Disney is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush.
The New York Times reports that Disney head Michael Eisner "expressed particular concern that [the film] would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor."
"Hubert Selby died often. But he always came back, smiling that beautiful smile of his, and those blue eyes of his... This time he will not be back. My saints have always come from hell, and now, with his passing, there are no more saints".
is the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn
, (tried for obscenity in England
and supported by, among many others, Samuel Beckett and Anthony Burgess), Requiem For a Dream
, Song of the Silent Snow
. He is being eulogized in the USA and UK
, but also, massively (I've just watched a fantastic TV special) in France, where he is much more popular than in his native land (Selby's death was the cover story -- plus pages 2, 3 and 4 -- in the daily Libération today -- .pdf file
): Dernière sortie vers la rédemption
, L'extase de la dévastation
. What makes all this kind of ironic -- in a very Selbyesque way -- is that Selby himself used to say, "I started to die 36 hours before I was born..." (more inside)
:: an interesting exhibit of controversial and banned music recordings (and sometimes cover photographs), which is especially resonant in the interesting times in which we live. Be sure to visit The Gallery of the Forbidden
There is no room for a left-wing Rush Limbaugh on the radio.
"Do you think Karl Rove might have made a phone call to little General Powell, little Michael and said, 'Let's get this over with. Let's give him the fine and get this done with before Stern gets us all voted out of office,'" the National Enquirer’s Mike Walker asked Stern.
"First of all, I know that for a fact," Stern answered. "I can't even tell you how, just like you can't reveal your sources. I have two sources inside the FCC. They know exactly what is going on. They had a meeting two weeks ago, freaking out. I seem to be making enough noise that people are realizing we could hurt George W. Bush in the elections. So they are trying to figure out at what point do they fine me. So, you are absolutely right."
Crap - now they FCC Thought Police are going after Pink Floyd. Is nothing sacred?!
WNCX, a local Cleveland "Classic rock" station (who just happens to be the same station that airs The Howard Stern Show in the area) is unable to play Pink Floyd's "Money" because of the use of the word "bullshit" within the song. To be honest, until this was brought to my attention, I had completely overlooked that lyric in the song. But thanks to the FCC War Against Indency, I'm now fully aware of it! What other cases of 'indecency' would you have overlooked had the authorities not brought it to your attention?
The Howard Stern Show
was Howard-free the first hour and a half this morning while they played soundbites and songs
about their current
battle with the FCC
, and GWB
. Howard threatens a revolutionizing move to satellite radio
circulate, some articles
written but surprisingly minimal public outcry thus far.
"Us intellectuals realized a long time ago that no human society could function without heavy-duty jamming all signals that might allow people to see reality. Because reality is so downright horrible we have to jam it tighter than Castro. The only question is who’s going to decide what gets jammed and how to jam it."
on censorship, why the truth is like kryptonite and how the cast and writers of Will and Grace will end up "at the bottom of a lime-dusted mass grave
- highly offensive to almost everyone in places.
via The Early Days of a Better Nation
While there are a million blogs about cheese sandwiches and how lame fifth period trig class is, it's always great to hear when blogs actually help give a voice to those that never had one. Iranian women don't have much say in society, but thanks to blogs, they are now finding they have a voice
as they're read by thousands around the world. Of course they've still got some net censorship in Iran
, but this is a great start.
Birth of a Nation:
one of the most controversial films in american history
The film "...was banned in more than a dozen localities (and furthermore has been the most banned film in American history) because of its white supremacist sympathies, racist stereotypes, and glorification of the Ku Klux Klan..." Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy
Given the recent controversy over Gibson's film, where do we draw the line between freedom of expression
? when are these debates influenced by politcal agenda rather than sincere concern?
(currently in the early stages of construction) is this guy
's new web site. It will log instances of "offensive" material shown on broadcast television
, enable offended TV viewers to send email directly
to local station owners and management, and/or send emails to the station's local and national advertisers. What happens to advertisers who ignore the email campaign and continue to sponsor shows that CleanTV deems offensive? - "If an advertiser continues to support offensive advertising, they will be targeted for local and national boycott. On the local level, newspapers are notified of the boycott and CleanTV volunteers will demonstrate at the advertiser's place of business until the advertiser decides to rescind their support of offensive programming."
