Author Blythe Woolston must have read my mind (she tends to do this) before her recent blog post about Ulysses and censorship.
I make a habit of a halfhearted effort at rereading Ulysses every June 16. Well, I peruse more than re-read, I guess. I might dip in at Le0pold Bloom in his outhouse (shocking!) or maybe even Molly Bloom’s soliloquy(nowadays titillating only to scholars, I suspect), and if I do, I will chuckle that this book was at the center of a landmark indecency case 77 years ago. The idea of this book giving popular offense seems so quaint and silly now.
But I shouldn’t let the folly of censorship past make me giggle so much that I fail to be outraged at censorship present. (Look no farther than Liz Burn’s blog if you need an example.)
Thanks, Blythe, for the reminder. To paraphrase Judge Woolsey’s ruling on Ulysses, while the effect of censorship on readers undoubtedly is somewhat emetic, nowhere does it tend to be funny.