By Kathleen Bradean
Please read Remittance Girl’s excellent write-up on all things censorship in the UK. Then don’t get too cozy, my US friends, seeing as
we’re living in a pre-fascist society hurtling toward doom of our own making if
things don’t turn around fast. And Canadians, gosh, I hate to say it, seeing as
you’re usually the sensible neighbor compared to our ‘drunken frat boy passed
out on the lawn, ‘ but you’ve got some weird-assed reactionary crap going on
under your own roof lately too.
It seems the churches have about given up on controlling us.
I mean, they do try, but even the choir is sneaking out during the sermon to
play hide the communion wafer with each other. So here come our governments stepping
into the power void. Seems humans can’t survive without someone wagging a
finger in our faces. They learned from the churches that the best way to
control people is to thwart natural sexuality, but the government doesn’t want
to be obvious about it, so they’re trying to shut down the ability of UK citizens to search for
erotica and adult content.
Hmm. Amazon just won a HUGE contract to host government
stuff on their server farms. Perhaps the whole ‘hide the literary salami’ game where
they disappeared all erotica (except big seller FSOG from a big publisher got a
magical pass) was just a sales demonstration of their might with
index-obliteration. Hmmm. Oh wait, that
sounds like a conspiracy theory. They probably just did it because… reasons. “Oh,
we’re Amazon, and we’ve decided money is gross! Get away, evil sales.” Yeah. I can totes see that.
This week, Tumblr sent multiple fandoms into vaporlock by
hiding all their slashy fanfic memes, as well as the sites that played by the
rules and admitted they had adult content or were NSFW. (and got shamed into sort of bringing them back)
And then there’s that whole thing with Blogger turning
uptight maiden auntie on anyone with links to ickle adult sites on their blogs.
This affects all of us, no matter where we are. Writers and
artists, our blogs and Tumblrs and books have been banished to limbo without
last rites. Not deleted, because oh no, that would be “bad” government
censorship. Just made invisible. Disappeared. It’s Turn of the
In the UK, Cameron can order Google to hide information on
breast cancer. Oh, that’s not what his censorship is supposed to do, but that’s
effectively what happens. We have seen it many times before. Cameron can also try to make it so consenting adults
can’t read perfectly legal stories — again collateral damage of poor policy. Or make it nearly impossible for rape
victims to find support anonymously
online. And be sure that girls can never find information on their own bodies
because there’s something so terrible about female genitalia that no woman must
ever be allowed to see it. Do you think you can really protect people by denying
them access to information, Mr Cameron? I don’t feel comfortable calling you a cynical, lying bastard without knowing for a fact that you are, so I’m going to assume that you’re so technologically illiterate
that you shouldn’t ever be allowed near a piece of legislation involving the
Internet, computers, surveillance, telecommunications, or any technology. Even if you are, you
should know this won’t work. Ask countries that tried to block off the entire internet
during revolutions and outright slaughter of their citizens. If they couldn’t
stop the Tweets from finding a way past electronic borders, what chance do you
think you have?
By the way, do you know which one of the examples above will find a way
to reach its audience no matter what you do? Erotica.
You, Amazon, Tumblr, Google– You’re just the latest wrinkle in a war that’s been raging
since the first time someone picked up a stick to draw a cock in the sand and
someone else kicked dirt over it.
And we’ve always won
this fight. From well-fondled copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover to bawdy tales
around the campfire with Chaucer, we endure.
We laugh at you, with your silly belief that you can kill an idea and
control people. Pandora’s Box, baby. It’s
open, and if you try to put a lid on it, we will find another way. To reach our
readers, if we must, we will sell our novels and anthologies under the genre
title Romance (Let’s see you cut off 50% of your sales, Amazon). Or Westerns. Or
Mysteries. Or Literature. Or all the genres. To hide in plain sight, we will use euphemisms
so obscure that readers will leave an Urban Dictionary tab open to figure out
what’s going on. Or we will go Shakespearean on their asses. We will change
faster than your filters can keep up. We
will be agile. We will be goddamn Kaiser Soze—poof, and we’re gone, as far as you know. But not
really. We will always be here. Because we are writers. Because words are our
fucking tools, and we know how to use them.
Here’s a petition you can sign (UK citizens, one supposes), but personally, I think respectful phone calls work much better. Also, VOTING.