Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 16, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Porn' ru ing shakes film and book men By Charles Londo n Observer commentator LOS ANGELES In the aft- ermath of the United States Supreme Court's ruling on por- which has passed the mck to local ty- MXHIS of the skintrade are feei- ng the pinch in a nain supplier for America's million porn industry. Leagues of Decency from coast to coast are having trouble sup- pressing their crows of tri- umph. And in the more reput- able reaches of the film and book business there is much concern and confusion. Fear of small-town censorship or police seizure has stopped production on some films. Many publishing executives and mag- azine editors foresee long and costly legal battles ahead over works which fail to conform to the mores of Mid- dle America. What the Nixon appointed Supreme Court did in its rul- ing on June 21 was to open a 1 move mat we make the standards for movies in our community the same as those existing in Las path for tough new restrictions on erotica by local legislators. No longer will national stand- ards under the 5-to-4 opinion written by Chief Jus- tice Warren Burger. The fa- mous loophole the one about material being without redeeming social is ane in its place is a far more ambiguous phrase advis- ing that books and movies should be judged on their political or scientific it is already apparent that not every local bigwig is willing to make the distinction between commercial sexploitation and sexual candor in one of those works of art. A majority of critics put Mike Nichols' movie CAR- NAL KNOWLEDGE in the category. Prosecutors in Georgia banned it just the same. And the real pornographers are they There are few signs of it in either Los Angeles or San which have both been dubbed capitals of the in recent years. In other parts of the local prosecutors are driving Playboy from the new- closing down sex cine- mas and raiding bookstores ga- but hero in sprawling Los Angeles District Attorney Joseph Busch expect no significant rise in the number of pornography-re- lated This is cold comfort to ser- ious moviemakers and book who are faced with the problem of trying to pro- duce material for a national au- dience when local censorship groups or even state legisla- tures are creating their own ob- scenity criteria. a call to arms for every crazy vigi- lante group in the says Random House president Rob- ert who expects the decision to cost his big publish- ing house millions of dollars and weeks of work in legal fees as the 50 state legislatures revising their laws after the summer recess. Many publishers fear a re- turn to the situation in which Joyce's Ulysses and Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover were banned. First Amend- ment is in says Mr. Bernstein. A coalition of book and magazine publishers has been formed will peti- tion for clarification of the Su- preihe Court decision and set up a defence fund for the com- ing court battles. It will also lobby among state in the hope of avoiding a flood of legislation that could crip- ple the industry. Magazine owners and editors are no less alarmed. Playboy's publisher Hugh who re- jects the notion that anything in his seven-mil'ion circulation men's magazine could even under Supreme Court acknowledges that some of his material might be in the Mid- West. like its imitators Oui and has been seized by police in a few small towns in Alabama and Georgia. an uncertain per- and any publisher is going to have to consider comprom- says Mr. Hefner. thinks the ruling a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution bars any abridgement of freedom of speech of the The big film companies are also casting a wary eye over forthcoming productions. The new ru'iiig could lose them money. 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Major distributors have withdrawn their backing from plans to film Hubert Sel- by's highly praised novel Last Exit to a violent story of New York low-life which was the subject of a much-pub- licized court case in Britain a few years back. Producer Steve Krantz ex- one will make a picture now if there's a risk that it'll be banned by at least 30 per cent of the communities in the And Last v.hich deals in homosexuality and would be such a film. OK in Chicago is out in says Mr. Krantz. nesd a hundred different Leaders of tbe war on porno- graphy who are delighted with the Nixonite Supreme Court ruling deny that it means a return to the bad old days of censorship and prose- cution on the whim of any Keep America Clean vigi- lante. don't want to go to says an official of tbe Los Angeles based Citi- zens for Decent Literature. don't want to put panties on piano legs. But this will be a tremendous encouragement to prosecutors everywhere. It's what we've hoped and prayed for for Books in brief An Uncommon by Edward Joest- ing. J. McLeod Ltd. 353 The author describes this work as a not of thft islands and but of the Thus the book takes on a personal be- coming extremely interesting and appealing. It is indeed