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When Deep Throat Came to Harvard

Porn Valley – When the film Deep Throat www.arrowfreedom.com was shown at Harvard in May, 1980, it was almost quite literally the bees knees if not for the cops breaking up the party. In one of the behind scenes segments offered with the documentary Inside Deep Throat, Elizabeth Swain, a former tutor and others involved with the case, including attorney Alan Dershowitz, explain.

According to Swain, the decision was made to show the movie – as part of a fund raiser- in Harvard’s Quincy House dining room.

“The Quincy House Film Society decided that they had to pull in a large crowd at the end of the term in order to pay of their debts,” Swain explained. “They figured that a porno film was the way to do it.” Nathan Hagen, one of the students arrested, shows the dining room where the movie was featured.

“Women were in the minority,” Swain points out. “And they kept saying we don’t object to your showing the movie, why does it have to be in our dining room?”

According to Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, his views about the matter were originally quite ambivalent.

“I switched sides immediately when one of the women called the police and turned this into a legal case,” says Dershowitz.

Swain remembers the incident happening on a Friday.

“It was a very dramatic night at Harvard,” Dershowitz recalls. Roger Swain, Elizabeth Swain’s husband, kept bees at the time and was preparing to move the hives out to the country for the summer.

“That shows that we really didn’t expect major problems,” Elizabeth Swain goes on to say. “In fact all evening he [Roger Swain] kept saying to me, what do you think we should do about the bees?” Elizabeth Swain remembers a circle of women in full battle fatigues doing a snake dance and shouting, trying to deter anyone from coming into the movie. Carl Stork, another student who was arrested, observed that because there were no cell phones at the time, the pay phone in the dining room was getting active use by Dershowitz. Dershowitz said he was on the phone trying to get an injunction from a federal judge in an attempt to prevent the students showing the movie from being arrested.

Roger Swain said his most memorable impression of events was Dershowitz shaking down the public for dimes: “I need another dime. One was tempted to say get your own dimes.”

“Why is it the forces of evil are always armed with dimes and the forces of truth and beauty are not? Elizabeth Swain asks. “The movie ended and the two district attorney’s men started facing the two students [Hagen & Stork]. They read them their rights.”

“They treated us like common thugs,” Hagen remembers. “We were just like any other criminal.”

According to Elizabeth Swain, everyone in the dining room began yelling a collective fuck you at the arresting officers.

“It was a blow for freedom,” says Roger Swain, and Elizabeth Swain remembers going to bed without taking care of the bees.

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