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]
Fit to Print documents the ways in which the New York Times writes around expletives even as it is often drawn to the very words it deems unprintable.
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.
Den of Geek looks at the MPAA rule that a PG-13 movie can contain only one utterance of the word "fuck".
During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness (1935), Reefer Madness (1936) and The Cocaine Fiends (1938). [more inside]
Tomorrow is the end of Banned Books Week. It's been 30 years. The American Library Association has a list of frequently challenged books. [more inside]
Dalal al-Mutairi, the senior book censor for the Kuwaiti government, sits down for a chat about her job and what it entails.
The fact that Chinese internet access is censored and monitored is not new, but Sina Weibo (新浪微博, literally "Sina Microblog,"), handles the task differently. Commonly referred to by the generic name Weibo, the social service that is likened to Twitter and Facebook is more open in what you can post, but searches for certain words are blocked. Without context, a list of blocked searches is fairly abstract. Blocked on Weibo adds translations and context to the blocked words. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
There has been a noticeable uptick in the use of the word "vagina" in network TV shows, reports the NY Times.
Vintage porn pics, with the actors removed. Also, The Promulgator has a similar idea. Probably NSFW despite the censoring, mostly owing to the hideous decor. [more inside]
Google recently rolled out its new instant search feature which accompanies its older "suggest" function. Both use an algorithm in an attempt to keep the search engine clean and out of trouble. The people at 2600.com are compiling a list of both objectionable and NOT objectionable terms (NSFW). [more inside]
The Haystack application aims to use steganography to hide samizdat-type data within a larger stream of innocuous network traffic. Thus, civilians in Iran, for example, could more easily evade Iranian censors and provide the world with an unfiltered report on events within the country. Haystack earned its creator Austin Heap a great deal of positive coverage from the media during the 2009 Iranian election protests. The BBC described Heap as "on the front lines" of the protesters' "Twitter revolution", while The Guardian called him an Innovator of the Year. Despite the laudatory coverage, however, the media were never given a copy of the software to examine. Indeed, not much is known about the software or its inner workings. Specialists in network encryption security were not allowed to perform an independent evaluation of Haystack, despite its distribution to and use by a small number of Iranians, possibly at some risk. As interest in the project widens and criticisms of the media coverage and software continue to mount, Heap has currently asked users to cease using Haystack until a security review can be performed.
In 1771, John Wilkes succeeded in defending the freedom of the press to report the then secret debates of Parliament. In 2009, the well-known libel law firm Carter-Ruck, possibly acting on behalf of their clients Trafigura, succeeded in gagging The Guardian newspaper from reporting a question to be asked in Parliament (see #61). [more inside]
Chinese news site dispense with user anonymity. Includes an updated list of sites China actively blocks, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (?!? - both links work only outside of China). prev
With the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on Thursday, China's ever-vigilant censors have stepped up the reach of the "Great Firewall," blocking Western sites like Twitter, Flickr, and (just one day after its launch) Microsoft's Bing. via [more inside]
The Return of a Clockwork Orange - Writers, artists, directors, UK film censors and starring actor Malcolm McDowell discuss Stanley Kubrick's classic film A Clockwork Orange
FT Report Oh dear, I had high hopes that Skype would hold out. Still, I guess they are telling us. Can anyone find the list of banned words in the TOM client?
Google Images Censored in China A picture says 1000 words, and Google.cn is censoring them all. Check out the side-by-side screens of a search for "tiananmen+square" in Google.com and Google.cn images. Looks like a nice place, with little historical significance. You can try the search yourself. The text on the bottom left is the censorship disclaimer. Very different than our results. A far cry from Google's claim that they do not censor results. Nice to know that they stand up to the government here but not abroad.
A good spoof of the whole thing.
A good spoof of the whole thing.
Reporters Without Borders releases a free handbook for would-be bloggers and cyber-dissidents in censor-happy lands. It features tips on blogging anonymously, ways to get around censorship and to ensure your e-mail privacy, and hosts an Internet-censor World Championship list (which lists China, Vietnam, and Tunisia, among others) as well. Download the guide here. (PDF)
Spongebob is pointed at as causing moral decay today. But the idea of blaming animated characters for societal ills is nothing new. The 1934 Production Code changed the scantily-clad Betty Boop into a wholesome girl. Racial stereotyping dominated cartoons of the 1940s. The Flintstones even shilled for Winston cigarettes. Should cartoon characters reflect the morals of cartoon watchers?
More environmental data goes down the memory hole... Another EPA report gets "edited" by the White House to minimize warnings about climate change and the contributing factors of industrial and automotive emissions. Data from a 2001 report on climate by the National Research Council commissioned by by White House is omitted in favor of research data funded by the American Petroleum Institute. Behold the best government money can buy...
"Movie Mask Player is software that gives you the choice to watch any movie at your comfort level. If you don't want to hear profanity, view graphic violence, or see nudity or sexual content in the movies you watch, then mask (remove) those scenes with Movie Mask. You are now in control over the movies you choose to watch." I can't wait to see what it does to the first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan."
'Tell Them Nothing Till It's Ovber and Then Tell Them Who Won' Governmental and military censorship of battle news. Is it necessary to winning?
I was watching "The Craft" last night, and noticed that they censored the image of Robin Tunney's parents' plane going down (actually a Glamour, but you know that), and later Nieve Campbell's character says "you know the [silence]", they actually cut out the words "plane crash". Has anybody else noticed this kind of censorship? Would anybody have been really shocked to hear Nieve say "plane crash"? Do you think the WB would've been swamped with calls? It's bad enough what they did to homer or what the geniuses at clear channel are doing. Good movie, though.
Censoring Cartoons and in effect, censoring my childhood. Without a doubt, some of these cartoons are racist, but I'd prefer that they not be shown rather than cut up. Other cuts just don't make sense to me.