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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

Craigslist closes personal ads as internet restrictions bite

You can no longer browse the personals section of Craigslist in the US. The owners of the online classified ads site have closed personal listings in reaction to Congress’s passage of a law that makes websites accountable for users who “misuse” personal ads. A click on the “casual encounters”, “strictly platonic” or any other romance-seeking connection tabs coughs up this message from San Francisco-based Craigslist:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully. Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) aims to curb online sex trafficking.

Electronic Frontier Foundation opposes the bill, stating last month:

“Facing the threat of extreme criminal and civil penalties, web platforms large and small would have little choice but to silence legitimate voices. Platforms would have to take extreme measures to remove a wide range of postings, especially those related to sex.”

The fear is that only the the most moneyed platforms will survive. Forced to err on the side of caution and view users as suspects, platform owners will shut down accounts.

You can still use the personal ads on the UK site. But the impact of the new riling is spreading. Reddit has switched off a raft of its community pages. On Reddit’s r/announcements we learn:

As of today, users may not use Reddit to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving certain goods and services, including:

  • Firearms, ammunition, or explosives;
  • Drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, or any controlled substances (except advertisements placed in accordance with our advertising policy);
  • Paid services involving physical sexual contact;
  • Stolen goods;
  • Personal information;
  • Falsified official documents or currency

Gizmodo notes:

In the comments of the announcement, it was further clarified that relatively benign activities like beer trades and e-cigarette giveaways are also likely to fall under the purview of this rule, which encompasses not just purchases but transactions of any sort.

So much for freedom.

 

Posted: 23rd, March 2018 | In: News, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


US school bans To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

To Minnesota, where the local censors have banned students from studying copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Anyone reading either book will be “humiliated or marginalised” by the language therein. (Yeah, they’re that good. Stick a ‘censored’ and ‘explicit lyrics’ label on them and watch the cool kids lap it up.)

The Duluth school district will allow the texts to sit on shelves in the libraries, but they won’t be on the curriculum for ninth and 11th-grade English classes, reports the Bemidji Pioneer. Pupils that age – and we’re talking about 16-year-olds – just can’t handle it.

Duluth’s director of ‘curriculum and instruction’ Michael Cary says he wants to “teach the same lessons” as To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn in other ways, perhaps with finger puppets, cotton wool and the great American hashtag. Anti-racist texts, see, should contain no hint of the racism they’re satirising and destroying, in much the same way that books on World War 2 should feature no examples of anti-Jewish rhetoric, and histories of the US Civil War contain no violence and examples of ‘hate speech’. The past is the past. If history is not to be repeated it must be forgotten.

“We felt that we could still teach the same standards and expectations through other novels that didn’t require students to feel humiliated or marginalised by the use of racial slurs,” says Carey.

Oddly, this mollycoddling is supported by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, whose regional president Stephan Witherspoon thinks the books are “just hurtful” and use “hurtful language that has oppressed the people for over 200 years”.

“It’s wrong,” he decrees. “There are a lot more authors out there with better literature that can do the same thing that does not degrade our people. I’m glad that they’re making the decision and it’s long overdue, like 20 years overdue. Let’s move forward and work together to make school work for all of our kids, not just some, all of them.”

Now school’s not working for any of them. Which is surely what equality is all about. Oh, brave new world.

Posted: 13th, February 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Thérèse Dreaming must be censored to save people from art

therese dreaming

 

To New York, where offence-seekers and defenders of sound morals are demanding the Metropolitan Museum of Art remove Balthasar Klossowski’s (1908-2001) painting, Thérèse Dreaming. Mia Merrill was “shocked” to see the painting. “It is disturbing that the Met would proudly display such an image,” Merrill told Care2, the self-styled “social network for good”. “They are a renowned institution and one of the largest, most respected art museums in the United States. The artist of this painting, Balthus, had a noted infatuation with pubescent girls and this painting is undeniably romanticizing the sexualization of a child.”

In 2013, when the Met created the 2014 exhibition Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations the show came with a warning that read: “Some of the paintings in this exhibition may be disturbing to some visitors.” It stopped short of saying that the best art is unsettling and much of the other stuff is ‘meh’ – and failed to say why only “some visitors” would be disturbed. Why not all? That show also featured Thérèse Dreaming, one of 10 portraits of Thérèse Blanchard (1925-1950), Balthus’ young neighbour in his native Paris.

“If The Met had the wherewithal to reference the disturbing nature of Balthus in the 2013 exhibit, they understand the implications of displaying his art today,” Merrill laments. “Given the current climate around sexual assault and allegations that become more public each day, in showcasing this work for the masses, The Met is romanticizing voyeurism and the objectification of children.”

