Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Get Your Hand Off It

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  • Morgan Nichol,

    Matt Talbot was kind enough to send me through a couple of startling URLs from Amazon.com. This one for Uncle Fester's Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture and this one for Jack B. Nimble's The Construction and Operation of Clandestine Drug Laboratories. Both are listed as popular in - you guessed it - New Zealand. They rank 8001 and 99,454 on Amazon's overall sales chart - and numbers 19 and 9 respectively in sales to New Zealand! Good grief …

    That is absolutely astonishing.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    To Kill a Mockingbird is there is because it's been challenged, often successfully, because of its racism.

    Really? Wow, I must re-read it. Racist against Southern white trash?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Oh Rich, thanks for the Pistols link. We used to march up and down the corridors at school singing that one.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Disturbing to see books about birth control, pregnancy and childbirth restricted.

    Yeah, sex is bad. Anthony Comstock said so:

    The Comstock Act, (ch. 258 17 Stat. 598 enacted March 3, 1873) was a United States federal law which made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" materials through the mail, including contraceptive devices and information. In addition to banning contraceptives, this act also banned the distribution of information on abortion for educational purposes.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Racist against Southern white trash?

    Racist in the same way this play is anti-Semitic. If you depict discrimination, you must be supporting it...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Disturbing to see books about birth control, pregnancy and childbirth restricted.

    Restricted to 16 and over? Not that disturbing, is it? And none restricted since 1990 so presumably those published since have sailed straight through.

    As for the Crowley limericks, I doubt that the ones Emma linked are of the same order as the ones in the banned or restricted book. As that Lashtal page said, those were inscriptions for three children. His regular stuff was much more ribald and/or anti-clerical than that, which is probably what pushed the censor's buttons. But we'd have to ask Tony Hutchins to find out for sure ...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Really? Wow, I must re-read it. Racist against Southern white trash?

    Well, I'm not saying I agree with the arguments but I can't understand why people get rather twitchy about a novel where racial slurs like "nigger" are routinely used; Tom Robinson sits pretty neatly in the paternalistic stereotype of the innocent, unworldly "Other" who has to die for the white man's sins; and the whole plot turns on a brutal rape. (Of course, the lying complainant is slutty po'white trash and the daughter of the town drunk. Class prejudice, anyone?)

    And I personally find it rather ironic that Atticus Fitch is some kind of liberal icon when he comes across as, not to put too fine a point on it, a condescending sexist prick (quite happy that women, emotional and irrational as they are, aren't considered it to sit on juries in Alabama) who is more comfortable about the system of institutionalised racism he works and lives in than most people remember.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Had a bit of fun sorting the list by publisher-

    I take it to Kill a Mockingbird was a standard English text here too ?

    The Autobiography of a Flea

    Now that got me really curious......

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Actually, the book is far far far more graphic than the film. It's pretty hard to read a book whilst peeking out from behind your hands, but that's what I had to do to get through it.

    And rather interesting that the film was directed and co-written by women, which might explain why the satire of 80's consumerism gone boink was emphasized and the grotesque sexualised rape, mutilation and violence against women (which would have made the film unreleasable) was played down.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    So how does one get the the censor to review a banned book, can one just print out a copy of the list, scrawl "Please review these" at the bottom and send it in?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I take it to Kill a Mockingbird was a standard English text here too ?

    Almost all of my high school English set text novels are on that list. Mockingbird, Catcher, Lord of the Flies, The Go-Between, even Summer of my German Soldier.

    Restricted to 16 and over?

    Honestly? No, I don't think contraceptive advice should be restricted to over 16s. Fortunately these days neither do Family Planning or the Ministry of Education. But yes, it is a change over time - when I was at high school we got our sex ed in secret so at least some of it wouldn't be after the horse had bolted.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Grace Dalley,

    I know a librarian who had problems in a suburban Auckland library with intolerant Christians taking library books into the library toilets and ripping them up and trying to flush the pages. The toilets got blocked and one of them went and confessed to the library staff.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2008 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sometimes it’s all a bit more overt and depressing:

    Better than the even more depressing covert stuff. While browsing in a secondhand bookshop in Melbourne, I came across a tome on the Satanic Verses affair -- and it was frankly stomach-turning and it was frankly nauseating to be reminded of the likes of John Le Carre, Roald Dahl, and Sir Geoffrey Howe (who response as Foreign Secretary at the time, was utterly beyond the pale) acting as apologists for a foreign government inciting the murder of a British citizen and his professional associates for going about their legitimate and lawful business. Squalid and disgusting.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Restricted to 16 and over? Not that disturbing, is it? And none restricted since 1990 so presumably those published since have sailed straight through.

    Lots of people need that information before they are sixteen regardless of the letter of the law and everyone should have that information before they actually need it so, yes it is disturbing

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I know a librarian who had problems in a suburban Auckland library with intolerant Christians taking library books into the library toilets and ripping them up and trying to flush the pages. The toilets got blocked and one of them went and confessed to the library staff.

    Hmm. At the time when I worked at the UOA Library there were persistent rumours about works critical of the PRC being stolen or otherwise vanishing - not sure if they were ever confirmed.

    There was also the old classic of people razoring racy pictures out of art books, but I think the motives there were more self-centred (cf. thread title).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1611 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Lots of people need that information before they are sixteen regardless of the letter of the law and everyone should have that information before they actually need it so, yes it is disturbing.

    I agree. Otherwise, one could make an argument for banning representations of cars, driving or road safety messages for those under 15. Just because you can't legally do something yet, doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to learn about it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    when I was at high school we got our sex ed in secret so at least some of it wouldn't be after the horse had bolted.

    There were horses involved?! You must have gone to a far more liberal school than I.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    There were horses involved?! You must have gone to a far more liberal school than I.

    She was raised by actors.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Summer of my German Soldier

    Is that one offensive because it makes girls cry their eyes out? (Or was it just me?)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    If my memory serves me, there was a school in Bethlehem, Tauranga, in the mid 90s that banned 'Bad Jelly the Witch' because it had a witch in it. Or was it just that they censored it?

    I bet every under 16 year old who gets pregnant (or an STD, or both) in NZ was exposed to evil information about contraception.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    If my memory serves me, there was a school in Bethlehem, Tauranga, in the mid 90s that banned 'Bad Jelly the Witch' because it had a witch in it. Or was it just that they censored it?

    Good Jelly the Nun? No, wait, that's another banned title I'm thinking of.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    If my memory serves me, there was a school in Bethlehem, Tauranga, in the mid 90s that banned 'Bad Jelly the Witch' because it had a witch in it. Or was it just that they censored it?

    I was homeschooled (in part) because a teacher came to school on dress-up day as a witch.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Though if bad writing were the trigger for bookburning, then the collected works of Dan Brown would be making a huge contribution towards global warming.

    No they wouldn't - paper is carbon neutral.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Good Jelly the Nun?

    Excellent!
    Tho not too far from reality. There was a local amateur stage production in the 80s where Badjelly's cat's name was bowdlerised from Fluffybum to Fluffy - some more innocuous part of it's anatomy. Kids voiced their protest, and were berated by a member of the cast who informed them that Fluffybum was 'rude'.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    No they wouldn't - paper is carbon neutral.

    Oh, but I'm sure that they make the paper especially from old-growth Amazon rainforest.

    Badjelly's cat's name was bowdlerised from Fluffybum to Fluffy - some more innocuous part of it's anatomy.

    Stinky excrement! Stinky excrement! Undergarments, Undergarments, Undergarments!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

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