Peace and Justice Update

The Boston Globe, among other newspapers, did not run today’s Doonesbury comic strip, apparently because it includes the word ‘son of a bitch’:

A search of the last year of Boston Globe articles reveals 33 articles where the word ‘bitch’ appears. I suppose there’s some argument that the comics page is supposed to be especially kid friendly, but I can’t help but think the political overtones in this week’s story (where a major character loses a limb in the war in Iraq) played some part in the decision to censor today’s strip. I also don’t suppose there are many kids who read the newspaper who would be traumitized by exposure to the word ‘bitch’. If there are any such kids reading my blog, I suggest they go to the handful of sites registered in the government sponsored and sanitized domain.

On the other hand, the Globe ran this photo on the front page:

Two employees of a contractor in Iraq were just fired for providing a similar photo to the Seattle Times; however, this photo was the result of Freedom of Information Act request filed by Russ Kick, maintainer of The Memory Hole, a site dedicated to preserving and disseminating censored documents. I don’t know how the Bush Administration expected its media blackout on casket photos would really work in the modern information age.

In other news, we want to see Pat Humphries and Sandy O (now Emma’s Revolution—website not up yet), our favorite folk/justice/peace folksinging duo. Listen to some of their MP3s if you’ve never heard of them. They performed at Club Passim and gave a fantastic show with lots of audience participation. Coincidentally, Pat and Sandy’s Song Peace Salaam Shalom was mentioned yesterday during a Democracy Now story on Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear whistleblower who was just released from prison 18 years after revealing that Israel was building a nuclear arsenal. Supporters of Vanunu sang the song from behind a fence set up to keep them away from the prisoner of conscience.

Finally, I highly recommend Monday’s show celebrating the 55th anniversary of Pacifica Radio. It’s a great story, and should be particularly relevant to all you copyright activists among my readers. Lewis Hill, the founder of Pacifica, encountered great resistance and skepticism about the idea of noncommercial radio. No one could believe that people would willing pay for something they could just turn on their radio and get for free. Listen to the whole documentary for an illuminating history of a precursor to the modern Free Culture movement.

1 comment

  1. ffub Jan 28

    The UK tabloids regularly run stories with profanities in them. This includes headlines, front page sometimes, that use the word ‘bloody’. I would have thought there are very very few children reading the Boston Globe, and those that are reading it are likely to be a bit more mature – mature enough to hear a word like bitch perhaps. It amazes me how much cencorship America seems to have. Two weeks after the madrid bombing the media was still covering the Jackson tit story. It would have been laughed at elsewhere, but nothing else. People can’t be bubble wrapped from the world, people actually have breasts, are occasionally rude and offensive, and are often complete bitches. C’est la vie.

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