"In October of 1973, Bruce Severy — a 26-year-old English teacher at Drake High School, North Dakota — decided to use Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, as a teaching aid in his classroom. The next month, on November 7th, the head of the school board, Charles McCarthy, demanded that all 32 copies be burned in the school's furnace as a result of its "obscene language." Other books soon met with the same fate.
On the 16th of November, Kurt Vonnegut sent McCarthy the following letter
. He didn't receive a reply."
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 5, 2012 -
"Speech on the Internet requires a series of intermediaries to reach its audience. Each intermediary is vulnerable to some degree to pressure from those who want to silence the speaker. Even though the Internet is decentralized and distributed, "weak links" in this chain can operate as choke points to accomplish widespread censorship." Free speech is only as strong as the weakest link
posted by rjs
on Nov 27, 2011 -
"Things didn’t happen as I imagined.
On the one hand, with the situation in Tehran, I expected the police to arrest me. I also thought that the resulting dress wouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. But it turned out to be more homogenous than I envisaged. Most of the passengers wanted to communicate with me and participate in the project. And I enjoyed this attention and collaboration. The point wasn’t their understanding of the project. I didn’t want anything to be imposed on the audience or participants. I wanted ordinary people to encounter their own personalities without any preconceptions about contemporary art. More than anything, I wanted something to emerge that is shared — between me and everyday metro passengers." The story of fashion student Shirin Abedinirad
who conceived and carried out an unusual (and unusually bold) performance art experiment by asking Tehran metro passengers to donate their rubbish to pin on her dress. [more inside]
posted by taz
on Nov 16, 2011 -
In October 1963, the Brazilian movie writer, director, and actor José Mojica Marins was having trouble with a movie he was working on, and fell asleep at the dinner table. He dreamed of being dragged to a cemetery by a creature in black, who showed Marins his own tomb stone, with the dates of his birth and death (YT: 9 min)
. That dream lead to the creation of Zé do Caixão
(anglicized as Coffin Joe
), the main character in Brazil's first horror movie, and Marins' first big movie success: À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma (YT: 1hr 22min w/English subs)
(At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul
). This was one of the up-ticks in a life of some ups and lots of downs for the South American Roger Corman or Ed Wood
(NYT), and the birth of a character who would become Marins public persona. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Oct 28, 2011 -
The U.S. House of Representatives has drafted
their version of Senator Leahy's
Protect IP Act, renaming
the bill the E-Parasites Act
. Among other changes discussed prev
, the bill now makes
internet service providers and websites liable for activities of their users that infringe upon copyrights, effectively overturning parts of the 13-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
posted by jeffburdges
on Oct 27, 2011 -
In 1979, the producers of "Taxi" were hot, and got carte blanche to make another sitcom for ABC. So they adapted John Jay Osborn's novel "The Associates"*, his follow-up to "The Paper Chase" (which, as a TV series, had just been cancelled by CBS) about young lawyers at a prestigious New York firm. It starred a very young Martin Short as a very young (and surprisingly normal) Junior Associate, Wilfred Hyde-White as a very old Senior Partner and some other folks you may or may not recognize. It bombed. But the next-to-last episode to be aired before the plug was pulled was something you would never expect any broadcast network in 1980 (or maybe even now) to show, in which young lawyer Short represented a network against a rebellious producer, titled "The Censors"
. And yes, that is John Ritter as a Hollywood actor in character.
Bonus content: "The Associates" pilot episode in two parts
. via the world-class blog by Ken Levine of M*A*S*H, Cheers and the Seattle Mariners
* TOTALLY not related to John Grisham's "The Associate"
posted by oneswellfoop
on Aug 3, 2011 -
A Missouri school board has voted
to remove Slaughter House Five and another book from the library for "teaching principles contrary to the Bible." [more inside]
posted by Leezie
on Aug 2, 2011 -
If we have, at the back of our minds, a stereotype of the censor or the censor type, it is probably of some nondescript male bureaucrat who comes to work punctually at 8:30 in the morning, locks his office door behind him, and spends the day going through piles of books, underlining dirty passages in red ink and stamping pass or fail on the cover, or else pouring over strips of film with scissors at the ready, ready to snip out images of breasts and bums, who, when the clock at last strikes 5:00, emerges into the daylight, catches the bus home to some anonymous suburb and spends the evening watching reruns of sitcoms on television before donning his pajamas and falling into a dreamless sleep. Or if we're thinking not of full time censors, people who dedicate their professional lives to the business of censoring, but of part time censors, people who like to do a bit of censoring on the side, then we might imagine that retired teachers, clergymen and moral busybodies in general would be attracted to the craft. But the records of the South African system don't quite fit the stereotype.
- J. M. Coetzee, Nobel laureate author, speaks at his alma mater University of Texas Austin about his experiences with censorship in his native South Africa during apartheid
. Coetzee mentions this essay he wrote about his time at UT Austin
and a book he wrote on censorship, here's the preface to it
posted by Kattullus
on Jul 11, 2011 -
Heated Debates, Burning Books [Via NewYorker.com]
The Canadian writer Lawrence Hill
recently received the unsettling news that a Dutch political group would be assembling on Wednesday in Amsterdam to burn copies of his novel, “The Book of Negroes” (published in the Netherlands under the title “Het Negerboek,” and in the U.S. as “Someone Knows My Name”). So what exactly does this historical novel have to do with the Dutch? [more inside]
posted by Fizz
on Jun 22, 2011 -
Iran has a conflicting relationship with the internet. On one side, a large portion of the population are online
, and even President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a well-publicized blog
in 2006 (though it now seems to be offline). Then there was Iran's internet revolution
in 2009, when there were country-wide internet censorship that was countered by use of web proxies
. Later that same year, a company affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps purchased a majority share in the nation's telecommunications monopoly
. The fact that IRGC was involved with a for-profit company was not news, as IRGC has long been involved in Iran's economy
, but their role in communications was more troubling. The latest news causing a stir is a "halal" internet
for Iran, "an internet that conforms to Islamic principles, to improve its communication and trade links with the world
," according to a quote from head of economic affairs with the Iranian presidency, Ali Aqamohammadi. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on May 31, 2011 -
I'm still not sure why it's the list for 2011 when we're still not out of 2010 yet, but here's the latest
from Project Censored of 25 under-reported stories.
posted by anothermug
on Dec 28, 2010 -
The British Government wants to ban porn from the internet.
The move would force ISPs to block all pornographic content unless users had 'opted in' (providing a handy list of people who wish to view pornography) and is said to be motivated by a desire to combat the early sexualization of children. There is no word on how 'porn' is to be defined.
posted by unSane
on Dec 20, 2010 -
Robert Rodriguez's Machete ( Previously
) started out as a joke, and went on to be a rather successful film. However, Texas Governor Rick Perry feels the movie doesn't portray Texas positively and has revoked the productions tax breaks
. possibly at the cost of Texas's film industry.
posted by djduckie
on Dec 9, 2010 -
The Complaints Choir
phenomenon, started by the Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, has spread all over the world
since last we paid it any attention
, from Birmingham
, St. Petersburg
, Penn State
, Gabriola Island
, Hong Kong
Arizona State University
, Washington, DC
, Horace Mann School
, Durham-Chapel Hill
, Toronto theatre students
), St. Pölten
, Port Coquitlam
, Ústí nad Labem
). For more information, including a 9 step guide to forming your own complaints choir
, go to the Complaints Choir website
. Finally, here's the Singapore Complaints Choir
, whose performance was banned by the Singapore government.
posted by Kattullus
on Nov 19, 2010 -