Obscenity: Redeeming Social Value

"I'm not a crier or a whiner," Comedian Lenny Bruce said after a New York Criminal Court convicted him on an obscenity charge in November 1964. "I respect the law, and it will eventually vindicate me." Although Bruce became a minor martyr and hero to some people, few believed that he would eventually beat the rap. Last week he did—18 months after he had been found dead in Hollywood of a probable overdose of drugs.

Bruce's conviction grew out of an arrest for delivering a scatological monologue at the Café Au Go Go, a Greenwich Village coffeehouse. In...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!