Subversion Unedifying Venereal disease Act of Representation This means that the composer has selected evidence, selectively It is not a verbatim account of the truth, but a representation of the truth Robertson is an astute legal man, argument is his game Be aware of how Robertson positions the responder to accept his viewpoint Be aware of which techniques Robertson uses to
represent his version of events. Form Robertsons fusion of the personal memoir/nonfiction form is important Allows him to use his recollections of personal experiences and at the same time, cleverly, appear to be creating a non-fiction (factual) recount. His text is effective in the way it meshes recount and his subjective commentary. Why is this important? How does it affect the positioning of the responder? context 1971
Robertson early in his career I knew all about the law but nothing about justice, and I was looking forward to seeing it done Schoolkids edition of Oz, a radical, small publication published pictures of Rupert Bear with an erection Obscenity trial Opens with Conflicting Perspective Conservative opinion from treasury counsel, Brian Leary: These accused men agreed to publish a magazine which would carry, as it had before, the banner of the
alternative society. Look at that magazine and ask yourselvesWhat alternatives are there? Dropping out of society. Expecting the state to provide and by the state I mean nothing more than you and mep 21. Look at the tone of this statement. How are we positioned to perceive this conflicting perspective? Cites literary works Lady Chatterlys Lover, Last Exit to Brooklyn. Robertson often cites literary works. How does this help to position us to receive his views ? He is a learned-man and therefore, reasonable, rational and knowledgeable How do we perceive him?
Inclusion What is included is an important question for this unit. Chief Justice conceded that there were some items in the magazine which were wholly innocuous, charming and humourous Statement from the National Union of Teachers, complaining that the magazine would tend to undermine the authority of teachers p 22 What is the purpose of including this statement? Does it magnify or minimize the importance of this article? Judge Argyle conflicting perspective How is he lampooned?
Inclusion: famous for his catch-cry we just dont do this sort of thing in Birmingham Sent delinquents who vandalised public telephone boxes to prison for three years (Robertson undermines this with reference to the upsurge in telephone vandalism) He announced a novel campaign to end burglary by sentencing burglars to prison for life What is Robertsons tone here? Is it humorous? How are we positioned to perceive Judge Argyle, before he has even entered the courtroom? Judge Argyle contd His judgeship was a career consolation for the
Tory (Liberal, conservative) MP he had tried to several times to become Right on! vs Judges interpretation shows him to be out of touch. He asks, Write onbut you had finished the interview? - Not write on WRITE on but RIGHT on What is the purpose of including this misunderstanding? De Bono De Bonos testimony, about the size and proportions of Rupert Bears organs is humorous. How does this funny inclusion work to serve
Robertsons perspective? Leary, the cross- examining lawyer for the prosecution, asks questions such as What age do you think Rupert bear is? What is the effect of the inclusion of these questions? The Judge We are positioned to view him as out-dated, an old, conservative man who is out of touch with modern society. Well pardon me, (ineffably polite), For those of us who did not have a classical education, what do you mean by this word cunnilinctus?
Mispronunciation of this word included. Why? Robertson represents For Judge Argyle, however, o__l s__ was always unthinkable and invariably dangerous Turn to p 28. Read the Judges response about Fatty Arbuckle. How does Robertsons inclusion of this tale and the judges erroneous data bank help to shape our perception of him? A telling insight into Argyles mind Through Robertsons narration He revealed that he had felt it necessary to have a glass of
water smashed to pieces, after disc jockey John Peel had taken a sip from it in the witness box. He apparently believed it might be infected because some years before the witness had picked up a brief venereal infection. Robertson describes this as bizarre action. Why apparently? Collision of Cultural Incomprehension Fancy dress parades, swords, nosegays. What is Robertsons opinion about The Old Bailey? P 31. How does Robertson lampoon the judges over-reactive nature when he includes De
Bonos plan to let a wind up bird fly? P 31. The plodding orality of the English courtroom Description of Defendants Yet these defendants were incapable of hurting the proverbial fly p 34 Conflicting Perspectives In America, a Presidential Commission had just reportedthat pornography did not cause anti-social behaviour Robertson lampoons/mimics the judge We just dont need this thing in Birmingham p
36. Sarcastic tone undermines judge and other conservative viewpoints. Back to the Judge and his pen What is the effect of including the commentary on the judges pen movements? P38. Judge Argyles view were unconsciously signalled to the jury through tone of voice and body language he would let it drop thump onto the desk, as if it were a thing of infinite toxicity Learys concluding statements
