North Koreans live in the most censored country in the world


North Koreans live in the most censored country in the world a new analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. The world's deepest information void, communist North Korea has no independent journalists, and all radio and television receivers sold in the country are locked to government-specified frequencies. Burma, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, and Libya round out the top five nations on CPJ’s list of the "10 Most Censored Countries."


*Do* the two libraries in question have explicitly racist / anti-semitic / otherwise bigoted books on their open shelves? I ask not to make a rhetorical point one way or the other, but because the article raises the question and never resolves it. I'm not talking historically important forgeries (ie The Protocols, which there'd be valid reasons for having in closed stacks or with an attached disclaimer about its discreditation), and I'm not talking literature with racism as a characterization issue or theme (Huck Finn or Merchant of Venice, if you choose to read them that way), but just random historical racist oddities about black people being less smart or the "Yellow Peril" or Jews as money-grubbers or some such garbage. I'd be curious if there is special treatment going on, either keeping the books on the shelf or removing them.

And yes, I do understand that the proponents of curing homosexuality don't think their views are comparable with racism. I'm not speaking to that, but to those of us who *do* think the two are comparable -- given a moral equivalency between homophobia and racism, are the two treated similarly?

I am a little pushy man so people sometimes do find me agressive.

As to LISNews, some, no all of the librarians with whom I am politically polar opposite but whose opinion I respect I have met at least virtually through LISNews. While I may be a right wing librarian some of the most valuable things I have learned have been through discourse and debate with people who don't share my opinion.

Who wants to sit around with a bunch of yes men all day?

I agree. Such a review process would create a situation where librarians would not be able to do their job.

Do you think this early situation might have pushed Savage to be more aggressive in pushing both sides of an issue as his career progressed?

I also wonder if this early situation and Savage's openness as a Quaker has created a situation were people always assume he is pushing a bias in his suggestions. While I believe librarians and educators are all free to have their own opinions and beliefs, his openness in his beliefs might have created a situation were he needs a fresh start elsewhere.

I did take it as a personal attack, actually, because of your tone and because you said that the ideas you were attributing to me were "anathema to a true librarian." While I would love it if lisnews were a place where I could have a good debate, I find that any discussion between people who disagree with each other degenerates into name calling and snark. I don't think there's much capability for debate, here.

Clearly you didn't intend to attack, and in that vein I apologise for accusing you of doing so. Yet I have forgotten this is a forum in which I find the discussions so confrontational and agressive (from people on both sides of the political spectrum -- I'm less likely to get into it with people on the left only because I agree with them in substance, if not in style) that I don't believe there is any capacity here for real debate or changing each other's minds. Certainly I'm not comfortable with this style of argument.

Thanks for engaging in discourse with me. Perhaps at some point we'll continue this conversation in a forum in which our styles of conversation are not so in conflict, and we might come to a new space of understanding.

I'm sorry I thought when you wrote "(ie The Protocols, which there'd be valid reasons for having in closed stacks or with an attached disclaimer about its discreditation.) you meant (ie The Protocols, which there'd be valid reasons for having in closed stacks or with an attached disclaimer about its discreditation). Please forgive me if I misunderstood the plain meaning of your writing.

My comment regarding the segregation or labelling of books based upon their content was not specific to the Protocols or the Da Vinci Code or for that matter the 133.3's which I think are nonsense too, but was about the concept itself. I would never remove, embargo, segregate or stick a warning label on a book. If patrons were such dolts as to take the Protocols to heart there is nothing I can do about that. I direct people to the Nostradamus books frequently and that is just as nutty. However I prefer to feel that scholarship and study of these bizarre works will lead to a better understanding for patrons and I would never limit their right to these materials, nor compromise their scholarship by labelling them with my or instutional opinion.

Finally, please don't take any of these as personal attacks, none of my commentary is ever directed personally. I may disagree with what someone has written, but I don't disagree with their right to hold that opinion or express it. I enjoy good debate and LISNews fosters it.

Yes that is why I put "while" in my response 3 times.

You see using the word while implies that it does. Perhaps these examples will help:

While you should dance with the ugly boys most girls are not that courteous.
While having a pure white cat was trendy it left fur all over the place.
While this should not preclude his free speech rights at all, it does because we don't like his opinion.

I hope that clarifies it.

I'm not arguing that it's illegitimate. I'm asking about the experiences and rules of those two libraries. Has anyone tried to put a book on the shelves about how to convince your wife not to be a feminist, or your friends not to be religious Christians? If so, was there a negative reaction, a positive one? I'd like to know, sine the article raised the issue without resolving it.

I do not advocate any such thing. My words were, precisely, "(ie The Protocols, which there'd be valid reasons for having in closed stacks or with an attached disclaimer about its discreditation)". In some case those good reasons might exist, in others they might not. I don't make an advocacy case either way. However, when a proved forgery is published as fact, a given library, in given circumstances, may choose to put a warning label on it explaining what it is. Usually forgeries are simply removed from publication -- the Protocols, because of its historical significance, is not. How do I decide which books get warnings? Well, the Protocols is a proven forgery falsely attributed to individuals who did not write it, so if I *were* a librarian who were going to advocate as you have claimed I do, it would be on that basis. Not because I disagree with it, but because unlike The DaVinci Code, it is not published as fiction. If the DaVinci Code publishers inisisted it were by Pope John Paul II, I might, if I were the aforementioned librarian, put a parallel warning label on that.