"I Have a Gentil C**k."
that is, but Apple may not have realized that when they altered the title
on iTunes (iTunes link.) The song (sample: Real Audio
, Windows Media
), arranged by Carol Wood
, is a 14th-15th century
medieval love song, a variation of the aube
. It may have
description of Chantecleer
in the Canterbury Tales
. [Via Digital Medievalist, SFW unless you work for Apple.]
People in China are searching for justice
on sites like Sina.com
, as in this recent case of a poor woman who was run over by a BMW. At the same time, the authorities continue to try to tighten their grip on the web and on dissidents
. Meanwhile, the official People's Daily
temporarily admitted on its website the "violent crackdown" on pro-democracy students
in Tiananmen Square 15 years ago, but this appears to have been a case of careless internet plagiarism.
Your tax dollars at work. The Republican congress
and the FCC
, who evidently have nothing better to do
, want to waste time banning the word fuck
from all radio and broadcast television.
A Net of Control "Picture, if you will, an information infrastructure that encourages censorship, surveillance and suppression of the creative impulse. Where anonymity is outlawed and every penny spent is accounted for. Where the powers that be can smother subversive (or economically competitive) ideas"
Brought to you by (among others)......Microsoft !
Iranian bloggers challenge the President in the Summit:
It all started from a post on the Geneva Summit's blog
, DailySummit, asking Iranians to report on the Net censorship
. Then, they asked them to post their questions
for the Iranian President, who was going to have a press conference. Then reporters asked the questions from the president: Is the there a blacklist for Iranian websites? Do you read Persian weblogs? How hard is it to connect to the Net in Iran?
Later they asked tougher questions from the Minister of Telecommunications
: Why don't they public the blacklist? Why Sina Motallebi, the blogger, was arrested? Isn't the summit about how technology benefits democracy and human rights
? Blogs can definitely be a big part of the answer.
Net censorship in Iran: myth or reality?
Over hundred Iranians have the answer on the DailySummit.net
, official blog of the World Summit on the Information Society. Would this be enough to embarass the big Iranian delegate
in Geneva in front of the world--and the press
China's crackdown on online dissent continues.
It's been a year since the arrest of Chinese internet dissident Liu Di
. Many of her supporters have signed petitions calling for her release, but last week one of their organizers, essayist Du Daobin, was himself arrested
"Sick Nick" is a cartoon blog
by Nikahang Kowsar, the Iranian cartoonist. He drew a cartoon that could be interpreted as an insult to a top cleric, therefore he was arrested and the paper was closed down. He now lives in Toronto, fearing of going back to Iran.
In her autobiography, "Living History," Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton recounts how China's imprisonment of a prominent human rights activist, Harry Wu, caused a sensation in the United States and nearly derailed her plans to attend a United Nations women's conference held in Beijing in 1995.
In the officially licensed Chinese edition of Mrs. Clinton's book, though, Mr. Wu makes just a cameo appearance. While named, he is otherwise identified only as a person who was "prosecuted for espionage and detained awaiting trial."
But nearly everything Mrs. Clinton had to say about China, including descriptions of her own visits here, former President Bill Clinton's meetings with Chinese leaders and her criticisms of Communist Party social controls and human rights policies, has been shortened or selectively excerpted to remove commentary deemed offensive by Beijing.
My question: is anybody other than Hillary really suprised by this
"Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
This quote, captured in a USA Today article, came from Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti in response to allegations that CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."
In a new twist to a theme discussed earlier on MeFi
, on language censorship (but in an entirely different case) the UK might be the first country to jail a man for using a single court-prohibited word
As repellent as the defendant's behaviour was, can such a case of censorship and prohibition of freedom of speech ever be justified?
Search the New York Times website for any occurrence of the words "Valerie Plame" during the last week
...and you'll find nada, zilch, zip. The so-called "paper of record" has remained totally mum on what may be one of the biggest scandals of the Bush administration yet. You can read about it at Newsday
, and The Nation
, and it's been mentioned on NBC... but not a word from the New York Times (save for a reference to it last week
by syndicated columnist Paul Krugman, and a wire service story
today; neither of those pieces mentions Plame by name). The Times' news and editorial divisions are asleep at the switch on this story. Maybe the Jayson Blair scandal was a distraction from the deeper problem: a paper that is so concerned with being balanced and respectable, it refuses to cover any politically controversial stories. You can e-mail email@example.com
to ask why the Valerie Plame news blackout. Or just click this link
a few dozen times to send 'em a message.
