What a joy to read in the New York Times that the University of Chicago was banning political correctness. This has been a long time coming and as stated in the article the so-called left is more at fault than the so-called right. Let me give you some examples.
When I first arrived at MIT in 1958 the buzz around campus was that an issue of its humor magazine, Voodoo, had been pulled from the racks by the school’s administration. I had learned during the first week of school that MIT men,like all young men, were horn dogs. The staff of Voodoo (VD) ran a promotional humor piece called give VD to your girl friend. A copy was stashed away in the libraries rare book collection and as a student library assistant, I had a key to the room. There was no honor in censorship so I removed it and brought it back into the light to the small library of my fraternity house, Theta Xi, where it hopefully remains today. Censorship was anathema to me.
But when I left school to join the free love and speech movement in Berkeley in 1962 I was again treated to a surprise. I had become part owner of a folk music club called the Cabal but my appearance was just that of another no name beatnik hanging around the scene. I was standing in front of the campus by Sater Gate when a “true believer” young radical was complaining to a friend that the Cabal didn’t hire union help. Rolf Cahn, a refugee from Nazi Germany and well-known jewish folk musician who had been married to Barbara Dane was the force behind the club and a former member of the Woody Guthrie wing of the folk movement, said by many to be communist. The young radical was loudly protesting to his friend that if “Rolf Cahn was a real liberal he would be paying union wages” Rolf liked to say that “do gooders” cause all the problems in the world. The loud radical had no idea that I was the cheap laborer that kept the club operating, taking twenty-five dollars a week in salary and sleeping on a dirty mattress in the back room. That the Cabal hired musicians like Mance Lipscomb and Mississippi John Hurt,both former share croppers, paying them the entire gate for their services was conveniently, because of ignorance, glossed over by the leftist agitator.
Moving on, ten years later I was living in Los Angeles where I had become one of the pioneers of the sexual freedom movement when I began making “beaver” movies, 400 foot silent 16mm movies of a cute girl disrobing and gyrating provocatively on a bed. My movies became instantly popular, American men were fed up with censorship and the women who performed were as well. My “loops” as they were called were soon playing across the country. Beavers morphed into porn and the censorship police were soon on my tail, trumping up charges and lying in court to take me off the streets. DA’s and judges joined in the charade. It’s a long story but let me finish by saying the “left” leaning LA Times was no friend. My partner and I were becoming financially very successful and I agreed when asked to do an interview with a writer from the Times who promised to be fair. Her salient comment in the article when it came out was not about sexual freedom but that my camera cost ten thousand dollars.
Several years later the LA Times became so “politically correct” that they published a list of words that would no longer be used like “undocumented” to replace “illegal”. But was most galling to me was when in 1993 I tried to place an ad in the paper promoting my sequel to “Flesh Gordon” an “R” rated film called “Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders,” the Times would not accept any visuals and only the word “gordon” in 8 point type in the theater listing section. The word “flesh” was a no-no.
So it is a relief that some are beginning to see that stifling free speech is un American, whether it be about sex or voices on the campus protesting Israels brutal treatment of the Palestinian refugees. They are called refugees because they were forcibly removed from their homes during the 1949 war and had nowhere to go. It is only recently that American’s are having the courage to talk freely about that situation in the press and on campuses. That is what caused the University of Chicago to say enough is enough.
Lastly I would be remiss in not pointing out that no literary agent would handle my memoir, Take Your Shame And Shove It, or my local paper “The Malibu Times”, because they assumed it was all about sex. In fact it is about over coming intolerance whether it be racial, political, religious or sexual. I still abhor censorship and hypocrisy and intend to carry on the fight to my end.