Issue 72, Winter 1998/1999

We can all breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now, that a

flag desecration amendment

was not enacted in the 105th Congress. While the amendment passed overwhelmingly in the House, the Senate, where its fate depended on one vote, postponed its consideration. New senators may make a difference. For more information on SJ 40, click here.

The Tin Drum does not meet Oklahoma’s standard of child pornography, ruled a federal judge who had ruled earlier that seizure of videocasettes by the police was unconstitutional. NCAC worked with Oklahomans for Free Expression and other First Amendment groups to publicize the controversy.

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and William Faulkner’s A Rose For Emily cannot be banned from school curricula on the basis of content, even when they are attacked for racial content. The 3-0 ruling by the 9th District Court of Appeals responded to a lawsuit against an Arizona high school.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, where Tony Kushner’s play, Angels in America, was attacked, voters unseated four Mecklenburg City Council members who voted to defund the arts. Community action to ensure restoration of arts funding, however, has not prevented the Actor’s Theater of Charlotte from canceling plans to produce Dream of a Common Language. Cowed by the state’s indecent exposure law, the group has resorted to self-censorship.

President Clinton vetoed the Foreign Affairs Reform bill that would have paid our back dues to the United Nations. The bill would deny U.S. family planning funds to foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform abortions, or lobby either pro or con about abortion, restrictions on speech that would never be tolerated in our own country, as NCAC pointed out.

In Texas, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson is so threatening that school authorities are being urged to search the lockers of Manson fans. Crime Prevention Center in Fort Worth, which provides seminars for law-enforcement officers and educators, classifies goth-rock fans as “gangs” that engage in criminal activity. The center suggests monitoring the library books borrowed and the Internet sites visited to further identify these children at risk. For more on Marilyn Manson, click here.

New and Noteworthy:
Watch for Places I Never Meant To Be: Original Stories By Censored Writers (Simon & Schuster), edited by Judy Blume (pictured here). Dedicated to the late NCAC executive director, Leanne Katz, book sales will benefit NCAC.