Censorship

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.

http://www.idealog.com/blog/krugman-cites-fact-fit-posited-theory/

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/

An Alleged Ban

Is it Band (sic) Books Week yet? I’m not sure, and the propaganda is so hyperbolic I don’t have the heart to read it to find the dates. Anyway, let’s see if the Band Book people mention this very odd case.

Full piece here:
http://lj.libraryjournal.com/blogs/annoyedlibrarian/2014/09/22/an-alleged-ban/

It's Banned Books Week!

Tell us what your library is doing to celebrate.

Singapore Library Pulls Books About Gay Couples

Where is it illegal to chew gum and/or be in a gay relationship? Singapore of course.

Story from NPR's The Two-Way Blog , interpret the name of the blog as you see fit.

The two books are And Tango Makes Three, inspired by two real male penguins who hatched an egg together, and The White Swan Express, about four couples — one of which is a lesbian couple — who travel to China to adopt baby girls. The books will be pulped, according to Time Magazine.

Toronto Public Library Asked To Remove Hop On Pop For Encouraging Violence

Here's [PDF] the Materials Review Committee Reconsideration of Materials Summary for 2013 from the Toronto Public Libraries... It lists a complaint against Hop on Pop... Encourages children to use violence against their fathers: Remove from collection and issue an apology to fathers in the GTA and pay for damages resulting from the book. "The children are actually told not to hop on pop. "

Parents call cops on teen for giving away banned book

 

From deathandtaxes.com:

"Parents in Idaho called the cops last week on junior-high student Brady Kissel when she had the nerve to help distribute a book they’d succeeded in banning from the school curriculum.

The book in question was Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” Published in 2007, it won the National Book Award and has become popular with young teens, supposedly for its universal themes of fitting in, making sense of race, and sexual discovery."

Full story here

The Most Complained-About Library Book of 2013 Was…

Same as last year's...Captain Underpants.

Just as in 2012, the potty humor of the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey brought the books to the top of the list. Other repeat offenders in the top ten included Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and Looking for Alaska by John Green. The newcomers to the top ten were:

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (second place)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Bone (series), by Jeff Smith

The list was excerpted by Time Magazine from the State of America's Libraries Report 2014 [ALA].

Right-Wing French Politician Protests Childrens Book "Everybody Get Naked"

Here's the story via Melville House about a three year old childrens book that is ruffling some French feathers.

In a country where the banning of books is rare and mostly unheard of, France has recently experienced a spate of attacks by its politicians on the most liberal of French children’s books. Right-wing and even mainstream politicians have begun calling for the censorship of certain books in a trend that seems to reflect that “the domestic political system in France is under strain”, as Olivia Snaije noted for Publishing Perspectives.

In the most public example, the leader of the UMP, France’s main opposition party (which was previously led by President Nicolas Sarkozy), Jean-François Copé, appeared on French TV holding a copy of Tous à Poil (Everybody Gets Naked). Surely one of the sweetest ideas for a children’s book, Tous à Poil is a story in which everyone, the baby, the babysitter, the neighbour, the teacher and even the CEO get naked. The book’s authors, Claire Franek and Marc Daniau, explained they had written it in in order to show:

“Real bodies in natural situations from a child’s everyday life to counter the numerous images of bodies, often undressed, altered by Photoshop or plastic surgery, that are shown in ads or on the covers of magazines.”

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