GOP Warns TV Stations Not to Air Ad Alleging Bush Mislead the Nation Over Iraq
They claim that the ad itself
is dishonest, and cite the obligation of broadcast outlets to be free of misleading information. “Such obligations must be taken seriously. This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.”
Despite the implicit threats, only one station has refused to run the ad, a Fox station.
Further Iranian Oppression.
The "government" of Iran has evidently teamed up with Cuba in efforts to further suppress the growing democratic movement in Iran by jamming pro-democracy satellite broadcasts. Two un-elected governments combining forces to make sure that their
will is enforced, not that of their citizens.
The Children's Internet Protection Act
is hunky dory, according to the Supreme Court
. This means that public libraries are required by law to have web filters on public terminals.
While it's great that children will now be forever protected from the evils on online pornography, the drawback is that most filters are so unreliable that just me mentioning the word "sex" in this post could get Metafilter blocked by a web filter.
Stills from Madonna's American Life self-banned video
for those of you who are interested. Madonna over reacting, or publicity genius (personally I think she should have kept the video and self-banned the rap section).
[Link via: PopBitch
Wal-Mart Inc. stopped selling magazines Maxim, Stuff and FHM
In the past, Wal-Mart has refused to sell CD's that carry warning labels about explicit lyrics...
Who is behind this censorship ? I can think of only one group =
every day these hypocritical monsters are taking more freedoms away from us. They think Jesus would drive a SUV but would never read a Maxim magazine. I am calling on Canada
to liberate us from these monsters...
Bloggers unite to fight
: Writers of web journals are joining forces to help free a blogger detained in Iran. At the same time, weblog are going to have much more political functions, especially in closed societies such as Iran. Their governments are begining to take notice
Only men bake cookies in school textbooks.
What do dinosaurs, mountains, deserts, brave boys, shy girls, men fixing roofs, women baking cookies, elderly people in wheelchairs, athletic African Americans, God, heathens, witches, owls, birthday cake and religious fanatics all have in common? Trick question? Not really. As we learn from Diane Ravitch's eye-opening book "The Language Police," all of the above share the common fate of having been banned from the textbooks or test questions (or both) being used in today's schools.
Persian, Amercian blogospheres come together
after an Iranian blogger, Sina Motallebi, was detained by Iranian regime. OJR's Mark Glaser has the story. BTW, sign the "Release Sina" petition
if you haven't.
Free Speech Button Police
-- Chicago-area schools debate ban on teachers wearing "No War" buttons vs. the ubiquitous flag lapel pins. What are the limits to teachers' political fashion statements -- are students a captive audience? More inside.
Documents and articles about one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, some of them focusing on the problems he encountered working under a totalitarian system. Some highlights :- 'Do not judge me too harshly': anti-Communism in Shostakovich's letters
; 'You must remember!': Shostakovich's alleged 1937 interrogation
; About Shostakovich's 1948 downfall.
More related material can be found at the Music under Soviet Rule
There are a number of interesting sites dealing with music expression and censorship generally. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has a site on the music of the concentration camps
- 'While popular songs dating from before the war remained attractive as escapist fare, the ghetto, camp, and partisan settings also gave rise to a repertoire of new works. ' Here's a Guardian article on the Blue Notes
, who 'fought apartheid in South Africa with searing jazz'. Here's a page about the Drapchi 14
, Tibetan nuns who 'recorded independence songs and messages to their families on a tape recorder' (and were subsequently punished). Finally, a page on records which were banned from BBC radio
during the 1991 Gulf War (example :- 'Walk Like an Egyptian').
The TV Guardian
is a "cuss buster," removing all profanity from recordings that are shown on your TV. Finally, something to make my movies and TV more wholesome than Mary Lou Retton (you know your career as a gymnast is in the
can, when you're hawking these kinds of products).
Bush orders guidelines for cyber-war
Is it my old age that makes me wonder what else might be in this secret directive as regards computers and the Net?
"First set of rules for attacking enemy computers studied."
Perhaps you support the president or you are the enemy (recall: you are with us or against us)....
'Make no mistakes about it',
Lake Superior State University issued its 28th annual 'extreme'
List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness, which the world needs 'now, more than ever'
Internet Filtering in China,
a report from the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School. There's been "a documentable leap in filtering sophistication
since September 2002".
