Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.
I tried redownloading the Bring Up the Bodies Text Factor episode but all I got was fifty minutes of you screaming and weeping, and I swear the original episode only had about five minutes of that at most.
Arthur, not sure if reposting the Cordova articles would potentially breach your contract re: the biopic? You know better than me, just thought I should flag it up.
WOW ARTHUR WOW.
I wonder if we'll ever find out what happened to Agent Chester Desmond? (I assume David Bowie made it back to his planet safely.) I also wonder what's going to happen now that Frank Silva's gone. I suppose that upsetting old woman from The Oregonian could use some work.
It went to the Federal State of Bavaria after Hitler's Death, so up to now the book never was properly "banned" in Germany, it was rather a question of copyright claims.
Bavaria first gave 500,000 Euros to create an annotated version of the book when copyright lapses, then it withdrew its support, then it said they'd ban even annotated versions going to court, then they said an annotated version would be fine and the current state of affairs is that a critically annotated edition might be acceptable, but this would have to be considered on a case to case basis once the critical edition has been finished.
Which, if I were a historian working on this, is not something I'd see as a clear-cut "yes". Might be a lot of time and effort to just get banned anyway.
The whole story shows quite well how problematic handling this part of our past and finding a proper response to it is... even to this day.
Fin: I saw this chilling article earlier today.
That is, indeed, deeply disturbing. However, I keep getting stuck on this bit:
"I look at the US military and government, ironically, as having some of the very same problems as what the Call of Duty franchise has," Anthony continued. "We are both on top of our game. We are both the best in the world at what we do. We both have enemies who are trying to take us down at any possible opportunity."
Really, Anthony? Look, I happen to be of the opinion that here in the US, the threat posed by the military and government's "enemies" is vastly over-instated; and while I'm sure there are plenty of state and non-state actors who would like to topple said institutions, I doubt there are more than a handful who seriously believe there's a chance they'll ever be in a position to do so. That said, are you seriously comparing whatever skullduggery your rivals in the video games industry may or may not get up to with the tactics of people who are trying to overthrow a foreign government? Isn't that just the tiniest bit conceited?
Reaching back a bit,
James D: Blatant racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. isn't cutting edge at all, it's shit that was commonplace in decades past and is still pretty common today.
... And into Ye Olde Quote File. Well said, sir.
Reaching still further,
Arthur: It's worth noting that, what with next year being the 70th anniversary of Hitler's death, Mein Kampf is entering the public domain.
That's interesting, and now it makes me want to speculate who's been holding the copyright up to this point - somehow, I doubt it's a Hitler Family Estate.
Short version: If GamaSutra doesn't want ads pulled, it shouldn't allow women to have opinions that make straight, white dudes uncomfortable or critically question them.
I saw this chilling article earlier today. Wonder when GG will turn their attent... okay, I can't even finish that sentence, they won't.
So, the straight, white men that form the Gaters, who complain about their toys being taken away, now manage to deprieve websites that dare to offer POC, women, gay or disabled gamers a place to voice their opinions of necessary funding. This being a rather underhanded form of censorship...
Film rating systems generally pay a lot of attention to specifics (swearwords, instances of violence, nudity, actual sex), some attention to scenes as a whole (is the scene disturbing at the 5-minute level even if not at the 10-second level) and again, very little to themes or messages - although Tolerance of [latest point of social contention] is usually a factor. Games seem to be pretty similar, mostly dealing with the level and realism of violence.
When books come into play, suddenly everyone cares about messages and themes and ideas. Book categorisation/censorship is usually discussed in those terms, and almost never in terms of how many times the word "fuck" appears or how many people are graphically killed by the protagonist. You can read as much Tom Clancy as you want, none of this club seems interested in stopping you. I strongly suspect the same people would push rather disturbing books onto school reading lists because they Address Issues, object to the exact same content in films, and complain about Twilight or Fifty Shades because of the sexual content rather than any more pertinent issues about the positions they promote.
But, I speak largely from a position of ignorance. My schools were just glad to see you bothering to read at all.
Though I think this is probably irrational and based on a snobbish assumption that visual and audio arts can't affect us the same way prose does.
I think it is just as legitimate to protest books being withdrawn from libraries censoriously as it is to protest films or games being suppressed on a similar basis. Most librarians probably won't let kids take out Cannibal Holocaust, of course. But whichever amazing work that opened your eyes and unlocked your soul and showed you that you weren't alone in the world and which is opposed by narrow-minded parents was - and I think most of us can name one - it probably wasn't whatever the prose equivalent of Cannibal Holocaust is.
Plus kids can get around parental bans trivially. Those who have access will get pirate stuff through IT means, those who don't will probably have friends who can. Hell, watching movies we had no business watching was a standard playground rite of passage for my generation, and that was well before downloading a movie was a practical possibility.
I’ve never really seen those as an “aid to parental monitoring of their kids’ reading choices”, but as a way to help people choose media suitable for them – for children, this might involve parents, just like every single other part of their life.
Yes, I totally agree that content warnings are of benefit when they help people make informed decisions about their own reading choices. I was responding to the suggestion that content warnings are especially appropriate when they help parents decide what books are appropriate for their kids.
I confess that I have no rationally persuasive argument as to why parental supervision of children's choices in this area is uniquely unsettling, however, so I suppose I'll have to let go of the issue.
Now, surely what we can all agree on is draconian laws demanding that book blurbs accurately reflect what the book is actually about. “In Winter’s Heart, people ride across the country for several hundred pages. Nothing interesting happens.”
"The best-written pastiche of '80s and '90s Tolkien imitations I've read in the past decade!" - Famous Author