Those who would censor

Written By: - Date published: 10:12 am, September 8th, 2015 - 106 comments
Categories: books, Ethics, human rights - Tags: , , ,

The urge to censor is still alive and well in NZ.

Racy teen novel Into the River banned after Family First complaint

An award-winning Kiwi novel has been banned after a complaint by conservatives, potentially sparking a wave of new restrictions on books with sexually explicit content.

The teen novel Into the River by Auckland author Ted Dawe has gone through a considerable censorship battle.

The interim ban makes it a crime to supply, display, or distribute the book in any way – if one knows about the order. Individuals and organisations who knowingly supply the banned book are liable of fines of up to $3000 and $10,000 respectively. The ban includes schools and libraries.

This is the first book banning in NZ in over 20 years, and it has attracted international coverage.

The case has a complicated legal context, and Graeme Edgeler has (of course) an excellent description here, with the take-home message:

I don’t think this an appropriate or proportionate used of the Interim Restriction power.

(Update: See also Andrew Geddis for another excellent analysis.) Naturally all Family First will have achieved here is to massively increase sales of the book.

https://twitter.com/lyndabrendish/status/640750808422703104

106 comments on “Those who would censor”

  1. katipo 1

    The Streisand effect hopefully will ensure increased teen readership & book sales.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

  2. arkie 2

    Ah, the beauty of the Streisand effect.

  3. weka 5

    “Naturally all Family First will have achieved here is to massively increase sales of the book.”

    Not at the moment. Amazon appear to have blocked the book for NZers. I haven’t checked other online sites.

    • weka 5.1

      Looks like it’s been removed from the Book Depository. It turns up under an author name search in the search field (including a cover shot), but the actual page when it loads says there is no such book.

      http://www.bookdepository.com/

      Having a quick look round the internet, it’s disappearing fast. I guess they all have systems in place now that take books down pretty quick.

    • Heather Grimwood 5.2

      Exactly my thoughts Weka……clearly remember in my schooldays the banned books found their way into our high school class quite promptly ( country school too) but I’m sure no ‘harm’ ensued!

    • r0b 5.3

      It’s an interim ban. When it goes back on sale my bet is that it will sell much better than it would have otherwise.

      • That’s not really a justification though. It’s ridiculous that:
        a) We even have a rating system for books.
        b) That books can be banned temporarily due to contesting that rating.

  4. Heather Grimwood 6

    My thoughts too Weka…..I well remember that to my country school classroom of long ago banned books readily found their way. I vouch for their doing no ‘harm’ whatever.
    I can’t fathom why Family First parents don’t know that to forbid whatever is to dare the child to do it as soon as possible!

  5. Heather Grimwood 7

    My thoughts too Weka…..I well remember that to my country school classroom of long ago banned books readily found their way. I vouch for their doing no ‘harm’ whatever.
    I can’t fathom why Family First parents don’t know that to forbid whatever is to dare the child to do it as soon as possible!

    • ianmac 7.1

      I read somewhere that in this case it was not the sex that was objected to, it was the depiction of bullying???

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        I can see why family first wouldn’t want bullying to be shown in a bad light.

      • Tracey 7.1.2

        Did you hear one of the judges on RNZ this morning? If not, it’s worth a listen.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.1

          Book ban could set ‘incredibly unhelpful’ precedent

          But Bernard Beckett, chief judge of the 2013 Book Awards which crowned Into the River as the Book of the Year, hit back at Family First today, saying they were seeking to establish an “incredibly unhelpful precedent”.

          Mr Beckett told Nine To Noon that his main objection to any kind of rating system on young adult novels was that restrictions would come from a privileged value system which did not reflect the target audience.

  6. mac1 8

    I remember such censorship as segregated audiences for that destroyer of Western civilisation, “Ulysses”, and then last year, in Paris, buying and reading “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and with both wondering what all the excitement was about.

    The excitement however should be about freedom and individual choice.

    Funnily, these are prize concerns for the Right, but it seems that you can be only free to choose what “we” say, as society’s moral guardians.

    Also funnily enough, whatever happened to parental responsibility? Should not parents be able to say what their children are old enough to read?

