Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

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Banned in Boston

You may have heard (in old movies if nowhere else) the phrase "Banned in Boston without ever knowing its context. Suffice it to say that prior to the Supreme Court's First Amendment jusirprudence of the mid-20th Century, local governments took it upon themselves to censor all sorts of things, and Boston, with its Puritan heritage and its Catholic immigrant population, took it to extremes. Censorship shares with other forms of state paternalism like drug and alcohol laws the fact that it makes a tremendous amount of money for the sellers of its target. Consider this little item from the April 30, 1927, New Yorker:

A member of the literary trade tells us, delightedly, that the Book of the Month Club, etc., have a new rival. Every day now, it seems, persons appear at bookshops with newspaper clippings containing the names of the volumes Boston has put upon her blacklist and order the list in toto. The bookmen have christened hte new organization the Boston Banned Book Club.
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