Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Fifty years ago, a British court determined that the novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D. H. Lawrence, was not obscene.  It was originally published in 1928, but could not be published in England (or Canada) until 1960. The story (an affair between a working class man and an upper class woman), some sex scenes, and some… Continue reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Censorship is Secular

In a recent post on Hollywood.com, C. Robert Cargill compares the controversy over a non-published comic to the lack of controversy over a non-published movie ad. The ad was not published as the film, a remake of I Spit on Your Grave, was released unrated after 5 MPAA submissions all earned the shunned NC-17 rating. Most American theatres will… Continue reading Censorship is Secular

The Customs Hurdle

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that everyone has  “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” However, this does not extend to material that is criminally obscene. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)  has a mandate to “prevent obscene material from being imported into Canada.”  The courts have… Continue reading The Customs Hurdle

Banned Books Week (United States)

Banned Books week is just wrapping up in the United States. Books are not rated or subject to prior censorship by state authorities, but calls to remove them from public libraries or school collections are routine. These requests to ban are often unsuccessful. The real danger is that other jurisdictions may then quietly remove “controversial” items… Continue reading Banned Books Week (United States)

Porn Panic II

While Canadian Business reports the decline of the porn industry (see blog entry Porn Panic I), academic Gail Dines claims the industry is taking over contemporary culture in her new book  Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality. She was recently on CBC Radio’s Sunday Edition. I have not read the book, but excerpts and introductions… Continue reading Porn Panic II

Porn Panic I

A recent cover story in Canadian Business announced “Sex Isn’t Selling.” The all American analysis suggests there are some shifts in the porn industry, but using the story for the cover illustration contradicts the article’s conclusion that we are all bored by matters sexual. Meanwhile, the last annual report of the Ontario Film Review Board… Continue reading Porn Panic I

Movie Night: Student PSA Films and the BC Cougar

In 2006 the Ontario Film Review Board invited student film makers to submit proposals for Public Service Announcements. The PSAs were to explain ratings systems to theatre goers, and remind parents that they are expected to consider ratings when selecting films for their children. The Board often receives complaints from parents angry that their child was exposed… Continue reading Movie Night: Student PSA Films and the BC Cougar

Ratings and Publicity

In a curious twist, the new film Easy A is using the lack of any censorship scandal, and content determined by ratings, for promotional purposes. Director Will Gluck is proud of the lack of sex in a sex comedy, though that is no great achievement: Any number of screwball comedies in the 1930s, from It Happened… Continue reading Ratings and Publicity

Censorship and Publicity

Omri Silverthorne was the chair of the Ontario Film Review Board from 1934 to 1974. By the 1960s, he was publicly calling for an end to censorship, and on his retirement he encouraged the government to end film censorship. In 1963, he noted that “Banning any film today only arouses controversy and brings it a publicity… Continue reading Censorship and Publicity

Are Ratings Censorship?

Film ratings, in use in Canada since the 1950s, and in the United States since the 1960s, are often considered more progressive than censorship. Ratings presume that children need more protection from film content than adults do, and that everyone benefits from warnings about content. This may be true, although films that are suitable for… Continue reading Are Ratings Censorship?

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