Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Censorship by Goodreads Post...ignore if you're complacent

So I got my first nastygram from the censorship board at Orwell Enterprises, Inc, a wholly useless tentacle of Amazon:

Hello Richard,

Your review of The Hydra were recently brought to our attention. Please note that any reviews you post must contain your own original content (see our review guidelines). Any reviews that are simply copy-pasted duplicates of other reviews will be removed. Given this, the review in question has been deleted. We have attached a copy for your personal records.

Additionally, your review of Civil Disobedience and Other Essays was recently flagged by Goodreads members as potentially off-topic. As the review is not about the book, it has been removed from the site. You can find the text of the review attached for your personal records.

Please note that if you continue to violate our guidelines, your account may come under review for removal.

The Goodreads Team

My review of The Hydra was a repost of someone else's protest review, and I put it up specifically so they'd have to spend time taking it down. However, my review of Civil Disobedience was entirely my own work, and was indeed in the spirit of the book reviewed. Taking this review down is the act of a censor of opinion, not the act of a community-standards enforcing body.

They didn't want to have my critical opinion out there for public consumption. So here it is, unreachable by their tentacles.

The Goodreads policy of arbitrarily censoring, by deletion, any reviews that contain references to an author's behavior, beliefs, or public statements that affect my personal opinion of that author and his or her output is flat-assed stupid.

Silencing people does not make the world Nicer. It doesn't make the author's views go away. It doesn't stop people from...gasp!...being offended by something they read. It makes the censor a fool, and those calling for censorship crybabies.

Thoreau, a mama's boy who lived at home until he moved to the wilderness of five miles away from home and still ate mama's cookin' and used mama's laundry skills, advocated standing up to stupidity by legal protest action. This is me, being Thoreauvian.

No, Goodreads, I won't delete my account. No, Goodreads, I won't sit down and shut up. You are censoring speech because some delicate little fleurs find it too harsh? Where does that road lead, except to Orwellian doublespeak and Kafkaesque domination of people's personal space?

The law allows you to do what you're doing. But my mama, a woman whose political views were to the right of Hitler's, taught me something important when I was small:


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