Category Archive 'Political Censorship'
10 Jun 2020

Gone With the Woke

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The international hysteria over the unfortunate death of “Five-Felony-Convictions” George Floyd has produced the last straw we could all see coming: HBO-Max is pulling “Gone With the Wind” (1939) from circulation. GWTW will be joining “Song of the South” (1946) and television’s “The Amos and Andy Show” (1951-1953) on the Index Prohibitorum. Though HBO does claim the film will return in a redacted version carefully denouncing all of its sins against politically correct history. (Hollywood Reporter:)

Long considered controversial for its depiction of Black people and its positive view of slavery, Gone With the Wind faced renewed scrutiny after an op-ed by 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley published in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. In the op-ed, Ridley called on HBO Max to “consider removing” Gone With the Wind from its platform as the film had its “own unique problem.” “It doesn’t just “fall short” with regard to representation. It is a film that glorifies the antebellum south. It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color,” Ridley wrote.

He added: “It is a film that, as part of the narrative of the “Lost Cause,” romanticizes the Confederacy in a way that continues to give legitimacy to the notion that the secessionist movement was something more, or better, or more noble than what it was — a bloody insurrection to maintain the “right” to own, sell and buy human beings.”

HBO Max said Gone With the Wind will eventually return to the service with a “discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions” of Black people and slavery.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a HBO spokesperson said: “Gone With The Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.”

GWTW is wrong, you see, because it takes the former (now-discredited in Academia by Marxist revisionist historians) national consensus view that the South was Wrong But Romantic, fighting for a fore-doomed cause that would inevitably fail, but that Southerners’ motives were patriotic and sincere, and their conduct gallant. Even worse, GWTW portrays happy African American servants exercising plenty of domestic power and responsibility and treated as members of the family. And, on top of that, they have quaint accents, speak in distinctive and amusing vernaculars (condescension!), and all the prominent ones remain loyal to their white family, even after Emancipation! HBO knows that all this is morally unconscionable and must be factually dead wrong. Eric Fone and Ta-Nehisi Coates told them so.

Margaret Mitchell’s portrait of the Lost Antebellum South, of course, was produced by a woman born in 1900, old enough to have known personally, lived beside, and heard all her life the reminiscences of the older generation which actually lived before, fought in, and survived both the War and the glorious, now so-deeply-regretted to have ever ended, Reconstruction Period. She couldn’t possibly be right. Those Marxist historians know better.

06 Jun 2020

New York Mag Has Andrew Sullivan Hog-Tied and Muzzled in the Closet

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The once-conservative Andrew Sullivan is now paying the turncoat’s price. New York Magazine pays his salary presently, and it has become clear that New York Magazine is keeping Andrew muzzled and on a tight leash.

There is, you see, always some danger that Andrew may reflexively lapse and produce an honest and well-reasoned appraisal of current events. This week’s current events consist of nation-wide violence and looting produced by well-financed and well-organized radical agitation, abetted by the national media, with the death of “Five Felony Convictions” George Floyd while in the hands of the police as the pretext.

Andrew will fight like a tiger for the honor of Sodomy, and he ankle bites real conservatives like a hydrophobic chihuahua but, even Andrew has to live, and he would transgress the Left’s sacred taboos concerning racial grievance at his own peril. That comfortable seat at the Establishment Table comes with a price: his integrity, his soul.

(Cockburn, at the Spectator, is mercilessly derisive.)

What has happened to New York media? Just as the New York Times was experiencing its own Inner Mongolia Moment over the now notorious Sen. Tom Cotton ‘Send in the Troops’ op-ed, the Maoists at New York magazine were going after their best columnist, Andrew Sullivan.

Sullivan revealed on Twitter yesterday that his column wouldn’t be appearing. The reason? His editors are not allowing him to write about the riots.

What has happened to New York media? Just as the New York Times was experiencing its own Inner Mongolia Moment over the now notorious Sen. Tom Cotton ‘Send in the Troops’ op-ed, the Maoists at New York magazine were going after their best columnist, Andrew Sullivan.