  7. Brendan 9

    I hope this gets picked up by John Oliver. He really takes delight in taking the piss out of us lately. Perhaps I’ll send him a tweet with a hope that it’ll get picked up.

  8. Enough 10

    An insight into the mindset of Censor, Dr Don….

    “The typical way in which God blesses happily married heterosexual couples is by providing them with a family, and providing the children of the marriage with the love of both a mother and father, security, encouragement, and the guidance on life matters that a male and a female parent can each separately provide. Some of those advantages, for which Christian parents delight to give thanks, are not possible with gay parents, others no doubt are. For many gay parents, one suspects, the “blessings” are reaped by themselves….”

    Everyone’s entitled to their personal views, but are these the opinions sought from NZ’s chief censor in 2015?

    • Tracey 10.1

      One of the Judges, interviewed on RNZ this morning, seemed genuinely bemused at the Censor’s interpretation of the book and its sex and drug references. I got the sense he felt they had both read different books.

    • miravox 10.2

      I wasted a fair bit of time on the internet yesterday trying to find out how a committed christian like Dr Don Mathieson got the appointment of President of the Film and Literature Board of Review. Who thought a person with his beliefs would fairly represent the views of an increasingly secular NZ?

      • marty mars 10.2.1

        agree – I’d suggest a person of that persuasion is the last person that should have the role

        • miravox 10.2.1.1

          Is this an appointed position or straight-forward job application, do you know?

          • mickysavage 10.2.1.1.1

            Appointed, quasi judicial role.

            • miravox 10.2.1.1.1.1

              Thanks – found it

              Internal Affairs Minister Nathan has announced three new appointments to the Film and Literature Board of Review today.

              Dr Don Mathieson has been appointed as President of the Board with Andrew Caisley as Deputy President. Dr Laurence Simmons also joins the Board.

              “Wellington lawyer Dr Mathieson is well qualified for this role. He is Queen’s Counsel and a former lecturer who currently works as a part-time Special Counsel to the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

              Appointed 2010 by Nathan Guy. Must have been re-appointed as well because it was a 3-year term. No mention in the press release of his religious work and despite stating he is “well qualified” for the role, no mention any work that suggests he knows anything about the merits or otherwise of film or literature beyond the religious bias that is pretty evident. The other two appointments in the press release do have backgrounds in the Arts.

              Now for who put his name forward and why it was accepted…

              • DC Sheehan

                In other news I Chris Finlayson bash the ban yesterday and for some reason suspected it was terribly ironic…

  9. ianmac 11

    In the late 70s, nakedness was banned, Merve Wellington Minister of Education. So in a neighbouring school, the obedient Principal went through the school library and with a black felt tip blotted out any and all nakedness including encylopedia showing parts of the body or art paintings from long ago.
    Really whetted the appetites of kids

    • weka 11.1

      Probably apocryphal but great story thanks 🙂

      • ianmac 11.1.1

        Weka. The blacking out is true. I could name the Principal and the School just north of Levin. But the Principal in our school said that if Merv Wellington (National Minister of Ed 1979-1984) forced all of us to do what Mr X had done, then he would remove any “dodgy”book from the library rather than deface one.
        At the same time Merv Wellington was going to force every school to start the day with a flag raising ceremony and some sort of allegiance to the Crown as they do in USA. Luckily Merv lost his job in 1984.

    • Anne 11.2

      I recall a British cartoon (probably Giles) around the 60s/70s of a row of ancient Greek/Italian (can’t remember which) statues depicting naked men in various poses – all of whom had a top hat draped over their ‘you know whats’.

      • McFlock 11.2.1

        lol I think I recall that very cartoon, and yes it was Giles. Awesome cartoonist – I or my parents have the books somewhere.

        Anyway, conservators wish top hats were used – historically they either pasted on fig leaves or just chiselled the organs off altogether. There’s many a gelded masterpiece around the world.

        • JanM 11.2.1.1

          Including most of the Maori carvings that were around when the missionaries first arrived
          Some people are just weird! – mind you that was in the day when it was considered lewd to show the legs on tables

    • Heather Grimwood 11.3

      very true ianmac….I was school librarian at that time and furious that the male first assistant removed all books on the body, just as we’d managed to get them there. They were truly innocuous, one being a little Ladybird book!