When asked about the poses of preadolescent girls in his work, Balthus said, “It is how they sit.” When asked why they did it, no child abuser cited Balthus.

But in the minds of the ‘good’ and caring, to see is to do. They have judged the art and found it wrong. It must be banned. Ideas that make them feel uncomfortable must be suppressed.

One look at the intense painting of a glowing and self-possessed Thérèse Blanchard, who was about twelve or thirteen at the time this picture was made, will turn the mentally negligible masses into child abusers. It must be censored by they who know best, those shiny-eyed seers who view the rest of us as suspects. Down the memory hole with this paintings, the statues, the art, the gender, the books, free expression and the birth names. The world’s being changed into a safe space. We’re all in therapy now.

Posted: 5th, December 2017 | In: News | Comment


Paperchase must ban all Daily Mail suspects from its stores

Paperchase is “truly sorry” for speaking to Daily Mail readers, offering them two free rolls of wrapping paper in Saturday’s newspaper. Stop Funding Hate, the group that hates the Daily Mail and its pressie-wrapping readers, promising without irony to “tackle the culture of hate, demonisation and division that is poisoning our political discourse”, encouraged tweeters to complain, just as it did when Lego advertised in the Mail. Lego responded by vowing never again to advertise in the popular tabloid. One minute you’re a Danish-based company selling plastic figurines to children; the next you’re a force for moral good. Life moves pretty fast when your in the censor’s crosshairs.

Stop Funding Hate spotted the Paperchase promotion in the Mail and opined: “After a torrid few weeks of divisive stories about trans people, is a Daily Mail promotion what customers want to see from @FromPaperchase?” Paperchase, of course, laughed this off, arguing that pricey envelopes and novelty pens should be available to all people, even those who only send emails. No, of course not. It said: “We now know we were wrong to do this – we’re truly sorry and we won’t ever do it again. Thanks for telling us what you really think and we apologise if we have let you down on this one. Lesson learnt.”

With any luck, all ‘responsible’ advertisers will pull their ads and the Daily Mail will be much reduced, existing on a sponsorship of Nazi memorabilia, cricket bats and Downton Abbey merchandise before dying with their last reader’s final breath.

 

paperchase cards daily mail

‘For her’ – pink and flowers

 

paperchase cards daily mail

‘For him’ – the skies the limit and here’s to spoting success

 

Not far enough, of course. Paperchase, which as you can see from the images above, thinks nothing of supporting arcane gender stereotypes, disappointing we who look it for guidance on all manner of pressing issues (such as: when does Christmas shopping begin? when are 2018 diaries discounted?; is there life after death?) needs to do more. Sam White suggests: “Paperchase, not good enough. You should question people wishing to enter your stores as to whether they have ever handled or looked at a Daily Mail. Those who have can be refused entry, or possibly sent for re-education.”

And there’s a card for everything, even the Untermensch:

 

paperchase brexit

Paperchase – not fan of Brexit

 

When you see a card declaring ‘Intolerance will not be tolerated’, you know where to send it…

Posted: 21st, November 2017 | In: News, Tabloids, The Consumer | Comment


Inside China’s censorship factories

censorship china

 

To the Wisdom Mountain Twin Towers in China’s Tianjin city, where the bright young things are cleansing the internet of words and images the State would rather you did not see. The Chinese government often outsource censorship to British students private companies, like Toutiao, which raised $2B in capital markets. These companies are recruiting prim minds to uphold moral values and restrict your view of the world and the people around you.

And you won’t hear the West complain, not as long as the Chinese keep paying for our acquiescence. In August, under pressure of an academic boycott, Cambridge University Press reinstated over 300 articles it removed from its prestigious China Quarterly journal at the behest of the Chinese authorities. The Chinese State wants facts erased the world over:

Zhang Lijun, chairman of the online news and video portal V1 Group, said that between 20 and 30 per cent of his company’s labour costs went on content auditors – a necessary business expenditure.

“Without doubt you need to maintain close ties with the ruling party,” Zhang said. “Party building, setting up party units properly, these can ensure your news goes out smoothly and keeps your business operations safe.”

The Beijing-based censor said Toutiao used artificial intelligence systems to censor content, though these don’t always understand the tone of posts.

“We are training the AI. They are not as smart. Hopefully they will learn to handle all this eventually.” For now, though, real humans are still in demand.

An advertisement Toutiao posted on Tianjin Foreign Studies University’s career page for students this month sought 100 fresh graduates to work in “content audit”, earning between 4,000-6,000 yuan ($611-$917) per month.