Simply because we have differing political beliefs -- and I note for the record that I have not stated an opinion on this particular case, either in favor of the library or the librarian -- is no reason to attribute opinions to me which I didn't state. I didn't attack you, so I see no need for your aggression.

You seem to feel it is just dandy to abridge Constitutionally guaranteed Rights because you disagree with someone. Well it is not.

Jessamyn said, in the post to which you are responding, "While this should not preclude his free speech rights at all".

Thanks, that was mentioned in the article.

The suggested policy in the link you provided is absurd. Empaneling faculty members "of relevent disciplines" before books are added is so absurd it is insulting to me as a librarian. I have a graduate professional education that includes training in selecting materials, to be second guessed would demean me, my profession, and librarians as a group.

Academic libraries have a responsibility to the students to present vatious viewponts that will allow them to challenge their preconcieved ideas, form new opinions when necessary and learn in the process.

In case it has been forgotten higher education is not about fitting in, feeling welcomed, being celebrated for our diversity, or any of the other feel good things many assume. Higher education is for learning and preparing for a career in the real world, not the leftist utopia of most college campuses.

You advocate having materials with which you disagree in closed stacks or putting warning labels on them? Simply Amazing.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a bunch of crap, so is The Da Vinci Code as far as I am concerned. However I don't suggest keeping them out of the reach of the public, or annotating them with warnings.

How do you decide who gets to read these books? How do you decide which books get warnings?

A good library will have "Explicitly racist / anti-semitic / otherwise bigoted books on their open shelves." This is the same reason a good library has Karl Marx and Mao on the shelves so that it can be recognized for what it is - complete nonsense.

Your ideas of keeping books in closed stacks for other than their preservation and protection, or putting disclaimers on books are anathema to a true librarian.

The man spent his time to answer your email and you think he is difficult to work with.

Perhaps you might have tried working with the man before you offered opinion of his work habits. I could write what I think about your work habits but it would not be relevent nor would I do so because not having first hand experience offering an opinion would be disingenuous.

Your certainty about the tone of letters exchanged, letters to which you are not privy, amazes me. Do you have next weeks Powerball numbers too?

What you find very Bible-thumping and strange may, to many who find ersatz progressive librarians strange, be perfectly normal.

While.... while... while... this should not preclude his free speech Rights at all it does because leftist professors didn't like his point of view and filed baseless charges against him.

You seem to feel it is just dandy to abridge Constitutionally guaranteed Rights because you disagree with someone. Well it is not.

Its legitimate to discuss the nature of homosexuality, it is legitimate to discuss homosexuals as a political group in the same way people talk about feminists, soccer moms, the latino vote, the black vote, etc. Some might call that 'targeting' (usually because they just don't like what is being said) but it is certainly not comparable to the actions of the Klan or to the promotion of killing any group of people including blacks or gays.

I'm asking in response to this comment in the WND article:

He added: "If the book [Savage] had proposed was a Klan title promoting the inferiority of African-Americans, would anyone be questioning the anger of the faculty?"

Similarly, the 2004 Lakeland transcripts show a committee member claiming display of the Nicolosi book created a double standard because "it is legitimate to target gays," while the library would "never display a book about killing blacks."

Basically, I'm curious if those statements are true or not.

From a Google search, I found information on a previous incident involving Savage and book selection.

I also wondered if the faculty would have been as concerned if he had given the whole Amazon review to them up front. He only gave them the first part of the review initially, and they discovered later he omitted the controversial portion. I believe the faculty felt he was trying to slip something past them.

I dropped an email to Savage when this all started happening, just to see what his side of the story was. The response I got was nothing short of bizarre. I can only hope he was just messing with me (perhaps he thought I was messing with him with a name like Jessamyn West) but his email was very bible-thumping and strange. I hope this gets resolved amicably. My impression is that the man is difficult to work with. While this should not preclude his free speech rights at all, I'm sure that is feeding the tone of many of the letters that went back and forth in the original complaint. He seems to have had many jobs in quick succession over the past decade or so. I wonder what his story is?

...given a moral equivalency between homophobia and racism, are the two treated similarly?

Don't follow here Deborah. What do you mean by "treated"? Collected, not collected, placed on reserve, behind the desk, under the book drop.....?

Nonetheless the irony with this Savage case couldn't be sweeter. At least for this librarian. It would appear that the rubric of equal access to Constitutionally protected speech does indeed have a pecking order for those otherwise quick to remind the rest of us when discussing the usual suspects in controversial materials.

I can't speak for your library, but another perceived racist, Malcom X, simply can't stay on our shelves. Being the good librarian that I am, I don't parse racist books based upon my opinion of their historical significance. I believe that's censorship. That said, I'll buy more Malcolm X and shelve them with in the same stacks as the Reparative Therapy titles.

Creepy.The minutes you link to are scary stuff.Book burning. Censorship. Enough said.