      Apologies for multiple entries above…..having huge problems sending and receiving last few days.

  10. The Fairy Godmother 12

    I hereby call for the banning of all family first literature it is offensive to all decent new Zealanders and harmful lgtgq people.

  11. mary_a 13

    Seems one of the many guardians of our morality, Bob McCroskie from Family First, has had a good read of the book. Heard him in RNZ this morning stating it contains nine ‘C’ words and seventeen ‘F’ words!

    Hope he enjoyed the read. Or perhaps he was too busy looking for and counting all the “naughty” bits!

  12. Shona 14

    Had to pinch myself yesterday when I read this, and remind myself this is not the 1960’s. Did some devised drama with young teens from this back in 2013. Had to be dropped because of the objections of christian parents(minority) influencing others. The attitudes I encounter of bright young people with Christianity preaching parents are quite alarming and narrow in this day and age and they’re getting louder and more influential.
    The Guardian interview with Dawe is a wake up call people. Will be interesting to see how long this ban lasts.

  13. Tom Barker 15

    I just checked and “Into the River” is currently the #1 bestselling children’s book in its category on Amazon. Damn. I wish Bob McC would ban one of mine.

  14. Tracey 16

    “By the 1920s Jean Devanny had turned to writing. Her best-known work, The butcher shop, was published in London in 1926. Fifteen thousand copies were printed and sold, and the book was banned in New Zealand, Australia, some American states and Germany. Its banning in New Zealand was due to its supposed obscenity, and some considered ‘its frank portrayal of farming conditions’ to be ‘detrimental to the Dominion’s immigration policy’. Devanny later described the novel as ‘a terribly confused and foolish book; its meagre merit sincerity, frankness and a certain power of phrasing.’ At the core of the novel is Devanny’s belief that women in marriage are the economic, social and sexual property of their husbands and will achieve independence only in a socialist state.”
    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/4d13/devanny-jean

  15. The Fairy Godmother 17

    Just ordered this book off Amazon.

    • weka 17.1

      are you in NZ?

      • The Fairy Godmother 17.1.1

        Yes I am, New Zealand address and everything. My 15 year old daughter says this sounds like a really good book which she hadn’t heard of before and now really wants to read.

  16. McFlock 18

    Awww, the bible-bullies reckon they didn’t want the book to be banned. Indeed, they were “satisfied” that it was R14.

    In a subtle glimpse into their psyche, however, McKross-to-bear-skie thinks “satisfied” means “appeal the decision because you’d be ‘happier’ if it were restricted out of the majority of its target market”.

    Family Farce will never be satisfied.

    • Tracey 18.1

      hmmmm cant have been happy with it cos they appealed it… must be confusing inside bobs head

  17. Vaughan Little 19

    nice circlejerk guys. censorship is alive and well, though: just ask anyone who aint a liberal thug.

  18. ankerawshark 20

    O.k. I am going to risk being shot down in flames here. And I will pre-empt it by saying I have no religious faith and I don’t consider myself to be a prude.

    I haven’t read the book. But what I have heard about it is that it has some explicit sex in it (conflicting reports as to whether it is gay or hetero, in my mind that is irrelevant). The sex is between 13 and 14 year old. And there some stuff about bullying and liberal use of the c word…………………….so I am commenting on the basis that this is the case.

    I am really unhappy about this the content of this book. O.k. I know there are kids out there at 13 or 14 having sex……with resulting teenage pregnancies, but is it not possible that writing a work of fiction about it, normalizes it?????? I think it does and I don’t think that’s good. Adolescents are trying to find their identity and use movies and literature to do this……..The argument that they can find stuff on the internet is irrelevant. We all can, so in that case there should be no censorship at all. Which I disagree with. I am really sick of the sexualisation of children in adds and marketing and I think in literature is not that big a leap.

    I would like more censorship. I can see no merit for example in books like 50 shades of grey that graphically depicts an abusive relationship. And I hate the C word, so why put it in young peoples literature so they think its normal to use it.

