Every year, the American Library Association releases a list of the top banned books in the country. But how do you determine which book is the most banned? The statisticians at FiveThirtyEight attempted to figure out exactly which book earned the crowning achievement of most banned book ever....more
Posts Tagged: censorship
Recently, Tara Shultz, a college student at Crafton Hills College, expressed her shock and disgust at the “pornographic and violent” content in the selection of graphic novels (Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi) used in her English class and called upon the university to excise the texts from the curriculum....more
When the Chinese government created a China-themed pavilion at this year’s BookExpo America, several writers protested the event. Writer Andrew Solomon argued that the Chinese government used that expo as a platform to present their “approved literature to the world.” Now, for the New Yorker, Christopher Beam shares his experience visiting the controversial China pavilion, and explores why Chinese publishers struggle to attract American audiences:
The problem, from what I could tell, was that publishers didn’t seem to know what American readers wanted….
China represents a huge marketplace for any product, and book publishers have finally caught on. More than 10,000 Chinese books were available at the Book Expo America. But as publishers race to embrace the Chinese market and bring Chinese authors to the West, censorship by the world’s largest authoritarian state represents a real challenge....more
Cartoonists tend to stick together because they have to; . . . their work is disproportionately singled out for suppression both abroad and in the U.S., while at the same time often regarded as not “serious” enough to deserve a full-throttle defense.
PEN America announced on Sunday their intention to honor Charlie Hebdo’s surviving staff with the Freedom of Expression Courage award at their May 5 Gala. The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner, and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn as hosts of the ceremony, claiming the French magazine promotes hate speech and racism....more
When Egyptian cartoonists offer condolences to their Parisian counterparts, they are doing so with an appreciation of the daily risks of the art form — making a joke about the assassinations remains difficult or superficial.
As the world continues to mourn the 12 dead in Wednesday’s terrorist attack on the controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo, satirists, cartoonists, writers, and editors have come together with PEN America to stand against the attack and bolster the necessity of free expression, even when that expression is offensive to some....more
The New Republic has re-published a 1930 interview with a government censor, and it provides an interesting look into the mindset of the man charged with keeping “pollution” out of the hands of “innocent” New Englanders:
Why, sometimes it’s the contact of innocence with this filthy stuff that sinks a boy into foul habits for a lifetime.
Those who do not adhere to self-censorship are likely to face pressure from the state. Al-Masdar website features political news and is loosely affiliated to the recently banned secular activist group April 6 Movement.
In the story, a young girl, Nancy, mysteriously receives a single Christmas gift – the steamroller. She takes the gift out for a ride and flattens many things along the way, one of which was human, as I recall. I believe the human popped back up, unrealistically.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, a Heroes Con panel devoted to LGBT visibility in comics was hosted by Kate Leth, Bryan Pittard, Terry Moore, Eric Punzone, and Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. The sextet spoke on internal censorship, Internet trolls, and straddling gender boundaries in print:
During Q & A, a fan asked how the panelists felt about being straight, writing gay characters, and whether they’ve been criticized for it.
Pankaj Mishra has always been a politically outspoken writer, so when Mo Yan, who has defended the Chinese government’s censorship, won the Nobel Prize, Mishra was the last person anyone expected to defend him.
But he did, asking, “Do we ever expose the political preferences of Mo Yan’s counterparts in the West to such harsh scrutiny?”...more
Novelist Dennis Miller was participating in a panel discussion about censorship at Mansfield University’s campus library, when he joked that his book should be banned: “It has sex, violence, and adult language.”
Library director Scott DiMarco’s response? Done and done.
Find out why a librarian committed to free speech would ban a book in DiMarco’s account of the events....more
If Jon Nickell’s essay “Into the Tiger’s Lair” piqued your interest about Burma, you might be interested to know that the often isolated country with abundant censorship regulations just held its first international literary festival.
With workshops and readings on topics like war, violence, and government criticism, the Irawaddy Literary Festival, under the patronage of Aung San Suu Kyi, seems to have been a screaming success:
“Burma has an obvious love of literature, but Burma has, or used to have, an obvious lack of access to literature,” said Jane Heyn, the festival’s director and wife of the British ambassador to Burma.
Eveline Chao has a fascinating longform article up at Foreign Policy about navigating government censorship while working at an English-language business magazine in China.
You can’t say “Tiananmen,” but “June 1989″ is all right. The headline “China’s ailing healthcare system—and the government’s plan to fix it” is unacceptable, but “The Chinese government’s plan to fix the ailing healthcare system” is fine....more
Cory Doctorow explains a law currently proposed in the UK that would automatically censor internet user’s browsers.
This automatic censoring is proposed by several Members of Parliament, the Daily Mail, and various British religious groups. The proposed web filtering aims to protect children from stumbling upon pornographic material, however, there are concerns that the filter may inadvertently make non-pornographic sites inaccessible:
“Sites will get blocked if they casually mention sex....more
In response to Arizona’s decision to ban ethnic studies and expunge associated texts from school shelves, the Occupy Wall Street Library is planning to flood Tucson with copies of the blacklisted books.
“Acting in solidarity with OccupyTucson and the students, parents, and teachers of the Tucson Unified School District we are going to send copies of the banned texts to Tucson for distribution....more
Haruki Murakami was removed from a summer reading list for middle schooler and high school students in one New Jersey school district. Apparently, some of the language in Norwegian Wood concerned parents and a couple students. And this is the perfect transition into announcing Banned Books Week, coming up the week of September 24th, which is all about combating censorship!...more
According to Gurdon, young adult fiction “can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is.” Gurdon’s article ignited a slew of responses in the form of blog posts and hashtagged-tweets, defending the current trends of the genre, which in turn invited an onslaught of retaliation from Gurdon supporters....more
Today’s book battle pits Andrea Dworkin’s Pornography: Men Possessing Women against Nadine Strossen’s Defending Pornography:...more