Newest "Captain Underpants" banned from MI book fair

Parents who want their children to have the latest Captain Underpants novel can either mail an order to Scholastic or purchase the book online.

“I support the decision of the parent group and the principal for handling it this way,” said Martin in calling the move “appropriate.”

Martin said this was not an attempt to censor what books are available. Instead, it was an effort to ensure that parents are involved in what might be viewed as a controversial topic for their kids.

From Newest "Captain Underpants" banned from local book fair - WXYZ.com

Metadata that kills

Descriptive metadata is never neutral. It reflects our understanding of our society, and our interpretation of how we think the world should be. It is unavoidably evocative of not just a book, film, or song, but rather the whole society which gave it genesis. When developed, particularly Western, countries wind up determining codes and classifications, a very specific illustration of the world is drawn which is a slim sliver of human understanding of the world.

From Metadata that kills — Medium

Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West

"It seems to me the battle for free expression was won 100 years ago," the 68-year-old told an audience at the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair, under heavy security.
"The fact that we have to go on fighting this battle is the result of a number of regrettable, more recent phenomena."

From Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West - Yahoo News Canada

I’m a Librarian Who Banned a Book. Here’s Why.

While we now have several trivial and frivolous national events such a as National Coffee Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day, events that bring attention to real issues – like Banned Book Week – are too often overlooked.

Ultimately, a banned book cuts at the heart of what makes a free democracy work. As Noam Chomsky said during a 1992 BBC interview, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

From I’m a Librarian Who Banned a Book. Here’s Why.


Rising to the Challenge: How the Book Internet Delivered

It is not, nor will it ever be, one parent’s duty to parent for the entirety of a group of children. Their job is to watch their child an their child alone. In the instance of Some Girls Are, one parent managed to get a book pulled as an option from a list because she felt it was “smut.” Where it would make sense to tell her child to instead read a different book, she could find no peace in that. She wanted this book removed as an option for all readers.

From Rising to the Challenge: How the Book Internet Delivered

Harris Poll: Number of Americans Who Support Book Banning Increases

Harris Poll: Number of Americans Who Support Book Banning Increases

From The Guardian: "Are Americans Falling in Love with Censorship?

"[A] Harris poll of 2,244 US adults was released in July, revealing that, in the space of four years, the percentage of Americans believing that some books should be completely banned has increased by more than half. In 2011, 18% of those surveyed wanted some books banned; in 2015, 28% agreed with the assertion. Just under a half, 48%, said that no books should be banned, compared with 56% in 2011."

More in-depth breakdowns at The Guardian and Harris.

Gay-themed children's book challenged in North Carolina school

One grandparent, Lisa Baptist, said the book is inappropriate for young students. "I've been called a racist. I’ve been called a bigot, and I am none of those things," she said. "This is nothing more than bringing homosexuality into a school where it does not belong."

From Gay-themed children's book challenged in North Carolina school - LA Times

Life Is Triggering. The Best Literature Should Be, Too.

That’s why one of college’s most important functions is to learn how to hear and deal with challenging ideas. Cocooning oneself in a Big Safe Space for four years gets it exactly backwards. “Safety” has been transformed by colleges from “protection from physical harm” to “protection from disturbing ideas.”

From Life Is Triggering. The Best Literature Should Be, Too. | The New Republic

Strategic, timely censorship

In September of last year, Chinese authorities announced an unorthodox standard to help them decide whether to punish people for posting online comments that are false, defamatory, or otherwise harmful: Was a message popular enough to attract five hundred reposts or five thousand views? It was a striking example of how sophisticated the Chinese government has become, in recent years, in restricting Internet communication—going well beyond crude measures like restricting access to particular Web sites or censoring online comments that use certain keywords. Madeline Earp, a research analyst at Freedom House, the Washington-based nongovernmental organization, suggested a phrase to describe the approach: “strategic, timely censorship.” She told me, “It’s about allowing a surprising amount of open discussion, as long as you’re not the kind of person who can really use that discussion to organize people.”

Full article - The World Cracks Down on the Internet


Blog post about Amazon hiding nonfiction books

Excerpt: The problem with Amazon’s market share isn’t just commercial, it is political. It is a legitimate topic of public concern. If Hachette chooses not to publish a book, even for political reasons, there are four other mammoth publishers and hundreds if not thousands of others that can bring it to the public. If Amazon chooses to bury a title, half the book buyers will not see it when they’re shopping for books. In my opinion, that’s not good for our democracy. I think this is a much more important question than how the pie is divided among author, publisher, and retailer.


Side note: If you are worried about Amazon censoring books be aware they are censoring monster erotica. Link to "On the Media" radio piece about this: http://www.onthemedia.org/story/amazons-war-bigfoot-erotica/



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