Saturday, 28 August 2010


Thanks to Inventor Spot for the image

It seems to have been a week of censorship related incidents. I was on CiF the other day and became increasingly enraged - whilst reading an article about school selection - by a commenter who goes by the name of CharleySays. This guy really is an offensive little toad; racist, snobbish and misogynistic, and he seems to pop up below the line on every article on the bloody website. Just the kind of person you would not want to have living anywhere near you. Anyway, he was saying that he would not wish his kids to attend a school where there were 'immigrants or rude and unruly' pupils. His initial comment was modded and removed, but quite a few others had already copied the offending words (which offence seemed to be caused by the 'immigrant' part) and - pasting them into their own responses - were calling him out. Many, including me, did not agree with the removal of the comment, because you don't fight this kind of mindless prejudice by shutting it up. A light has to be shone onto it.

And then, one of my emails to a friend from my work address was quarantined. I was explaining why I had introduced comment moderation on this blog (it was purely to fight spam, I assure you - I have recently fallen victim to some annoying ad spam in the comments section of really ancient posts, and it was beginning to piss me off) and told him why I had done it, saying something along the lines of:

'I'm getting a lot of ads about penis extension, free software... the usual stuff...'

And this was enough (I presume 'penis extension' was what did it in this case) for the net police at my office to consider the email offensive - though they did say the administrators had not received a copy of it. I only wish they had, so that I could have discussed with them the merits or otherwise of such actions. I was forced to re-write the message in order to get it through. I ask you! Anyway, in case you're interested, I have removed the moderation from here now. I screwed up somewhere and appeared to have blocked any commenting whatsoever. God knows there's little enough interaction on here or in the world in general.

Finally, I read recently on Metafilter about a list of the 25 most shocking films ever. Needless to say, the original post was snarked to death, but the stuff below this line - in contrast to a good deal of that on CiF - was as always very interesting, and I heard about a film - called A Serbian Film - which was described as truly (and I mean truly) shocking.

Of course, I pride myself on being able to watch pretty much anything, and would hesitate to censor almost any content ('almost' is a key word of course. There have to be lines, and for me they centre around exploitation, although thinking about this is a little more complex, and probably requires a post all of its own) so I read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia. Indeed it is shocking, as I'm sure you will agree if you read that Wikipedia link, but still I had not had enough, so I managed to find some streams of the film in sections and watched up to about 45 minutes in. When I had to switch off, vowing never to go there again. In actual fact, despite reading the director's apology, I could see little if any artistic merit in it. I disagree with some of the reviews I have read, praising the good acting performances, although I do think that the production values are surprisingly high. But this is really not enough.

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