Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

October 3, 1957

Allen Ginsberg Howl Judgement

Allen Ginsberg Howl Judgement

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

Free speech v free speech

The struggle between the Bill of Right’s First Amendment [Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech…”] on paper and in reality is an ongoing one. That freedom becomes culturally uncomfortable when the speech expressed is contrary to the norm.

Allen Ginsberg Howl Judgement

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

James Joyce Ulysses

On December 6, 1933 in United States v. One Book Called Ulysses.  Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that James Joyce’s Ulysses was not pornographic—that nowhere in it was the “leer of the sensualist.”

     Woolsey stated that the novel was serious and that its author was sincere and honest in showing how the minds of his characters operate and what they were thinking. Some of their thoughts, the judge said, were expressed in “old Saxon words” familiar to readers, and [i]n respect of the recurrent emergence of the theme of sex in the minds of [Joyce’s] characters, it must always be remembered that his locale was Celtic and his season Spring. “To have failed to honestly tell fully what his characters thought would have been “artistically inexcusable”, said the judge.

One might think that such a clear ruling regarding literature closed the door to future challenges, but those challenges continued and continue.

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Ginsberg first performed “Howl” at the Six Gallery in San Francisco on October 7, 1955.  In 1956, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran City Lights Bookstore and the City Lights Press, published  “Howl” as part of collection called Howl and Other Poems.

US Custom agents seized 520 copies of the book [printed in Great Britain] on March 25, 1957 and on June 3, 1957 two San Francisco undercover cops assigned to the Juvenile Bureau arrested Shigeyoshi Murao, a clerk at the City Lights store for selling “Howl and Other Poems.”

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

Judgement

Ferlinghetti requested a bench trial thinking that a judge might be more likely to favor the defendant’s case than a jury.  Judge Clayton W Horn, a Republican, taught Sunday school. He had once sentenced sentenced five female thieves – the newspapers called them “lady shoplifters” – to attend a showing of the movie “The Ten Commandments” and to write essays on the epic film’s lesson when it came to stealing.

On October 3, 1959 Horn ruled and sided with the defense. In his ruling he said, “The first part of ‘Howl’ presents a picture of a nightmare world… The second part is an indictment of those elements in modern society destructive of the best qualities of human nature; such elements are predominantly identified as materialism, conformity and mechanization leading toward war…

Full transcript of decision

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement


Ginsberg reading Howl (link to words →  Howl)

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement
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Beatles Abbey Road

Beatles Abbey Road

Beatles Abbey Road

US release: October 1, 1969

     What is the last Beatles album? The answer depends on whether one uses the actual times that Apple released the album or the actual time(s) that the Beatles recorded the album.

Let It Be

Beatles Abbey Road

     The US release of Let It Be was May 8, 1970. The Beatles actually recorded in before Abbey Road in February 1968, January – February 1969. Since most of Let It Be was recorded in January 1969, before the recording and release of  Abbey Road, some argue that Abbey Road should be considered the group's final album and Let It Be the penultimate.

     Famed producer Phil Spector is typically associated with the ablum, but his post-production embellishments so disappointed so many that in 2003 Apple re-released the album as Let It Be...Naked and removed  those embellishments that Paul McCartney in particular felt got in the way of the group's original stripped down  sound goal. 

Beatles Abbey Road

Beatles Abbey Road

     In any case, Abbey Road is a different album than Let It Be.  With Abbey Road, knowing it  was likely their last, the Beatles wanted to do what they did best and go into the studio with George Martin, not Phil Spector.

     The album cover is, of course, iconic and no other site of an album cover has had so many visitors and pictures taken by those visitors. Also of note about the album cover is that it contains neither the album's nor the group's name.

George Martin

     As had almost always been the case, George Martin was a huge part of the album. He later said that his response to Paul McCartney's request to produce it: "I was quite surprised when Paul rang me up and said, 'We're going to make another record, would you like to produce it?' and my immediate answer was, 'Only if you let me produce it the way we used to.' and he said, 'We do want to do that' and I said, 'John included?' and he said, 'Yes, honestly.'"

     He also said, ""It was a very very happy album. Everybody worked frightfully well and that's why I'm very fond of it."

Side Two

     We all know side two.  "Here Comes the Sun" then "Because." Then the medley. THE medley.

     The Beatles had popularized the segue with Sgt Pepper's. Not an album of singles, but songs that literally flowed one into the other.

     Abbey Road's "Medley" perfected that production technique with its 16 minutes melodious  jaunt:
  1. At 4:03, “You Never Give Me Your Money” is the longest of the eight songs. Even the song itself has different parts perhaps a foreshadowing of McCartneys 1971 Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey ,
  2. John Lennon’s “Sun King” follows with lots of backing harmonies.
  3. Lennon wrote toth “Mean Mr Mustard” (is the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi the “dirty old man”?) and 
  4. “Polythene Pam” during the Beatles 1968 visit to India.
  5.  Four McCartney songs follow:  “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” (written after a fan entered McCartney’s residence via his bathroom window)
  6. “Golden Slumbers” (based onThomas Dekker’s 17th-century poem set to new music),
  7. “Carry That Weight” (reprising elements from “You Never Give Me Your Money”, and featuring chorus vocals from all four Beatles), and closing with
  8. “The End” which has the only Ringo drum solo.  Appropriately (and sadly)_, the song contains three guitar solos, too. McCartney, then Harrison,  then Lennon.
     Though "Her Majesty" ends the entire album and is not part of the medley, it is the end of "The End" that is the true final message of the Beatles to us. One that has always been true whether before any of them were born, any of us were born, or after any of our progeny will be born:

      "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make".

Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, 

 

 

 

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