Robertson tells us of Learys effective closing statements. Robertson seems to respect Learys style, his efficiency as a lawyer He includes Learys statement because it is an example of Leary appealing to middle-class/conservative values (values that conflict with Robertsons): no doubt your children come from very nice homes where they can discuss properly questions about love and s__ and the dangers of taking drugsbecausemorality is essential to the health of a communityand it is for you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury to set the moral standard by which we shall continue to live in this country Robertson refers to it as a seductive invitation
John Mortimer - Defence P 37. Read it. Mortimer minimizes the Rupert Bear cartoons, saying Wimbledon tournaments have come and gone, whilst we have turned over, and over, and over again the pages of a little underground magazine A huge quantity of public time and money has been spent in the eager pursuit of what? A schoolboy prank. Cheeky criticism, Lavatory humour Adolescent discussion of s__ and drugs The deep, sonorous solemnity of a great criminal trial Lovely, effective simile the prosecution is like some nervous public official who, when a child puts out a tongue at him in the street, calls out the army
Jurors Findings Jury returns to ask for a definition of obscene He read to them from the Oxford English Dictionary, which said it meant, among other things, indecent. In law, that is precisely what obscene does not mean Then, after the guilty verdicts are read out, we are told that the judge said with the relief of a man making a bowel movement after weeks of constipation, Gaoler, take them down! Rhetorical Q after verdict where were we the Soviet Union? This connotes ideas of strict, totalitarian regimes where freedom and expression are oppressed. Hair Cuts
Robertson positions us: the State had wreaked its atavistic (reverting back to a primitive type) revenge by stripping them of their hippie symbol of insolence How does this affect the way we perceive the state? Laterp 40 At last the forces of reason (therefore, all that has happened up until this point is unreasonable)began to make themselves heard. Michael Foot, Tony Benn, and many other MPs put down early-day motions condemning
the judge for sending them to prison and Bernard Levinproduced for The Times one of his finest polemics against the prosecution. Psych Report Which again, conflicts with the Judges perspective, but supports Robertsons: They (the defendants) are of high intelligencepolitecourteous. There are aspects of society that appal them and they edited Oz to show the urgent need for reform (Judge Argyle, however, was unmoved Superb Use of Conflicting Perspectives:
Robertson uses logical arguments in brackets to refute, and therefore disqualify, Judge Argyles perspective. P 40. As these three accused are over twenty one, probation would be totally inappropriate (there is no appropriate age for a probation order); They are comparatively poor men, therefore a fine is inappropriate (judges should never decide that prison is the only alternative because a person too poor to pay a fine) Here, we follow Robertsons logic we see his perspective as the right one and and the Judge as an incompetent fool. The Irony of it All.. According to Robertson, the Oz Trial was a fig
leaf to cover up the deep and vicious corruption of the police in London. He writes the defendants were Too honest to pay for police protection, too political to be prurient, they were to be the next convenient scapegoats Robertson and Freedom of Artistic Expression Robertson sees the Oz trial and what was practically a replay of the Oz trial in 76, as being instrumental in ensuring that the written word, certainly, is now beyond the long arm of the law
We seem to have laughed lifestyle prosecutions out of court And, finally Robertson is a liberal minded (not Liberal-minded), progressive QC. He often sits in opposition to the status-quo, those who are on the conservative side of the spectrum, like Argyle and Mary Whitehouse. He represents his version of the truth, here, as perceived through his particular frame. His work is an extension of his own public image and a vehicle through which he communicates his values. We are always aware that he is an intelligent, academic
(think of all the literary allusions!) and highly experienced QC, and this knowledge in itself positions us to accept his authority on these matters. Reflection questions (complete after reading the essay) What charges were laid against the defendants? What could the consequences of these charges be? What position does the judge take in the trial? How does Robertson
portray the judge? Why do you think he does this? Do you think there should be standards in society for publications or do you believe that there should be no censorship. Truth depends on your perspective; how true is this statement with reference to this essay. This chapter allows for the examination of the various/conflicting perspectives of truth and censorship. Consider the links on the PowerPoint Mod C-Related Materials. In particular, focus on the viewing from Media Watch and The Chasers War on Everything.
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