony, and insinuation. Melzer explores the various motives that led thinkers in different times and places to engage in this strange practice, while also exploring the motives that lead more recent thinkers not only to dislike and avoid this practice but to deny its very existence. In the book’s final section, “A Beginner’s Guide to Esoteric Reading,” Melzer turns to how we might once again cultivate the long-forgotten art of reading esoteric works.
Philosophy Between the Lines is the first comprehensive, book-length study of the history and theoretical basis of philosophical esotericism, and it provides a crucial guide to how many major writings—philosophical, but also theological, political, and literary—were composed prior to the nineteenth century.
edited by Martin Cloonan and Reebee Garofalo Temple University Press, 2002 Library of Congress ML3918.P67P65 2003 | Dewey Decimal 306.484
Fans and detractors of popular music tend to agree on one thing: popular music is a bellwether of an individual's political and cultural values. In the United States, for example, one cannot think of the counterculture apart from its music. For that reason, in virtually every country in the world, some group identifies popular music as a source of potential danger and wants to regulate it. Policing Pop looks into the many ways in which popular music and artists around the world are subjected to censorship, ranging from state control and repression to the efforts of special interest or religious groups to limit expression.The essays collected here focus on the forms of censorship as well as specific instances of how the state and other agencies have attempted to restrict the types of music produced, recorded and performed within a culture. Several show how even unsuccessful attempts to exert the power of the state can cause artists to self-censor. Others point to material that taxes even the most liberal defenders of free speech. Taken together, these essays demonstrate that censoring agents target popular music all over the world, and they raise questions about how artists and the public can resist the narrowing of cultural expression.
From 1890 to 1960, some of Anglo-America’s most heated cultural contests over books, sex, and censorship were staged not at home, but abroad in the City of Light. Paris, with its extraordinary liberties of expression, became a special place for interrogating the margins of sexual culture and literary censorship, and a wide variety of English language “dirty books” circulated through loose expatriate publishing and distribution networks. A Publisher’s Paradise explores the political and literary dynamics that gave rise to this expatriate cultural flourishing, which included everything from Victorian pornography to the most daring and controversial modernist classics. Colette Colligan tracks the British and French politicians and diplomats who policed Paris editions of banned books and uncovers offshore networks of publishers, booksellers, authors, and readers. She looks closely at the stories the “dirty books” told about this publishing haven and the smut peddlers and literary giants it brought together in transnational cultural formations. The book profiles an eclectic group of expatriates living and publishing in Paris, from relatively obscure figures such as Charles Carrington, whose list included both The Picture of Dorian Gray and the pornographic novel Randiana, to bookshop owner Sylvia Beach, famous for publishing James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922. A Publisher’s Paradise is a compelling exploration of the little-known history of foreign pornography in Paris and the central role it played in turning the city into a modernist outpost for literary and sexual vanguardism, a reputation that still lingers today in our cultural myths of midnight in Paris.
The first edition of Purity in Print documented book censorship in America from the 1870s to the 1930s, embedding it within the larger social and cultural history of the time. In this second edition, Boyer adds two new chapters carrying his history forward to the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The concept of obscenity is an ancient one. But as Joan DeJean suggests, its modern form, the same version that today's politicians decry and savvy artists exploit, was invented in seventeenth-century France.
The Reinvention of Obscenity casts a fresh light on the mythical link between sexual impropriety and things French. Exploring the complicity between censorship, print culture, and obscenity, DeJean argues that mass market printing and the first modern censorial machinery came into being at the very moment that obscenity was being reinvented—that is, transformed from a minor literary phenomenon into a threat to society. DeJean's principal case in this study is the career of Moliére, who cannily exploited the new link between indecency and female genitalia to found his career as a print author; the enormous scandal which followed his play L'école des femmes made him the first modern writer to have his sex life dissected in the press.
