Category Archives: censorship

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 […]

Lincoln University Conservatives have social media accounts suspended because they posted a low free-speech ranking for their university

As the tweet below notes, in January the website Spiked rated British Universities for how tolerant they were toward free speech, giving them three ratings: The University of Lincoln, in the eponymous town, received an Amber rating for the University as a whole and red for its Student Union, for the following reasons: Charlie Peters writes […]

Publishers employ “sensitivity readers” to avoid offending readers

A new National Public Radio (NPR) piece by Lynn Neary reveals something I didn’t know: some book publishers, especially those who put out children’s books, employ “sensitivity readers” to go over manuscripts and single out bits that might offend readers. The NPR piece can be accessed (both the audio and text) by clicking on the screenshot […]

Dave Rubin speech at USC postponed indefinitely over “safety concerns”

Dave Rubin may have been criticized for not challenging some of his “problematic” guests (e.g., Milo Yiannopoulos), but I think that criticism is largely unfair, for Rubin’s brief is to just let guests talk on the premise that unfiltered, un-reactive speech is useful in letting viewers see someone’s true opinion. And you may object to some […]

Milo Yiannopoulos speech canceled at UC Berkeley amidst protests and violence

According to the New York Times and SFGate, Milo Yiannopoulos’s scheduled appearance at the University of California at Berkeley last night, sponsored by the College Republicans, was canceled after initially peaceful protests turned violent. The situation isn’t completely clear, but it looks as if “outside agitators” (i.e., non-students) attacked police barricades, threw paint, and then went on […]

Milo Yiannopoulos talk canceled at University of California at Davis

Once again, Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has been prevented from speaking, this time at the university where I did my postdoc: the University of California at Davis. As CNN reported yesterday: A speech by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos’ at UC Davis was over before it even started Friday after protests erupted, forcing sponsors to cancel […]

Virginia removes “To Kill a Mockingbird” from schools for “racist language”

In these censorious times, made even more censorious by liberals’ counter-reaction to Trump (his election heightened fears by Leftists of more “Islamophobia” and racism), we can expect to see even more calls for bowdlerizing books or removing them from libraries. This is the case with two wonderful books—To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberrry Finn—in some schools in […]

Adam Kirsch on writing and cultural appropriation

Just to show how ridiculous is the claim that writers should generally avoid producing fiction about “marginalized groups” unless they belong to those groups (see here, here and here re the Lionel Shriver affair), have a butcher’s at a new kerfuffle: that involving “Elena Ferrante,” an Italian author of wildly popular novels, especially the “Neapolitan Novels”, a series […]