Spotter: SCMP

Posted: 13th, October 2017 | In: News, Technology | Comment


Censorship means Alabama shoppers buy sex toys blind

If you buy an online sex toy online in Alabama, you’ll have to do so blind. You get to see a fair deal of the ‘marital aid’, but the gaps have been plugged.

 

 

Alabama law prohibits selling products that are “primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs”.  This is down to  “the state’s interest in preserving and promoting public morality provides a rational basis for the challenged statute.”

So there.

 

 

 

Spotter: JWZ

Posted: 7th, October 2017 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


The ASA war on gender means mum gets the power drill and dad goes to Iceland

asa gender

 

The Advertising Standards Authority once complained about this site. An advert featuring Page 3 stunna Lucy Pinder was sexist, they alleged. Pinder welcomed readers to Old Mr Anorak’s throbbing organ, which for filthy lucre had been sheep-dipped in Lynx, the stuff that drives women wild with lust. It was all a lot of nonsense. Pinder was willing. No readers were damaged. And rumours abound of a whole generation of young Anoraks. Now the ASA is going for other “gender-stereotypical” commercials, seeking to censor inappropriate ads “that feature stereotypical gender roles”.

There’ll be no more Pinder presenting her primary sexual characteristics like Saint Agatha in a bikini. No more Oxo mum feeding her family. No more Ronseal man telling us it does “exactly” what it says on the tin. And no more ads for yoghurts in which a baby-voiced female celebrity talks about her “tummy”.

Such amplification of “stereotypical gender roles” can “cause harm”. These ads “reinforce assumptions that adversely limit how people see themselves and how others see them”. It turns out that Lynda Bellingham is a bigger role model than your actual mum and dad.

So mum gets the power drill for Christmas after all, and dad gets a trip to Iceland for own-brand ketchup and other tastes of regret.

How’s that for progress?

Posted: 20th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Politicians and students agree that looking is a gateway to crime

Politicians all want to censor the web. CapX writes:

It took us many centuries, a lot of effort and much expended blood and gore to get to this place where we are free – at liberty and ruled by the law, not the whims of people nor the rage of the mob. That we have those who would snatch them from us worries me far less than what our rulers will do to us and our liberty in the name of protecting us from those bearded nutters.

Just wait until the next generation of politicians arrive in Westminster from our elite universities. Spiked’s Free Speech University Rankings tells us: “The more prestigious universities, those ranked highest in popular league tables, are nearly always the most censorious; the few green-ranking institutions are generally less highly esteemed.”

Joanna Williams adds:

The link between academic success and a fondness for censorship is more than just a mindset. It is precisely because they are the academic achievers that students at elite universities demand freedom from speech…They’ve learned that language constructs reality, and that ‘words that wound’ can inflict ‘spirit murder’ on those who, according to their gender, ethnicity or sexual identity, are assumed to be forever powerless. The students who excel in elite universities today have come to embody the vulnerability they see in others.

They don’t trust us. They moralise about our choices, thoughts and movements. They pick technical arguments about what should be banned and permitted over debating the root cause of the problem that leads people to become Islamist killers. In the minds of these superior prudes and knowing gatekeepers, the mere act of looking becomes a gateway to crime.

Posted: 7th, June 2017 | In: News, Politicians, Reviews, Technology | Comment


Saudi censors turn woman a in swimming pool advert into a ball

Saudi censors have been busy adapting an advert selling a swimming pool. The man is dressed. The children are ready for school. And the woman’s been turned into a Winnie the Pooh ball:

 

saudi swimming pool censor woman ball

 

saudi swimming pool censor woman ball

 

Spotter: @omar_quraishi

Posted: 6th, June 2017 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Katie Hopkins: sacked LBC DJ is Twitter’s Candyman

LBC and Katie Hopkins have agreed that Katie will leave LBC effective immediately.” writes @Lbc over on Twitter.  Thank fuck for that!  Source: Twitter/@LBC

 

LBC and Katie Hopkins have agreed that Katie will leave LBC effective immediately.” writes @Lbc over on Twitter.

Rejoice!

No. The sensible move was to ignore her. It’s the ratings game. If you don’t like her, don’t mention her. Do the reverse Candyman.

For those of you missed the tweet but got the fallout, Katie Hopkins tweeted in response to TV presenter Phillip Schofield, petitioning him to be strong in the face of terror.  She tweeted: “Do not be a part of the problem. We need a final solution.”

