Archive for censorship

banned books week

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2020 by xi'an

Der Kunst ihre Freiheit [and the scare of the nude]

Posted in Books, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2018 by xi'an

A poster campaign advertising for several exhibits of modernist painters in Vienna, including major paintings by Egon Schiele, has met with astonishing censoring from the transport companies posting these advertisements. (And by Facebook, which AIs are visibly too artificial and none too intelligent to [fail to] recognise well-known works of art.) Not very surprising, given the well-known conservatism of advertising units in transportation companies, but nonetheless appalling, especially when putting these posters against the truly indecent ones advertising for, e.g., gas guzzling machines and junk food.

challenged books

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2017 by xi'an

After reading that Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was one of the most challenged books in the USA, where challenged means “documented requests to remove materials from school or libraries”, I went to check on the website of the American Library Association for other titles, and found that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nigh-time and the Bible made it to the top 10 in 2015, with Of Mice and Men, Harry Potter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Brave New World, Hunger Games, Slaughterhouse Five, Cal, several of Roald Dahl’s and of Toni Morrisson’s books, Persepolis, and Tintin in America [and numerous others] appearing in the list… (As read in several comments, it is quite a surprise Shakespeare is not part of it!)

What is most frightening about those challenges and calls for censorship is that a growing portion of the reasons given against the books is “diversity“, namely that they propose a different view point, were it religious (or atheist), gender-related, ethnic, political, or disability-related.

where on [Middle] Earth can a book be banned for moral arguments?

Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains, Travel with tags , , , , on September 27, 2015 by xi'an

Well, the clue in the title should be obvious enough: A censorship board in New Zealand, the Film and Literature Board of Review, has just banned Ted Dawes’ “Into the River” from being sold or distributed or even exhibited. Following complaints orchestrated by Family First, a conservative organisation… The ban is actually temporary, until a committee reaches a decision about the classification of the book. The most surprising aspect of this story—besides the existence of a censoring institution in a democratic country in 2015!— is that the ban applies to everyone, including adult readers, and that all libraries had to take the book out of their shelves. Which is also fairly ridiculous in the era of e-books…

No country for ‘Og men

Posted in Travel with tags , , on June 12, 2011 by xi'an

Even though I should have expected it, finding my access to the WordPress admin portal of the ‘Og blocked in China came as a shock! The issue of this censoring by Chinese authorities is well-documented on a WordPress page (that was accessible in Shanghai as well) and I will not go into details: this has been the case for several years and other bloggers’ sites are similarly censored, often permanently. However, I also found it curious that I could still read WordPress blogs, including mine, and hence see my successful attempt at posting my slides for O’Bayes 2011 by email. This easy if partial bypassing of the unavailable admin portal somehow proves both the capacity for causing trouble and the lack of coherence of the censoring services… Another illustration of this incoherence was provided by the on-line availability of an article I read at Shanghai airport in Le Monde discussing (in a bizarre way!) the censoring mechanisms in China. (The great title for this post was suggested by Alessandra Iacobucci, in an ironical hommage to Cormac McCarthy!)