an uncommon as the book reads like a smooth flowing novel- the tropical paradise of most people's had its times of turmoil and the leprosy colony was a night- mare. The physical aspects of the island are interesting but it's the people that make the the Chinese and Japan- ese brought over as cheap la- the Hawaiian kings and the the good and the the the military the famous and the and the na- tives themselves. As the book progresses the author moves away from the native people to some dwelling more on the white men moving in to take over control of the islands. The book looks sparingly at the political swing of power from the monarchy to the eventual statehood the islands achieved. This is so interwoven in the stories of the people that one is scarcely aware that one is reading a political history as well. It is an entertain- fact filled book. Well worth the reading. GARRY ALLISON by Pet- er De Vrics Brown and Lim- 274 Most of Peter De Vries' books have been funny in an off-beat sophisticated way. The Blood of the the story of his child's fight with leukemia was ore exception and perhaps be- cause its theme was a serious one it could be considered his most important work. In Forever De Vries has again dealt with a theme which under any other author's pen might be considered a ser- ious one but wi'i De Vries' delightful use of hyperbole it becomes almost ridiculous. The eternal triangle is the this time involving a his wife and his mother-in-law. When Stew Smackenfelt's wife Dolly takes off with another he succumbs to the guiles of his leotard-clad mother-in- law. Despite her wacky sort of Stew's Dutch Reformed Calvinist con- science troubles him and the new relationship is not all it should be. Eventually he and Dolly are reunited and presum- ably Stew finds peace in his soul. Fans of Peter De Vries will welcome another of his first-timers might be advised to get their feet wet with some of his earlier efforts. IPT ttrAT Inquisition-Alberta style By Terry Fleetwood School are sentenced to teaching for life in a Hutterite If we can believe what we read in the local Southern Alberta is one place in Canada where such a sentence is pos- sible. In two local communities attempts have been made to transfer nauehty teach- ers to teaching positions in Hutterite col- onies. What an insult to our Hutterite friends to usa their schools as a dumping ground for teachers whom school trustees and their administrative hirelings wish to pun- ish. It doesn't matter what religious or eth- nic group controls a school the children are entitled to have teachers appointed-because of merit. Yet we Ere told that the prac- tice of transferring teachers to Hutterite schools has bcsn a favcnte school adminis- tration for years and and that so-called problem teachers are the ones who are selected for the special treatment. One may terrible crimes have teachsrs committed to be selected for puni- tive transfer In one trial the accused had apparently written to news- papers and attacked the way in which trustees use educational funds. It's incred- ible that in our democracy some people consider it a crime to write to the local press. When we consider that Canada spsnt nore than billion on schooling in the fiscal year to March one would think it's every citizsn's duty to examine very closely how our educational empires spend their money. The accused was also requested to sign a retraction prepared for him by the school superintendent. Shades of Commun- ist countries and I never thought the day would come when Cana- dians could be brought to trial for writing to the press and then expected to sign a prepared retraction of Another reason given for transfer was the supposed 'incompatibility' of the teach- ers with local administration. It's a pecu- liar thing about education that people are always talking about the need for con- and the importance of communi- cation but heaven help the teacher par- who does express an opinion. the good teacher has been regarded as a stereotyped al- ways hard-working and obsequi- ous. If he wanted promotion he would also display unctuous loyalty fcr the administra- tive hierarchy or say a few nean- derthal grunts were permissible. Conditions haven't changed that but today teachers are better than ever be- fore and a great many have more experi- ence and far superior qualifications than the people who are acting out a role as ec'uccticnal kadsrs. Thsy are quite capable of making an intelligent evaluation of a school program. If t'r.air assessment does not agree with that of the administration it mean that the not the is incompatible with the needs of the students. No one condones querulous bshavior that leads tc but teach- ers have an absolute right t o examine educational practices and to make their conclusions available to the public. In discussing these purdthe transfers with a colleague the comment made that cnly an idealist would say that you can speak your mind or express an opinion in a democracy. If this is true then our society is very sick. We are no different from these unhappy countries -where the freedom of the and the right to press an opinion been outlawed by a dictator's oecree. 