Sullivan revealed on Twitter yesterday that his column wouldn’t be appearing. The reason? His editors are not allowing him to write about the riots.

Presumably Sullivan’s editors are frightened that he might make the radically bourgeois point that looting and violence are wrong.

Cockburn understands that Sullivan is not just forbidden from writing for the New York magazine about the riots; his contract means he cannot write on the topic for another publication. He is therefore legally unable to write anything about the protests without losing his job — at the magazine that, in 1970, published Radical Chic, Tom Wolfe’s brilliant and controversial excoriation of progressive piety. It’s the bonfire of the liberals!

Who cares about the First Amendment? Not the Maoists who are marching through NYC’s media institutions. Safetyism is their creed. Sullivan may be a very small ‘c’ conservative, in some ways, but he is really a committed liberal — an Obama-loving gay man who thinks that Trump’s ‘dangerous fantasies’ threaten America. …

Sullivan, a source close to New York magazine reveals, has to have his work vetted by sensitive junior editors to make sure it doesn’t trigger them. If it passes their sniff testing, it can be published.

RTWT

16 May 2020

YouTube Working for Beijing

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Taiwan News:

Chinese netizens on Wednesday (May 13) discovered that YouTube is automatically blocking the Chinese term “communist bandit” within 15 seconds.

On Wednesday, human rights activist Jennifer Zeng posted a video of a person entering the epithet “communist bandit” (共匪) in the comment box beneath a YouTube video. Within 15 seconds after posting the comment, it mysteriously and inexplicably disappears.

The term is an anti-communist insult which was first coined by the Kuomintang in the early 20th Century and was used extensively by the Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) government during the martial law era in Taiwan. The Chinese character “共” (gong), is short for 共產主義 (gongchan zhuyi, communism), while the character “匪” (fei) means “bandit,” and was used extensively during China’s Warlord Era.

Taiwan News typed the term in Chinese characters in the comment box in a few different YouTube videos and indeed within 15 seconds, the comment had been automatically excised. It is not clear why YouTube is automatically censoring this word.

YouTube has recently started to demonetize content that is critical of the Chinese Communist Party and China’s handling of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

29 Apr 2020

A Fine Argument For Home Schooling

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How can a remote place like Matanuska-Susitna, Alaska gain the attention of the rest of the world? Why, it need merely elect a school board and turn the bozos loose to make micromanaging curriculum decisions. NBC News.

An Alaska school board removed five famous — but allegedly “controversial” — books from district classrooms, inadvertently spurring renewed local interest in the excluded works.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison were all taken off an approved list of works that teachers in the Mat-Su Borough School District may use for instruction.

The school board voted 5-2 on Wednesday to yank those works out of teachers’ hands starting this fall. The removed books contained content that could potentially harm students, school board vice president Jim Hart told NBC News on Tuesday.

“If I were to read these in a corporate environment, in an office environment, I would be dragged into EO,” an equal opportunity complaint proceeding, Hart said. “The question is why this is acceptable in one environment and not another.”

“Caged Bird” was derided for “‘anti-white’ messaging,” “Gatsby” and “Things” are loaded with “sexual references,” “Invisible” has bad language and “Catch” contains violence, according to the school district.

Dianne K. Shibe, president of the Mat-Su Education Association teachers union, said parents and her members were stunned by the board action.

Even though the school board had listed an agenda item to discuss “controversial book descriptions,” Shibe said no one believed those works were under serious threat.

RTWT

20 Aug 2019

“Welcome to the Land of the Perpetually Whiny and Offended”

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Jon Gabriel wrote an excellent column last Saturday in Arizona Central.

One normally only quotes some key bits with the intention of persuading readers to click on the link and read the whole thing at the original published location, but, Good God! the AzCentral page is so loaded with pop-up ads redirecting you elsewhither and, unaccountably, tosses you off the relevant page and on to later stuff with the touch sensitivity of (dry) Nitrogen Triiodide that I reluctantly came to the conclusion that this fine editorial has a very poor life expectancy and will very soon be completely inaccessible, so I’ve quoted the whole bloody thing.

