“Boobies” isn’t a bad word, especially when it’s being used to promote a breast cancer awareness campaign. A judge in Pennsylvania seems to think so, too, which is why he reversed a Pennsylvania school district’s decision to ban the “I (Heart) Boobies” bracelets. In a 9-5 decision, the court ruled that the “bracelets here are not plainly lewd and because they comment on a social issue, they may not be categorically banned.”
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A Wisconsin newspaper just made “The Vagina Monologues” a whole lot dirtier: changing the title to XXXXXXX. The Ashland Daily Press censored the word “vagina” in an ad for the upcoming production of the famous Eve Ensler play. In the ad the word “vagina” was marked out repeatedly with Xs in order to obscure the word. The paper also removed the full description of the production and an additional warning that the play contained material about violence against women, sexual content, and graphic language. At least on their web site, the Ashland Daily Press explained that in the play women “reference subject pertaining to women’s bodies, different experiences both good and traumatic, self image and empowerment.” It looks like they could use a little empowerment of their own if they’re still treating “vagina” like a dirty word. [Jezebel]
Update, 5:15p.m.: Chicago Public Schools have rescinded the order to yank Persepolis from the shelves. This is great news! [Chicago Tribune]
Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, is one of the best series of graphic novels that I have ever read. I recommend it to everyone. And I read a lot of graphic novels. The memoirs recount Satrapi’s childhood in Iran following the Islamic Revolution and the increasing strictures on the life of an artsy young woman who is increasingly at odds with the fundamentalist Muslim religious police.
It’s touching, inspiring, and educational — and I’m far from the first person to point out that graphic novels are a great way to get young adults who don’t love to read to engage with literature.
So why, then, have the books been pulled out of Chicago Public Schools? Keep reading »
The British Advertising Standards Authority strikes again! The ad censorship watchdog, responsible for putting the kibosh on everything from scummy American Apparel ads to a photo of an underage Dakota Fanning holding a perfume bottle between her legs for Marc Jacobs, is cracking down on another campaign. Next up on the chopping block is a Chanel Coco Mademoiselle fragrance commercial starring Keira Knightley. Keep reading »
Okay, you might want to be sitting down when I tell you this, but I watched “Mean Girls” for the first time a couple weekends ago. I was pretty well acquainted with… well, nearly every single line in the movie from having read the internet, although I got a good laugh out of “Four for you Glen Coco, you go Glen Coco,” as it was just about the only quote in there that I hadn’t known was from “Mean Girls.” But I decided it was probably time to actually experience the movie, and stop trying to absorb it only from cultural diffusion.
So yeah, I knew next to nothing about “Mean Girls” other than that a lot of parts of the internet that I respect and enjoy are obsessed with quoting it and that it’s about high school, not, for example, that it was written by Tina Fey. Rest assured, these gaping holes in my knowledge have been filled, and so now I completely understand how against the message of the film it is for MTV to bleep a wide swath of non-curse-words, including “vagina,” when it aired on the network this weekend… but not “whore” or “slut.” Read more…
Last night at her concert in Moscow, Madonna appealed for the release of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band which has been jailed for five months after speaking out publicly against President Vladimir Putin. This video sent chills up and down my arms as Madonna spoke about censorship, democracy and freedom. What an incredible reminder not to take our freedom of speech for granted.
The three women were charged with hooliganism for performing a “punk prayer” at a Moscow church and praying for Putin to be removed from the presidency. During their five months of imprisonment, the women say they’ve been mistreated in jail. Their trial began on Monday and the women have said their judge is biased against them. I’ve been writing about Pussy Riot daily in Today’s Lady News, but Mother Jones has a good recap here. [YouTube]
As if the House of Representatives had nothing better to do, several people inCongress have proposed a bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA, which is basically one big booty-kiss to the entertainment industry and a major kiss-OFF to Silicon Valley, aka the big tech companies we know and love – Google,Facebook, Twitter, etc. The name alone may give you flashbacks of downloading illegal MP3s on Napster and thinking the cops were going to come to your house and confiscate your PowerBook that was filled to the brim with ripped tracks by Sisqo and Dido. But this bill really has nothing to do with that … it’s much, much worse.
Here, the five scariest things about this bill that we have to hope and pray never becomes a law or else bye-bye Internet as we know it. Read more…
The other day, Jessica told us
about Tina Fey receiving the Mark Twain Prize for humor last week (only “the third woman in history to do so after Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg”). We saw a clip of Fey’s acceptance speech, but it turns out there was more to Fey’s speech — over 30 seconds, in fact, that PBS censored. Here’s what we didn’t see. What do you think — were her jokes offensive or controversial enough to warrant the censorship? [via YouTube
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What kind of crack was Amazon smoking when the retailer decided it was OK to sell the book The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child Lover’s Code of Conduct? Amazon was initially standing behind Philip R. Greaves II’s self-published Kindle e-reader title saying, “Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.” After internet-wide protest and the popular Twitter trending topic #BoycottAmazon, Amazon has removed the title from its website. I am completely against censorship, but good lord! Teaching someone how to be a pedophile is beyond an “objectionable criminal act” — it is abominable! Finally, how long before this Philip R. Greaves II is investigated for his crimes? [MSNBC] Keep reading »