15 MARCH 1975, Page 5

Film flesh

Sir: There is no point in printing criticism unless it displays standards — unless all discourse is to give way simply to publicity promotion.

Flesh Gordon is evidently a piece of commercial pornography. Your reviewer admits it is obscene, but gives us no indication that it has any overall creative, artistic or scientific purpose. Yet his main concern seems to be that the British Board of Film Censors should never on any account resist such depravities, or anything that may follow.

Is there no limit to the display of perversions? Is there no resistance, even in the pages of a conservative weekly? Parliament never meant to allow obscenity without those overall creative purposes which have been so piously declared from the witness stands. The liberalising movement never meant to release such cultural debasements.

Yet those of us who struggle to make cultural criticism valid find the whole temple of the arts torn down about our ears, while our serious works on the subject are not reviewed (The Case Against Pornography was not reviewed in The Spectator). Yet there are serous works (for example Philip Rieff's Fellow Teachers) which inform us that such mental sensualities as Flesh Gordon are on the road to the blinding of elephants for the egotistical sensualities of the nihilistic mob. The political implications of Mr Robinson's claim to have the inalienable right to enjoy any filth are horrifying — yet who is allowed to say so, seriously? The heard trend to acclaim moronic voyeurism is itself the worst form of suppression in today's London culture.

David Holbrook New Farm House, Madingley, Cambridge