Welcome to America, the land of the perpetually whiny and offended

Opinion: Instead of debating ideas, the left and right are demanding that anyone who annoys them be cast out of polite society.

Sarah Silverman has been canceled. A Hollywood director fired the progressive comedian because of a sketch she performed a dozen years ago.

“I recently was going to do a movie, a sweet part,” Silverman said on a recent podcast. “Then, at 11 p.m. the night before, they fired me because they saw a picture of me in blackface from that episode.”

The Comedy Central sketch lampooned a well-intentioned liberal who stupidly wore blackface to better empathize with African Americans.

“I was doing an episode about race,” she explained. “It was like, I’m playing a character, and I know this is wrong, so I can say it. I’m clearly liberal. That was such liberal-bubble stuff, where I actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism.”

Silverman may have lost a movie role, but at least she still has a career. Not everyone targeted by the “cancel culture” has been so lucky. Just look at Roseanne Barr, who was fired from her TV show for a bad tweet.
No one is immune from the Cancel Culture

All comedians are watching their backs these days. Kevin Hart was fired as an Oscars host because of decade-old jokes, and Aziz Ansari spent a year in professional hiding after a date gone wrong got him lumped in with the #MeToo backlash.

Silverman now regrets the blackface skit but fears more fallout. “I think it’s really scary and it’s a very odd thing that it’s invaded the left primarily and the right will mimic it.”

She didn’t have to wait long for conservatives to join cancel culture.

Want more opinions? Subscribe to azcentral.com.

A trailer for upcoming film “The Hunt” was released online and controversy followed. The horror film shows wealthy liberal elites hunting a ragtag group of red-state “deplorables” before the backwoods heroes start fighting back.

Despite its portrayal of rural conservatives taking down villainous progressives, several right-wing media stars were outraged.

Even the president joined the backlash. “Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate!” Trump said on Twitter. “They like to call themselves ‘Elite,’ but they are not Elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the Elite. The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos.”

The movie didn’t seem to deal with race one way or the other, but the studio took the hint. Within a day, they pulled the film.

Cancel culture is spreading for one simple reason: it works. Instead of debating ideas or competing for entertainment dollars, you can just demand anyone who annoys you to be cast out of polite society.

Way back in the mists of time, say five years ago, if you didn’t like a TV show or movie, you wouldn’t watch it. Now you can ensure that no one watches it, just by slinging some outrage on social media.

Our woke mentality is America’s new Puritanism. Instead of a handy list of sins written thousands of years ago, modern sins are ever-changing. A joke that was deemed progressive a decade ago is retroactively condemned as hate speech.

“If you say the wrong thing,” Silverman said, “everyone is, like, throwing the first stone. It’s a perversion. It’s really, ‘Look how righteous I am and now I’m going to press refresh all day long to see how many likes I get in my righteousness.’ ”

When the mob has burned one witch, they tighten the buckles on their hats and pore through old YouTube videos for their next victim.

It’s time for the perpetually offended on the left and right to bring back two concepts the Puritans were at least familiar with: grace and forgiveness.

19 May 2019

“When Some Films Are Banned, Only Outlaws Will Have Banned Films”

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Walt Disney’s “Song of the South” (1946).

As the Brave New World of 5G Streaming rapidly approaches, films on DVD are facing doom. Who wants to buy and store a gigantic pile of movies, when Amazon, Netflix, and other sites are a remote-click away and ready to stream your movie for you?

But, as Brian Watt points out, your monthly subscription fee is not going to be the only price you pay for convenience at the hands of Our Woke Corporate Overlords.

It should be apparent that the number of movies on discs are already beginning to disappear from brick-and-mortar retailers (Costco, Best Buy, Walmart) even as some brick-and-mortars themselves are beginning to disappear. If you accept the idea that the prerecorded disc market will disappear then you should have the same concerns about censorship that you already have about social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (Google) because streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and soon Disney and Apple have already established their social justice/politically correct wokeness.

