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
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.
University of Wisconsin--Madison
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