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Of Nabokovian thought-crime and LiveJournal - Persephone Yavanna the Entwife

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May 29th, 2007


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11:54 pm - Of Nabokovian thought-crime and LiveJournal
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. -- Voltaire

LiveJournal has decided to suspend a number of communities as well as individual journals in a wave of censorship widely being described as a purge. An informational post about it can be read here, containing lots of links for those who want to know more.

The ostensible reason for this purge was to get rid of pedophiles.

Only those folks aren't the only people being caught during LiveJournal's trolling.

lolita07, a literary community dedicated to Nabokov's "Lolita" has been included in the journal-purge. There are apparently journals for survivors of incest and pedophilic attacks that have also been suspended, as well as role-playing game journals, that were supposedly clearly marked as such.

Awfully wide-looking net, from my perspective.

One of the results of this is that a lot of LJs are either being deleted or friends-locked.

Mine, however, will not be one of them. :)

I've always had f-locked entries and depending on the subject, I choose whether to make a post public or not -- As I See Fit. I have no intention of changing that policy.

Should LiveJournal decide to delete me, well I have this to say:

I have lawyers. And I know how to use them. :D

I really don't forsee my impending deletion, since I am extraordinarily innocous. But I dislike the feeling that someone is trying to push me around, simply on principle. I'm not attempting to defend genuine pedophiles, but I think the proverbial baby has been tossed into the sewer when stories about fictional characters and those who write about them are being targeted.

Some of the "free speech/First Amendment" argument is discussed in this thread -- although I did find the example used in it of a picture of a tree being pornographic rather amusing.

~~ refrains from making jokes about "wood" (albeit with great difficulty) ~~

A more relevant set of information can be found in this article, published just a few days ago, as well as in this one, from which I'd like to pull a relevant quote:

The Justice Department has appealed Judge Lancaster’s decision. Perhaps the most powerful support for his reasoning is a Supreme Court decision that he does not mention. In Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, the Court invalidated a law that prohibited “virtual child pornography”: sexually explicit images that appear to depict minors but which were actually produced by computer imaging or by using adults that look like children. “As a general principle,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy explained for the Court, “the First Amendment bars the government from dictating what we see or read or speak or hear.” There was no compelling interest that could justify such a broad prohibition, the Court reasoned. Any causal link between such images and actual child abuse was “contingent and indirect.” Government had a legitimate interest in preventing children from seeing such images, but “speech within the rights of adults to hear may not be silenced completely in an attempt to shield children from it.”

One of the reasons I find LiveJournal's actions as upsetting as I do is that while technically they are not a violation of First Amendment rights to free speech, since LiveJournal is a private company, it does have a quelling effect on what may or may not be written safely on this site.

This is a very slippery slope, here. It's easy to go, "Oh, who wants those nasty pedophiles and chan-story writers around anyway?" But the problem then becomes, what will be the next group to be targeted? Those who are politically active and might participate in marches or other actions, for which the police might arrest them? (Those on my f-list know of whom I am speaking, I'm sure!) Will the speech of those persons be then considered to be offensive? (After all, they were arrested!)

And what of those who hold socially unpopular views on topics such as abortion? Or gay marriage? Or who are members of minority religions that are neither liked nor respected by many people in this country? If they write about such things in their LiveJournals, will they be subject to suspension as well? Someone might find their words offensive -- and those marchers engaged in illegal activities, as proven by their having been arrested. Anything they might say about such a march might be considered to be a promotion of illegal activities and therefore a violation of LiveJournal's Terms of Service! (Here I'm using part of the specious reasoning I see LiveJournal using currently, but in a slightly different context.)

I know quite a few folks are going over to other sites, although I personally would simply move back to DeadJournal since it's the closest in look-and-feel to LiveJournal and it has no advertising on its journals. (Not to mention the fact that my DeadJournal has been around far longer than this LiveJournal has been.) It's also not run by some big corporation, but by a guy with his own server who would be thrilled to get a bunch of PAID accounts come in from disgruntled LJ folk.

Those who are inclined to try to make an impact are likely to succeed best by hitting LiveJournal and Six Apart in the wallet, where it hurts, as lore suggested in this post. I myself can't fully participate, since this LJ is already a permanent account, but I can not participate in giving LiveJournal any more cash. If you look at the pages of comments to this LiveJournal news post, quite a few others are doing it.

The only question is, will LiveJournal have the sense to listen to its customers -- or not?
Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: "Silence of Sorrow" by Die Apokalyptischen Reiter

(Eat a pomegranate)


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