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D: Basil Dearden C: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price

H. L. Mencken famously defined puritanism as the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. Unfortunately, it is also the revenge exacted by the unhappy upon the happy. Puritanism is puritanism, no matter what form it takes. It is the condemnation of a homosexual man for being attracted to men and repulsed by women (a sodomite) and of a heterosexual man being attracted to women and repulsed by men (a homophobe). There’s no difference. Women fighting for the acceptance of a lesbian relationship between consenting adults demonstrate outside a cinema showing a movie about a sadomasochistic relationship between consenting adults. VICTIM couldn’t get a release in the US because it was about a homosexual, today a movie can’t get a release unless there’s a homosexual in it. A century ago, black people on Broadway were comic relief, now it turns out that the Founding Fathers were black (don’t laugh!) The victims may be different, but the hatred is the same, and so are the haters. NOT ALL LIVES MATTER. There only seems to be one difference. The humor has gone along with the humanity. There’s nothing funny about a Nazi rally, as the Nazis will be the first to tell you! A 1924 entry in Evelyn Waugh’s diary states that an English High Court judge, presiding in a sodomy case, sought advice on sentencing from Lord Birkenhead. “Could you tell me,” he asked, “what do you think one ought to give a man who allows himself to be buggered?” Birkenhead replied without hesitation, “Oh, thirty shillings or two pounds; whatever you happen to have on you.”

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