Serious Censorship in China

Someone pointed me to this Story available at: Salon.

10 people went to prison Thursday for illegally printing and selling books. One defendant received a life term, after they were convicted of illegal business activities and producing obscene materials! So far this year party censors temporarily shut down at least 13 publishers and closed another.


Famed Censorship Lawyer Dies

Lee Hadden Writes:

An author, friend of libraries
and a hero in the war against
censorship has died in New York. Charles Rember
challenged the government
censoring of many works of literature that were
considered obscene during
the 1960\'s, including Henry Miller\'s \"Tropic of Cancer,\"
John Cleland\'s
\"Fanny Hill\" and D. H. Lawrence\'s \"Lady Chatterly\'s
Lover\". Books published
overseas could not be purchased and mailed to
citizens in the US, or
otherwise made available to either adults or children.
Books written in the
US that were considered obscene were open to
confiscation and destruction.
Mr. Rembar was noted for his wit and his ability
to explain rather
simply complex legal arguments, and to strike to the
heart of a legal
question. My favorite quote of his was \"Pornography is
in the groin of the


School Board Shoots Down Proposal

Click2houston.com has a story on The Santa Fe Independent School District\'s vote to ban certain books containing profanity or homosexual references. This is the dictrict that is discussing banning books with even a single word of profanity.

\"This is a school board that has succeeded once again in making me embarrassed to admit where I live and pay taxes,\" one resident of Santa Fe said to the school board.


FOI flouted. MLLR BPL departments archives.

The Legendary Don Saklad writes:

\"Our regional and Massachusetts Library of Last Recourse
City of Boston Public Library Departments have denied
substantive reply. Our MLLR BPL departments have not
complied with state FOI principles.

Reply has not been made until an appeal is filed, then
reply has been delayed beyond the limit given
government authorities.

A requester is not supposed to be conditionally
required to file an appeal as a requirement for reading
the requested information.


More on COPA

CNET News has a Story on COPA and the HR 557 bill that has made it to the house.
It includes an interview with Marvin Johnson, legislative counsel, ACLU on the legislation that will force schools and libraries that. Some have called filtering a \"No-Brainer\", but he says filtering Violates the preceprt of the 1st ammendment. A private company is doing the censorship for the governemt, not based on anything that means anything, but can be simply due to the companies dislike for a website. The filters are clumsy and block more than they should, he says, and they also miss alot of porn. He proposes to teach how to live in this \"internet\" age, and be a wise consumor, to know good from bad, and be a cautious consumer. They have tried to work an ammendmant on this bill to provide more education for all. Remember the AFA ACLU and christian assoc have all come out against this bill. Very libreral and very conservative groups are coming out against this, it can\'t be good.


Censorship: Taking Choices Away From Adults

Charles Levendosky has written an excellent piece on censorship.

The campaign season often gives rise to dumb ideas. Weeks ago, the
released statistics showing that youth and school violence is at its
lowest level in more than a decade. Yet, members of Congress chose
month to blame the film and television industries for rising teen

The message to Hollywood: Get rid of the violence on your own, or
pass legislation that does it for you. The political chorus was
by Democratic candidate for president Al Gore, his running mate,
Lieberman, and Lynne Cheney, wife of Republican vice presidential
nominee Dick Cheney.

Politicians don\'t believe the American people can find the off button
their television sets.

There is pleanty more, be sure to read on...


Blume Most Challenged Author

Freedomforum.org has an Interview with Author Judy Blume. She\'s also the author of five of \"the 100 most frequently challenged books of the decade\" of the 1990s, so she knows a thing or two about censorship. She appears most often on that list. It\'s a great lengthy interview, and worth a read.

\"The pattern of targeting books adds up to three \"S\" words: sexuality, swearing and Satan, she noted.

\"Long, long, long, long before Harry Potter, I would go out and speak about the three S\'s,\" she said \"And that\'s been true for a very long time. People would choose to ban books — Satan\'s been there.\"


Not Censorship But Selection

Here\'s a great article on the
debate between Censorship And Selection by Lester
Asheim. A very interesting read for those interested in
this area.

\"Our concern here, of course, is not with cases
where the librarian is merely carrying out an obligation
placed upon him by law. Where the decision is not his
to make, we can hardly hold him responsible for that de
cision. Thus, the library which does not stock a book
which may not be passed through customs or which is
punishable by law as pornographic, will not be
considered here. The real question of censorship
versus selection arises when the librarian, exercising
his own judgment, decides against a book which has
every legal right to representation on his shelves. In
other words, we should not have been concerned with
the librarian who refused to buy Ulysses for his library
before 1933 but we do have an interest in his re fusal
after the courts cleared it for general circulation in the
IJnited States\"


Dr. Laura\'s Tangled Web makeover

Will the Dr. Laura show makeover caused by ratings problems cause the show to appeal more or less to our base instincts? So, Dr. Laura, will the programmers ask you throw more prurient interest into your show? How does that square with your morality quest?

I read this quote from Robert Anton Wilson, in the Illuminatus trilogy recently:

\"Thus in preliterate societies taboos on spoken word are more numerous and more Draconic than at any more complex level of social organisation. With the invention of written speech -- hieroglyphic, ideographic, or alphabetical -- the taboos are shifted to this medium; there is less concern with what people SAY and more concern with what people WRITE. When a more efficient medium arrives, the taboos on television will decrease.\"


Banned Books, Weak

The Disinformation Company has a new page up about Banned Books Week, called Banned Books, Weak. There\'s an essay, copied here, and links to related articles and sites.

From September 23rd-30th, 2000, retailers and libraries have blown off the dust and moved the usual suspects, such as Huckleberry Finn and Catcher in the Rye, from their Literature sections to displays in the front of their buildings to show that they\'re in the vanguard on the fight against censorship. They\'re feeling righteous.

Only thing is, Banned Books Week is . . . well, weak. I like the general principle, but there are several problems with it in practice.



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