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What makes good law may not make good policy. Public controversy highlights this occasional disjunction between law and policy–none more so than the cries for censorship that are periodically launched at the worlds of art, theater and literature.

The latest uproar emanates from Brooklyn, N.Y., where the British exhibit “Sensation” and, in particular the portrait of the Virgin by British/African artist Chris Ofili, have provoked the mayor to rage and to cut the Brooklyn Museum off without a penny. Before this debacle, it was Robert Mapplethorpe in Cincinnati, and Karen Finley and Andres Serrano threatening to cause the downfall of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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