WSB by Charles Burns.
William Burroughs’ work has always been controversial. When Naked Lunch was first published it was denounced by critics as “obscene,” “repugnant” and “not unlike wading through the drains of a big city.” The poet and arbiter of highbrow taste, Edith Sitwell decried the book stating she did not want “to spend the rest of my life with my nose nailed to other people’s lavatories.” Its publication led to an infamous obscenity trial where Norman Mailer was called as a witness to defend the book and its writer. Mailer famously declared Burroughs as:
....the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.
However, Burroughs was generally unfazed by his detractors—after all he wasn’t writing for them.
When Burroughs decided to make a short film The Cut-Ups with B-movie smut-peddler Antony Balch it was perhaps inevitable that their collaboration caused similar outrage.
When The Cut-Ups was first screened at the Cinephone, Oxford Street, London in 1966:
Members of the audience rushed out saying, ‘It’s disgusting,’ to which the staff would reply, ‘It’s got a U certificate, nothing disgusting about it, nothing the censor objected to.’
According to Burroughs biographer Barry Miles the Cinephone’s manager, Mr. Provisor:
...had never had so many people praise a film, or so many hate it.
More after the jump…