Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chatter about D.H. Lawrence

"The trial that untied our tongues" claimed the headline in The Globe and Mail's shrinking literary section of October 30, 2010. The piece by feature writer Ian Brown celebrated the 50th anniversary of Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence being declared not obscene in law. Before the trial, the then British attorney-general expressed hope for a criminal conviction. For that, Mr. Brown declared him "anti-intellectual."

Law is not the standard thinking people use to judge obscenity.

The wrong charge was leveled against the book. Oscar Wilde said that boredom (he called in ennui) "is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness."  By Wilde's standard, the book is undeserving of forgiveness. I found it a soporific eye glazer. Were it not for the book's mention of naughty bits (Monty Python phraseology), we would today not even be discussing it.

More plausible as the basis of the lawsuit is class distinction -- a lady taking a gamekeeper as lover.

This trial was a money-making lesson for today's scribblers. No matter how inconsequential, no matter how encased in ennui, no matter how hackneyed your book may be, work in something sexual. Too much is not enough. That's what the media and the sub-literati look for.

 Should anyone object, mock them as "anti-intellectual."

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