Tag Archives | Censorship

The Evolution of Language and the Death of “I”

The Dark Meaning Research Institute has just published its third paper, which is on the evolution of language. Dark Meaning Research Institute logoIt states:

Since we saw in Paper No. 1 that the self and the other are inseparable, we can also begin to see how one of the biggest tricks in The Language Show – “sawing a person in half” – is achieved. Two aspects of the same self can be made to look like completely separate parts thanks to the old magic dividing wand of “I”, which forces a person into a very narrow position with a limited view of reality.

The trick is very easy to perform: an unwitting actor’s attention is directed away from their true centre by making them focus on a magic dot in their limited field of vision while a bend is made behind them. This results in the victim maintaining that they are an individual, which always gets a big laugh from the audience, who fail to realise they are also victims of the same trick.

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The Most Banned and Challenged Books of 2014

persepolisI now have a new reason to love my kid’s school: his current assigned text, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, is number 2 on the most challenged book list for 2014 compiled by the American Library Association:

A current analysis of book challenges recorded by ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) from 2001 – 2013, shows that attempts to remove books by authors of color and books with themes about issues concerning communities of color are disproportionately challenged and banned. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.

In 2014, the OIF received 311 reports regarding attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves. Eighty percent of the 2014 Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books reflect diverse authors and cultural content.

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Am I A Psy-Op & Don’t Even Know It?

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JC Collins writes at philosophyofmetrics:

Since starting this site on New Years Eve, 2013, a mere 14 1/2 months ago, I’ve received some strange and bizarre messages in the comments section.  As I have chosen to moderate the comments, there are many that do not make it to the screen.  There are many reasons for this.

Some are racists, while others are outright criminal.  Occasionally messages from space aliens and planet gods from other dimensions make their way into the pending post section.  Sometimes it’s simply the same old tired rant against Jews.  Considering my wife is half Jewish (the other half is Egyptian, which made for confusing Passover celebrations when she was growing up), I could never take such comments seriously.

Other times people will send me links or copies of something written elsewhere.  Most of these things are derogatory comments about me or the site.  My three sons, who are all young men now, often stumble across things on the internet about me, things like I’m an Illuminati shill, and part of the Collins Illuminati family.  Jeez, I wish.  They call or text me while laughing their heads off at the ridiculousness of it all.

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After Paris and Copenhagen, Let’s Not Forget Corporate Censorship

Pic via Jon S via Flickr (CC)

Pic via Jon S via Flickr (CC)

Christian Christensen writes at Common Dreams:

It has been a bad and bloody few months. From the brutal mass murder at the offices of Charlie Hedbo to the tragedy in Copenhagen, the purportedly cherished Western values of freedom of speech and freedom of the press came under attack from religious extremism. The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, which exploded in the immediate aftermath of the Paris killings, was supposed to symbolize a collective opposition to any restrictions (imposed or self-imposed) on free expression. Similarly, there was widespread condemnation of the killings in Copenhagen, followed by reaffirmations of the central place of a free press and free speech in modern European society.

In the midst of these brutal and senseless killings, two other stories caught our eye: the suspension in the US of NBC anchor Brian Williams for lying about events during his time in Iraq; and, the revelations provided by Daily Telegraph political commentator Peter Oborne on the influence of advertiser HSBC on editorial decision-making.

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Charles Bukowski’s Letter to the Librarian Who Banned His Book

51Gk+OrWOqLYet another intriguing Charles Bukowski letter. I think I still prefer the letter he wrote to his publisher, John Martin. But this one is also a gem.

A library in Holland banned Bukowski’s book, Tales of Ordinary MadnessWell Bukowski apparently felt the need to not exactly defend his writing, but to explain how honored he was to have written something so prolific. Though, he rightfully condemns the librarian’s censorship.

Dear Hans van den Broek:

Thank you for your letter telling me of the removal of one of my books from the Nijmegen library. And that it is accused of discrimination against black people, homosexuals and women. And that it is sadism because of the sadism.

