MARY WHITEHOUSE

Good grief, where to start.

Mary Whitehouse was a self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner of anything she didn’t see as being proper in the United Kingdom. Television, music, radio, books, newspapers, movies and the freaking Sunday funnies didn’t escape her critical eye.

“If violence is shown as normal on the television screen it will help to create a violent society.” -Mary Whitehouse. On the 5th of May, 1964. Birmingham Town Hall.

The problem? There was so much going on, that she couldn’t actually keep an eye on all of it by herself. So in 1964 she recruited people and founded The National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association. For 40 years either on her own, or with her followers , she hounded, browbeat, or otherwise tongue lashed people in media or government about the evil happenings in the entertainment industry. Even when she had all of the followers mustered under her guidance, they still couldn’t keep tabs on everything that was happening. So much so that they took to outright lying about content “heard” on the radio, or “seen” on television. Once riled up, people in government hastily passed laws with little revue based on falsified studies, and law enforcement would go on smash and grab raids of local video stores, seizing films based on title alone. -many, never watched were banned. Whole inventories of video cassettes were burned. Sound familiar?

Not all was actually bad with her endeavors. Her heart was in the right place, and she did bring about a more carefully regulated industry for the monitoring of television and movies.

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