Depending on the continued rise and prevalence of SJW-tinged groupthink by those who run some of the largest media and tech companies, it seems highly likely, for example, that content that runs counter to a Left-leaning political agenda will eventually begin to fade away and be impossible to find in streaming libraries. As with the social media giants, their CEOs and ministers of information will talk a good game about how even-handed and fair they are to all content creators even as they quietly blacklist and censor filmmakers and keep their work from being seen. Amazon has recently curtailed its relationship with Woody Allen in its #MeToo wokeness and will no longer fund or release his new films. Just as others in the academic and social media domains (Brett and Eric Weinstein, Dave Rubin) have found, the authoritarian inclinations of their “liberal” brethren can be quite disturbing, Woody perhaps at some point will admit that he and William F. Buckley may have had more in common than he realized.

There are several older Disney films that already run afoul of today’s SJW zeitgeist. Song of the South will likely never make it to Disney’s soon-to-be-available streaming service. Four years ago, a very woke writer for VH1 listed other Disney films she felt were racist including Peter Pan, Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and even The Princess and the Frog.

Amos n’ Andy and Uncle Remus have been missing for quite a while. The jive-talking crows from “Dumbo” recently simply got erased, just like fallen members of the 1930s Politiburo.

How much longer will it be before James Cagney’s mysogyinistic grapefruit disappears from “Public Enemy,” and Sam Spade no longer slaps Joel Cairo around, telling him he’ll take it and like it?

John Wayne represents a tall-in-the-saddle affront to everything politically correct, from the full-throated patriotism of all those war movies, to the brawl with Victor McLaglen in “The Quiet Man,” to Maureen O’Hara’s spanking in “McClintock.” How long before the most objectionable John Wayne scenes are deleted and spectacles of white male oppression of Native Americans (“The Searchers” and “The Cavalry Trilogy” and of persons of color (“Sands of Iwo Jima and “The Alamo”) vanish from the catalogs?

RTWT

12 Mar 2019

Facebook Bans Zero Hedge

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Tyler Durden had no explanation, and neither do I.

We were especially surprised by this action as neither prior to this seemingly arbitrary act of censorship, nor since, were we contacted by Facebook with an explanation of what “community standard” had been violated or what particular filter or article had triggered the blanket rejection of all Zero Hedge content.

To be sure, as a for-profit enterprise with its own unique set of corporate “ethics”, Facebook has every right to impose whatever filters it desires on the media shared on its platform. It is entirely possible that one or more posts was flagged by Facebook’s “triggered” readers who merely alerted a censorship algo which blocked all content.

Alternatively, it is just as possible that Facebook simply decided to no longer allow its users to share our content in retaliation for our extensive coverage of what some have dubbed the platform’s “many problems”, including chronic privacy violations, mass abandonment by younger users, its gross and ongoing misrepresentation of fake users, ironically – in retrospect – its systematic censorship and back door government cooperation (those are just links from the past few weeks).

Unfortunately, as noted above, we still don’t know what event precipitated this censorship, and any attempts to get feedback from the company with the $500 billion market cap, have so far remained unanswered.

We would welcome this opportunity to engage Facebook in a constructive dialog over the company’s decision to impose a blanket ban on Zero Hedge content. Alternatively, we will probably not lose much sleep if that fails to occur: unlike other websites, we are lucky in that only a tiny fraction of our inbound traffic originates at Facebook, with most of our readers arriving here directly without the aid of search engines (Google banned us from its News platform, for reasons still unknown, shortly after the Trump victory) or referrals.

That said, with Facebook increasingly under political, regulatory and market scrutiny for its arbitrary internal decisions on what content to promote and what to snuff, its ever declining user engagement, and its soaring content surveillance costs, such censorship is hardly evidence of the platform’s “openness” to discourse, its advocacy of free speech, or its willingness to listen to and encourage non-mainstream opinions, even if such “discourse” takes place in some fake user “click farm” somewhere in Calcutta.

Republicans like myself normally defend Big Corporations against government regulations and anti-trust prosecution. I’m planning to make a special exception for Facebook.

