Category Archives: censorship

Jello Biafra @50

Happy birthday Jello Biafra, former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys. In the late 1980s, the band was embroiled in an obscenity trial in the US over the 1985 Frankenchrist album, which included a “biomannerist” poster with art that depicted penises, “Penis Landscape[1] by H. R. Giger, a work in the same vein as jahsonic fave Yoshifumi Hayashi.

Interviewed by Jools Holland:


Icons of erotic art #19

Venus (1532) by Lucas Cranach the Elder.  From March 8 until June 8, 2008, the London Royal Academy of Arts will hold a retrospective of Cranach's work. The posters for the expo were considered offensive for the officials of the London Underground, who stated that

Venus (1532) by Lucas Cranach the Elder

From March 8 until June 8, 2008, the London Royal Academy of Arts will hold a retrospective of Cranach’s work. This advertising poster for the Cranach expo (which displays the Venus painting) was recently considered offensive to the officials of the London Underground, who banned it and stated that

“Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there. We have to take account of the full range of travellers and endeavour not to cause offence in the advertising we display.”

Lucas Cranach the Elder (Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 1472 –  1553) was a German painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving of the school now known as Northern Renaissance. His influence is readily displayed in the work of 21st century American artist John Currin [1].

Previous entries in Icons of Erotic Art here, and in a Wiki format here.

The beneficial side-effects of censorship


Cover of the 1937 guide book to the Degenerate art exhibition.

Cover of the 1937 guide book to the  Degenerate Art Exhibition.

Nazi Germany disapproved of contemporary German art movements such as Expressionism and Dada and on July 19, 1937 it opened the travelling exhibition in the Haus der Kunst in Munich, consisting of modernist artworks chaotically hung and accompanied by text labels deriding the art, to inflame public opinion against modernity and Judaism. The cover the 1937 guide book (illustration top) features a sculpture of unknown origin. It could be Polynesian or any other tribal art work, please help me out here.

The sculpture clearly links modern art with primitivism.

This exhibition is also a perfect illustration of the beneficial side-effects of censorship. Beneficial in the sense that any attempt at banning works of art, books or other cultural artifacts results in an aide to discerning culturati to seek out these artifacts with zeal. Such has been the case with Video Nasties, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (the Catholic Index) and the Degenerate Art expo mentioned above.

I once again repeat my question to you, dear reader: what is the origin of the statue depicted in the picture above. I thank  you beforehand for a reply.

Satisfied that the photograph has been censored

Thousand cuts

Death by a Thousand Cuts is certainly one of the most gruesome photographs in the history of visual culture. I first encountered the photo online and later when I purchased Georges Bataille’s The Tears of Eros (currently available from City Lights). The version above is from the Dutch booklet Kaarten (1967, published by Born N.V.) an excellent little study by Drs. P on his postcards with a full bibligraphy on contemporary books on collecting postcards which even mentions Ado Kyrou’s treaty of the subject, L’age d’or de la carte postale (1966) which I have in my collection.

What is particular of this postcard is its obvious censorship. And actually, for once I’m really satisfied that the photograph has been censored, because I would not like to show it to you in its original version. The notes to the postcard read “Ling-chi” or “One thousand cuts”, the barbarous death penalty for a parricide in China. Published by Karl Lewis, no. 102, Honmura Road, Yokohama, Japan.

Internet archeology #1

Soledad in Akasava

Der Teufel kam aus Akasava

Before Miranda, there was Soledad Miranda. Soledad was a Spanish actress best known for her films with Jess Franco. She died young in a car accident.

Via my recent purchase of Necronomicon: book three by Andy Black comes the Soledad photograph above, which I had hitherto only seen in its censored version, without showing the torso, from a screen capture or set photograph from Der Teufel kam aus Akasava.

Below are the better known online versions which I listed at as photocredit unidentified:

Soledad Miranda, photo unidentifed

photocredit unidentified

Case solved.

Violence is fine, sex is not


Explanations on the different ratings


More on the private investigation bit on the MPAA members

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)

The MPAA gave the original cut of the film an NC-17 rating for “some graphic sexual content”: scenes that illustrated the content a film could include to garner an NC-17 rating. Kirby Dick appealed, and descriptions of the ratings deliberations and appeal were included in the documentary. The new version of the film is not rated.

NC-17 is a film rating of the United States film industry used to denote films “No One 17 And Under Admitted” (18 and older ONLY). These films contain excessive graphic violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse, strong language, or any other elements which, when present, most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children and teens. NC-17 does not necessarily mean obscene or pornographic in the oft-accepted or legal meaning of those words. The Board does not and cannot mark films with those words. These terms are legally ambiguous, and their interpretation varies from case to case.

(A little) more on film censorship and banned films and more on Censorship in the United States.

Citizendium: improvements and bowlderizations

Last October I reported on Citizendium as the first Wikipedia fork, today we are seeing the first results of this fork. My feelings are mixed. Take for example the Pierre Molinier entry at Wikipedia and its sister article at Citizendium. While the Citizendium “sister” is more elaborate and in depth (thanks to the contributions of one Pierre Petit who also contributes a nice photo) than the Wikipedia entry, it is also a bowlderized version. Compare the entry on the death of his sister.


“Molinier began to take photographs at the age of 18. When Molinier’s sister died in 1918, he had sex with her corpse when he was left alone to photograph it. “‘Even dead, she was beautiful. I shot sperm on her stomach and legs, and onto the First Communion dress she was wearing. She took with her into death the best of me.” [1]”


“Having been in love with his younger sister for a long time, he took a photograph of her on her deathbed, in 1918, thus starting his quest for androgyny identity, which would be a recurring theme throughout his life and work. “