    I think adults of my generation have been very permissive with kids and what the are exposed to and frankly I can’t see a lot of good in that…….I remember being concerned about the amount of violence on tv and for years with were told there was no correlation with seeing violence on tv and increasing rates of violence. But now it appears those initial reports were wrong.

    Why anybody with a 13 or 14 year old would think it is o.k. for their child to read a book that has explicit sex, the C word and girls making themselves freely availble for sex is beyond me…………………..

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      O.k. I know there are kids out there at 13 or 14 having sex

      Dude, there’s kids of 7 and 8 out there having sex. Usually because of a broken home and it’s the only way they’ve got to support themselves on the street (watched a documentary about it last century).

      but is it not possible that writing a work of fiction about it, normalizes it?

      When the book is about teaching young adults about these things? Probably not.

      Adolescents are trying to find their identity and use movies and literature to do this…

      Yes. The author of the books notes this and thus wrote the book with that in mind.

      I can see no merit for example in books like 50 shades of grey that graphically depicts an abusive relationship.

      Depicting BDSM wouldn’t depict an abusive relationship. In fact, according to most of the people I’ve communicated with who are into BDSM, such a book would depict a loving and caring relationship built upon mutual trust.

      But now it appears those initial reports were wrong.

      Except for, you know, the decreasing levels of violence and crime.

      • ankerawshark 20.1.1

        Thanks Dracco. At least you didn’t imply I was an idiot or accuse me of playing the victim and you did stick to answering my arguments, so I appreciate that.

        I did wonder what the point of telling me that there are children having sex aged 8 years old. I do know this. I come across this in my work.

        I do think it is likely this book normalizes kids of 14 having sex. You say probably not, but I am not sure what your basis for that is. Your statement about the author who wrote the book did so with kids trying to find their identity in mind, kind of contradicts that.

        Your comment about BDSM and the people you have communicated with says that happens in a loving a trusting relationship. But this wasn’t the case in 50 shades. It depicted a relationship between an older controlling man (he stalked her and tried to control her movements) and at one stage beat her to punish her. The book and movie tried to depict this as a loving relationship, which I would contest. It wasnt’ the BDSM part I objected to as such, although it really isn’t my thing.
        I didn’t say rates of violence have increased…….I said they are now saying there is a correlation between t.v. violence and real violence. I don’t have that data at hand currently.

        • McFlock 20.1.1.1

          I tend to agree about 50 shades, but many of the plot points for that were lifted from the Twilight books. Which were aimed at kids.

          An interesting NZ blogpost on twilight from a few years ago is here.

          So much headdesk that Twilight was written for adolescents. At least the author of the book currently under review seems to have intentionally raised those themes for consideration, rather than just used them to push buttons.

        • Draco T Bastard 20.1.1.2

          Your statement about the author who wrote the book did so with kids trying to find their identity in mind, kind of contradicts that.

          From what I’ve read of what the author said he’s written the book in such a way as to get the kids to think about the consequences of having sex. It’s not ZOMG, sex is great and we should more of it but more sex has consequences and we should think about it.

          I said they are now saying there is a correlation between t.v. violence and real violence.

          Right you are

          • ankerawshark 20.1.1.2.1

            Appreciate all of that Draco and appreciate a rationale debate with you about it. And will think more about the book in question and my responses to it. Good if author trying to get kids to think about the consequences of having sex at a young age…..

    • McFlock 20.2

      Here’s the thing: if you haven’t read it, you don’t know whether any sex in it is what you, personally, would term “explicit”. The genders involved in that sex might not be important to you, but I suspect that they are one of the main deciding factors for Family First (just my impression of that organisation).

      At the moment, all I have heard is rumours of sexual content and a rough count of naughty words, at which censors already figured for an R14 rating. I suspect the number of kids who played grand theft auto back in the day was significantly higher (and younger) than those who read this book.

      • ankerawshark 20.2.1

        McFlook, no I haven’t read the book, but I was very clear about that from the start.

