the more they apparently stay the same, or sometimes go backwards.
On October 3, 1957, Judge Clayton Horn had ruled that Allan Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” was not written with the intent of obscenity. Fifty years later, the epic poem is still regarded as one of the most important literary works of the twentieth century.
Fifty years later, “Howl” is once again too obscene for American audiences…
October 3 marks the 50th anniversary of the vindication of Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL and the dismissal of obscenity charges against Ferlinghetti. We and scholars at the First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C. hoped to have the poem read over Pacifica Radio stations to celebrate this victory over censorship.
FCC rules now forbid the broadcasting of a single indecent word before10:00 pm. The fines for so doing range from $5,000,000 to $25,000,000. Pacifica Radio said they could not air the poem before that hour for fear they would be cited and driven off the air. source
This is what comes from the rise of our American Christofacism. This is what has been reaped from the rise of the moral majority, from the rise of the vocal minority of the religious right, this is what the last thirty plus years have wrought.
Well, obscene or not…
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats
floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene- ment roofs
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the
scholars of war,
excerpt from Howl
by Allen Ginsberg