17 Aug 2017

Scary

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The Washington Post reports that many of the key companies providing social networking, financial transfer, and even web-site registration have now decided to take it upon themselves to decide just who is, and who is not, worthy of Internet services and access.

Silicon Valley significantly escalated its war on white supremacy this week, choking off the ability of hate groups to raise money online, removing them from Internet search engines, and preventing some sites from registering at all.

The new moves go beyond censoring individual stories or posts. Tech companies such as Google, GoDaddy and PayPal are now reversing their hands-off approach about content supported by their services and making it much more difficult for alt-right organizations to reach mass audiences.

But the actions are also heightening concerns over how tech companies are becoming the arbiters of free speech in America. …

The censorship of hate speech by companies passes constitutional muster, according to First Amendment experts. But they said there is a downside of thrusting corporations into that role.

Silicon Valley firms may be ill-prepared to manage such a large societal responsibility, they added. The companies have limited experience handling these issues. They must answer to shareholders and demonstrate growth in users or profits — weighing in on free speech matters risks alienating large groups of customers across the political spectrum.

These platforms are also so massive — Facebook, for example, counts a third of the world’s population in its monthly user base; GoDaddy hosts and registers 71 million websites — it may actually be impossible for them to enforce their policies consistently.

Still, tech companies are forging ahead. On Wednesday, Facebook said it canceled the page of white nationalist Christopher Cantwell, who was connected to the Charlottesville rally. The company has shut down eight other pages in recent days, citing violations of the company’s hate speech policies. Twitter has suspended several extremist accounts, including @Millennial_Matt, a Nazi-obsessed social media personality.

On Monday, GoDaddy delisted the Daily Stormer, a prominent neo-Nazi site, after its founder celebrated the death of a woman killed in Charlottesville. The Daily Stormer then transferred its registration to Google, which also cut off the site. The site has since retreated to the “dark Web,” making it inaccessible to most Internet users.

PayPal late Tuesday said it would bar nearly three dozen users from accepting donations on its online payment platform following revelations that the company played a key role in raising money for the white supremacist rally.

In a lengthy blog post, PayPal outlined its long-standing policy of not allowing its services to be used to accept payments or donations to organizations that advocate racist views.

You won’t however find any mention of ANTIFA, the CPUSA, or any group on the Left receiving this kind of attention.

RTWT

23 Mar 2017

Scalzi Parody Update: Civil War in Amazon IT Department

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Vox Day yesterday explained that it wasn’t Jeff Bezos or Amazon officially that took down the “Johan Kalsi” parody of John Scalzi’s latest screed. Little SJW nerds buried deep in the Amazon machine are suspected.

Since some people seem to want to go on the warpath, let me be perfectly clear here: Amazon is not to blame. I even suspect that it is entirely possible that Tor Books is not to blame either, based on a) when the book was pulled and b) the fact that the book has shown as Live for nearly 24 hours but still does not have a page on any Amazon site. The most likely scenario, in my opinion, is a rogue low-level SJW employee, possibly two, in a specific department.

I have already spoken to the manager of one department and they have begun to investigate why Corrosion is Live but not available. They’ve done everything we asked and we have no problem with the way we have been treated.

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Civil War in Amazon IT Department

The Corroding Empire was up this morning, but SuperversiveSF found that it has been going up and down.

The Corroding Empire isn’t out of the woods yet, because following that conversation, it was blocked again, reinstated again and blocked a third time in short order.

Superversive links another Vox post which reports:

As we suspected, there appear to have been internal shenanigans taking place at Amazon, as one or more SJWs appear to have abused their positions to interfere with our ability to sell THE CORRODING EMPIRE. …

Thank you for your support and for holding fire while we sorted out who was, and who was not, responsible for the removal of THE CORRODING EMPIRE. The very helpful KDP representative to whom I spoke said that he did not believe there was anything improper or misleading about the title, the name, or the cover, but we’re going to wait to get explicit permission on all three elements before settling on a final edition that will see print.

Mr. Amazon SJW just blocked it again. Unsigned, of course. SJWs always double down.