Yeah, that bad. She knew what she was doing. She knew it would antagonise. She hoped it would place her at the centre of the conversation over the heinous attack in Manchester. Revolting stuff from the tabloid’s to-deadline controversialist. And then Twitter erupted with outrage and demands for her sacking. A woman with all the relevance of a loon shouting at the pigeons in the precinct became important.

Tom Slater finds a reason for it. It’s not her. It’s us:

Why have some of those born and raised among us – as Abedi was – grown to hate us? Why, among a minority of Muslim youth, is this nihilism brewing? And what might we have done to foster it, to cultivate it? These are questions they’d rather not answer. To do so would be to inflame, in their minds, the only hate they really care about – the hate of lumpen plebs, the sort of people they imagine lap up Katie Hopkins’ every tweet.

Hopkins tried to make Manchester all about her. But through the response it generated, it told us more about the mainstream, about the cowards who tell us to treat Islamist terror like a natural disaster, a time only for sympathy and thanking the emergency services; the cowards who would rather shriek at cretinous columnists than reckon with the real hatred in our midst; the cowards who seem to get more exercised by tweets than bombs.

I don’t think the tweeters are cowards. I think it’s a question of impotence: Katie Hopkins you can get; the West’s navel-gazing you can’t.

Spotter: Twitter/@LBC

Posted: 26th, May 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


King of Thailand threatens to sue Facebook over a video of him in a small yellow crop top

Not long before he became King of Thailand, Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was on a trip to Munich, Germany. He mooched about a shopping centre with a woman. That’s him in the natty yellow crop top, showing off the tattoos on his tum-tum and back.

Thanks to Somsak Jeamteerasakul, “a prominent Thai historian and critic of the monarchy who lives in France”, the video of Maha’s shopping trip has appeared on Facebook, as The New York Times reports. Apparently, the King has had the video blocked in Thailand. He’s also told Facebook to remove the video or else.

Under the country’s lese-majeste laws, people can be jailed for 15 years for insulting monarchy. But is it an insult merely to show the monarch out and about? And won’t all the cool kids be dressed like this next year?

The video has been blocked in Thailand but was still available outside the country on Tuesday.

Facebook, which opened an office in Thailand in 2015, declined to answer questions about its operations in the country or the pages that the government wants to remove. A spokeswoman, Clare Wareing, said only that the company’s policy was to comply with requests by governments to restrict access to content that officials believed violated local laws.

“When we receive such a request, we review it to determine if it puts us on notice of unlawful content,” Ms. Wareing said in an emailed statement. “If we determine that it does, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory and notify people who try to access it why it is restricted.”

 

 

Spotter: The New York Times.

Posted: 17th, May 2017 | In: Royal Family, Strange But True | Comment


Banned in Australia: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is unfit for human consumption

Anyone who bought a ticket to hear Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak on her Australian tour will get a full refund. It’s been cancelled because her opinions as so outrageous they present a threat to her security and the safety of every Muslim in Oz. Stick a ‘BANNED” label on a record cover or book and we all want to listen to it. Ayaan Hirsi Ali might think about getting “Banned in Australia” on a T-shirt or a medal.

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

 

 

She’s banned because when 400 Muslim women petitioned for her to be stopped from spreading her “divisive rhetoric” and thus amplifying “hostility and hatred towards Muslims” the State caved in. Hard won freedoms about speech and thought were obliterated. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s words are unfit for human consumption. No debate. No ridicule. No Q and As with her sympathizers and accusers. Just banned.

Ali, a campaigner for women’s rights and a strident critic of Islam, which in her words is “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death”, is taboo. A woman who was abused under Islam cannot criticize it. However potent or toxic Ali’s view is, banning her quashes progressive moves for the airing and exchange of ideas in a public space. It increases separatism, otherness, division, conformity, intolerance and misunderstanding. Ideas hermitically sealed in closed groups fester and curdle into something claustrophobic and suffocating.

“Shame on you for carrying water for the Islamists, shame on you for trying to shut people up who are trying to raise awareness about sharia law,” said Ali is response to the ban. “We can’t have that open discussion, we can’t stop the injustices if we say everything is ‘Islamophobic’ and hide behind a politically correct screen. We should not make the mistake of finding ourselves inadvertently allied with the Islamists, as these petition-signers are doing.”

The event, “Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Hero of Heresy”, was advertised as an opportunity to “step inside the controversy” surrounding Islam and Muslim womanhood. The controversy rumbles on, albeit in private.

