An Anonymous Patron writes “Mr. Scott Savage has charged the editor of the American Libraries magazine with censorship, claiming that he went back on a promise to print his very critical essay in the pages of Am Libs.
Would be curious to see if either side has the emails to prove or disprove the charges? Savage also charges Judith Krug with failing to come to his aid.”
Update: 05/10 17:48 GMT by B :Scott wrote in to tell me he did not accuse American Libraries of censorship and did not create the headline or the editor’s note attached to his opinion essay on the WorldNetDaily website. The old headline here read “OSU’s Savage says AmLibs censored his article” I’ve changed it to “More On The OSU Librarian And American Libraries”
You keep using that word…
This is just a comment on the “censor” claim, aside from the article which is an okay read (if not a little long).
I’m not terribly familiar with the publishing world, but as I understand things, the people paying for the printing presses get to call the shots on what and how much of it get published. They even have editors that may change the author’s original prose and make it conform to space limitations. As a more renouned librarian author told me once, “I’ve had 700 word LJ profiles cut down to 350 words, and not always prettily.”
I’m not a fan of inflamatory text for shock value. It actually weakens the arguement in my mind. Did Penguin Books “censor” JK Rowling by rejecting her manuscript for Harry Potter? Is anyone who is white a racist (as a professor of mine claims)? Is mass killing of chickens, as PETA claims, a “holocaust”? Or even, to hit closer to home, does the decision to shelve Playboy outside of the juvenile section constitute censorship?
Next up, now that’s as clear as the summer’s sun: remember when being of “discriminating taste” was a compliment?
From the ALA website
Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful. As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty:
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
– On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
You provide nice quotes ALA. You talk the talk can you walk the walk? The part quoted above can be found on the ALA website at:
Self Publishing is the Remedy for Censorship
Whenever you have to ask someone’s permission to
publish something in THEIR publication, be it
print, internet, etc…they can censor it for
any reason or refuse to publish it.
That does not seem to have often on LisNews…
so perhaps his article could be published complete
and uncensored here.
If not Savage could probably publish it himself
preferably on the internet unless someone else
will agree to do it for him.
Sure certain publications and websites
have “prestige”. And so it’s to be expected
that writers want their work to be published
Self publish if you have to and get it on
the internet…don’t let anyone censor your work!
What book should get you fired?
If you read the article Mr. Scott was accused of sexual harrasment for merely suggesting a book be read.
Where do other librarians stand on this issue? Is there any book that if suggested to be read should cause someone to lose their job at a University?
Re:You keep using that word…
Not entirely. The editor-in-chief gets to set the editorial tone of the publication. If I’m printing a journal on librarianship, it should not contain knitting patterns and articles on crocheting. If I am overly liberal or conservative, I can alter the tone of a publication away from balance toward a perceptible bias.
However, if ask you for an essay/commentary/whatever about your stance on a controversy, I create an implied obligation to print it without alteration. Although I can reserve the right to reject the resultant piece you submit. Depending on the context, it can be ethical to do so.
A rhetorical question, I know, but I’ll answer it anyway. To quote myself: . . . you bring up the perennial question of selection vs: censorship. “What’s the diff?” you ask? The difference is that selection is based on rejecting material from a milieu because it is not appropriate to that milieu. Censorship is based on banning and destroying any and all “objectionable” material so no one is allowed to see it no matter how sophisticated or intellectually mature that person might be.
You’ve got to understand that editing is supposed to be about quality control. Ideally, an editor edits for clarity, length, spelling, punctuation, and accuracy. Content and viewpoint do sometimes get caught in the crossfire, alas.
Now, considering this:
. . . this certainly smacks of content and viewpoint discrimination in my books; not editing at all.
Re:Self Publishing is the Remedy for Censorship
Your statement intimates that it is necessarily censorship to reject material. This is not so. A newspaper can reject material, letters to the editor, for example, because they don’t have enough room to print all the letters that have come in about a particular issue.
Oh, I don’t know; I’ve submitted well over a hundred story suggestions, and some of those were rejected, and since Blake moved the site, even the stats on the number of stories I’ve submitted and had accepted and rejected is wrong. I’m not going to pretend that is censorship, however, because some data was lost in transfer. Some of those suggestions were rejected as being inappropriate, as well, and I know it very well.
Can’t just do that, though. That would violate copyright. Blake would have to get permission. And that’s not censorship, either. Ideally, copyright is a matter of protecting a person’s right to control his intellectual property.
The people at ALA are complete dicks …
… for not backing this guy, and for taking months to even get back to him. (If that’s what happened. I’m a bit confused: First he implies that he didn’t call ALAOIF, then he says they finally returned his call.)
However, “publishable at its current length” is not the same thing as “will be published at its current length”, so I don’t think there’s much reason to gripe about AL here. Maybe Blake can have a contest for LISNewsterz to submit their own half-length versions of the piece, with a copy of The Marketing of Evil as first prize.
p.s. The only reason I’m an ALA member is that joining saved my library $30 when I went to PLA in March. The equating of ALA with “librarianship” is quite objectionable to me.