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December 1993


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Doug Riblet <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 13 Dec 1993 18:18:21 -0600
text/plain (41 lines)
This article appeared in today's Wisconsin State Journal, reprinted
from the New York Times.  It is not about film exactly, but it deals
with issues of censorship in academia which many of us have had or
will have to deal with.  (Reprinted without permission.)
        __Canada closes doors to 'obscene' literature__
                By Sarah Lyall (NY Times)
        Canadians have been reading Marguerite Duras' stories of love,
        obsession and heartbreak for years.  But when an American
        publisher, Blue Moon Books, of NYC, tried to ship 30 copies
        of her novella "The Man Sitting in the Corridor" to Trent
        University in Peterborough, Ont., this fall, the books were
        seized at the border.
        According to a form filled out by a customs official named
        Corinne M. Honey, several scenes in the book, in which a woman
        is beaten and eventually dies after passionate sex, put it
        in a vast category of material that is barred from entering
        the country because it is considered obscene or exploitative.
        The university wanted the books for a course on the works of
        Duras . . . .  When Trent consulted a lawyer and began complaining
        very publicly, the customs agency abruptly reversed itself,
        declared that the book wasn't obscene after all, and let the
        next shipment through.
        But many others have met a different fate.  Hundreds of books,
        magazines, and newspapers have been detained, often for months
        at a time, or banned outright by officials up and down the long
        Canadian-American border.
No commentary from me, except to note the delicious irony of that
assiduous customs official's name, which would make a fine nom de porn.
Doug Riblet
University of Wisconsin--Madison
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