Spotter: SMH

 

Posted: 4th, April 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment


City University student fascists defy the tabloid newspaper ban

The good new is that the next generation of prudes is on course to graduate from City University just as soon. The college’s student union has furthered democracy by voting to ban the sale of the Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mail from the campus. All papers have been ruled “facist” [sic] and “Islamophobiac” [sic] by the one percent of the student body that voted.

It used to be, of course, that the one percent referred to the gilded elite who exercised control over the proles. Now the 1% are the moral elite who think the 99% are the gilded, ignorant elite. If Labour and Jeremy Corbyn need to know why they won’t win a General Election, they should look at that 1% as their new core vote.

 

daily express phone poll

 

Also, it’s a tad ironic that the vote was more loaded than a Daily Express phone poll. But both newspaper and student union have a little way to go before they can emulate Saddam Hussein who in 2002 famously won 100% support from 11,445,638 eligible Iraqi voters.

In a vote on a motion called – and get this for title Joe Stalin would just love (deep breath) – Opposing Fascism and Social Divisiveness in the UK Media – these anti-fascists agreed that banning newspapers is just, right, progressive and human.

What does it all mean? Well, the “Press Gazette understands there are no retail outlets for newspapers on the campus”.

So you can bring your own to school, like these fine anti-fascists are doing.

 

 

Apparently, student fascists are now putting tabloids all over the campus (see photo above). Che Guevara is so out of date. If you students want to a real poster to showcase your rebellious credentials, slap up a picture of Vicky from Hounslow.

Posted: 21st, November 2016 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Paul Gascoigne becomes an anti-free speech role model

Paul Gascoigne is not in the best of health. This we know because the tabloids love to feature Gazza in various stages of trouble. He’s back in the news for the criminal offence of telling a joke. At Dudley Magistrates Court, the former England footballer’s joke was appraised. It was found wanting. Gascoigne was deemed guilty of using ‘”threatening or abusive words”. Those words also cost him a £2,000 fine.

By now you all want to know what Gascoigne said. What does a £2000 joke look like? At An Evening With Gazza at Wolverhampton Civic Hall last year, the show’s eponymous star told a black security guard, Errol Rowe: “Can you smile please, because I can’t see you?”

Anyone heading to an evening with Gascoigne, a man who seemed to run on nervous energy, is unlikely to attend expecting a night of coherent thought and incisive wit. Nonetheless, District Judge Graham Wilkinson was outraged, telling Gazza, “it is not acceptable to laugh words like this off as some form of joke… We live in the 21st century — grow up with it or keep your mouth closed.”

The 21st Century looks a a draconian place. Gascoigne’s joke was sad, weak and, worst of all, unfunny. And that’s crucial to the crime. The advice is that if you’re unsure of what is and what is not acceptable to the state, you should not speak. You should censor yourself lest you cause the State to be offended.

And take care not to be famous and unfunny. Wilkinson told Gascoigne that his punishment is a warning to us all. “A message needs to be sent that in the 21st century,” said the Beak, “such words will not be tolerated.”

Intolerance will not be tolerated. How’s that for freedom?

PS: If you want to look for racism. you can find in a pathetic joke, if you want. But what about in the judiciary?  Wilkinson told Gazza: “”It is the creeping ‘low-level’ racism that society still needs to challenge.” And what about the institutional racism?

Dame Linda Dobbs opines:

Posted: 22nd, September 2016 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Facebook says Napalm Girl ‘protects the community’

Having banned Napalm Gil from Facebook – and sent us a warning that posting the image could lead to our Page being removed – the website has relented.

“Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed,” says Facebook in a statement. “It will take some time to adjust these systems but the photo should be available for sharing in the coming days. We are always looking to improve our policies to make sure they both promote free expression and keep our community safe.”

Oh dear. They want to keep the community safe from people in the, er, community.

Free expression means just that. Free. No buts…

 

Posted: 10th, September 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment


Phuc Off: Zuckerberg and Facebook’s thought police erase Napalm Girl and you’re next

Facebook napalmFacebook has a tricky relationship with censoring images. It recently censored a drawing of a human hand and banned Stephen Ellcock, who’d posted the image. But how do we stand of pictures of naked children?

Facebook’s boss Mark Zuckerberg has been accused of “abusing power” after Facebook deleted pictures of 9-year-old Kim Phúc, aka ‘Napalm Girl’, one subject in Terror of War, a Pulitzer prize-winning photograph by Nick Ut that showed children fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam war.

Norwegian Tom Egeland had posted the picture on Facebook as part of a wider debate on “seven photographs that changed the history of warfare”.