1 don't believe that such evil things could happen in Canada but our news me- dia and voting public must keep a close eye on the antics of some of our e'ected officials. It was encouraging to read that in both trials the parents helped to thwart the proposed transfers. A fine line separates self righteousness from megalomania and many of our edu- cational mandsdns have been on wrong side of the line too long. It's time that parents and teachers combined forces to bring these petty dictators back to the land ol reality. ANDY RUSSELL The hitching post WATERTON LAKES PARK Modern super-markets have their but any of us who have ssen our old- fashioned corner store replaced by a huge sprawling complex of cmcrete and chrome look back with nostalgia to the days when our grocery shopping was done in an establishment reflecting the charac- ter of the owner and was a meeting place for a friendly chat between neighbors. steering a shopping cart around the floor of such a place through crowded aisles during peak shopping when people are hurrying to pick up the week's groceries and get home to their favorite television has certain hazards akin to driving a freeway during the five o'clock rush. Collisions are common and while these do noi ganerally hospitalize the they do nothing for morale or creating an air of friendship between neighbors. When a special sale of some item is the scene can look like a war between competitive personalities and good manners go out the window. Most of us who shop in these places know what it is like to be hit unexpectedly from behind by a shopping cart loaded with groceries and propelled by a husky matron looking at leaded shelves instead of where she is going. Sometimes the cart is bsing pushed by an uninhibited ten-year-old with all the mental attributes cf a bulldozer operator bound to impress his doting mother with his abil- ity to clear competition out of the way. Having been exposed to such an atmos- I have been inclined to think that supsr-markets tend to dehumanize but th's is not always true. One day I was riding with a friend a newspaper reporter past a brand new shopping centre that had been recently opened in the city of Santa Barbara in California. From the street it presented the usual picture cf an ul Ira-modern set-up surrounded on two sides with a great sprawling parking lot full of cars. I was idly looking across this lot when I saw something that snapped me to attention. Out in the middle of the lot a man had a saddlehorse and a mule tied to a post and was busy packing the latter. It was about as unexpected and incongruous as seeing a polar bear wandering across the sands of Mojave dssert. Upon my request my friend pu'led over to the curb and stop- and we got out to walk over for a closer look. There in the midst of all that shining trnn .and hlackfnn was a man drpvad in the garb of the open range complete from Stetson to fancy stitched boots and silver mounted spurs. His saddle was of the old-time California style with long flower carved and sil- ver mounted in rich and his bridle and reins of fine braided rawhide. He was taking groceries out of a shopping cart and expertly packing them in the paniers slung from the mule's packsaddle. I spoke to him and at first he was ccolly courte- but when he found out I was no strang- er to mules and diamond his leathery countenance warmed in a friendly smile. As I helped him throw the diamond hitch over his he told me his name was Morino. He lived in a spring-fed basin on the slope of the mountains overlooking tha city on a little ranch alone with some a couple of a mule and a few fine horses. He was a true a direct descendant of the old Spanish peo- ple who had lived here 100 years before the first Americans saw the place the first cattle barons of the west. Once a week he rede down a narrow twisted trail to the city for his mail and supplies. Sixty years before he had inherited the ranch from his grandmother. For many years he had dealt with the fami'y who had owned the store now re- placed by the super-market. The new gro- cery market was still managed by one of the same and when it opened he was there to do his shopping as but found there was no place to tie his saddle- horse and mule. Somewhat disgusted and disappointed he left without doing any but stopped at the first phone booth to call the manager. The conversa- tion went something like this. I am sorry you do not want me to deal at your store any Ssnor the manager in- formed is not true. do you say such a is no place to tie my horse and Morino informed him. After a moment's the manager ''Senor be very sure that this is just a temporary mistake. Come back now and I will have someone hold your animals while you shop and very soon we will have a hitching post installed. And there it a stout iron post with a ring sluig in the top of a signal that even busy city people can still find time he human. I shcok wiih my ne'.v found friend and wished him well. Meet- in tr him had mada this dav unforgettable.