Keenly alert to parallels with the currency of obscenity in contemporary America, The Reinvention of Obscenity will concern not only scholars of French history, but anyone interested in the intertwined histories of sex, publishing, and censorship.
Repression, Exile, and Democracy, translated from the Spanish, is the first work to examine the impact of dictatorship on Uruguyan culture. Some of Uruguay's best-known poets, writers of fiction, playwrights, literary critics and social scientists participate in this multidisciplinary study, analyzing how varying cultural expressions have been affected by conditions of censorship, exile and "insilio" (internal exile), torture, and death. The first section provides a context for the volume, with its analyses of the historical, political, and social aspects of the Uruguayan experience. The following chapters explore various aspects of cultural production, including personal experiences of exile and imprisonment, popular music, censorship, literary criticism, return from exile, and the role that culture plays in redemocratization. This book's appeal extends well beyond the study of Uruguay to scholars and students of the history and culture of other Latin American nations, as well as to fields of comparative literature and politics in general.
Contributors. Hugo Achugar, Alvarro Barros-Lémez, Lisa Block de Behar, Amanda Berenguer, Hiber Conteris, José Pedro Díaz, Eduardo Galeano, Edy Kaufman, Leo Masliah, Carina Perelli, Teresa Porzecanski, Juan Rial, Mauricio Rosencof, Jorge Ruffinelli, Saúl Sosonowski, Martin Weinstein, Ruben Yáñez
Resisting Spirits is a reconsideration of the significance and periodization of literary production in the high socialist era, roughly 1953 through 1966, specifically focused on Mao-era culture workers’ experiments with ghosts and ghost plays. Maggie Greene combines rare manuscript materials—such as theatre troupes’ annotated practice scripts—with archival documents, memoirs, newspapers, and films to track key debates over the direction of socialist aesthetics. Through arguments over the role of ghosts in literature, Greene illuminates the ways in which culture workers were able to make space for aesthetic innovation and contestation both despite and because of the constantly shifting political demands of the Mao era. Ghosts were caught up in the broader discourse of superstition, modernization, and China’s social and cultural future. Yet, as Greene demonstrates, the ramifications of those concerns as manifested in the actual craft of writing and performing plays led to further debates in the realm of literature itself: If we remove the ghost from a ghost play, does it remain a ghost play? Does it lose its artistic value, its didactic value, or both? At the heart of Greene’s intervention is “just reading”: the book regards literature first as literature, rather than searching immediately for its political subtext, and the voices of dramatists themselves finally upstage those of Mao’s inner circle. Ironically, this surface reading reveals layers of history that scholars of the Mao era have often ignored, including the ways in which social relations and artistic commitments continued to inform the world of art. Focusing on these concerns points to continuities and ruptures in the cultural history of modern China beyond the bounds of “campaign time.” Resisting Spirits thus illuminates the origins of more famous literary inquisitions, including that surrounding Hai Rui Dismissed from Office, by exploring ghost plays such as Li Huiniang that at first appear more innocent. To the contrary, Greene shows how the arguments surrounding ghost plays and the fates of their authors place the origins of the Cultural Revolution several years earlier, with a radical new shift in the discourse of theatre.
Under the strict rule of twentieth century Irish censorship, creators of novels, films, and most periodicals found no option but to submit and conform to standards. Stage productions, however, escaped official censorship. The theater became a "public space"—a place to air cultural confrontations between Church and State, individual and community, and "freedom of the theatre" versus the audience’s right to disagree.
Joan FitzPatrick Dean’s Riot and Great Anger suggests that while there was no state censorship in early-twentieth-century Ireland, the theater often evoked heated responses from theatergoers, sometimes resulting in riots and the public denunciation of playwrights and artists. Dean examines the plays that provoked these controversies, the degree to which they were "censored" by the audience or actors, and the range of responses from both the press and the courts. She addresses familiar pieces such as those of William Butler Yeats, John Millington Synge, and Sean O’Casey, as well as the works of less known playwrights such as George Birmingham. Dean’s original research meticulously analyzes Ireland’s great theatrical tradition, both on the stage and off, concluding that the public responses to these controversial productions reveal a country that, at century’s end as at its beginning, was pluralistic, heterogeneous, and complex.