        You call the words naughty. I personally find the c word offensive.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 20.2.1.1

          A woman of my acquaintance is quite strong on her defence of using the word cunt. This missive partly explains her point of view.

          http://www.alternet.org/gender/fascinating-history-c-word

          One of the books that did influence me in the early 80’s was Dale Spender’s “Man Made Language” as the watching business language change to dehumanise the workplace – eg staff clerks to human resources so that people became as considered in the same way as a paper clip.

          Others will have different views of course but that’s I guess that’s the point about censorship and when it should apply.

        • Psycho Milt 20.2.1.2

          I personally find the c word offensive.

          Then you personally probably shouldn’t read this book. Also, cunt is an English noun that has a lengthy history and is offensive to the extent that you find female genitalia offensive.

          • weka 20.2.1.2.1

            That’s not the problem PM. It’s a word that is routinely used against women and carries quite a punch when used in that way. It’s also a word that has other meanings and uses, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also used in derogatory ways. I don’t know how it’s used in the novel.

          • ankerawshark 20.2.1.2.2

            I probably wont read the book. Psycho Milt. I don’t find female genitalia offensive. Most often when people use the word cunt, it is derogatory, so that is my objection. Don’t usually say “He a good old c…” Its more likely “That bastard is a real c….”

            • McFlock 20.2.1.2.2.1

              Have to disagree with that last line – last time I was working with uni students (about five years or so now), calling someone a “good c-” was a common term of endearment amongst a significant chunk of the rugby crowd.

              “GC” for short.

              All class /sarc

        • McFlock 20.2.1.3

          So do I.

          But that doesn’t mean I think it should be banned from books aimed at people who already use it. Particularly when the worst word is in single-digit usage in the whole book, which suggests to me that it is used to elicit a particular response from the reader.

  19. Descendant Of Sssmith 21

    …the knife buried itself into the back of his throat. He gagged on blood and steel and his teeth clanged down on to the blade. His only sound was a gurgling, but his eyes blurred by tears, reveal the full extent of the pain. Then the stock of the Henry completed his execution, cracking against his forehead, splitting the skin and laying the flesh open to the bone.
    “You don’t fool around,” the girl said.
    “Now he knows it, too,”Edge said.

    Ahhh me at 9 – 10 years old reading Edge by G G Gilman – and later Adam Steele.

    Good counter (pun intended) to JT Edson and Loius L’Amour.

    Then of course there was Wilbur Smith, Robert Ruark, Sven Hessell, Don Pendleton, …..

    Plenty of violence and sex to turn me into………….whatever some moralistic religious dickhead thinks I will / did turn into.

    On the other hand there was this book I read from an even younger age (thanks Mum for sending me to bible class) that had someone called God killing at least 2,821,364 people. Apparently Satan only kills 10.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/25/how-many-people-did-god-slaughter-in-the-bible-steve-wells-has-written-a-book-documenting-every-kill/

    • weka 21.1

      I’ve never really understood the “I did it at that age and I turned out alright’ argument. Either the person saying it is ok, in which case either the material wasn’t a problem, or it was, they weren’t susceptible to it but others are.

      Or, the material was a problem, they were susceptible to it, and they’re a sociopath/wanker/bully/[insert effect of choice] and just don’t know it.

      😉

      That’s not a comment on you Sssmith, or Into the River, just that the argument has never convinced me. Which is to say, religious dickheadery aside, what we are exposed to does have effects and I’d hate to see the baby thrown out with the bathwater.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 21.1.1

        I’ve never really understood the “I did it at that age and I turned out alright’ argument.

        I’m not making that argument. Most of those that use that argument for say hitting kids seem pretty fucked up to me. Some still think it applies to wives as well.

        I’m pointing out that this censorship is particularly stupid. Kids have always had access to stuff that others would not approve of. Censorship of the type talked about here is a nonsense. Parental and other discussions about context, content and meaning are much more useful.

        “what we are exposed to does have effects ”

        This is the point at which I differ I guess. Most people are exposed to all sorts of things, consciously and sub-consciously that have absolutely no effect on them.

        That doesn’t mean things can’t have an effect, particularly repeated stimulus, it simply means we take in vast amounts of information and sensation and are influenced by only a minuscule amount.

