[Milton-L] Censorship, Lady Chatterley and Price

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Fri Nov 16 22:20:05 EST 2007

> Alan Rudrum wrote:
> > on it). Here is where censorship by price comes in: it came out in
> > two versions, one at a guinea and the other at three guineas.   The
> > three guinea vesion had some really, really naughty poems in it.  So
> > the assumption appeared to be that if you had that much money to lay
> > out on a book,then you had an incorru
> > ptible mind...or perhaps a mind so far gone in corruption that it
> > didn't matter.

I don't own that book but a grad school friend did, & I remember a
fragment of one wonderful text, entitled "They're Digging up Grandpa's
Grave to Build a Shithouse" (actually a sewer), with such lines as "He
never was a quitter, and he ain't no quitter now / He'll wrap up in a
sheet / And he'll haunt that shithouse seat / For the desecrating of a
British workman's grave."

But on the main topic here. Self-censorship on the part of the media
(and too often perhaps of scholars) is a far greater danger and reality
in the United States than direct state censorship. It is not the state
that has kept secret from the general public the existence of a
conference some 37 years ago, "Winter Soldier," in which for two or
three days veterans of Vietnam testified to atrocities they had seen or
themselves committed in Vietnam. And this censorship often takes the
form of actively entering in to suppressing information, as when the NYT
(today) used the phrase "aggressive interrogation" as though it named
something different from plain old Gestapo-style torture.

That last kind of censorship is very old in the United States. A famous
instance of it was the publication in Maclures a century ago of
Kipling's "White Man's Burden," a poem far more repellant than one can
tell by the text itself, repellant as that is. The poem was written
_specifically_ in praise of the U.S. effort to pacify the Philippines --
a blood operation which became the model for the Japanese in China who,
more honest and above-board than the Americans, named it "Burn All! Loot
All! Kill All!" The failure to cover what was happening in the
Philippines, in other words, was encased in express praise of that


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