Many parents, politicians, and activists agree that there’s too much violence and not enough education on children’s television. Current solutions range from the legislative (the Children’s Television Act of 1990) to the technological (the V-chip). Saturday Morning Censors examines the history of adults’ attempts to safeguard children from the violence, sexism, racism, and commercialism on television since the 1950s. By focusing on what censorship and regulation are and how they work—rather than on whether they should exist—Heather Hendershot shows how adults use these processes to reinforce their own ideas about childhood innocence. Drawing on archival studio material, interviews with censors and animators, and social science research, Hendershot analyzes media activist strategies, sexism and racism at the level of cartoon manufacture, and the product-linked cartoons of the 1980s, such as Strawberry Shortcake and Transformers. But in order to more fully examine adult reception of children’s TV, she also discusses “good” programs like Sesame Street and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Providing valuable historical context for debates surrounding such current issues as the V-chip and the banning of Power Rangers toys in elementary schools, Saturday Morning Censors demonstrates how censorship can reveal more fears than it hides. Saturday Morning Censors will appeal to educators, parents, and media activists, as well as to those in cultural studies, television studies, gender studies, and American social history.
Cartoonists make us laugh—and think—by caricaturing daily events and politics. The essays, interviews, and cartoons presented in this innovative book vividly demonstrate the rich diversity of cartooning across Africa and highlight issues facing its cartoonists today, such as sociopolitical trends, censorship, and use of new technologies. Celebrated African cartoonists including Zapiro of South Africa, Gado of Kenya, and Asukwo of Nigeria join top scholars and a new generation of scholar-cartoonists from the fields of literature, comic studies and fine arts, animation studies, social sciences, and history to take the analysis of African cartooning forward. Taking African Cartoons Seriously presents critical thematic studies to chart new approaches to how African cartoonists trade in fun, irony, and satire. The book brings together the traditional press editorial cartoon with rapidly diverging subgenres of the art in the graphic novel and animation, and applications on social media. Interviews with bold and successful cartoonists provide insights into their work, their humor, and the dilemmas they face. This book will delight and inform readers from all backgrounds, providing a highly readable and visual introduction to key cartoonists and styles, as well as critical engagement with current themes to show where African political cartooning is going and why.
The most visible cultural institution on earth between the World Wars, the Hollywood movie industry tried to satisfy worldwide audiences of vastly different cultural, religious, and political persuasions. The World According to Hollywood shows how the industry’s self-regulation shaped the content of films to make them salable in as many markets as possible. In the process, Hollywood created an idiosyncratic vision of the world that was glamorous and exotic, but also oddly narrow.
Ruth Vasey shows how the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), by implementing such strategies as the industry’s Production Code, ensured that domestic and foreign distribution took place with a minimum of censorship or consumer resistance. Drawing upon MPPDA archives, studio records, trade papers, and the records of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Vasey reveals the ways the MPPDA influenced the representation of sex, violence, religion, foreign and domestic politics, corporate capitalism, ethnic minorities, and the conduct of professional classes.
Vasey is the first scholar to document fully how the demands of the global market frequently dictated film content and created the movies’ homogenized picture of social and racial characteristics, in both urban America and the world beyond. She uncovers telling evidence of scripts and treatments that were abandoned before or during the course of production because of content that might offend foreign markets. Among the fascinating points she discusses is Hollywood’s frequent use of imaginary countries as story locales, resulting from a deliberate business policy of avoiding realistic depictions of actual countries. She argues that foreign governments perceived movies not just as articles of trade, but as potential commercial and political emissaries of the United States. Just as Hollywood had to persuade its domestic audiences that its products were morally sound, its domination of world markets depended on its ability to create a culturally and politically acceptable product.