“I would not have wanted to have been God because that for me would have been a dead end.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
What was censored in 1809 when Napoleon ruled France:
Talk of the old regime and revolution, the glorification of other cultures, (especially English), romance, and “the manifestation of ideas which trouble the peace of the state, its interests and good order.”
What was censored in 1959 when the Postal Service ruled America: D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, James Joyce, Voltaire, The Arabian Nights…and Little Red Riding Hood:
(And Jay Z thinks he’s safe?)
Read this now: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/banned-books.html
Censored in France under Napoleon: anything sympathetic to English culture.
Censored in the US under The Postal Service, by an act of Congress that lasted through the 1980’s: freedom of expression. And sex.
Back to Napoleon:
In 1804, Napoleon decreed that he would personally decide what books he wanted to alter or ban entirely:
Napoleon’s power to ban books lasted until (banned) England crushed him in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Listen up, people. Just because Barney Rosset brought down US government censorship doesn’t mean you’ll have the freedom to read whatever you want, watch whatever you want, download whatever you want forever.
As The Paris Review has recorded in its interview with Barney Rosset in “The Art of Publishing”, at the age of 29 Barney Rosset deliberately set out to overturn US government censorship laws, defiantly publishing and defending (all the way to the Supreme Court) “subversive’, emerging voices (five of whom went on to win The Nobel Prize for Literature.) Yes, one committed individual CAN make a difference.
Over the years, Barney Rosset took on hundreds of lawsuits across the US, defending writers, in the process expanding our freedom to read, and to write, freely.
Read the full interview on the website of The Paris Review: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1187/the-art-of-publishing-no-2-barney-rosset
As independent filmmakers, we are committed to saving Barney’s legacy by finishing our film. We have been filming for almost two years, have edited the footage, and now seek your help in going into post-production. We have been covered by major press outlets: The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The New Republic, The East Hampton Star, New York Magazine’s Bedford and Bowery, Guernica magazine, The Southampton Press, and The New York Review of Books, among others, Our cast includes avant-garde artists, writers, filmmakers, publishers, biographers, a neurologist and a shaman. We have filmed in New York City, Thailand and East Hampton.
We have 131 loyal backers who understand that our open culture and our freedom of expression must be fiercely defended, because history shows us that that is not the norm.
We ask your help to continue. You are all our fellow producers. We have endeavored through these many days and updates to introduce you to a literary icon who struggled his entire life against bigotry and repression. He died in 2012, just short of 90, almost bankrupt. The books that we know as readers and that inflamed our imaginations and changed our lives will live forever.
As long as censorship does not again rear its fanged head. Let us support Barney Rosset and Grove Press’s legacy together.
Help us to finish our film, to carry on Barney Rosset and Grove Press’s crusade for the right for any voice to be heard, to be read, to be published.
We are so grateful for your support as loyal backers in these final days. We know you care. In his day, before Twitter, before Facebook, before Instagram, before the internet, Barney Rosset’s fierce will created a community, an army, of readers, questers, seekers, challengers and activists.
Our culture is richer for it. Let us honor the man who always supported the voiceless.
He gave us Beckett, Burroughs and the Beats. Let us give Barney his voice.
Because this is always lurking:
In George Orwell’s classic novel, “1984”, thoughtcrime is the criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question the ruling party. In Orwell’s novel, the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects.
Let us go back to George Washington: