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University drops world's oldest erotic novel written in English from curriculum
t remains one of the most widely banned books in history, shocking readers with its 'pornographic' content centuries before Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Nearly 270 years on, it seems that modern day students are proving equally squeamish, as Fanny Hill, the first ever erotic novel written in English, has been dropped from the University of London curriculum for fear of offending students.

Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, was first published in 1748. Written while the author was in debtors prison in London, it’s the story of an ageing courtesan who looks back with “stark naked truth” on her scandalous life.

The book incensed the British clergy and censors upon its publication. However, heteronormative descriptions in Fanny Hill of “maypole[s] of so enormous a standard” appear to be proving too much for university students.

Judith Hawley, professor of 18th-century literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, said that after decades of teaching the provocative text on various courses, Fanny Hill is being dropped from the latest curriculum following a consultation with students.


Speaking on a Radio 4 discussion on sex and freedom of speech, Dr Hawley said that including pornographic texts on any syllabus risked students “slap[ping her]... with a trigger warning”.

“In the 1980s I both protested against the opening of a sex shop in Cambridge and taught Fanny Hill,” she said.

“Nowadays I’d be afraid of causing offence to my students, both that I can understand why a senior academic imposing a pornographic text on the students would come across as being objectionable and that the students would slap me with a trigger warning [so] that I now self-censor myself.”

One of the most heavily censored texts of the English literary canon, Fanny Hill has been removed completely from the course “The Age of Oppositions, 1660-1780”, which examines libertine literature.


Following the students’ request, the rest of the reading list for the course now comes with a “trigger warning”, explaining that Restoration and 18th-century texts “sometimes reflect the unpleasant prejudices of their time, just as they sometimes work to complicate or challenge those attitudes.

"Racism, sexual violence, and self-harm were part of society then, as in different ways they are now.”

Students are encouraged to speak to staff if there is a “cause for concern”.


Dr Hawley also confirmed that students had complained about a number of other texts, including Room by Emma Donoghue, the story of a young boy held captive with his abductee mother, and Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Speaking to The Times about what concerns the students had about King Lear, Dr Hawley said: “Apart from gouging out of eyes [and] the death of Cordelia? Actually what most offends students is depictions of violence against women and suicide.

"I had some objections to Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, not because it represents the appalling effect British colonialism had on a Nigerian tribe but because one of the characters hits his wife and commits suicide.”

She continued: “It is important not to exaggerate claims that students are stifling free speech on campus. We hope we have struck a balance between encouraging discussion of difficult issues without making life difficult for students who might feel coerced by academics.”
IlliberalLeft  Literature  Education  db  Campus  Censorship 
22 hours ago by walt74
UK.gov To Treat Online Abuse as Seriously as Hate Crime in Real Life - Slashdot
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service has pledged to tackle online abuse with the same seriousness as it does hate crimes committed in the flesh. From a report: Following public concern about the increasing amount of racist, anti-religious, homophobic and transphobic attacks on social media, the CPS ha...
uk  censorship  internet  racism 
yesterday by pankkake
Lumen [Successor to Chilling Effects]
The Lumen database collects and analyzes legal complaints and requests for removal of online materials, helping Internet users to know their rights and understand the law. These data enable us to study the prevalence of legal threats and let Internet users see the source of content removals.
censorship  database  law  +++++  network 
yesterday by jonippolito
Against Signal-Boosting As Doxxing
A recent spat on Twitter, which I won’t link: some guy using his real name tweeted an offensive joke about how women should make sandwiches at a group of women. A feminist columnist with tens of thousands of followers retweeted with the comment “This is a young man who ostensibly wants a job someday, tweeting at professional women in his field under his own name…RT to help ensure [REAL NAME]’s prospective employers know this when they search for [REAL NAME]’s name”.

[EDIT: See here for discussion of various complicating factors; my claim isn’t going to be that a completely innocent person was punished, so much as that this entire paradigm of punishment is dangerous]

What particularly bothered me about this situation was that the columnist involved was a libertarian who writes for Reason, and her supporters were mostly other influential libertarians. And they were all using the old argument that the concept of “free speech” came into existence ex nihilo on December 15, 1791 with the ratification of the First Amendment, and has no meaning or significance outside a purely legal context of delimiting government power.

I have a friend who grew up gay in a small town in Alabama, where “faggot” was the all-purpose insult and the local church preached hellfire as the proper punishment for homosexuality. He unsurprisingly stayed in the closet throughout his childhood and ended up with various awful psychological problems.

If you’re a very stupid libertarian strawman, you might ask whether that town had any anti-gay laws on the book – and, upon hearing they didn’t, say that town was “pro-gay”. If you’re not a very stupid libertarian strawman, you hopefully realize that being pro-gay isn’t about boasting how progressive your law code looks, it’s about having a society where it’s possible to be gay. Not having laws against locking up gay people is a necessary precondition, but it’s useless on its own. You only get good results if good laws are matched by good social norms.

Likewise, the goal of being pro-free-speech isn’t to make a really liberal-sounding law code. It’s to create a society where it’s actually possible to hold dissenting opinions, where ideas really do get judged by merit rather than by who’s powerful enough to shut down whom. Having free speech laws on the books is a necessary precondition, but it’s useless in the absence of social norms that support it. If you win a million First Amendment victories in the Supreme Court, but actively work to undermine the social norms that let people say what they think in real life, you’re anti-free-speech.

But I’ve discussed this before at more length. What I want to get into here is a point specific to this situation: the guy made this joke under his real name. All the Reason columnist did was retweet it and add some commentary about how she hopes he becomes un-hire-able. This isn’t doxxing. It’s not even divulging a secret; the guy said it on his public Twitter. Is it really so wrong to do what’s basically just signal-boosting his comment?

A quick philosophical digression: what are we even doing here? My thought is: we’re trying to hash out a social norm. We expect this social norm to be sometimes in our favor and sometimes against us, so we want it to be universalizable and desirable under a veil of ignorance.

On that note: let him who is without sin throw the first stone. Have any of you ever said or done anything which, if signal-boosted, would be very embarassing and might prevent you from getting a job?

Before you answer, consider this: the person signal-boosting you has much wider reach than you do. There are now tens of thousands of people in the world who know you only as the guy who said that one embarassing thing one time. For that matter, anyone who Googles you will know you only as the guy who said that one embarassing thing one time. All of your triumphs, all of your defeats, all your loves and fears and follies – none of these exist in the public mind. If you cross a blogger, a columnist, or a Twitter celebrity, all that will exist is that you once retweeted a racist joke on the 26th of March, 2014.

Never retweeted a racist joke? Someone will find something. Maybe you’ve been a sex worker once – hope you didn’t put your picture up on the Internet, or else Reason columnists will say it’s not “doxxing” to merely “signal-boost” it so that everyone knows. Heck, even watching porn is enough to get people fired some places. Maybe you were stupid enough to admit you were gay or trans under something traceable to your real identity. Maybe you voted for Trump (a firing offense in some places) or against Trump (a firing offense in others). Maybe you committed a crime someone can find on a public crime database, or maybe you said something perfectly innocent which can be twisted into a sinister “dog whistle” out of context.

My own story – some antipsychiatry crackpot decided to target me, went through a couple of posts I’d written defending the practice of involuntary psych commitment in certain cases, and took a few statements out of context to make it look like I thought we should lock up all mentally ill people and throw away the key. Then he posted it on an antipsychiatry website, asking if anyone could find the address of my workplace so he could send it there to prove that I was unfit to work with the mentally ill. Luckily the moderator contacted me and deleted the post, and it stopped there. And it was never that convincing an effort to begin with. But…

In a world where an average of 250 resumes are received for each corporate position, how convincing does an effort have to be to ruin somebody’s life? Do you think your dream company is going to spend a long time sorting through each claim and counterclaim to determine that the highly-Google-ranked page about you claiming you’re unfit to work in your industry is mostly unfair? No. They’re just going to cut their risks and move on to the other 249 candidates.

Here’s an exercise which I encourage you to try. Suppose there’s a Reason columnist who wants to get you fired. They pore over your public statements – Twitter feed, Facebook timeline, any blogs you might have written, anything you’ve said in mixed company that you don’t know if somebody else wrote down waiting for the time they could use it against you. Imagine the most incriminating dossier of your statements, out of context, that they could put together. Imagine what would happen if they were pretty determined, and sent it to your workplace, your church, your parents, et cetera. How much of your life could they destroy?

And I agree this is weird. It’s bizarre that so many people trust to security by obscurity, when anybody with an axe to grind can destroy their obscurity and reveal them to the world. It’s bizarre that we treat Twitter as a private place, when literally everything that happens there is visible to every human being on Earth. It’s bizarre that we trust to these fragile online identities when any hacker can cut through them, bizarre that we wear such different masks to different friends when they could just talk and compare notes, bizarre that we dare to talk at all when we know every word we say is logged and the future may be less forgiving than the past.

But don’t let the fact that it’s bizarre make you think it isn’t important. How many of us can say, honestly, that we could bear the Panopticon? If every valley were raised up and every mountain pulled down, so there was nowhere to hide, and we were rendered naked to any eye anywhere in the world, how long could we endure? Wouldn’t we retreat into ourselves, turtle-like, afraid to ever speak at all?

And who would enjoy this new flattened landscape more than the biggest and most predatory? In the Panopticon, any celebrity with a platform can destroy the lives of any ordinary person, just by mentioning them. It would be paradise for any petty tyrant with a blog, and hell for anybody too poor to tolerate a risk of losing their livelihood.

I have a pretty big blog. But other people have bigger ones. I’m not confident that the amount of fun I could have destroying the reputations of people I don’t like outweighs the chance of someone else destroying mine. I’m certainly not confident that the aggressive-signal-boosting power would mostly end up in the hands of good people. So I reject the entire tactic. I think it’s morally wrong to try to signal-boost people’s bad behavior – even their semipublic bad behavior – to get them fired. Probably there’s a lot of subtlety here and there have been times in the past I’ve supported cases that seem completely different to me but might seem similar to others. I admit there’s an argument that doxxing is a way of shaming people in order to enforce social norms, and that we need some way to enforce social norms eg the one against offensive jokes – though see my post Be Nice, At Least Until You Can Coordinate Meanness about good and bad ways to do this. But for now I just am very suspicious of the whole enterprise.

Lord Byron wrote of his political philosophy:

I wish men to be free
As much from mobs as kings; from you as me

I stand with Byron. But I worry there’s a big strain of libertarians today who don’t. Who wish men were free from kings, but not from mobs. Who wish men were free from others, but definitely not from them.

All I can say to that is – it’s a package deal, people. Either promote good social norms, or be destroyed by the bad ones when the tide turns against you. That’s the only choice on offer.
Doxing  FreeSpeech  Censorship  SocialNorms  db  ScottAlexander 
yesterday by walt74
Debunking the Myth of “Free Speech”
Contrary to popular mythology, the right to speak has always had limits in the US. In fact, we live in what amounts to a free speech Wild West compared to what existed in my childhood, and this isn’t due just to the Citizens United decision.

Consider broadcast television, which was a vastly more important political force in the 1960s and 1970s than now. The three major networks, along with the two national news magazines, Time and Newsweek, shaped mass culture. And they all stayed tightly within a relatively narrow spectrum of civic views and social norms.

Broadcast spectrum has always been explicitly recognized to be a commons, yet it has never been a “free speech” zone. From Michael O’Malley, Associate Professor of History and Art History, George Mason University:

Like radio broadcasters, television broadcasters operated under the authority of the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC was established by Franklin Roosevelt with the assumption that the airwaves, the broadcast “bandwidth,” belonged to the people, much in the same way as, for example, federal forest land belongs to the people. Broadcasters applied for a license to use a section of that public property, a specific frequency.

Formal and informal censorship of television was extensive. By happenstance, I once met Dan Rowan of Rowan’s and Martin’s Laugh-In, which ran from 1968 to 1973. He described some of their regular fights with censors. I wish I recalled the details (this was over 30 years ago) but the impression I had was that Laugh-In was seen as being close enough to being transgressive that every show was reviewed before airing. Histories of censorship of television make clear that most of it was done by the broadcasters themselves, some of it presumably based on an understanding of what the FCC would tolerate, but also based on the advertisers’ view of what the mass audience and mass values were.

But what about “free speech” in the context of the Boston right-wing rally? Let us turn over the mike to Neil W, who weighed in via e-mail:

Charlottesville was not an exercise in free speech. There’s no such thing as free speech. Seriously. It’s a myth. An absolute tolerance for speech is neither defined in our Constitution nor our jurisprudence. There’s protected speech. And there’s speech that is not protected. Look at the list of types of speech defined in law as not being protected.

•Obscenity

•Fighting words

•Defamation (including libel and slander)

•Child pornography

•Perjury

•Blackmail

•Incitement to imminent lawless action

•True threats

•Solicitations to commit crimes

•Treason

•Plagiarism

Do you see the commonality in there? It’s harm. Speech that is not protected by law ultimately creates or perpetuates harm. Hate speech creates harm. Stanley Fish, discussing a Jeremy Waldron thesis:

“The very point of hate speech, [Waldron] says, “is to negate the implicit assurance that a society offers to the members of vulnerable groups — that they are accepted … as a matter of course, along with everyone else.” Purveyors of hate “aim to undermine this assurance, call it in question, and taint it with visible expressions of hatred, exclusion and contempt.” What the Vice video, and most of the other Charlottesville coverage, shows is an exercise in hate speech.

