Thursday, October 04, 2007

Were You, or Have You Ever Been?

In 1957, Judge Clayton Horn threw out the obscenity case against Allen Ginsburg's Howl, saving City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti from 50 years in jail.

If Ferlinghetti had served all that time, yesterday (3 Oct) would have been the day he stepped back into the light of freedom. In tribute to the poem, the publisher - and the clear-sighted justice - Pacifica.org broadcast Howl yesterday... and only broadcast it online, as WBAI-FM were afraid of getting smacked down by the FCC, the New York Times reports.

With fines of up to $325,000 in their arsenal, the FCC have succeeded where the 1950s courts failed -- but the internet follows in Ferlinghetti's footsteps. Following a run of 1950s-set movies (Good Night and Good Luck, The Notorious Betty Page) this seems like clear evidence that the US is heading back to the days of UnAmerican activities -- which bodes well for another Beat-inspired revolution.

To Pacifica and all who sail with her, DL says: "Good night, and good luck!"

1 comment:

Dariush Alavi said...

To my shame, I confess I wasn't aware of this poem, but thanks for bringing it to my attention.

More importantly, yes, I agree that - from this side of the pond - America does seem to be heading down an increasingly totalitarian path. But then the UK is only a couple of steps behind, I think.