igilance Societies and Municipalities and common informers in a country where a large section of the community still believes that art of all kinds is inherently sinful.
WHY THE GOVERNMENT INTERFERED
It may now be asked how a Liberal government had been persuaded to meddle at all with a question in which so many conflicting interests were involved, and which had probably no electoral value whatever. Many simple simple souls believed that it was because certain severely virtuous plays by Ibsen, by M. Brieux, by Mr Granville Barker, and by me, were suppressed by the censorship, whilst plays of a scandalous character were licensed without demur. No doubt this influenced public opinion; but those who imagine that it could influence British governments little know how remote from public opinion and how full of their own little family and party affairs British governments, both Liberal and Unionist, still are. The censorship scandal had existed for years without any parliamentary action being taken in the ma
OOPS! The book ends (at around 71%) with the text of the play. It is a one-act play set in the American west that concerns a town's attempt to respectably lynch a known bad guy. It's pretty amusing
This is an essay by Shaw, rather than a play or story. It involves the British practice of requiring stage plays to be licensed by the Lord Chamberlain before they could be performed in theaters. It is his comments to, and opinions of, the committee created to examine the practice. The censorship applies only to plays, not music hall acts, books, newspapers or magazines.
It compares favorably with Walter Lippman's book Public Opinion as an exploration of how censorship affects society, and how it is ultimately antagonistic to the public good. Shaw comes out on the side of providing the public with full information, and his thinking is clear, elegant, and biting. He rips the committee a new a**hole. It's a bit dry, but shows Shaw to be a fine thinker.