An interview about pleasure, ownership, censorship, and harassment with artist Stephanie Sarley. "Keep MeFi Weird May" continues with some videos that are decidedly NSFW despite containing only hands and fruit.
After nine years of censorship, Canadian scientists can speak about their work. Although it may take time for the policy changes to make their way through the bureaucracy. [more inside]
After leading with a cover story criticizing Xi Jinping (otoh) The Economist has been censored in China; Time too and now Medium. [more inside]
THE SECRET RULES OF THE INTERNET: The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech [Potentially NSFW - language & content]
The Bible makes most challenged books list in US for first time. [The Guardian] Americans have objected to titles as diverse as the Bible and Fifty Shades of Grey over the last year, according to a list of the most challenged books which has just been released by the American Library Association. [more inside]
Russian Purge Part 1: Putin Doesn't Need to Censor Books. Publishers Do It For Him. by Masha Gessen [The Intercept_] [more inside]
On January 20th Medium received a takedown request from the Malaysian Government over a supposedly false report on the Malaysian Prime Minister and corruption by the Sarawak Report, a whistleblowing news organization whose main site was banned in Malaysia. When Medium Legal requested clarification, such as official court documents and proof of the report's falsehoods, instead of providing such documentation, Malaysia blocked Medium.
Charlie Lyne was sick of the censorship of the UK's ratings board. Upon discovering the BBFC has committed to watch every minute of every submitted film, the filmmaker raised £5963 on Kickstarter to make a film of paint drying. He has now submitted a 607 minute long film for their review. There's an AMA with him on Reddit.
Sorry we have no imagery here: Self censorship in Google geographical images Google's original mission statement from 1998 stated was to:
“organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”[more inside]
One Country, Two Systems? Although none of the booksellers have disclosed their locations, a few have been in sporadic contact with family members to communicate, in opaque terms, that they are “assisting in an investigation.” On the phone with his wife, Sophie Choi, earlier last week, Lee conveyed that he was calling from Shenzhen, specifying that he, too, was voluntarily helping with a case but, strangely, spoke in Mandarin, the standard mainland dialect, rather than his native Cantonese. [more inside]
Pink news reports that a recent episode of "Steven Universe" has been censored in the UK to remove some elements relating to same-sex romance.
French journalist accuses China of intimidating foreign press. by Tom Phillips [The Guardian]
China is facing accusations of attempting to muzzle and intimidate foreign press after it said it would expel a French journalist who refused to apologise for an article criticising government policy. Lu Kang, a spokesperson for China’s ministry of foreign affairs, claimed Ursula Gauthier, the Beijing correspondent for French magazine L’Obs, had offended the Chinese people with a recent column about terrorism and the violence-hit region of Xinjiang. “Gauthier failed to apologise to the Chinese people for her wrong words and it is no longer suitable for her to work in China,” Lu said in a statement, according to Xinhua, Beijing’s official news agency.[more inside]
The geometry of censorship and satire, Mark Ames
I first heard about Sergei Dorkeno’s theory on “vertical censorship vs. horizontal censorship” back in 2008, right around the time that the Kremlin shut down my satirical Moscow newspaper, “The eXile."
Under the name Attaboy Clarence/The Secret History Of Hollywood, Adam Roche creates very long, very in-depth podcasts about classic Hollywood how it relates to broader sociopolitical trends. Clocking in at 171 minutes, Hunting Witches With Walt Disney goes into the background, motivations, and effects of the Red Scare in Hollywood and the House Of Un-American Activities. The nearly 3 hour long podcast spans a cast of characters including Budd Schulberg, Elia Kazan, John Garfield, Dorothy Comingore, Edward Dymytryk, Dalton Trumbo, Walt Disney, Humphrey Bogart, and of course, Howard Hughes
Do I have boobs now? "Dear Facebook and Instagram, I'm a trans woman starting hormones. Are you going to censor me?" [more inside]
Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been released from prison following Eid al-Adha pardon. [New York Times] [more inside]
Given that Ray Bradbury's novella The Fireman (which would eventually become Fahrenheit 451) was written in response to the McCarthy HUAC hearings, it might not be a surprise to learn that the FBI kept a file on him. The contents of that file have been released under the FOIA, and shows that the FBI apparently held a dim view of science fiction, since it could "frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria which would make it very possible to conduct a Third World War in which the American people would seriously believe could not be won..." [emphasis mine]. (via).
