‘censorship’

Je Suis Charlie

I write for a living. I lecture large audiences for a living. I piss people off for a living. Je suis Charlie. My comrades were murdered for expressing opinions that others don’t like. Ordinarily, we’d call those murderers psychopaths. But because their instructions to kill supposedly came from their god rather than from random psychic noise, they’re considered “religious extremists.” That’s too polite. It subtly helps limit their responsibility for their behavior. Of course, that’s a primary goal of religion—to codify the ways in which people are not in charge of this world, and to provide a vocabulary for not…

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UK Censors Domestic Porn; No Pattern To What’s Banned

The United Kingdom just passed a law prohibiting domestic filmmakers from depicting certain acts in online pornography. It is an absolutely perfect example of how dangerous, how confusing, how pointless, and how downright stupid such a law can be. The law now lists thirteen things actors and actresses may not portray in domestically-made online porn films. Here are some facts about these thirteen: * The behaviors in every one of them are legal in real life. * You (yes, you) have almost certainly done at least one of these, and probably will again. Maybe tonight. * Every one of them…

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Banned Books Week Ends, But Censorship Doesn’t

You may not know it, but Banned Books Week just ended. Sponsored each year by the American Library Association, National Coalition Against Censorship, and other groups, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information—access that is currently limited in some way in every single state. Each year, hundreds of books and plays are banned in American schools, libraries, and theaters. Some of the most frequently-banned are classics of Western civilization, such as 1984, Catch-22, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—all, coincidentally, about the dangers of following authority blindly.…

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