Category Archives: censorship

Bard College President has a genius response to snowflake professors beefing about a right-wing speaker

Yes, the title is HuffPoe-ian clickbait, but I couldn’t resist. A big group of 56 Offended Academics, all of course in the humanities, wrote an open letter in the Chronicle of Higher Education, objecting to the appearance of a far-right-wing German politician at a conference on “Crises of Democracy” at Bard College in New York […]

“To Kill a Mockingbird” restored in Biloxi curriculum, but parental permission required to read it

Two weeks ago I reported that Harper Lee’s superb novel To Kill a Mockingbird was removed from the eighth-grade curriculum of Biloxi, Mississippi after some parents complained that it contained the word “nigger”. (I can’t bear to write “the n-word” since everybody fills it in mentally anyway.) There were also reports about students laughing in […]

The latest skinny on Kirkus’s penchant for censorship

I’ve written twice (here and here) about American Heart, an upcoming young adult (YA) novel by Laura Moriarty (out January 2018), and how Kirkus Reviews dealt with it unfairly. The book is about a hypothetical America in which Muslims are put into detention camps, like some Japanese-Americans (citizens!) were during World War II, and in which a […]

How Kirkus changed its review of American Heart after mob pressure

Yesterday I reported  that Kirkus, one of the three “biggie” reviewing services that vets books for libraries and readers before publication, had removed a prized star from one of its reviews: that of American Heart by Laura Moriarty (out January 2018).  It’s a “young adult” novel describing hypothetical America in which Muslims, as were many Japanese in […]

Kirkus retracts a starred review because of ideological impurity detected in a young adult book (long before it’s published)

Kirkus, along with Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist, are the three “biggie” pre-publication sites that can help make or break a book, for they issue reviews before a book is published, and orders for books are placed based on those reviews. Starred reviews (only one star is ever given) are particularly prized, as those are the […]

Biloxi pulls “To Kill A Mockingbird” from eighth-grade readings

From the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, we hear of a new example of book-banning in the Biloxi school district of that state. As is often the case, the book is To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), a wonderful novel by Harper Lee that won the Pulitzer Prize and was, of course, made into a superb movie.  […]

Author of article on “the case for colonialism” withdraws it after death threats and social-media mobbing; academics are mostly silent

In today’s political and social climate, trying to defend colonialism is just asking for trouble—in fact, even for death threats. That’s what happened to associate professor Bruce Gilley at Portland State University, who recently published an article—actually, a “Viewpoint”, the academic equivalent of an op-ed, but refereed like a regular article—called “The case for colonialism” […]

BBC threatens the jobs and livelihoods of commenters

The BBC has a newish “privacy and cookies policy” that has some undesirable features. If you go to pp. 15-16 on the linked document, you’ll see the following diktat: This is reprehensible. Now of course if the Beeb has reasonable evidence that you’ve really broken the law, then, yes, they should report crimes to the […]

Ann Coulter banned at Berkeley

I’ve always despised the conservative commentator Ann Coulter, especially for writing a book that largely made fun of those who accept evolution. In fact, I wrote a satirical piece for the New Republic excoriating her dumb anti-evolution book Godless (my piece, called “Coultergeist“, is free online). But I’m also for free speech, which trumps (pardon the […]

A joint post with Heather Hastie on more mistreatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Visiting Heather Hastie in the small town of Taumarunui, I was the victim of a strong two-day rainstorm sent by nefarious Australia. It’s produced flooding everywhere and kept us indoors, away from one goal of my visit: the famous glowworm caves of Waitamo. But I’ve gotten a well-needed rest, and it’s given Heather and me a chance to […]