Banning Verse Satire

Banning Verse Satire

  • Submitted By: kaniwar
  • Date Submitted: 02/15/2009 6:01 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1007
  • Page: 5
  • Views: 1

Because satire is stealthy criticism, it frequently escapes censorship. Periodically, however, it runs into serious opposition.
In 1599, the Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift and the Bishop of London George Abbot, whose offices had the function of licensing books for publication in England, issued a decree banning verse satire. The decree ordered the burning of certain volumes of satire by John Marston, Thomas Middleton, Joseph Hall, and others; it also required histories and plays to be specially approved by a member of the Queen's Privy Council, and it prohibited the future printing of satire in verse. The motives for the ban are obscure, particularly since some of the books banned had been licensed by the same authorities less than a year earlier. Various scholars have argued that the target was obscenity, libel, or sedition. It seems likely that lingering anxiety about the Martin Marprelate controversy, in which the bishops themselves had employed satirists, played a role; both Thomas Nashe and Gabriel Harvey, two of the key figures in that controversy, suffered a complete ban on all their works. In the event, though, the ban was little enforced, even by the licensing authority itself.
In Italy the media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi attacked RAI Television's satirical series, , Michele Santoro's Sciuscià, even a special Blob series on Berlusconi himself, by arguing that they were vulgar and full of disrespect to the government. He claimed that he would sue the RAI for 21,000,000 Euros if the show went on. RAI stopped the show. Sabina Guzzanti, creator of the show, went to court to proceed with the show and won the case. However, the show never went on air again.
In 2001 the British television network Channel 4 aired a special edition of the spoof current affairs series Brass Eye, which was intended to mock and satirize the fascination of modern journalism with child molesters and pa Because satire is stealthy criticism, it frequently escapes censorship....

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