The thing that I fear discriminating against is humor and truth.

If I write badly about blacks, homosexuals and women it is because of these who I met were that. There are many “bads”–bad dogs, bad censorship; there are even “bad” white males.

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You Can Now Get the Grimm Fairytales Uncensored and Uncut in English

It’s about damn time. It’s amazing how damaging to culture and history censorship can be.

Via Press.Princeton.edu:

When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Cinderella” would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezsö.

From “The Frog King” to “The Golden Key,” wondrous worlds unfold—heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all.

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The Phoenix Generation: A New Era of Connection, Compassion & Consciousness

downing.amanda (CC BY 2.0)

downing.amanda (CC BY 2.0)

via Reality Sandwich:

In the years ahead we are going to see great change sweeping through our diverse human societies. It will be change not only brought about by intentional minds and willing hearts; but also by necessity, by coercion, and from an evolutionary imperative. The 21st century will be equivalent to the dramatic ‘flat Earth to round Earth’ shift that was thrust upon humanity centuries before. Some may say we are in the midst of a 3rd Industrial Revolution. Yet rather than referring to this transition as an ‘industrial’ one, I consider this profound shift as a Revolution in Human Being – or rather as a Revolution in Human Becoming. The possibility of a genuine planetary civilization – with unity through diversity – and with the participation of an awakened and aware humanity, was never on the cards…until now. We have entered a phase where there will be new forms, new arrangements, new structures, new perspectives, and new emerging states of being.

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UK to stop its citizens seeing extremist material online

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Israel Defense Forces (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Gigaom:

The U.K.’s big internet service providers, including BT, Talk Talk, Virgin Media and Sky, have agreed to filter out terrorist and extremist material at the government’s behest, in order to stop people seeing things that may make them sympathetic towards terrorists.

The move will also see providers host a public reporting button for terrorist material. This is likely to be similar to what is already done with websites that may host child pornography – people can report content to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an organization that maintains a blacklist, to which that site could then be added.

In the case of extremist material, though, it appears that the reports would go through to the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), which is based in London’s Metropolitan Police and has already been very active in identifying extremist material and having it taken down.

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China Stops Censoring the Web—for Three Days, in One City

Michael Coghlan (CC BY 2.0)

Michael Coghlan (CC BY 2.0)

World Internet Conference in China. Now there’s an oxymoron.

via Bloomberg:

This week in China, there is a place where you can tweet to your heart’s content, Facebook your friends, or Google a YouTube video.

Beijing normally blocks nationwide access to Western social media and news websites, but it’s opening a crack in the Great Firewall just big enough for participants at a technology conference in Wuzhen, China, to squeeze through. The country is hosting the World Internet Conference from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21, where leaders from local Internet giants, including Alibaba and Tencent, will mingle with executives from LinkedIn, SoftBank and other global tech companies.

This temporary opening of the gates doesn’t mean China is having second thoughts about Web censorship. Not in the least. China often lifts its controls on the Web for attendees of high-profile international forums, as it did for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing earlier this month.

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Americans Ban Books on Poverty and Class

Not only are some Americans trying to remove books on sex and religion (not to mention evolution) from schools and public libraries, now they’re going after books dealing with poverty and class, reports the Guardian:

Late last month, for the 32nd year in a row, Banned Books Week was marked across the US. Spearheaded by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, the annual salute to the freedom to read has become a fixture. It aims to counterbalance perennial challenges to the content of books and efforts to get them banned, usually from schools and libraries.

The ALA collects information on which books are objected to and reports on prominent recurring themes that tend to generate moral or ideological indignation. Subjects such as religion, race, gender, sexuality and allegations of sexually explicit content or offensive language frequently top the list.

Berkeley Heights NJ public library books and shelves

More worrying, however, is the recent rise in efforts to get books banned that cover poverty and social class.

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