The freedom to read is essential to the democratic way of life. But today, that
freedom is under attack. Private groups and public authorities everywhere are
working to remove both books and periodicals from sale, to exclude certain books
from public schools, to censor and silence magazines and newspapers, and to
limit "controversial" books and periodicals to the general public. The
suppression of reading materials is suppression of creative thought. Books and
periodicals are not the only ones being suppressed by pressures to the political
and social systems. They are also being brought against the educational system,
films, radio, television, and against the graphic and theatre arts. However or
whenever these attacks occur, they usually fall at least one of the following
War & Peace (Violence)
Sociology & Race
Inappropriate Adolescent Behaviour
What is Obscenity? Clearly something hard to talk about constructively.
"Obscenity" is difficult to discuss honestly. After all, what makes a thing
obscene? It is Something too vague perhaps to be defined. It's an elusive term
we use, but can't explain. Different people often see things differently. Some
see obscenity in nude pictures, statues, paintings, etc. While others find less
obscenity in these things. All the same, "obscene" isn't the same as "wrong" or
"bad". Clearly obscenity is not identical with evil. It only covers a single
segment of it. But what is that segment? A look at the words "obscenity" and
"pornography" suggests that it is a segment that didn't worry people very much
till relatively recently.
Though censorship was known in english law quite early on, it wasn't for
obscenity but for heresy and sedition."Undue" exploitation of sex" is what
criminal law in Canada prohibits. This is how criminal law defines obscenity.
But it is rather vague. It doesn't differentiate between "ordinary obscenity"
and "hard-core pornography." The first denoting the ordinary run of "girlie
magazines and the second denoting pictures , literature and so on that deal with
rape, sadism, masochism, bestiality, necrophilia and other perversions. People
tend to object far more to "hard-core pornography." Another distinction
unfortunately overlooked by our criminal law is the distinction between isolated
instances of obscenity and the products of vast commercial enterprise.
There has been an increasing trend towards children's literature that reflects a
more realistic approach to the life both fiction and non-fiction, with subjects
that include sex, homosexuality, divorce, child abuse, drugs, violence, etc. And
they are these realistic books that have people outraged. In school libraries,
the most frequent complaints come from parents about the school's selections.
And in public libraries, parents were once again the single greatest...