Copied from my FA journal.
So the word of the day is Maus is being pulled from shelves in Russia before the 70th anniversary of the WWII victory.
Here's a source: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-spiegelman-maus-nazis/26981427.html
But really the gist of the issue is there is a law banning nazi propaganda and there is a swastika on the cover of Maus and Maus II, so bookstores are pulling the content in expectation of police action.
For those that do not know Maus, first, go get that book right now. It's the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer. It tells the story of the artist's father surviving a German concentration camp. Needless to say it holds a substantial anti-nazi message.
This is a fairly cut and dry case where attempting to ban a harmful message has also banned a helpful message. And a good example for why I rather despise censorship.
"But Fay, are you saying that nazi's should be able to show their propoganda?" tbh yes hypothetical talking point reader, I think I named you Timmy before, It's the extreme outcome of my position. By opposing censorship that means that I oppose censorship on subjects that I deeply disagree with.
"But those positions cause harm" yes, yes they do. But to be honest the ability to speak on a subject and oppose it openly does more good overall than casting the subject into silence. If we cannot talk about nazis, then we cannot oppose nazis either. you can't have light without dark sort of thing.
"But if we do not talk about the bad we don't need to oppose it. If no one can take a pro-nazi position we don't need an anti-nazi position." I've heard this before, and it makes me sad. There is a genuine idea of shutting out discussion entirely, because part of the discussion is distasteful, the "right" side of the discussion should just be assumed. We don't need to let Nazi's discuss their view, they're wrong and most people aren't nazis. But that creates two problems. The first is a stagnation of thought, and sometimes harmful ideas creep in and grow. It subverts discussion and spreads like a cancer until it can rise up again and do more harm. When we try to forget the bad things tht have occurred in the name of not letting them happen again, history repeats itself all too easily.
The other issue is it assumes what is right. There's an apocryphal story about scholars dealing with Artistotle's works. Aristotle was a brilliant scholar and made a lot of metaphysical claims and blah blah blah. The medieval scholars argued often about the works, and a powerful Bishop made it illegal to read Aristotle's works. With it being illegal it was illegal to argue against it obviously....and because discussion basically stopped, the logical pillars all fell apart and that's how we got to Descartes having to find some fundamental truth in which to build up our entire foundation of knowledge, yay.
Point is not discussing means that we stagnate, and stagnation is never good, in science, social issues, or anything. Human beings change and we must allow discussion of topics to adapt our knowledge along with us.
Now nazism is a bit of a gimme topic, it's hard to really make a point about the value of non-censorship when talking about nazi propaganda, so here is another example.
A few months ago there was a big stir in the world of comics over a Batgirl cover featuring batgirl tied up by the Joker, with strong implications that Batgirl was/would be a victim of sexual abuse by the Joker.
Here is the cover, warning for anyone that may feel uncomfortable with the topic or depiction of implied sexual violence. http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=o06pg4&s=8#.VT8Z3ZPSAoU
I won't talk about if people are seeing things or being sensitive, because while it is implied, that is what the implication is about. It's a reference to an event that did occur in the comics during the killing joke Spoilers!. There is a storyline in which Joker attempts to "break" Commissioner Gordon, and he forces the man to view images which depict himself (the joker) attacking Barbara Gordon (batgirl) which paralyzes her, and forces Gordon to view images of his wounded daughter in various states of undress. Even if any further action isn't explicit, at the very least in canon, Joker paralyzed Batgirl then undressed her and took pictures end spoilers
So yes, it is a call back to sexual violence in the comic, the cover is meant to make you feel that implication between the two.
There was a big fervor over the cover on twitter and around the internet. On one side people claiming that DC couldn't publish such an image, on the other people saying they could.
The image was pulled and not used, not because death threats, internet outrage, or anything like that, but because internal decisions. The artist didn't like the picture, Batgirl has grown as a character from that point in the story and the cover ignores that growth.
My opinion on the matter is that I think those claiming that DC can't or shouldn't be allowed to publish such images are wrong.
Now this does not mean that had they published the comic it would have to be purchased, if the public is indeed outraged by the matter then the public can refuse to purchase the comic and put DC into a position of deciding it it is worth the cost to make such a statement. You don't have to agree or like the content, but they get to put the content out there, and the only one to truly have the right to pull the content is DC themselves (this doesn't apply to issues like literally posting how to make nukes or the process of mutating deadly viruses. public safety censorship is another kettle of fish)
There are those that believe the matter is cut and dry. Rape is bad and depicting it in comics just turns it into some joke. The comic was literally called the killing joke after all.
The thing though is sexual violence is not something that people are used to, and such a depiction brings it into the life of someone that never experienced such a thing beyond understanding "rape is bad".
Now how such a thing is depicted, if there are better ways to convey the message, etc are all up for discussion. Personally I'm glad in part that the killing joke exists. It's sad and I would rather there is no sexual violence in the world, but I don't think it makes light of the subject.
Violence is the standard fair in comics. It's a world where the complex issues of right and wrong are solved by punching people, and in the more modern venue permanent damage is not so far out of the realm of possibility that it's shocking, but this was something new, and this was something thought provoking. Sexual violence took a villain beyond the standard of violent evil behavior and placed him squarely as a force of destruction, chaos, and absolute depravity.
Beyond that it showed that such depravity can make a victim out of anyone. Batgirl is a strong character, she beats up Gotham's big villains all the time, but such an act rendered her a victim.
For someone that has not dealt with sexual violence before that is a powerful message and brings a level of understanding that "sexual violence is bad" does not. It's not just people that are weak, or victims to start, it's not about how someone dresses or how they make themselves vulnerable. It is a powerful depraved act.
This also set things up so that Barbara Gordon survived, not just survived bu continued to be a powerful character in the comic. She continued to be invaluable to Batman even after being wounded physically and psychologically.
Again, if you disagree, such a thing can be discussed. Even if the comic had been making light of the subject a discussion shows why, which grants some understanding to the topic. The world is not black and white, it's not just the evil ignorant and the good and informed. Discussion grants a depth of understanding, context, and for those that have not had the chance to ever be informed on the topic a point to learn more about it.
So. blah blah blah. I don't like censorship, I think it's up to the content creator what they create, even if they create something really shitty.