Issue 104, Spring 2007

  •  The Community Center in Mansfield, CT removed a photo collage by George Jacobi depicting images of the American flag and two sculptures by artist Eda Easton from an exhibition; the former because an Air Force veteran found it offensive and unpatriotic, and the latter because a local mother thought the sculptures were sexually suggestive. After discussing the matter with NCAC, the town agreed to restore the artworks to the display. NCAC is helping the town to draft exhibition policies for public buildings.
  • In an incident that launched a thousand news stories (Google puts the total at 1,715 to be exact), an exhibition of Cosimo Cavallaro’s nude chocolate sculpture “My Sweet Lord” was canceled by New York City’s Roger Smith Hotel after threats of boycotts and violence. As a result, the work received enormous exposure, and Christian activists congratulated themselves on their success; the only losers were cultural tolerance and reasoned dialogue.
  • In Maine, 30-year veteran public radio host Robert Skoglund has ceased delivering his famed “rants” ever since station management threatened to cancel his weekly “humble Farmer” show. NCAC has urged MPBN to lift restrictions on Skoglund’s freedom to discuss social and political topics.
  • Texas State Rep. Boris Miles personally removed two works of art from an exhibit sponsored by The Moratorium Project (a group opposed to the death penalty), which was part of an initiative to hold “public purpose” exhibits at the Capitol Building in Austin. Rep. Miles found the works, which depicted, respectively, a lynching and a man tied to an electric chair, offensive.
  • During Sunshine Week (March 12 – 18), an annual event to promote free access to information, bi-partisan majorities in Congress ignored the President’s threat of a veto and passed four bills to curb government secrecy and strengthen the Freedom of Information Act.
  • The ACLU of Michigan recently filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) against the State of Michigan for violating the First Amendment rights of the festival. The lawsuit claims that the state set out to punish the AAFF for screening films that the state deemed “objectionable” by withdrawing undistributed Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs program grants and banning future public funding for the Festival.
  • An English class at Eastern High School in Jefferson County, KY was ordered to stop reading Nobel laureate Toni Morrison’s Beloved within 30 pages of the end of the novel because some parents complained about the book’s racial and sexual content.
  • In memory of Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007), whose novels remain a frequent target of book challenges, NCAC has collected some of his speeches and writings on the topic of censorship.