censorship

the South Carolina censorship of Alan Moore’s Neonomicon

  1. Are you ready for some good ole fashion censorship? Apparently, a 14-year-old somewhere in South Carolina checked-out Neonomicoma graphic novel by Alan Moore, from her local library. When her mother took a gander she saw a bad bad word (which hasn’t been divulged to the public) and filed a formal complaint contesting having the book in circulation. Even after the internal advisory committee recommended the book be returned to its shelf, library führer, Beverly James had another opinion,

Library officials tell us an internal committee voted to keep the book, but library Executive Director Beverly James decided to pull it off the shelves. James tells 7 On Your Side, “I can override their recommendation…I’m ultimately responsible.” James adds that she did not feel the book’s content was appropriate for the library system’s collection.

According to the library, the graphic novel was shelved in the adult book section of the library and the 14-year-old had an adult library card. Of course, the mother is allowed to not think the content of a book about “two FBI agents, Brears and Lamper, investigating a series of ritual murders. An exploration of the works of HP Lovecraft, it looks at issues of race and sexuality and contains a brutal rape scene” appropriate for her kid but she should drive over to the library and drop the book off into the depository and be done with it. We all have to deal with things we don’t like on a daily basis, but we just carry on. We should have the choice whether we want to read this book or not. Even the library shelved it in the adult section indicating that its target audience was not for children.

When You Are Silent, You Are Worthless

For the past few months, I have been hearing from a dear, dear writer friend, Carmen Adamucci, about a fantastic author in Greece (she translated some of his stories into Greek for publication). At the risk of sounding cliché, Antonia-Belica Kubareli, is clearly a Renaissance woman–writer, translator, activist, educator, editor, thinker, to name just a few of her accomplishments.

In our discussion, what really struck my attention was the crisis, but it is not the economic crisis that we hear or read about so frequently. It is a crisis for the writers, the open-minded, the people.

As an American-based writer, the concept of censorship is barbaric to me and can only occupy the realm of the brainwashed nitwits that, unfortunately, skip around our country.

Carmen told me about Belica’s most recent headache.

As a prominent translator, Belica has translated many famous writers into Greek: Salman Rushdie, Jumpa Lahiri, Audrey Niffenegger, Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood, etc. So, naturally, she is very much aware of the book trends in English-speaking countries including a certain trilogy that is EVERYWHERE, whether we want it to be or not (for various reasons, this trilogy’s name and other like books are being withheld from my blog post; please also read the links and available texts I’ve posted–you will get the gist of it).

Antonia-Belica Kubareli

In short, the books are being marketed as women’s literature (or better known as “chick lit,” a term that has always driven me up the wall). So, like the ballsy woman she is, Belica took pen to paper and wrote an article about her experience and her personal opinions of the books,

It is degrading and demeaning for my intelligence to have such texts promoted as women’s literature, not because I am a littérateur but because I am a Woman and a Human! GREEK | ENGLISH

When I first wrote to Belica asking her for an English translation of the original article, she told me that the article was mostly about certain situations in Greece. Phewy! Yes, she does include some facets that are specifically Greece-orientated, but I think her crises–censorship, politics, sexism–can speak to us all. During her initial writing of this article, Belica proffers the idea that she might be “punished” for publishing this. In a follow-up interview, she writes what has happened to her in the Greek publishing industry,

 [T]hey retreated (sic) my books from all the bookstores, they took back the translation I was doing without paying me and they also informed me that “due to the crisis I won’t get my royalties this year”, so you see how the system works in Greece. I am a typical example.

Along with others, Belica has been fighting the good fight. With the promise from her Greek publishers “that [she] will never get another translation in [her] life,” Belica will be leaving Greece for Dublin,Ireland.

Still, art was always Greek. Small groups are trying hard to offer something new. Yet in this huge turmoil that is going to last for decades, I am afraid that art will suffer. In fact, I am relocating in August…

Soon, she will be studying at a university in Ireland and working on translating her own books into English.

All links are available throughout the post, but they are organized below for more convenience.

post script

Yesterday, I received a frantic email from Belica (not only is she a writer/translator but a passionate activist). The Albanian-born journalist, Niko Ago, is being threatened with deportation. He has lived and worked in Greece for over 20 years (as his family) and has jumped through hoops in regards to immigration. Read Belica’s letter to find out more about what’s happening with Niko Ago (“Niko is also a novelist and a member in the leading committee of the Hellenic League for Human Rights”).

**correction: I originally wrote that Belica was also asked to translate these trendy books into Greek but this is not the case.**

Art & Propaganda

I’ve previously mentioned what my current research is. While this post isn’t specifically about books and literature, I hope that even the greatest neophyte of world history can make the connection. Yesterday, I was reading an article about Hitler and the Nazi Archives. This brief article discusses the degenerate art that Hitler’s regime censored and the Aryan art that they celebrated.

Photos of all the art pieces in the exhibitions, as well as information about who bought what, were put together into six massive volumes. But for six decades, those books have collected dust on the shelves of Munich’s Central Institute for Art History. Delving into the aesthetic inclinations of the Nazis was taboo.But that changed recently when the archive was made available online at www.gdk-research.de.

Propaganda and censorship of art and writing was a huge part of the Nazi mission. Because of my intense interest in this part of World War II history, I find myself frequently perusing the internet for articles and information about this part of the past. Nothing good can come out of censoring and condemning the arts and we have history to prove it. Below, I’ve included some interesting links to more information, as well as paintings, posters, and other art and literature from that time period.

Over this past summer, the Museum of Modern Art had a fantastic exhibit about German Expressionism. These artists were despised by Hitler and his regime. One of my favorite artists from that movement is Otto Dix.

Sturmtruppe geht unter Gas vor (Otto Dix), courtesy of Wikipedia