She had, however, uncovered what she insisted would be her last adult novel. And she had discovered something else: The '50s were not that boring; there were currents running through the time that intrigued her after all. "All of these things that were going on underneath that the children didn't know, now, as an adult, I can know," she said, and smiled with the power of it. "Or I can make it up."Judy Blume, the author you grew up with, whose books have consistently made the American Library Association's list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books and one of the most frequently censored authors in America, is about to publish a new novel for adults (NYT).
Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo [New York Times]
“The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group’s annual gala on May 5, adding a new twist to the continuing debate over the publication’s status as a martyr for free speech. The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala, at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.”[more inside]
If a book like Beloved by Toni Morrison is challenged because it is “sexually explicit” and has a “religious viewpoint” and contains “violence” (these are the stated reasons for its challenges in 2012), is it simply accidental that Beloved is also a novel about an African American woman, written by an African American woman?"I wondered if there was a correlation between books with diverse content — that is, books by and about people of color, LGBT people, and/or disabled people — and book challenges".
What Russians really think - "Many in the west see Russia as aggressive and brainwashed. But its citizens have a different view." Meanwhile,[1,2] in Moscow and Lviv...
Amy Werbel on America's most influential censor: Searching for Smut: Hot on the trail of Anthony Comstock (1844-1915). Comstock wielded the 1873 Comstock Act (named for him) like a cudgel to improve the morals of the nation, protect children, and stamp out indecency. [more inside]
Mangling an author's text is a clear violation of the author's Moral rights, an element of copyright which is very weak in the United States and very strong elsewhere (primarily in civil law jurisdictions). (The moral right is the right of an author to be identified as the creator of a work, and for the work represented as their creation to be unaltered by other hands, so that the relationship between creator and created work is clear.)Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow argue about the legality if not morality/desirability of the Clean Reader app, that strips swearwords from ebooks.
The doctrine of Moral Rights varies from territory to territory, but it's a heck of a stretch to extend it to this activity. It's one thing for a publisher or retailer to send out copies of your books in which words are changed around without your permission. It's another thing altogether for the reader themself to decide to read their legally acquired books in such a way as to change the text.
The New York Youth Symphony has been accused of censorship after canceling a piece that quotes the Horst Wessel Song. The youth orchestra said on Tuesday it was canceling the premiere of Marsh u Nebuttya, a nine-minute work by Jonas Tarm, after the organization realized the piece contains a 45-second snippet of the “Horst Wessel” song, the Nazi anthem. Tarm is a third-year composition student at the New England Conservatory of Music; the piece is said to pay tribute to victims of totalitarianism and war by incorporating brief historical themes from the Soviet era and Nazi Germany. The New York Times also reports.
UK should consider ban on Mein Kampf, says Scottish Labour MP [The Guardian]
Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, Scottish Labour MP Thomas Docherty has written to culture secretary urging a ‘sensitive debate’ on allowing its sale.
Face-Stabbing and Cop-Killing: Inside 2015's Most Controversial Video Game [VICE]
"Destructive Creations' Hatred has drawn plenty of criticism for the fact that its main character, a big hairy man, seems intent on killing innocent civilians for no particular reason."[more inside]
Artist, The Toast contributor, adult movie star, and all-round very sharp guy Zak Smith talks about the absolute worst way possible to do art criticism. Zak Smith previously.
