1994-03-27 - Censorship–I Demand a Retraction!

Header Data

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: pbraunb@netcom.com (paul braunbehrens)
Message Hash: c11de2cd4439e94344465097069cc42d97fad7fa109a37cf66239737b03c09f0
Message ID: <199403271001.CAA13468@mail.netcom.com>
Reply To: <Pine.3.85.9403262207.A21841-0100000@netcom2>
UTC Datetime: 1994-03-27 08:59:38 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 27 Mar 94 00:59:38 PST

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Sun, 27 Mar 94 00:59:38 PST
To: pbraunb@netcom.com (paul braunbehrens)
Subject: Censorship--I Demand a Retraction!
In-Reply-To: <Pine.3.85.9403262207.A21841-0100000@netcom2>
Message-ID: <199403271001.CAA13468@mail.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Paul Braunbehrens writes:

> actually, I find it fucking obscene!
> On Sat, 26 Mar 1994, Brad Huntting wrote:
> > > "Because children read forums, I agree that obscene language 
> > > should be banned....
> > 
> > There's excellent essay on obscenity in Kurt Vonegut's _Psalm
> > Sunday_ which I recommend to anyone who doesn't find this statement
> > horrendously offensive.
> > 

Brad Huntting is absolutely right: children are known to be reading
this forum, so your use of the term "fucking obscene" is therefore
illegal, not permitted, unethical, tasteless, and fucking disgusting!

So, shithead, I demand a retraction this fucking minute! Or else!

Under the rules under which the Information Snooperhighway is run, the
Tipper Chip will automatically censor your messages for instances of
the 73 Forbidden Words (George Carlin, weep!) and the 192 Banned
Thoughtforms. Impure and seditious traffic will not be tolerated.

--Infosturmbahnfuhrer T.C. May

P.S. I can't _believe_ a Cypherpunk is actually advocating censorship.
If "obscenity" is banned, the logical corollary is that some folks
will be put in prison for continuing to say "fuck" and "freedom" and
other words deemed to be obscene by some Legion of CyberDecency. Can
this be what Brad Huntting really wants? (Tell us it was just a joke
of color, or something.)

As for kids reading this list or the Net in general, and seeing
"obscenity" on it, how is this any different or any worse than kids
sneaking a look at their Dad's "Busty Babes" (times have changed since
I was a kid) or tuning in to a shot of naked butts on "NYPD Blue"?

What about young and impressionable children being exposed to atheism
on the Net? Or to cultural values that offend their families? Or to
any of a hundred other horrors?

The only solution to this "problem" in a free society is for _parents_
to control their own children, not to apply censorship and obscenity

And practically speaking, it's impossible anyway. The Internet is
worldwide, with no centralized point of censorship. Tipper Gore can no
more hope to censor the publication of "dirty" music lyrics on the Net
than the Ayotollah can hope to stop publication of recipes for pork.

It's a whole new world out there.

Kurt Vonnegut: welcome to the monkey house. If Kurt really called for
censorship, I'll have to reevaluate my respect for him. Too bad Frank
Zappa isn't available to have a chat with him about the nature of

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
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"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."