Thursday, January 8, 2015

"I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must"

Feel free to grab this image and use it 

I don't particularly like Salman Rushdie. I haven't been a fan of crude, crass satire since I outgrew MAD magazine. But there's tremendous danger in keeping silent just because you aren't the immediate target.

Censorship is one of those things that can creep in on little cat feet. The nasty, rude, and badly written stuff on the fringes is easy to object to. It offends just about everybody. So it's easy to tell them to shut up, go away, you're just cluttering up the landscape.

Then the questions start about whether the better written satires are in poor taste. Whether offending anybody, or the chance of offending anybody, is a bad idea. Whether those offended people have guns and might kick in your door.

Jihadists? Maybe. Or maybe it will be governmentally sanctioned door-kickers.

Censorship is alive and well in the United States, of course. I first became aware of it as a comic book fan through the work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- why does such a thing even need to exist? Because the fringe stuff in the comic book world is nasty, rude, badly written, and offends just about everybody.

Does it have a right to exist? Absolutely. Should the creators be called out on their rudeness, use of awful stereotypes, misogyny, and bad writing? Absolutely.

And on a more personal note, I've been mildly censored myself. Self-publishers may remember the purge of incest, under-age, and other fringe pornography from the ebook shelves a year or two ago. In the midst of all that, quietly threw my Disciple, Part II out of their store and blocked it. They never said why. I can guess, but why bother? I took all of Disciple out of Kobo and I won't do any further business with them.

Fortunately, I can do business elsewhere. But as I said, censorship can creep in quietly. It doesn't take masked thugs with guns.

Just some thoughts. What have the Charlie Hebdo shootings made you think about?

ETA: the CBLDF is brave enough to post the images -- bless them.

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