On some recent cases of censorship.


The first magazine to suppress an article of mine was an anarchist weekly and it took me by nasty surprise because at the time – 1985 – this magazine, Black Flag, was the only one in the world that was publishing anything by me at all. The article - about the potential role of the different nationalities of the USSR in a post-Soviet future - was rejected on the grounds that the subject was 'nationalistic' (and therefore unanarchist). Years passed before another article was censored, this time in Catalonia by El Punt, who deemed it in poor taste - being as it was about the law against images of erect penises in pre-Internet Britain – despite the fact that the same newspaper had enthusiastically received several previous articles of mine about porn, smut and filth generally. Yet more unexpected was the suppression of a single word in a microsketch I wrote for Andreu Buenafuentes's 1997 series 'La cosa nostra': 'vulva' was vetoed as too crude and replaced with the apparently more genteel 'vagina'. Only last week, I was astonished when - not wanting to lose any advertising revenue - a well-known Catalan newspaper rejected a column that took a tiny bit of mickey out of a well-known Catalan bank. Even that was as nothing compared to what had happened the previous day, when I hosted a prize-giving ceremony for Catalan school students; I had asked my presenter to mention the title – just the title! – of my latest book (which questions the validity of organised religion); the powers in charge instructed her not to do so because 'there would be representatives of Christian schools attending who might be offended'. Which statement immediately brought to mind the once controversial playwright Joe Orton's description of all such nit-picking bowdlerizers: 'Too nervous to live'.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -