A controversy threatens to expand out of all proportion over an academic’s use of the term “sausage” in the title of his paper scheduled for the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in November.
The paper, by ballsy Australian biblical scholar Roland Boer, is provocatively entitled “Too Many Dicks at the Writing Desk, or, How to Organise a Prophetic Sausage-Fest.” SBL administrators apparently received complaints from inflamed members who considered the term “Sausage-Fest” to be “offensive.” Looking to cool a potentially explosive and sticky situation, the Manager of Programs, Charlie Haws sent an email to Boer, with the request that Boer excise his offending sausage.
This request by the SBL is a deplorable attempt to censor an academic paper, based on nothing more than the questionable sensibilities of certain unnamed members. In addition, the request comes very late – less than a month before Boer is due to deliver his paper on November 20, 2010. In fact, the paper’s title has already been printed in the SBL’s 2010 Session Guide, which was earlier sent out to all 8,500 SBL members.
The SBL’s attempt to censor Boer has been met with something of an outcry from less prudish biblical scholars. Discussion has been hot and heated on Boer’s blog (here and here), and throughout the blogosphere (see here, here, here and here). The controversy is yet to be resolved, but Boer is hopeful that he will be allowed to freely and openly display his “sausage” at the November 20 session.