    We’re writing to let you know that readers have reported a problem in your book. The error significantly impacts the readability of your book. We have temporarily removed it from sale so that more readers don’t experience the same problem in your book

    Error Category: Wrong_Content; Comments: The content of your book is a different edition than what the detail page indicates. Because this could be a serious issue for many customers, we have had to temporarily block your book from sale. Please correct the image so that we can make it available for sale again.

UPDATE: Another phone call and we’re back up again.

UPDATE: And blocked again, albeit this time UNDER REVIEW, not memory-holed.

UPDATE: Finally got to speak to a supervisor. She’s not only escalated the matter to legal, but has assured me that the book will be unblocked, stay unblocked, and that the matter will be fully investigated. It’s not just the three blocks, the culprit(s) also put the book on the Excluded list for Amazon Associates, which prevents others from being paid when someone buys the book.

UPDATE: The book is live, and is now locked for a fourth time. SJWs really do double down.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

03 Oct 2016

Alt-Right’s Operation Google

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socialmediacensorship

Regular readers are undoubtedly aware that I am not a leading admirer of the Alt-Right. I do believe, however, in giving even the devil his due, and I was just reading this morning of a rather clever victory by the Alt-Right over commercial social media censorship.

The Alt-Right crowd on 4-chan has initiated “Operation Google” which aims to defeat social media algorithms designed to detect, identify, and punish postings deemed “sexist, racist, transphobic, Islamophobic,” etc.

Quartz has the story.

Here’s a list of code word substitutes for group pejoratives that would get the user censored or banned from Twitter and Facebook and the others:

Jewish = (((three parentheses around name))) or skype

African American = goog, google

Mexican = yahoo

East Asian = bing

Muslim = skittle

Male Homosexual = butterfly

Lesbian = fishbucket

Transexual = durden

Democrat/Liberal = car salesman

Conservative = reagan

Libertarian = a leppo

Alt-Right = pepe

It is obviously impossible for commercial social media corporations to censor the names of big companies and services like Google and Yahoo.

28 Jul 2015

All the Changes Made to the Initial Star Wars Trilogy

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Marcelo Zuniga illustrates in a series of videos all the changes that Lucasfilm has made to the original Star Wars Trilogy (and he found a lot of them).

(Watching in Full Screen modes is recommended.)

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26 Jul 2015

International “Scientific” Human Rights Organization Demand That Dante’s “Divine Comedy” Be Banned

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Dante
Detail: Dominico di Michelino, Dante and the Divine Comedy, fresco, Florence Cathedral, 1465.

The Telegraph‘s reportage demonstrates that the organized Left’s hankering to eradicate history is international in scope and goes much farther than the Confederate flag.

[Dante’s] classic work should be removed from school curricula, according to Gherush 92, a human rights organisation which acts as a consultant to UN bodies on racism and discrimination.

Dante’s epic is “offensive and discriminatory” and has no place in a modern classroom, said Valentina Sereni, the group’s president.

Divided into three parts – Hell, Purgatory and Heaven – the poem consists of 100 cantos, of which half a dozen were marked out for particular criticism by the group.

It represents Islam as a heresy and Mohammed as a schismatic and refers to Jews as greedy, scheming moneylenders and traitors, Miss Sereni told the Adnkronos news agency.

“The Prophet Mohammed was subjected to a horrific punishment – his body was split from end to end so that his entrails dangled out, an image that offends Islamic culture,” she said.

Homosexuals are damned by the work as being “against nature” and condemned to an eternal rain of fire in Hell.

“We do not advocate censorship or the burning of books, but we would like it acknowledged, clearly and unambiguously, that in the Divine Comedy there is racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic content. Art cannot be above criticism,” Miss Sereni said.

Schoolchildren and university students who studied the work lacked “the filters” to appreciate its historical context and were being fed a poisonous diet of anti-Semitism and racism, the group said.

It called for the Divine Comedy to be removed from schools and universities or at least have its more offensive sections fully explained.

Complete story.

Gherush 92 indictment (in Italian).

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