DEGENERATE AND PROUD
A Modern History of Free-Speech Martyrs
As the massacre at Charlie Hebdo reminds us, art and satire have long been targets of violent suppression. Here are nine famous books, films and plays that sparked a virulent backlash.
The Wednesday attack against cartoonists of the satirical French paper Charlie Hedbo is the latest bloody reminder of the consequences that can come from practicing our most sacred and powerful form of expression. Artistic types have been testing the lines of free expression since time immemorial, and this exercise has long tested nerves and inspired brutal backlashes or suppression.
Nazis banished all “degenerate” art, comic books sparked protests throughout the post-WWII years, and censorship of provocative films continues. Even now, we struggle with how conflicts involving religion and politics come to a head in art, and many societies dole out punishment to those who would dare test the boundaries. Sometimes, the repercussions reach beyond the creators and affect hundreds or thousands. Here are a few examples of the violence that controversial art has inspired.
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