If you get sent up the river in California and you like to read about music, better stick to biographies of Tommy Dorsey and Rudy Vallee. State prisons have banned the book American Hardcore: A Tribal History on the grounds that it “shows obscene material displaying penetration of the vagina or anus.” That’s false, says the book’s publisher, Feral House: “Not a single risqué image in the whole book.”
American Hardcore, now in its second edition, is the popular history of hardcore punk that was the basis for the 2006 documentary of the same name. Earlier this week, Feral House’s Facebook account posted a letter from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to the book’s author, Steven Blush:
Dear Steven Blush-Feral House Publishing:
This letter is to advise you that your publication entitled, American Hardcore, A Tribal History, Second Edition, by Steven Blush has been placed on the Centralized List of Disapproved Publications by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and will not be delivered to CDCR inmates statewide.
This decision is based on the violation of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15, Section 3006, Contraband. The publication shows obscene material displaying penetration of the vagina or anus and shall not be delivered to the inmate(s), as it violates Department policy.
Last year, the Virginia Department of Corrections banned the GWAR coffee-table book Let There Be GWAR, which at least includes some pictures of genitals and bodily fluids that might keep a reader company during the cold penitentiary nights. As I recall, the worst obscenities in American Hardcore are musical, along the lines of Discharge’s Grave New World or SSD’s How We Rock.
“Hardcore.” They must have mistaken it for a book about porn, you think. But looking for other titles that have fallen afoul of the CDCR’s standards, you find Windows 7 for Seniors for Dummies and AAA Road Atlas: Travel with Someone You Trust. In other words, abject filth!