        There are issues of age appropriate for discussions and exposure but I suspect that those ages are much lower than many parents operate on.

        City parents I suspect have higher age settings as well as their children are much less exposed to normal rural activity such as killing and mating animals.

        • weka 21.1.1.1

          “Most of those that use that argument for say hitting kids seem pretty fucked up to me. Some still think it applies to wives as well.”

          I was thinking more of the liberals on twitter who were saying I read novels with sex in them when I was a child and there’s nothing wrong with me.

          “Most people are exposed to all sorts of things, consciously and sub-consciously that have absolutely no effect on them.”

          Not sure what you mean there. Obviously we have seriously large amounts of stimuli to process over the course of our lives. Technically I guess everything has an effect (which is why we’re reading/playing that game/watching that movie etc), so we’re talking about the kind of effect or the degree. Those things are going to depend on the thing we are exposed to, and our own brains/psychology/environment. Hence my point about a range of people being exposed to the same thing and only some of them being negatively affected.

          I’ve read books that were hugely influential on me. So I guess I’m arguing a principle here, and am a bit irked by the reactionary ‘they’re religious nutters therefore all censorship is wrong’ stuff, because if the novel was promoting holocaust denial or rape culture for instance, the conversation would be a lot more nuanced. (not saying you were being reactionary, I’ve just found the overal debate a bit boring).

          One thing that this brings up for me is how does a society decide what is ok and what’s not? And as those things change over time, how do we adjust and accommodate that? I agree with anker on this point, I think that what we are exposed to does affect many of us and that we’ve not paid enough attention to this.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 21.1.1.1.1

            “they’re religious nutters therefore all censorship is wrong”

            I think it was pretty clear from the context in this case that we are talking about Family First as the religious nutters and that I never said there should not be any censorship.

            “I’m pointing out that this censorship is particularly stupid. Kids have always had access to stuff that others would not approve of. Censorship of the type talked about here is a nonsense.”

  20. adam 22

    Censorship like bad government is dull, narrow minded and history has a tendency to mark you as the idiot.

    • ankerawshark 22.1

      Adam, I don’t know if you meant my view on censorship marks me as an idiot or whether that is a generalization. Do you believe in any sort of censorship at all? What about hate speech? Would it be o.k. in your books for children to watch sex on tv?????

  21. Descendant Of Sssmith 23

    “O.k. I am going to risk being shot down in flames here.”

    You’re allowed to opine an opinion without playing a victim from the outset.

    • weka 23.1

      They’re also allowed to opine an opinion and name the ways in which that might make them vulnerable up front. Esp in this particular community.

      • ankerawshark 23.1.1

        Thanks Weka!

        I don’t feel I was playing victim as such. Just predicting that people might be very anti my views and I guess flagging that. Given what was written before my comments it took some courage to write my opinion.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 23.1.2

        Fair enough.

  22. Descendant Of Sssmith 24

    “girls making themselves freely availble for sex”

    Misogynistic much?

    • ankerawshark 24.1

      Descendent of Sssmith….at 24, I am quoting what has been said about the book.

      I am a ardent feminist and a women.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 24.1.1

        Doesn’t look like a quote, does look like an opinion on what the book portrays.

        “girls making themselves available” is pretty misogynistic though.

        I’m not sure from what I have read about the book that that is an accurate portrayal.

        I don’t particularly want to read it either – I’ve already got a large backlog.

        • DC Sheehan 24.1.1.1

          It is not. One ‘girl’ certainly does and one certainly doesn’t (it’s teenage fumbling more than being available).

  23. Thom Pietersen 25

    Abraham fucked his half sister… and Lot and his daughters?… very saucy.

    How has this recent censorship happened… I don’t care if it’s poorly written shite or whatever, it’s in good company.

  24. JanM 26

    Well all I can say is we’ve really managed to make an international laughing stock of ourselves this time!

  25. Smilin 27

    Did they ban Keys bible Mein Kampf? then why a novel, oh thats right its about life -Fuck you Family First you fascists

    • weka 27.1

      I haven’t looked at the whoel story, but it seemed to me that they put a temporary ban on because of the large number of complaints.