The Government of India in the last week of 2014 asked Internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites including code repository Github, video streaming sites Vimeo and Dailymotion, online archive Internet Archive, free software hosting site Sourceforge and many other websites on the basis of hosting anti-India content from the violent extremist group known as ISIS. The blanket block on many resourceful sites has been heavily criticized on social media and blogs by reviving the hashtag #GoIblocks that evolved in the past against internet censorship by the government. [...] After agreeing to remove anti-India content posted by accounts that appeared to have some association with ISIS, some were unblocked.via Global Voices
My Salami Heart: Reflections on the Convergence of Art, Generosity, Success, Sex, and Law by Nick Kocz.
“The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalized groups,” writes Niamh McIntyre on a proposed, protested, and then cancelled debate on abortion organized by Oxford Students for Life. The Oxford abortion controversy, argues Lizzie Crocker, is the latest example of an increasingly common instinct among certain feminists to argue that certain subjects and certain arguments are either off limits or simply not up for debate.
"Not since the days of Mike Brown’s conviction of obscenity over 50 years ago have Australian police successfully prosecuted an artist over such charges. These repeated failures have not, however, stopped the police from trying." [more inside]
An interview with the man who banned in Boston, circa 1930. The New Republic is republishing a haul of classics from its archives in celebration of its 100th anniversary. In honor of banned books week, today's selection is a brief interview/profile of one of the U.S. Customs officials in charge of clearing books for circulation circa 1930. [more inside]
Exhibit B is a performance art piece by white South African Brett Bailey. The piece features black actors in still images depicting scenes of slavery and as asylum seekers in living installations that recall the human zoos (previously) of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The piece has been highly controversial, it has attracted significant critical acclaim, being described by art critics as unbearable and essential and "hugely powerful, deeply unsettling, but vital viewing". [more inside]
...the reality of ISIS and what this group seeks is opaque to the public, and to policymakers not clued into the private salons where the details of secrets can be discussed. Even among those policymakers, the compartmentalized national security establishment means that no one really grasps the whole picture. The attempt to get the US into a war in Syria a year ago was similarly opaque. The public cannot make well-informed decisions about national security choices because information critical to such choices is withheld from them. It is withheld from them at the source, through the classification-censorship process, then by obfuscations in the salons and think tanks of DC and New York, and then finally through the bottleneck of the mass media itself.The Solution to ISIS Is the First Amendment by Matt Stoler [more inside]
In a scientific study of Chinese online state censorship, Harvard researchers not only gathered large amounts of social media in real time from within the country but created a large amount themselves to see what got through and what was removed. Through this method, they reverse-engineered what they describe as "the largest selective suppression of human communication in the recorded history of any country". The results, to use a popular term, will surprise you. [more inside]
Under the new “right to be forgotten” law Google is forced to remove search results for certain pages. Of the 328,000 links that Google has so far been coerced into removing, more than 50 were to Wikipedia (*nyt). The Wiki Media Foundation has created a dedicated page where they will be posting notices about attempts to remove links to Wikimedia. They include Gerry Hutch, Tom Carstairs in concert (image) and the rest Italian and Dutch articles. A new front in the Wikipedia deletion wars has opened. Wikipedia swears to fight 'censorship', and Wales calls the law 'deeply immoral'. [more inside]
This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
"Why I'm sending 200 copies of Little Brother to a high-school in Pensacola, FL." [boing boing] "The principal of Booker T Washington High in Pensacola FL cancelled the school's One School/One Book summer reading program rather than letting all the kids go through with the previously approved assignment to read Little Brother, the bestselling young adult novel by Cory Doctorow. With Cory and Tor Books' help, the teachers are fighting back." [VIDEO RESPONSE]
"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
Disney Studios censors Miyazaki collection, pulls Studio Ghibli compilation. "On Your Mark" a video directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, and produced between early January and late May, 1995 by a team of over fifty animators at Studio Ghibli, in cooperation with other studios, is being censored from the upcoming 13-disc "Collected Works of Director Hayao Miyazaki" collection. Disney is also stopping shipments of a 2005 Ghibli Shorts collection, which features the video, along 22 other shorts that Studio Ghibli produced over the course of decades. The rationale?! Nineteen years after the video's release, one of the members of the band that did the music for the video has been arrested, along with a female acquaintance, after police found MDMA at his home. The musician was arrested Saturday, but has not been charged or convicted, as yet. Both he and the woman he was arrested with claim to be innocent.
