"Voluntary Censorship" vs. Govt Legislation

Jim Burnes jim.burnes at ssds.com
Wed Aug 6 16:09:23 PDT 1997

Kent Crispin wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 06, 1997 at 12:39:54PM -0600, Jim Burnes wrote:
> [...]
> > Can you imagine going into a library and
> > having censorship ratings stamped on the
> > bindings of all the books there?
> This is not a good analogy at all.  Have you ever noticed that there
> are "childrens books" sections in the library? In fact, books in
> libraries *do* have ratings -- they just use a different technique
> than stamping it on the book.
> The fact is that realspace allows categorization (censorship, in your
> terminology) by spatial location -- something that cyberspace doesn't
> support.  You don't complain about physical segregation of children's
> books,
> or keeping children out of bars.
> So presumably you wouldn't complain about some technical means of
> creating an analog in cyberspace?
> If so, then voluntary labelling is not so bad.  Most sites that cater
> to "adult" tastes will label themselves; most sites that explicitly
> cater to children will label themselves; but the vast majority of
> sites won't bother.  The fact that this system is not perfect is not
> an issue -- realspace separation is not perfect either.
> --
> Kent Crispin                            "No reason to get excited",
> kent at songbird.com                       the thief he kindly spoke...
> PGP fingerprint:   B1 8B 72 ED 55 21 5E 44  61 F4 58 0F 72 10 65 55
> http://songbird.com/kent/pgp_key.html

Actually I have nothing against categorization.  Sci Fi, Dick and Jane,
Mystery, Horror, Erotica.  Those are categories.  The difference in
is that Mommie and Daddy usually don't let little Susie go to the
alone.  If they go with her (the c-space equivalent of watching her
then they probably won't stand by as she picks up the latest copy of
Lady Chatterly.

As far as I'm concerned parents have a moral duty to filter what their
little ones read, I just don't want the Feds or Microsoft deciding what
the categories are.

Like I said -- most people who care about these things don't mind
if people from their church take the kids to the bookstore.  I assume
that they trust their values.

On the other hand I don't want a "surgeon general's warning" on
Lady Chatterly.  I know you think this is voluntary, but eventually
some parents will get irate over little susie seeing something that
they thought was inappropriately labeled.  A lawsuit will ensue
and then voluntary will be a tautology for mandatory.

It already is in the tax world.  And that, my friend, is the very
thing that Orwell spoke of.  Change the language so that love
means hate, peace means war, good is evil, volutary is mandatory.

As much as I detest censorship I don't have a problem with parents
deciding what their little kids should look at.  In fact I really like
the idea of having churches sell their own filtering software.  What
better way to check your values.

I can't believe the churches haven't thought of this before.  Usually
they don't miss a beat when it comes to generating funds for, ahem,
noble causes.

Maybe I'll suggest it.


BTW: It looks like communicator is formatting my text correctly again.

When the world is running down
   make the best of what's still around

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