Espen Egil Hansen, the editor-in-chief and CEO of Norway’s Aftenposten, newspaper has used his organ’s front page to accuse Zuckerberg of “abusing your power”, adding:

“I am worried that the world’s most important medium is limiting freedom instead of trying to extend it, and that this occasionally happens in an authoritarian way.”

Egeland’s post earned him a one-month suspension from Facebook. Aftenposten posted the news on its Facebook page, including the offending photo. It received the warning:

“Any photographs of people displaying fully nude genitalia or buttocks, or fully nude female breast, will be removed.”

So what?

Facebook is a website – a very large one, but, nonetheless a website. You can post the picture on your own website if you like.

What Facebook should mind is that it’s dull. It thinks a startling picture of the pain and horror of war is too strong for its delicate readers. It thinks you might get sexually aroused by the image. Facebook has a pretty low view of its customers.

And what goes for pictures goes for words, too. At a 2016 event in Berlin, Zuckenberg vowed to work closer with the German police and look out for victims. “Hate speech has no place on Facebook or in our community,” he said, declining to explain what hate speech is and who gets to decide what is and what is not offensive. He expanded on his view of “protected groups”, saying that Facebook will “now include hate speech against migrants as an important part of what we just now have no tolerance for… Until recently in Germany I don’t think we were doing a good enough job, and I think we will continue needing to do a better and better job.”

Protect migrants seeking better lives in countries where they can think and speak freely by censoring people in those countries from doing just that, banning the natives from doing the very things that make those places desirable to the oppressed. Got it?

That’s the viewpoint from the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company like Facebook.

If you can be banned from Facebook for publishing a picture of a hand or a crying child, can you be banned for calling for a wall to be built between the USA and Mexico, saying ‘White Men Can’t Jump’, or stating that Nickelback fans are deluded?

Facebook is founded on human-to-human communication.

If you stymie that, the site loses its way. It becomes a safe space where only big corporations that play ball (and pay Facebook’s exorbitant fees to reach all of their own readers who ‘like’ their pages) show up on timelines. Then people will go elsewhere to talk freely and air an opinion.

Given the amount of time and effort we and many others have spent cultivating readers on Facebook – my own Flashbak page is soaring but not everyone who ‘liked’ it sees the thing – this is shaping up to be one of the biggest corporate pratfalls of all time.

UPDATE: Facebook will let this one go.

“Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed. It will take some time to adjust these systems but the photo should be available for sharing in the coming days. We are always looking to improve our policies to make sure they both promote free expression and keep our community safe.”

Protecting the community. Sheesh.

Posted: 9th, September 2016 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Don’t ban sugar just force the fat to run to the shops

fat ban sugar taxOi, fatso! David Aaronovitch has a plan to win the “obesity war”. He writes in the Times:

It’s not enough to fiddle about with food labelling and a distant sugar tax. Bans may be draconian, but they’re essential

Bans are for censors. No ‘may’ about it. They are draconian. They are not essential.

He adds:

Of course, we could try to attach the same opprobrium to being fat as to being a smoker.

Second-hand fat? We are getting fatter, yes. We are getting fatter because we do less. We have more down time. More of us live in small flats – stairs burn calories (just ask the aged who downsize). We have central heating. We have telly. Is there shame in being a smoker? No. although people who light up electronic cigarettes, especially the ones with the glowing end, do look like twats.

And what of the facts? Chris Snowdon notes:

All the evidence indicates that per capita consumption of sugar, salt, fat and calories has been falling in Britain for decades. Per capita sugar consumption has fallen by 16 per cent since 1992 and per capita calorie consumption has fallen by 21 per cent since 1974.

And Tim Worstall has an interesting aside:

One more little factoid on this: the current average UK diet has fewer calories than the minimum acceptable diet under WWII rationing. Quite seriously: we are gaining weight on fewer calories than our grandparents lost weight on.

Back then you could be fat and jolly. Now you must be fat and unhappy. The bitter and thin want revenge.

Aaronovitch adds:

Ban fast-food outlets from stations and airports. Ban the sale of confectionery and sugary drinks to the under-16s. Ban the sale of over-sugared products in supermarkets (as measured by a ratio of sugar to other nutrients). Ban the bringing into schools of unhealthy foods. Ban the presence in offices (like our own here at The Times) of vending machines that seem to sell mainly crisps and chocolate. Specify a weight-to-height ratio limit on air passengers wishing to avoid a surcharge.

In short: bash the poor.

Posted: 28th, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Body shaming balls: Sadiq Khan thinks woman are pathetic

Khan bans body ads

 

Are you shamed by adverts featuring fit and lithe women encouraging you to look like them? London mayor Sadiq Khan says you are, or at least, you might be. He isn’t discombobulated by these sort of ads. He is strong of mind and self-confident. It would take more than an advert to shake him. But you might well be weak and easily wounded by a picture on a poster. So Khan will protect you from seeing fit and lithe women trying to sell you products by banning them.

