An amusing item was posted by Professor Edith Hall on the CLASSICS-L list yesterday, which came into LT-ANTIQ as well:
Meanwhile, proof has arrived of the potency of our subject. One of my PhD students, Katie Billotte, sent a copy of a scholarly book I published as a sedate OUP monograph in 1989, “Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy”, to her penpal currently housed in a Colorado gaol. This is the letter she has just received from the Wardens’ Office–Crowley Correctional Facility (pictured here):
‘We are returning to you this shipment made to Inmate #90704 currently held in the Colorado Department of Corrections. We have determined that Inventing the Barbarians by Edith Hall constitutes contraband under the State of Colorado’s Revised Statute. It has been determined by the wardens of this facility that the primary or secondary purpose of the author was to compromise the good order and efficient operation of a facility under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Department of Corrections. Please note that any further attempts to introduce this item into any facility currently operated by the Colorado Department of Corrections will be referred to the Office of the Attorney General.’
Phew! No wonder people want to close Classics down!”
The stupidity of petty officialdom is one reason why the number of petty officials should be kept as low as possible.
UPDATE: I’ve found a webpage for the prison here, and forwarded the email on CLASSICS-L to their PR man with a note that it is going viral. It will be interesting to see how they handle the matter.