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Ban This Filth!: Letters From the Mary Whitehouse Archive Hardcover – 1 Nov 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571281494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571281497
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 391,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A splendidly entertaining book... finds the morality campaigner comically wrong on many matters but impressively prescient about pornography and paedophile TV personalities.' --Mark Lawson, Guardian Books of the Year

Hilarious but timely selection of letters for the Mary Whitehouse archive. -- The Sunday Times 'Must Read'

A fascinating time capsule from an age gone by. --Mail on Sunday

Book Description

In Ban This Filth!, Ben Thompson unveils the filth and the fury from the Mary Whitehouse archive! The birth of British pop culture and the swinging sixties told through outraged letters and angry campaigns.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mary Whitehouse was simply a clean living, traditionalist, who seemed very wise and down to earth.The broadcaster Joan Bakewell,her liberal progressive former opponent, recently admitted that Whitehouse was right to warn against the sexual liberation of the 1960s.

Her main motivation seemed to be that of a nurturing parent desperately trying to rescue errant children in order to retain their innocence and prevent them destroying their souls.From the late 1960's onwards Western culture started going down a weird path. This was due to our lawmakers adopting policies at odds with the ethical concerns which Christendom had long supported. The Liberal MP David Steel championed the Abortion Act into our legal system and then the contraceptive pill became widely available for women. Media influence then started up with intermittent, and later constant, anti-establishment messages via satirical TV programmes.Many of these programmes encouraged the viewing audience to be contemptuous of Mrs Whitehouse and her concerns.

The 'new' establishment wanted people to view her as a fool for tirelessly trying to diagnose what was happening to national standards,they were having a field day ridiculing religion and morality and they resented her perceived Victorian tea party interference.They would tolerate nothing less than uncritical acceptance of the new and preferred ideology.

She comes across as a lady with old school (right school) values who stood firm in the face of increasing perversion and wasn't respected for her efforts.I feel the author of this book has,albeit subtly,taken the well trodden and easy option of jumping on the derision mockery bandwagon.

"Subversive and committed,one doesn't close the book feeling Whitehouse was a crank,but instead wondering why no one else high profile has appeared in her place" The Catholic Herald.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mary Whitehouse loomed large over my childhood by forever, it seemed, trying to ban my favourite show - Doctor Who. As I sat there blissfully unaware of the detrimental effect of viewing "obscene vegetable matter" or a particular freeze frame of Tom Baker drowning, Mary Whitehouse was on the case. She bombarded anyone who would listen (and many who would not) with letters of complaint. This book collects some of the most amusing and although she often condemns herself in print (particularly in her early days of activism when she could be viewed as both racist and homophobic) this book is not a hatchet job. Some of her criticisms carry a greater weight today - in particular there is a piece early on about Gary Glitter lyrics which, in retrospect....well, you get the picture. I would highly recommend this book as an amusing, eye-opening read about cultural history and a window into a world of everyday activism which, at once, seems almost impossibly distant in time but very relevant to today.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like a lot of people who grew up in the 1970s, I have always felt that Mary Whitehouse was a prudish, fun-hating bigot on the wrong side of just about every issue she got involved with. I can't say this book changed my mind about her, but I was left with respect for the fact she stood up for what she believed in, and never gave up her point. She comes out of the book as a more complex character than one might have thought, but hardly more likeable (although some of her antagonists were supercilious and patronising to the extent that there were a couple of instances in the book where I felt myself cheering Mary on). The irony is that while Mrs Whitehouse was getting aerated about what was being broadcast, we now know that far worse was going on behind the scenes of British light entertainment, and probably had been for some time.

Anyway, this is a highly entertaining read which tells you a lot about the state of British culture in the 70s and 80s, about the British right of the same period - and about just how ghastly some of the bien pensant cultural panjundrums of the era could be.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this quite a difficult book to 'get into' but otherwise it provides an insight into how Mary Whitehouse and her organisation came to prominence, and the concerns they raised about TV content. It also reflects how society changed from the 1960s to the 1980s and beyond regarding TV programme content.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic purchase, and a facinating insight into British social and moral history. Bought a second copy as a birthday gift for a friend.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary Whitehouse was born with a maximal sense of outrage but a minimal sense of proportion. Showing how the comedy of this predicament played out is the burden of this volume. The editor, Ben Thompson, has pieced together an eclectic mix of letters drawn from Mary Whitehouse’s archive at the University of Essex. Thompson’s intent is to explain how the ‘Nuneaton Nostradamus’ rose to be a household name.

Early on, we are told that if Mrs Whitehouse and her ‘proper, Christian course’ had got its way, ‘our artistic heritage would have been immeasurably impoverished.’It seems easy to believe. Dr. Who, Whitehouse informed the world, was ‘teatime brutality for tots’. Pinky and Perky was no good – it encouraged bullying. All non-religious music encouraged anarchy. (Alice Cooper was kind enough to send Whitehouse a thank you after her protests about the song ‘Schools Out’ ensured its success.) People had the sheer disregard to say ‘bloody’ on national television; they went even further beyond the pale by referring to pre-marital sex. Some – the truly, utterly damned – not only referred to oral sex, but actually admitted it was rather nice. The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour was so ‘filthy’ that Whitehouse pulled out all the stops to guarantee it was never broadcast on TV, and almost succeeded. The Kenny Everett Show was a dangerous ‘bridge’ that led people ‘from adult pornography to child pornography’. Everywhere, TV shows mocked the Christian religion through its dogged refusal to advertise for it. Even the news was no good - no matter what atrocity one faction committed, if they happened to be anti-Soviet, showing it would fatally sap the nation’s morale.

Mrs Whitehouse’s acolytes in the National Viewers and Listeners Association (NVLA) are given their own time on the stage.
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