: American media are unsurprisingly preparing to publish details of Vancouver's Pickton case despite a Canadian publication ban
. Are media blackouts censorship, necessary for justice, or both? Or are they just doomed to fail
when you can just, you know, do stuff like this
"God's boys on both sides of the Atlantic"
It began back in February
. Now, 6 letters, 350+ intellectuals
later, the great debate rages on, though apparently and regrettably now censored in Saudi Arabia
Google censors search results
"Google, the world's most popular search engine, has quietly deleted more than 100 controversial sites from some search result listings. "
A New Milestone for Video Games?
"Three of the nation's top retailers, including Wal Mart, on Monday said they had refused to carry a new video game billed as the first major release to feature full-action nudity and with prostitutes and pimps as major characters." I enjoyed their "banned ads"
US Dept. of Education to erase website info which "does not reflect the priorities, philosophies, or goals of the present administration."
Can you say 1984? Say it now....OVER and OVER and OVER again so you can GET USED TO IT......a brutal, clever strategy of the Bush Adm.to rewrite reality: erase problematic info and then channel money to people willing to produce the right stuff.
-- use a website capture program: WebWhacker
costs $, but there are freeware site suckers available too. Orwell is turning in his grave.....Download and archive this stuff before it gets erased. Remember, Information Wants to Be Free!
...or does it?
Canada Customs & Revenue Agency detains pro-Israel papers.
Newsletters, from the California-based Ayn Rand Institute
, defending "Israel's moral right to exist" that were destined for the University of Toronto, were confiscated so that the newsletters can be determined whether they constitute hate propaganda. The newsletter in question [pdf]
was to be handed out at a at a meeting on Sunday. Dr. Brook, author of the newsletter, admits it is "radical" but isn't this censorship?
The following is a [partial] list of the most frequently challenged books of 2001...
1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
3. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (the "Most Challenged" fiction book of 1998)
4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
5. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
6. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
(Last week was Banned Books Week
. Sorry this is late.
Did you remember to hug your favorite banned book? Does anyone really
think children need to be "protected" from these books?)
"Some of the stories on the list may deserve wider and more thorough coverage. But to label any of the subjects "censored" is either flat-out deception or an admission of astonishing ignorance. A quick stroll through the Nexis database reveals that nine of this year's top-10 "most censored" stories have already turned up in the New York Times, many of them with prominent placement, considerable depth, and angles not far off from Project Censored's leftist slant." Related article in Mother Jones
Paging Winston Smith...
Not content with mere cynical doublespeak, the Bush Administration is now trying to shape government reports and research to agree with the President's beliefs: an EPA report omits a section on global warming for the first time in six years
; the Department of Health and Human Services is being "restructured," eliminating committees that were coming to conclusions at odds with the president's views
; and at the Department of Education, old studies that contradict the current administration's policies are being removed from the agency's web site
. When you add this trend to the administration's "permanent war," I suspect George Orwell is smiling somewhere...
Seen any St***n S***rb**gh films lately? CleanFlicks
, a Utah (US) based company, is using digital editing to "clean up" popular films by removing the sex, nudity, profanity and extreme violence (for example, the edited natural born killers runs approx. 2.5 minutes, while the CF version of Resevoir Dogs is titles and credits only).
Recently the Colorado licensee of Cleanflicks got wind of a potential lawsuit by the Directors Guild of America. Deciding not to wait for this to even get off the ground, Cleanflicks has decided to sue 16 of the directors
that are apparently most offensive to them.
Homeland Security Cultural Bureau.
"HSCB is protecting the interests of the country's national security by employing efforts to direct and guide the parameters of cultural production. " Actions include encouraging Hollywood to make less cynical, more patriotic movies, and shutting down art galleries whose subversive content is a threat to national security. I presume the site is a parodic/political commentary one--since as far as I know such a bureau has not actually been authorized by the Bush White House--but the makers of the site are holding their cards very close to the chest, with content that is nearly indistinguishable from what the real thing (a Bushian arts censorship commission) would actually be.
MTV bans Public Enemy
's video "Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need" because the video contains the lyric "Free Mumia and H Rap Brown". MTV are willing to air the video if the lyric is cut. Public Enemy front-man Chuck D is vocal in his response
. Responsible action or censorship in its worst form?