Tag Archives: speech

Children are the enemy of free speech

It’s all words, until it’s words that hurt children.  I was not following the Racist Tintin debate until China Miéville weighed in. I’ll read anything he writes, so I was happy to read this.

It seems like this is an argument that the government of Belgium should put a sticker in a racist Tintin book. The book seems racist. The author did some rework of the book. We need fewer racist things on the planet. And hey, think of the kids. The kids get hurt when they see a racist world full of racist things with no explanation that this is a historical item from back when people did this particular awful thing more than they do now.

He must, by this logic, wish to live in a world where any black child – any child – excited to see Fantasia must be shocked by (no warning allowed!) & suffer through Sunflower, must wander into bookshops to be faced with mass-selling books calling them N****r in the title.

It is a strange, depraved morality that chooses relentless fidelity to racist texts over consideration of the day-to-day lives of children & others. Or to put it another way, ‘fuck you people, we care about our little n****r dolls more than we care about you’.

Me, I don’t know.  I just think that even if the world would be better with a sticker in the book and a refiling of the book, this doesn’t rise to the level of something a government should work on.  Governments always seem to me to be a way we can refer to the guys who have the most guns locally.  Bring them into issues in a very limited way.

Why do we need the government to intervene? This seems like a matter of fashion and culture. These are areas where I hate to see the government tread. I would rather see a grass roots effort.  I would rather see a few kids get hurt. I don’t want the government deciding what speech is acceptable – I want the culture doing that.

Since I’m not a black woman, but I’ve watched Good Hair, I feel fully qualified to make statements about what black women should do with their hair. They should go natural and rock what they got.  I’m proud of the Curly Girl Collective and my friend Tracey in it (SHE’S BLACK YALL) and the way they kick ass.  Even though I think it’s lame for black women to straighten their hair and probably not great for the self esteem of little black girls, I don’t think the government should do a damn thing about it. Black folks have to sort that fashion and culture out.  Black folks doing it will be a damn site better than whatever benefits arise from government legislating it.

That isn’t a very analogous situation, but I did want to link to Tracey’s group.  Racist literature is a culture’s responsibility.  The racism has to get pushed out and that comes from the people, not a law.

I agree with China that this Tintin book is bad.  I agree that it probably hurts kids.  I don’t agree that a government should do anything about it.  Keep them out of issues of what is correct speech or ideas.  It is too dangerous to let them in these issues.  I don’t like the idea of a government then making laws about the speech of other dangerous elements like  socialists who write about collective action.  There are many people in governments who dislike radicals and anarchists much more than they dislike racists – it is best not to let the guys with the guns get involved in speech at all.

How to get around a proxy system

This sounds complicated but it is really simple.  That it is so simple is why the internet is amazing and awesome.

from flickr user Bright Tal with a CC licenseProxies are used by people in positions of authority who want to control what you view on the internet.  Such groups include the governments of Turkey and China.  Also, the internet security team of most major corporations.  Some of these motives are good:

  • Blocking you from visiting websites that will infect your computer with spyware.
  • Blocking you from looking at naked people at work and totally creeping your coworkers out.
  • Blocking you from using webmail or instant messaging to communicate with customers in insecure ways or in ways that can’t be audited for a lawsuit.

Some of these motives are bad:

  • Blocking you from learning about problems at the group.
  • Blocking you from “wasting” company time or resources.

Generally you will eventually find a situation where you want to look at a website that has been blocked improperly.  I’ve often seen sites that discuss internet security vulnerabilities classified as “hacking” – but I need to know if those sites affect my work.

kindly sourced from flickr user Dazzie DWhether your intentions are pure or not, here is a simple way to give yourself internet freedom.

Download CGIproxy and install it on something that faces the unfiltered internet.  This might be your web host if you have one.  If not, you can install a web server on your home computer.  It is easier than you might think, and with DynDns, you can have your own domain name for your home computer.

You are done.  Now you can navigate in your browser to where you installed CGIproxy.  It will surf the sites you are blocked from.   Doing that is a hassle, though.  You have to go to CGIproxy when you want to go to a different site.  Lame.

Let’s make it easier through the magical power of bookmarklets.  We will put two little buttons in your browser that let you proxy blocked sites and unproxy them when you are somewhere safe again.

I wrote up a little page for you that generates proxy and unproxy bookmarklets for CGIProxy.  Go there, put in the URL of your CGIproxy, and choose your options.  I’ll automagically generate the bookmarklets for you.  You just drag them up to your browser quick links and now you have the keys to the kingdom.

Let me know if anything isn’t clear – I did the extra work so that it could be useful for you.