Hate speech creates harm that is arguably more egregious than any related to the types of speech in the above list. And yet, our political mythology demands that hate speech be tolerated regardless of the obvious and well documented harm it causes because there is some mysterious greater harm awaiting us should we act to extend to all of our citizens the implicit assurance incorporated into our Constitution and protections from harm found in our jurisprudence. Other countries have hate speech laws. The United States is long past due.

We don’t know what might have been said at the Boston event, particularly since the roster of speakers was changing up to right before the event. But we have clues.

Even though one of the six organizers, John Medlar, said he was a libertarian and denounced hate groups, at a minimum, scheduling this event as a follow-up to Charlottesville wasn’t consistent with that branding. Even the people planning protests on a clearly unrelated issue, the firing of Google’s James Damore, postponed demonstrations that were also originally set for this weekend to distance them from Charlottesville.

And it looks like the “Boston Free Speech” leaders, whether intentionally or not, were trying to have it both ways. From Boston.com last week:

John Medlar, who says he is an organizer for Boston Free Speech, the group behind the rally, told Boston.com that his group is not associated with the white supremacists who marched with tiki torches in Charlottesville last weekend. But the group has said in comments on a Facebook post that there would be “overlap” in attendance between the two rallies….

Boston Free Speech posted an updated list Friday of the rally’s speakers, which includes Joe Biggs, who worked until recently for Infowars, the website founded by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; and Kyle Chapman, known on the internet as “Based Stickman” and founder of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “new Alt-Right group of street fighters.”…

Some speakers initially billed for the rally, such as Gavin McInnes, a former Vice Media co-founder and founder of the Proud Boys, a far-right group, dropped out following a Monday press conference by Boston officials condemning the event.

As Micheal Olenick pointed out, both France and Germany have laws against hate speech, yet they are not stymied robust political debate, nor the rise of far-right candidates like Marine Le Pen. Although US exceptionalism means we are loath to look overseas and crib from successful policies implemented elsewhere, the time is overdue for us to catch up here. City officials implemented an anti-hate-speech standard in Boston in a clumsy manner. We might as well do it right.
FreeSpeech  Censorship  db 
yesterday by walt74
Teen uses social media alias to insult President Jokowi and taunt police to catch him, gets arrested
"An 18-year-old from Medan, North Sumatra, became the latest high-profile arrest for defamation under Indonesia’s Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE) after he allegedly insulted President Joko Widodo and the National Police on social media. The suspect, identified by his initials MFB, created a Facebook alias by the name of Ringgo Abdillah – complete with fake photos of an unidentified man – to upload memes to insult President Jokowi online..But one cop, Brigadier Ricky Swanda, took notice of MFB’s posts and filed a warrant for his arrest on July 16. MFB was arrested around a month later."
otf  indonesia  censorship  social  speech  facebook  foe  asia 
yesterday by dmcdev
Don't like our rules? Then leave, China newspaper says after journal censored
After kowtowing to Chinese demands to block access to roughly 300 papers and book reviews, Cambridge University Press has faced pushback from both critics of the decision and the Chinese government, telling the publisher in a Global Times editorial that "if Western institutions don't like the way things are done in China they can leave," Reuters reports. "The editorial appeared after news that Cambridge University Press (CUP) had blocked access on its site in China to a list of some 300 papers and book reviews from the China Quarterly that the Chinese government had asked to be removed...The articles and book reviews touched on subjects deemed sensitive by the Chinese government, including the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, the 1965-75 Cultural Revolution, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet. 'Western institutions have the freedom to choose. If they don't like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us,' said the editorial in the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid under the Communist Party's official People's Daily newspaper."
otf  china  asia  gfw  censorship  access  foe 
yesterday by dmcdev
Nintendo Iran Club: The community fighting for recognition in Iran
Gamers in Iran face a number of challenges, including wariness from international businesses, relatively slow internet speeds, and censorship. Iranian online game users therefore rely on circumvention technologies such as VPNs to stay connected to the global gamer community. Article by Ben Bertoli, Mashable
otf  iran  mena  nintendo  gamer  access  censorship 
yesterday by dmcdev
The final shape of the Digital Economy Bill
The BBFC has been chosen by the government (without a particularly robust or transparent selection process) as the new online porn regulator, and a late amendment in the House of Commons added a clause to the Bill saying that online porn would therefore become subject to the BBFC’s classification guidelines. This was hugely problematic. The BBFC guidelines ban an awful lot of consensual sex acts such as films depicting female ejaculation, vaginal and anal fisting, watersports, face sitting, full bondage with a gag, and BDSM that leaves lasting marks. Absurdly, most of these acts are completely legal to perform - which makes it very strange that merely by placing a camera in front of them, the resulting video becomes an illegal representation.

