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A letter to the Editor opposing censorship, published in Quadrant, Nov 1990, p.4-5

How very, very clever of you! You almost had me fooled.

There was only one nagging question that prevented me from swallowing it all, if you will excuse the cliché, hook, line and sinker: Why would Quadrant publish ('Lady Chatterley's Lover Retried' by Tom Paulin, in your September 1990 issue) a revisionist assault upon a 'genuine work of literature', a review that wields the blunt weapon of anti-sexist/racist criticism, and falls short of demanding its subject's re-banning only by the device of questioning?

This was indeed difficult to answer. Especially as the same issue of your journal raised objection (rightly in my view) to the imposition of just this kind of 'new morality' in Patrick Morgan's 'The Decline of Tolerance, or, Zealots Without a Cause'.

I hemmed and hawed for quite a while, wondering about the significance of this, until I recalled the clincher: in Quadrant's August 1989 issue, you wrote in your 'Unseasonable Thoughts' column that the ban on Lady Chatterley's Lover 'had been placed ... by zealous and philistine authorities.'

The answer became clear.

Your use of Mr Paulin's review was a demonstration of the views, the reactions against which was the theme of the issue.

At least I hope so.

The alternative is that in your resurrection of the traditional opposition to pornography, you have decided to adopt the equally traditional turning of a blind eye to your fellow-travellers' reasons, so long as their immediate aims are the same.

© 1990 - Stephen Dawson