      • miravox 27.1.1

        Because of the large number of Family First complaints, that is

        http://pundit.co.nz/content/wont-someone-please-think-of-the-children-0

        …. [after the Office of Film and Literature Classification lifted] the R14 restriction and thus making it legal for anyone in New Zealand to read it, or to give it to anyone else in New Zealand to read.

        At least for a while. Because after the Office made its decision, Family First – which appears to view this book as the spiritual equivalent of the videotape in Ringu – appealed it back to the Films, Videos and Publications Review Board. Which, you may remember, was the body that originally imposed the R14 rating on it.

        Seems a bit of set-up to me.

        • weka 27.1.1.1

          “Because of the large number of Family First complaints, that is”

          and if it was a book that promoted rape culture and a group of feminists organised a campaign to lobby the Office?

          • miravox 27.1.1.1.1

            You have a point, but I’m not sure if it’s valid.

            I’d like to think that a group of feminists have an evidence focus more than a belief system for lobbying.

            Banning a work of fiction requires a certain amount of evidence of harm, I reckon (as much as I would love to have seen 50 shades of domestic abuse oops grey banned).

            Now if Family First and a group of feminists got together to lobby then I’d take that very seriously indeed… It would still require evidence that it was harmful.

            On top of that I suspicious that Dr Don Mathieson has a bias favouring Family First. I absolutely support the right of Family First to request a review. I don’t think Dr Mathieson should have been the decision-maker – I’m not sure he should have the job he has – and that’s my biggest concern about this banning.

            • Thom Pietersen 27.1.1.1.1.1

              Nothing written, discussed, thought, ever, however obscene, should be censored. Acted on when transferred to the real world, yes, but move toward thought police and you get retaliation. Teenagers have dark thoughts, it’s fucking normal (no you weren’t the only one), best played out in the imagination, and then move on to the real world.

              The health of real society matters, i.e. what can and cannot transfer from the porn net and the irreversible images the young now see need to be dealt with – not ranting and secret jealously that we could only get porn via the cover torn off mags in the bins behind the local stationers, or your mates dad that bought them for the articles.

              Some people need to grow up.

              • miravox

                “Nothing written, discussed, thought, ever, however obscene, should be censored. “

                In an ideal world…

                I’m not sure what you mean, though. You think books are ok but internet porn not?

                I have a greater tolerance for written works rather than other visual media. Context matters and that seems to me to be easier to portray in writing. However I’ve little tolerance for something that reads or views as an instruction manual for doing ‘bad stuff’ – violent, non-consensual, abuse of power and/or degrading in whatever media or discussion. I also don’t think that just because someone has thoughts that are degrading or abusive they have the right express them over and above the right of the subject of those thoughts to not hear them.

                This book doesn’t seem to meet the description of an instruction manual, imo, but that’s neither here nor there. My concern is that the person who made the decision may be unreasonably biased and maybe is not qualified for the job he has. I am concerned his personal beliefs, rather than law he is meant to be mindful of, are integral to the decision he made.

                • Thom Pietersen

                  Agreed porn picture are real, and can/could/do involve abuse. Way different from the written word.

  26. ankerawshark 28

    Weka 100+

    And likely they put a temporary ban on it cause it was written for children under the age of consent about children under the age of consent having sex. Some people are concerned about that.

    • JanM 28.1

      Concerned is just fine, that’s their opinion – not allowing others to make up their own minds is not!

    • Thom Pietersen 28.2

      When I was at school – you were a bit of a loser if you hadn’t had sex underage (I was a loser) – kids regularly bonk/finger/grope at least from 14 on, I’m sure this book will make it a knickers off free for all.

  27. vto 29

    The bible should be banned with its speaking of lakes of fire for eternity, for just one example, fuck me, how terrifying must it be for young people to read, and be told by adults, that they are going to spend eternity burning in a lake of fire..

    it was terrifying for me until I woke up one day and realised it was all a bunch of typical hocus-pocus stuff made up just a few hundred years ago.

    But to allow children to be told they are going to burn forever in a lake of fire, AND be told that by adult providers of the book …. its fucked in the head if you think about it.

    the bible must be banned

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