The Nasty Tales Obscenity Trials - Comic Books In Court
Between pages 34 and 38 we have a number of stories of characters called the Furry Freak Brothers. In the underground the Furry Freak Brothers are virtually an institution, in the same way as in England Andy Capp is an institution, and they have great similarities. Andy Capp is shiftless, lazy, deceitful, he drinks and gambles to excess. He appears every day in our largest selling national daily newspaper. The Furry Freak Brothers also are shiftless, lazy, and deceitful, but instead of being drunkards they are soft drug users. They have the same cathartic effect of laughing at our failures and weaknesses.
Page 50 (Fuck-in and Orgy Riot) is somewhat more difficult to explain because it is a single visual joke. There is no thread of continuity. I can really only draw your attention to some of the attitudes to sex that we find in contemporary media. Chocolate ads where the relationship to a chocolate bar and a human penis is so explicit as to be almost embarrassing if one is watching it in mixed company. Page 50 is a parody of advertising techniques in that it takes reality through to total absurdity...
Judge: People who watch these television advertisements are deliberately being titillated?
Farren: Undeniably, my lord. They titillate the observer and then offer the product as a substitute. This is a very common technique.
Prosecution: What effect would this magazine have on the sanctity of marriage?
Farren: I do not have a great deal of faith in the sanctity of marriage.
Prosecution: Is there anything in this magazine which advocates love?
Farren: The culture around which this magazine was produced has frequently been referred to as the Love Generation. I see nothing in this magazine which says that love is a spurious emotion which should not be admitted.
Farren: At the time of publishing this advertisement the previous company who ran IT was in some course of their appeal to the House of Lords and the OZ Trial was set for June. It seemed from where we were in the underground press that being raided by the police was almost a fact of life, like rain...
Farren: It is a parody of the society that produces this kind of television advertising...it is a surreal fantasy, it is laughable and I felt that the laughter elicited would be to the public good.
Farren: Society at large, my lord.
Judge: I am not a hippie and I am over 28. What good is it going to do me?
Farren: It is a joke which deflates hypocrisy and pomposity...
Farren: Even the notorious page 50 would seem to take out a social bogey man, the representation of sex, hold it up to the light, and cut it down to size.
Judge: Sex is not a dark area of society.
Farren: I feel that despite progressive liberalising of sex over the past ten years, there is still a lot left to be desired in this field, and even what has so far been achieved has only been achieved in courts of law like this, and there is still a counter movement to push us all back into Victorianism.
Prosecution: By the police?
Perry: Authoritarian violence; the authority figure represents authoritarianism which could be in the form of sending B 52s to Vietnam. It is a condemnation of the politicians. The policeman is merely a tool of politicians and the establishment. He stands for an attitude towards people.
Greer: Addison would be very hurt to hear you say that...Among comic strips and comic books this is rather better than most and a good deal less insidious in its effect upon public taste than Superman. Creampuff has literary merit because it sets out to make a different point about concealed institutional violence. Literary merit has everything to do with choosing the words most appropriate to the expression...Pope also has cause to refer to excretory functions. It would have been inappropriate to have (the characters in Nasty Tales) delivering two line speeches in rhythm.