Yeah, Khan’s a bansturbator. The Mail, which knows more than most about picking women to pieces, notes:

Ads that ‘shame’ Londoners over their bodies are to be banned from the Tube and bus network, Sadiq Khan has announced. The newly-installed mayor said there will be a block on adverts that ‘demean’ women or encourage them to conform to unrealistic shapes. The policy means controversial marketing campaigns – like Protein World’s ‘Are you beach body ready?’ poster that provoked a huge backlash last year – will no longer be allowed.

Perfect. Right now a load of creatives are wondering how to form a campaign that will get banned and noticed. Get it right and that ad budget will be a steal.

Posted: 14th, June 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment (1)


BBC censors suicide from Shakespeare but Kim Kardashian should play Bottom

midsummer kardashian

 

Did you know that watching William Shakespeare on the telly is dangerous to any young minds tuning in? As part of the year’s Shakespeare celebration, the BBC is going large on the Bard. In the Times, Russell T Davies, executive producer of the BBC’s new adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, explains why he’s censored the original script. It is wonderful nonsense, entirely in keeping with the kind of bilge people in the arts spout when they talk about Will. Invariably, they make it all about themselves:

Russell T Davies said that he had excised the scenes in which Helena threatens suicide over her love for Demetrios because he believed that they were not fit for broadcast in the modern day. He said that he did not want the suggestion that a young woman would commit suicide because of thwarted love…

When a member of the audience at the Hay Festival asked whether he would change the ending of Romeo and Juliet, so that a young woman did not herself over love, he described the question as trite, and said he was offended that the comparison had been drawn.

Shakespeare is not set in stone. Adaptation keep it all alive an relevant, not least of all the pupils in class forced to study it, who seek shortcuts to the tricky texts through TV and video. But when you start cutting out the bits you don’t like it all smacks of censorship:

“I don’t care what Shakespeare was thinking, I don’t care, it is my name on it. It was standard in 1590 for a woman in a love story to say that I am about to kill myself. It is not standard now. I am deliberately hoping to get young girls watching. I will not transmit lines in which women are so much in love that they are threatening to commit suicide.”

Exit, pursued by a chicken.

PS – if you want young girls to watch, hire Kim Kardashian to play Bottom.

 

Posted: 3rd, June 2016 | In: Reviews, TV & Radio | Comment


EU commissioner Vera Jourova censors free speech

jourova free speechOne more reason to vote to leave the European Union arrives. “The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech,” says Vera Jourova, the EU commissioner responsible for justice, consumers and gender equality.

Jourova was born in 1964 Czechoslovakia. She grew up under Communist rule. You might suppose she’d know better than to meddle with hard-won freedoms. She says she understands what freedom means. Vera Jourova loves free speech. But Vera Jourova wants to censor free speech, to shackle it. The bits she does not like, she calls hate speech. These parts of free speech, says its champion, must be banned. And because the undemocratic EU works the way it does, what she says goes for every country in the bloc.

There’s a lot about European regulations, or regulatory intentions, that U.S. Internet giants don’t like. They hate being described and treated as monopolies, and a mention of paying taxes where they operate — as European countries have long wanted them to do — instantly puts them on the defensive. Yet ask Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube to censor their content, and they will happily oblige. Of all the U.S. rules that have allowed them to get as big as they have become, freedom of speech appears to be least important.

The four U.S. companies have accepted a European Union-dictatedcode of conduct, which obliges them to “review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content.” The reviewing is to be done by “civil society organizations” and “trusted reporters”: the EU and its member states are to “ensure access” to them…

Laws limiting free speech have a tendency to change in response to terrorist attacks, electoral upsets, changes in public attitudes. Russians and Turks can attest to how quickly anti-terrorist legislation can turn into a system of censorship and suppression. Europe is not immune to versions of these developments. The U.S. giants’ willingness to work with governments and advocacy groups to uphold speech limitations makes them unreliable as platforms.

On Twitter, a few see the dangers:

 

free speech twitter EU

 

You can vote to change this. You can vote ‘out’.

 

Posted: 2nd, June 2016 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Man Up for Liverpool: Manchester United tackle Klopp and the language police

“MAN UP,” orders the Daily Mirror’s back-page headline. Manchester United manager Louise Van Gaal is looking for a “miracle” to see his side overcome Liverpool in the Europa Cup – and to help God’s plan the hammer-headed Dutchman wants his team to play like men.

