Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why be so upset over this?

One of the poisons in society that pisses me off like few others is the oppression that is censorship. You know, someone ordering you (or forcing you) to shut up just because they don't like what you're saying, despite it being your inalienable right to say whatever the fuck you wanna say (as long as it's not overly dangerous or libelous of course – gotta stay legal).

But this story that's been running along the blogosphere has got me a little perplexed. Basically put, it's a rather popular and risqué blog (not pornographic or overly brutal, just a little bit of strong language and taunting imagery), Just a Girl in Short Shorts Talking About Whatever, over which Blogger inserted an "objectionable content" disclaimer for anyone trying to access it. This obviously had the expected result of greatly reducing her flow of visitors.

As a result, she's now closing up shop completely, pissed at the thoughtcrime and perceived censorship. And this is what I find to be ... well, silly, really.

Some readers complained to Google, and the “objectionable content” splash page was inserted, no doubt by the click of some rather low-level Google employee—tyranny of the constable is often much more oppressive than the King's tyranny.

The blog, which had remarkably high page rankings on a number of topics, is disappearing from the search engines by the minute--when an entry is not totally scrubbed it is replaced with an Objectionable Content Warning. Besides, I am not going to maintain a blog which is publicly identified and indexed as objectionable.

I may be called an insensitive clod for this (wow, that'd be a first), but really, this is Becky's problem, not Blogger's or society's (meaning that censorship is a societal issue, not an individual one). There is no censorship taking place. She is not being told to shut up, her content is not being deleted (that I know of), and she is not being forced off the Web. All that's going on is that Blogger's placed a warning before entering her site, informing visitors that the blog contains topics that could be offensive to some. It's not exactly screaming "This is vile stuff, avert yer eyes NOW!".

This seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. I know it's not the most pleasant thing to have one's readership suddenly cut short, but frankly, she brought it upon herself by hosting a blog that along fair conventions can be called risqué, or even offensive to some. If you want a shitload of people to find you and read you, don't post stuff that's liable to insult them – or to find yourself stuck behind an "objectionable content" disclaimer. It's not ideal, but it is reality, so as they say: you just gotta deal with it.

Closing her blog altogether is far more an act of defeat and submission than "in your face". It's certainly not teaching anyone a lesson; it's a blogger that got pissed and left. Nothing more.

The rebellious thing to do, had Becky chosen that route, would've been to keep the blog nonetheless, and if anything, try and spread it as far and wide as possible. Thinking that search engines like Google are the only way a blog is found is ignorant and silly. Include the address wherever you post (forums, comments on other blogs or websites, eMails, whatever). Hell; even better, enter a tirade against Google or those who complained against her. That, while perhaps a little petty, would've been entertaining. Going away in defeat is just ... sad.

(via The Agitator)


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