So the list of acts is questionable, and prohibits a lot of female-centric queer sex acts in a way that seems highly prejudicial. But from a legal perspective, the BBFC classification guidelines are a ludicrou
culture_of_online_life  censorship  sex 
yesterday by seatrout
Lady-proofing public life by Brendan O'Neill
'Here’s a truth about censorship we too often forget: it is more insulting to the people it is designed to protect than it is to the people it is designed to shut down. -- It dehumanises the people it “saves” – from offence, from filth, from dangerous ideas – more than it does the people it silences. -- If anything, the people gagged by censorship – those whose books are burnt or whose beliefs are branded unutterable – are being paid a backhanded compliment. -- They’re being told they’re too edgy for the era they find themselves in. Society can’t cope with their threat. It’s scared of them. Their ideas or art or publications are just too big or menacing for our small minds. -- But the supposed beneficiaries of censorship, the people whose eyes and ears are covered by the censor, whose souls are protected from moral pollution, are always demeaned. -- They’re reduced to the level of children. They’re implicitly told they can’t think for themselves and thus need others – brighter, better others – to think for them. There is no worse insult in the 21st-century West than to have something censored on your behalf. -- And so it is with The Red Pill, the documentary about the men’s rights movement that is outraging Oz feminists. Women of Australia should be up in arms – not over the film, but over the efforts to censor it. Over the feminist agitation to shut the movie down in order to guard women from its allegedly noxious social fumes. -- There’s nothing in this film even nearly as offensive as the idea that women must be protected from ideas and imagery.'
censorship  threatnarrative  infantilization  feminism  sexism 
2 days ago by adamcrowe
Jordan Peterson On Influencing The “Google Memo” | Best Images Collections HD For Gadget windows Mac Android
Jordan Peterson on influencing the “Google memo” Jerry Agar talks to Jordan Peterson about James Danmore currently being fired for publishing the Google Memo and YouTube initiatives to censor conservatives. Much more: http://ift.tt/2xfJNfg Subscribe to the Rebel’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/c/RebelMediaTV In addition http://ift.tt/2fKetl9 *** http://ift.tt/1m55xE7 Jordan Peterson on influencing the “Google memo”
IFTTT  WordPress  Technology  Censorship  conservative  free  speech  google  james  damore  Jerry  Agar  jordan  peterson  News  rebel  media  RebelMedia 
2 days ago by wotek
Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression
"every time a company throws a vile neo-Nazi site off the Net, thousands of less visible decisions are made by companies with little oversight or transparency. Precedents being set now can shift the justice of those removals. Here’s what companies and individuals should watch for in these troubling times."

-- Jeremy Malcolm, Cindy Cohn, and Danny O'Brien
Electronic Frontier Foundation | eff.org | 17 aug 2017
censorship  heroes  human-rights  Internet  power  repression  type-article  type-information 
2 days ago by tometaxu
Jordan B Peterson – Google Is SJW Cesspool | Best Images Collections HD For Gadget windows Mac Android
Jordan B Peterson – Google is SJW cesspool Clip taken from lecture: Bible Series X: Abraham: Father of Nations https://www.youtube.com/enjoy?v=3Y6bCqT85Personal computer Jordan B Peterson – Google is SJW cesspool
IFTTT  WordPress  Technology  Censorship  google  manifesto  james  damore  jordan  b  peterson  SJW  social  justice 
2 days ago by wotek
Cambridge bows to Chinese censors
"Cambridge University Press, one of the world's most respected academic publishers, has blocked online access in China to hundreds of scholarly articles and book reviews on Chinese affairs after coming under pressure from Beijing."

-- Reuters
Bangkok Post | bangkokpost.com | 17 aug 2017
China  censorship  human-rights  type-article  type-news 
3 days ago by tometaxu

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