Down with smut?

 

Sir, – Dean O’Doherty should be mindful not to throw the baby out with the bath water, in his attempts to sanitise his children’s reading materials (November 6th).

Mr O’Doherty suggested he would take a scissors to The Irish Times from now on to remove any “smut” before leaving it around the house for his children to read. I have three useful suggestions for him.

First, he should take an holistic approach to his censorship. If he happens to have copies of Ulysses, the works of Chaucer, the Bible or any other tomes with passages that offend him, to be mindful to liberally apply his scissors to them too.

Second, in the interests of “reduce, reuse, recycle”, once he has redacted any offensive passages, not to throw them straight into the bin. Perhaps the paper could be repurposed as scissor cut-out art or papier-mâché for his children.

Finally, might I remind Mr O’Doherty to please put the scissors up somewhere safe when he is finished. The last thing he wants is his kids playing with scissors when they are finished “expanding their intellectual horizons”. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN DOWLING,

Kildare.

Sir, – I cut Dean O ‘Doherty’s letter out of yesterday’s Irish Times in case my grandchildren would see it. – Yours, etc,

MATTIE LENNON,

Blessington,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Dean O’Doherty’s letter made me smile, it transported me back to the 1970s, though I am not sure this is what he intended. Was it the word “busty” or the word “barmaid” instead of “barperson” that upset him so? – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL O’LEARY,

Monkstown,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Ray Burke’s elegant Irishman’s Diary (November 6th) on the censorship of Edna O’Brien’s novels in the 1960s was a timely reminder of an infantile Ireland lost and obsessed in a dark fetid swamp of guilty sexuality.

But lo, Dean O’Doherty’s letter of complaint that John Fleming’s use of the term “busty barmaid” in his diary amounted to “smut”, for which he would censor The Irish Times so it would be fit to be read by his children, is a good example of the persistent undertow that often lags behind any progress. Unless, of course, it was satire.

JOHN MORAN,

Dublin 2.