If the controversial Bill C-12 becomes law, any artists who depict sexual activity by characters under 18 could have to prove their work contributes to the Œpublic good.¹
Artistic merit is no longer a defence. In theory, many famous works could get busted.
Here are three potential victims of the new law. Story page H10. By Peter Goddard
FILE: First Kiss, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
CONCERNS: Graphic display of cherubic genitalia. The 19th-century French painter might easily have daubed on a heavenly loincloth to hide the offending male part, the sight of which exceeds the limits of what constitutes the public good.
ACTION: Substantial funding provided to local artists, particularly those with connections to the Liberal Party of Canada, to go out and cover over any sexually explicit details on heavenly cherubs and the baby Jesus found in any museum.
FILE: Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie.
CONCERNS: A sexually charged relationship between an underage male and female - Peter makes Wendy "fly," and we know what that means - with broad suggestion of voyeurism on the part of two of the nine-year-old girl's male siblings, not to mention a dog!
ACTION: Video stores have 24 hours to clear out their entire stock of Peter Pan - both the most recent version by Australian director P.J. Hogan as well as the 1953 Disney cartoon and the 1960 Mary Martin film - plus Steven Spielberg's Hook and Damion Dietz's Neverland. Anything by Michael Jackson has got to go, too.
FILE: Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
CONCERNS: Underage sex. Shakespeare shows Juliet as 14 years old, substantially younger than she first appears in The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet, the 1562 work by British poet Arthur Brooke that provided the basis for Shakespeare's 1594-95 play. "The first defence of Romeo And Juliet would be on the ground of artistic merit," says Charles Campbell, a specialist in censorship and obscenity law with Iler, Campbell. "But if you take away the artistic merit argument" - the intention of Bill C-12 - "you then have to ask, 'is Romeo And Juliet in the public good?' "
ACTION: Ban on all copies of the Shakespeare work and its many film adaptations.
FILE: Propaganda art
CONCERNS: None. Although most would find works like this distasteful, propaganda is by definition art for "the public good," at least from the point of view of the government of the day. Other "approved" art: military recruitment posters; poetry in subway cars; murals warning motorists not to drink and drive.
ACTION: Dissolve Parliament and all provincial legislatures, turn power over to elite, back up elite with military controlled by leader's brother, arrest all rejected artists.