Archive for censorship

Help Ron Wyden Stop SOPA and Protect IP

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by rottenart

There’s no two ways about it: these laws are terrible. Taken together, the bills would allow the government to blacklist and shut down any website even thought to contain copyrighted content and it would allow criminal action against those who host such content, even unknowingly. How bad is it? Bad enough for Google, Apple and Yahoo to oppose, for one. Even the New York Times and LA Times newspapers have come out against them.

Luckily, it appears that a campaign to stop the bills seems to be having an effect. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has led the charge against these intrusions into online privacy but he still needs your help:

“The other side, all of these lobbies, the content industry, is enormously powerful… They’ve spent hundreds of millions over the last few years in politics. They are very, very connected.”


“[This lobby] has a history of making statements that are anti-innovation. It was not long ago when the motion picture industry said in a widely-viewed public forum that the VCR was to the movie industry what the Boston strangler was to women home alone. So, we’re up to a very savvy, very well financed lobby, and suffice it to say, these kinds of issues are a bit technical until people see what’s really at stake, which is a free and fair Internet.”

How can you help? For starters, go to or and sign a petition. Then, you can head over to to find your senators’ and representatives’ contact information. Give them a call, write them a letter or (least effectively) shoot them an e-mail. Let them know that you’re opposed to censorship of the internet.

This is a pretty crucial issue for all of us who not only use the internet but create content too. Help stop SOPA and PIPA!



Those Poor, Sensitive Bigots

Posted in Art, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2011 by rottenart
"Heritage" By Stanley Bermudez

"Heritage" By Stanley Bermudez

Here’s an interesting find from Balloon Juice. It encompasses everything that is wrong and backwards about the “Southern Heritage” movement. They claim to disavow anything about the South that could be construed as racist, but want to enshrine the traditions that make them unique. Well, unfortunately, there’s no cleaving the two. the South was built up on the premise of slave labor and, when that crumbled (after a bloody civil war, mind you), a few generations of racial violence, terror, and intimidation that still haunt our discourse to this very day. The confederate flag is a symbol of all of that, no matter which way you slice it. It’s part and parcel of the argument that the ‘War of Northern Aggression’ was fought over ‘States’ Rights’. There’s an element of truth to that; the South wanted the right to own people and the North said no.

I recommend you read the whole story. It’s amazing the lengths to which some people will twist themselves to deny history. At the most, the confederate flag should be relegated to a dusty footnote in the annals of history, to be mocked with disdain whenever someone dredges it up; at the least it should be derided as the symbol of repression and oppression that it is.

On Censorship, Sympathy and South Park

Posted in Art, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2010 by rottenart

Last night, Comedy Central decided that the threats from radical Muslims were too dangerous and decided to censor South Park‘s depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. There’s many interesting aspects to this story but the one that stands out to me is the thin line between responsible and inflammatory speech. I will defend the right to make art about anything to the very end. Being an artist who deals with sensitive topics such as war and religion, I am aware of the consequences of people taking offense to what you do and say with their creative output.

On the other hand, I also understand the offense people take when people mock something they hold very dear. Though I rant and rave and poke fun of religion myself, I don’t harbor any illusion that it’s not offensive to some. In fact, I would say that my biggest problem with organized religion, be it Christian, Muslim, or whatever, is not the tenants of their belief itself but rather the fact that some adherents are not content to practice their faith without attempting to drag non-believers into the fold. Proselytizing is always ugly to me, mostly because no two people are going to view spirituality the same way, despite their claims.

When you have people who are determined to tell others how to live rather than focus on their own existence then it’s a problem.

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