Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Makings of "The Comstock Act"

After reading through chapter 7, I find it funny how Anthony Comstock (a 27 year old dry goods clerk?) personal crusade turned into a public outcome. He started ratting out local dealers in his area. Not satisfied with just taking out the dealers, he turned to the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) to help him on a vigilante crusade. The YMCA then formed a group of rich people to aid Comstock in his "personal" crusade.

His operation was kind of low key, until the big Woodhull-Claflin prosecution in 1872, which turned Comstock into this huge public figure. Comstack had the two female publishers of a weekly prosecuted because they accused a preacher of having an affair. A preacher was accused of having an affair, and the publishers of a weekly are arrested? Was the preacher even put on review through this whole scandal? There's freedom of press for you.

Then he, and two of his rich pals, went to Washington D.C. to discuss the issue of obscenity. Eventually, The Comstock Act was a result of this meeting with Capitol Hill. A little stricter than its predecessor enacted in 1865.

Though I do kind of agree that some of these actions needed to take place, I was almost lost when I got to the end of this section. These actions led to the idea to stop the publishing of criminal activities such as ..."criminal news, police reports, or accounts of criminal deeds, or pictures, or stories of deeds of bloodshed, lust or crime." Maybe it's cause of the world we live in now that I'm against this concept of censorship, but the people have a right to know what's going on around them.

Where I feel these events may have needed to happen, I still feel that some of the actions were ridiculous.


Post a Comment

<< Home