In Russia today, it's illegal to engage in "homosexual propaganda", and "anti-Russian propaganda" can attract ugly attention. So on May 1, there was a "Monstration" in St Petersburg. Absurd signs and costumes had no prosecutable meaning, but the message was unmistakable. In Novosibirsk, a little further from the Kremlin, the message was more direct. [more inside]
香港將於33年後毀滅 (Hong Kong will be destroyed after 33 years) is a near-future sci-fi short film about a fictional meteor that is headed for Hong Kong and expected to impact in 2047, but the public at large does nothing to address this impending doom. It might seem like an innocuous enough film, but China thought there was more to the story than that, and State Council Information Office requested that websites immediately remove video, text, etc. that advocates the short sci-fi film about Hong Kongers “saving themselves” titled Hong Kong Will Be Destroyed in 33 Years. The Diplomat has a bit more information about the film's not entirely coincidental use of the year 2047, the year in which China's Special Administrative Region (SAR) agreement with Hong Kong is set to expire, possibly bringing an end to one country, two systems.
How Reader's Digest Became a Chinese Stooge Larkin was delighted when Reader's Digest said it would take her work for one of its anthologies of condensed novels. Thirst would reach a global audience and – who knows? – take off. Reader's Digest promised "to ensure that neither the purpose nor the opinion of the author is distorted or misrepresented", and all seemed well. [more inside]
In China, there are certain "bad notes" that frighten people and are refused as legal tender. Why?
Inspired by Griffith's Birth of a Nation, costume company owner Robert Goldstein decided to make an inspirational, patriotic movie about the Revolutionary War. May 1917 proved to be wrong time to debut his film. [more inside]
Clive amuses himself (and me) by testing what the censors will let through.
I have been cleared to leave here for over half of my time behind bars – first by the Bush administration in 2007 and then by the Obama government in 2009 – and yet I remain here. - Shaker Aamer.
I have been cleared to leave here for over half of my time behind bars – first by the Bush administration in 2007 and then by the Obama government in 2009 – and yet I remain here. - Shaker Aamer.
In the wake of a questionable article about feminist programming languages, a group of trolls leapt on the idea to create a parodic implementation. GitHub promptly removed the code repository, as did BitBucket, but the latter restored it amid the controversy. More commentary from Slashdot and Twitter.
Why is Hollywood so afraid of oral sex? Why is oral sex hard for Hollywood? Evan Rachel Wood slams MPAA for censoring sex scene in her new film.
Sales of digital comics have soared in the past three years. Readers love the look of comics on the iPad screen and they also love the convenience of in-app purchasing, which allows consumers to buy and store their comics within a single app. So it’s a big deal when Apple bans a comic—usually because of sexual or mature material or nudity—and it has happened to at least 59 comics this year. - Are comics too hot for Apple? Publishers Weekly looks at Apples role as Gatekeeper in the wake of their rejection of Sex Criminals #3 and retroactive removal of Sex Criminals #1 from the iOS marketplace. Strangely the books remain available via iBooks. This is not the first time Apples policies have been confusing or raised concerns of censorship, such as with the Saga of Saga #12 earlier this year, and before the rise of comixology with the banning/unbanning of Ulysses Seen (previously).
In 1956 EC Comics attempted to re-publish the pre-Code comic Judgement Day, originally published in 1953 in Weird Fantasy #18, prior to the founding of the Comics Code Authority. The CCA "objected to" the story because of "the central character being black.".