Of course, it doesn’t require an act of divine surrealism for one mid-table Premier League to beat another; it just takes United to be as good as West Ham were when they defeated the once-mighty Reds 3-0 back in September.

 

Manchester United man up

 

But it’s not the match that makes us think – it’s the phrase “Man Up”. In July 2013, Liverpool included ‘Man Up’ in its list of banned words. The club produced a handbook to help staff better recognise and enforce the policing of words which could cause offence.

 

Liverpool banned words

 

Liverpool’s crusade smacked of a righteous, morally superior elite telling the pygmies how to behave. The message was clear: the fans were thick and in need to educating.

Our position is that if you don’t like so-called ‘offensive’ chants, then don’t join in. If it’s really ugly, then tell the singer to shut up. Don’t grass them up to the police and the stewards. You know, Man Up.

 

Posted: 17th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Reviews | Comment (1)


Charlie Hebdo cover for the anniversary of the Paris massacre

This is the Charlie Hebdo’s cover for the anniversary of the Paris massacre: “The assassin is still out there.”

cover anniversary hebdo

 

Don’t let the censors win.

Posted: 5th, January 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment


Facebook banned these naked breasts but approved the racism

German photographer Olli Waldhauer wanted to highlight Facebook’s selective attitude to censorship. Why is Facebook quicker to block nudity than racism?

He posted this picture of a man holding a sign declaring: “Don’t Buy From Kanaken”. The picrure also shows a topless woman.

Kanken is a Nazi-era slogan about stores owned by Jewish people now applied to refugees arriving from the Middle East.

 

facebook naked

 

 

“One of these people is violating Facebook’s rules,” says the caption.

You can guess which by playing along with the #nippelstatthetze ((“nipples instead of hate speech”).

“I want Facebook to ban the picture not because of the nudity but because of the race-baiting,” says Waldhauer.

We’d rather Facebook banned nothing and let idiots be held up to ridicule. Calling for censorship is an odd position for an artist to take.

This, by the way, is ok for Facebook.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 10.29.48

 

Spotter: Verge,

 

Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment


Censorious Canadians protest at decision to allow niqab-wearing women to vote without revealing faces

A clown

A clown

 

To Canada, where a woman showing up to vote won’t be forced to remove her niqab. But anyone wearing a face covering will be required to sign an oath attesting to their eligibility and to present two pieces of identification, at least one having a current address.

Fair enough, then. Or, of course, you could just vote online from the comfort of your own pigsty, naked and strapped to a rocking horse. But sometimes it’s good to get out the house.

Sadly, people get offended by clothing. At Anorak we like freedom of expression. You can advertise your own lack of convictions and individuality with a slogan T-shirt; you can sport mis-matched novelty socks on your ears – and this is the limit of tolerance – you can even wear red trousers in town.

But some people get upset by clothing. We imagine they’re the sort who crave conformity and like uniforms. So one chap went to vote dressed in a clown costume and claimed he was able to vote without removing his mask. He said an officer asked him to take an oath to confirm his identity. “Truly sad that I can vote to elect a Canadian prime minister without having to show my face and prove my identity,” says Rafik Hanna.

‘Truly sad’ said the man dressed as a clown. Well, he should know.

 

Better

Better

 

A woman arrived at a polling station in Cap-Rouge, near Quebec City, wearing a potato sack on her head. She looked good in it. It was oddly alluring. Doubtless it will catch on in the deathless martial bedroom. Spud-head was also able to vote after swearing an oath.

 

Holy sheet!

Holy sheet!

 

And in Gatineau, a man showed up to vote at the Centre Communautaire Le Baron dressed as a ghost. But he bottled it and showed his face.

Which was a shame…

 

Posted: 11th, October 2015 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


College censor Tara Schultz: ‘I expected Batman and Robin, not pornography’

tara schultz

 

Tara Shultz, 20, of Yucaipa, CA, wants to censor your library. She wants four graphic novels on the syllabus at Crafton Hills College banned. Why? Because Schulz thinks Persepolis, Fun Home, Y: The Last Man Vol. 1, and The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll’s House will warp minds.

Now stand back and watch sales of thsoe titles rocket.

Schulz tells the Redland Daily Facts Newspaper – and this is phrase all anti-censors should get on a T-shirt.

“I expected Batman and Robin, not pornography.”
Shultz has formed a group of banstubrators, one of whom is her father . He wants the books banned because – get this –  “there are under-aged kids here at this campus.

Says Tara Shultz:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 16th, June 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment


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