I’m being censored! Censored, I say!

Anyone who isn’t buying and reading all my books is complicit in the ongoing censorship of my awesome ideas, and should be ashamed of themselves. It’s my absolute right to sell millions of books, and you’re infringing my rights by not doing your part.

I exaggerate, of course, but I’m only a little leap of illogic from some of the cries of ‘Censorship!’ that have been raised since Virgin West Coast announced they won’t be selling the Daily Mail on their trains. It’s nonsense, of course, but proclaiming their victimhood when people are no longer going to take their shit is a very right wing thing to do.

The ‘newspaper’* is still going to be on sale at other shops, presumably even ones on the station, and, as far as I can see, no-one’s stopping people displaying their narrow-mindedness by reading the rag on VWC trains. Virgin made a commercial decision. They barely sell any Daily Fails anyway, and were reacting to complaints.

The corner shop nearest to me stocks only tabloids. I don’t for a minute think they’re censoring the Guardian, Times and Telegraph. I live in the sort of area where broadsheets aren’t commonly read. They’re stocking what they will sell, not making political or ideological statements.

The Daily Mail is, sadly, the largest source of opinion dressed up as news. The paper has railed against all manner of far less offensive material over the years, and practically led a campaign to have Channel 4 closed down. They’re not about to collapse because they’ve lost a dozen or so sales on Virgin trains. But they can see that this decision is another example of a significant shift in public opinion against them, and they’re scared that it’s getting harder for them to get away with their bullying and obsessing over the bodies of women and girls. Which is a good thing.

[But, seriously people, why aren’t you buying my books? It’s a terrible constraint upon my freedom to be a millionaire author. I say it’s your civic duty to pick up a copy of Sounds of Soldiers, Northern Gorehouse, or any of the other great (if I say it, it must be true) books by myself or Garth Owen.]

*I don’t know whether it deserves the title, if I’m honest.

Theresa May’s plan to censor TV shows condemned by Tory cabinet colleague | World news | The Guardian

Former culture secretary Sajid Javid told prime minister he was unable to support home secretary’s proposals as they infringed freedom of speech

It’s not just that the plan would give censorship powers to the Government, it’s that “extremism” is such a vaguely defined thing. Based on past experience, any speech that runs counter to the Government’s chosen narrative can be labelled extreme.

Source: Theresa May’s plan to censor TV shows condemned by Tory cabinet colleague | World news | The Guardian

Will Amazon ban Switzerland?

Amazon is suffering from user fury again, but on a smaller scale than over their behaviour towards Wikileaks. They have recently been deleting books from their Kindle store without giving a reason beyond a generic statement that “these books were removed from sale for violating our content guidelines.” The content guidelines are very vague about what subject matter would be in violation, but the books removed have been primarily about adult incest fantasies. Not a subject that many people are comfortable with but not one which is explicitly barred from their site. What’s more, the banning of books has the appearance of being arbitrary, as other books with similar, or even more bizarre, subjects have not been banned.

Most likely, after a furore about a self-described paedophiles’ handbook a few weeks ago, Amazon have become more nervous about complaints and are knee-jerk jumping to ban almost anything which is complained about. They’re a commercial entity, they have every right to run their business this way. But it could harm them in the long run if they are seen to be doing the censors’ work for them and harming free speech. If the banning net is cast any wider every one of the independent authors publishing through Amazon would have reasons to be nervous. Sounds of Soldiers could be viewed as anti-American (to paraphrase one of the Dilbert collections, I’m not anti-American, I’m anti-idiot), and goodness knows there’s a lot of very loud, very dim Americans who’d gladly complain about that if they were told to. I reckon I’d be safe, but you never know. The best solution would be for Amazon to either include a list of subjects they will not sell (eg. incest, paedophilia, bestiality, biographies of talent show contestants etc.) and stick to it (not the preferred method, even if it would clear Jedward and SuBo from their shelves) or be more open, and more open to counter persuasion, with the people whose books they do ban.

On the subject of incest, the upper house of the Swiss parliament has drafted a law which would decriminalise consenting sex between adult family members.

Daniel Vischer, a Green party MP, said he saw nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex, even if they were related.

“Incest is a difficult moral question, but not one that is answered by penal law,” he said.

There are some obvious jokes about a certain bunch of castaways, but does this also put a whole country in danger of being delisted by the world’s biggest bookseller?

Are small breasts illegal in Australia now?

Australia’s government seems to be going through some sort of moral panic at the moment. This press release from the Australian Sex Party details new and dumb restrictions on the content of adult material. Depictions of female ejaculation are to be banned, presumably because someone- like Queen Victoria and lesbians- doesn’t believe it really happens. (TMI, but I’m confident I’ve seen it in real life. Not as spectacular as porn would have you believe, but definitely not urine and something more than mere lubrication.)

Another, even dumber, crackdown is on models with smaller breasts. The Sex Party asserts that material featuring models with A cups is being restricted because, somehow, it’ll excite paedophiles.

I just read 25, 000 Years of Erotic Freedom by Alan Moore, which is basically a long essay on the history of smut with ample illustrations and gorgeous packaging. One of his conclusions is that the state of the eortic arts in the English speaking world (actualy he just calls out Britain and the US, but I think we can add Australia now) is so awful precisely because of the efforts our governments make to restrict discussion of sex.

There’s too much low quality, demeaning and insulting (to both sexes) porn out there, and it’s not because there’s too much freedom. It’s because many of the people who would create interesting, challenging, life affirming, sex positive and gorgeous work are scared off by the threats of censorship and worse. By saying that one aspect of women’s sexual experience is too vile to be discussed and that a particular body type (a body type I prefer- I’m Not Safe For Australia) shouldn’t be seen, Australia’s government are doing great harm and little, if any, good.

Right. I’m off to draw a page of comic art which may be illegal in Australia.

via BoingBoing Ms Naughty and several other sources

Censorship and anti-science

Every time another unscientific denial of climate change is debunked the deniers come out crying about censorship, or threaten to sue. In truth, as George Monbiot points out, it is the scientists doing the hard work that proves mankind is changing the environment who are the ones being censored.

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