Saturday, 31 March 2007

Hayley Campbell speaks good F**&@% English... and writes it bloody well too.

I've been thinking about cusswords following this furore;
Westchester HS girls to serve suspension for 'Vagina' reading, March 7."CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- Since its Off-Broadway opening in 1996, "The Vagina Monologues" has moved beyond theaters to colleges and high schools. But if performances in educational settings are not uncommon, they still occasionally provoke controversy. In the latest debate over the well-known feminist play, three 16-year-old public high school students were to serve suspensions Wednesday for disobeying officials by saying the word "vagina" during a reading from the script."

The lasses got to front up on the telly while the people in authority worked off their embarrassment. March 10 Lower Hudson Journal news: "District officials and concerned parents have spent the week defending themselves against claims of censorship as news spread across the globe..."

Wait a mo... 'vagina' is a cussword?

Upon starting this blog I made a rule that my English would be of the politest standard as I feared that in the wake of The Fate of the Artist there would be many who would think me rather a rather foul mouthed individual. When I offered the book to First Second Books a couple of years ago, editor Mark Siegel loved it but was concerned about all the cusswords and suggested we might supplant them with asterisks and the like. I understood that the publisher was aiming a great deal of its output at 'younger readers,' but since a lot of the text was actually 'about' the cusswords I argued that it was difficult to take them out without rendering the thing meaningless. And besides, in my experience that's the way the young readers talk.

Since Hayley Campbell moved to London, we have the evidence to prove it. At the big legal office where works the wife of my bosom, the emails have not been getting through. Well, they've been getting through but in a much edited form. It's true. In this day and age, our mail is being censored. Here is a sample email from Hayley Campbell to her beloved Mammy.

Now, you can see that what has happened is that the whole message has been seized and edited by the electronic guardian known as the 'MailMarshall'. The recipient receives the edited version, but instead of the bad words being removed , the recipient just receives the bad words. Only. As evidence that the mail was not good for you we have retained it, but here are the bits that were not good for you. Here's another example.

For the past six months wee Hayley Campbell has been communicating with her dear Mammy entirely in cusswords. We believe she's doing well in her flat in London. Very fuckin well.

This is for Stephen Frug.
Here's a single panel comic of a man raising his hat. The most comic part of it is that his head is still stuck in the hat.

(apologies to McCloud, who drew the panel©... and I confess I was chucking stones there, but Stephen's "Best Of the Blogosphere' series of posts is something I found useful when I was forming a picture in my head of what a blog can amount to. It gave me the certainty that it is something worth investing time in. Thanks. And on the off-chance you'll stop fretting about comics and write some more good'uns I'm putting you in my sidebar.)

And speaking of blogging, did you catch this last month in New York mag (via Michael Evans): Say Everything
" As younger people reveal their private lives on the Internet, the older generation looks on with alarm and misapprehension not seen since the early days of rock and roll. The future belongs to the uninhibited."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following comment was blocked by Blogger:

From: bobh@k...
To: Fate of the Artist
Subject: Filth

Because it may contain unacceptable language or inappropriate material.

Blogger Rule: Content Security (Inbound): Block Unacceptable Language
Offensive Language Triggered in Body
Expression: fuck* Triggered 3 times, weighting 15
Expression: shit Triggered 1 times, weighting 3
Expression: censorship Triggered 2 times, weighting 12
Expression: freedom Triggered 1 times, weighting 8
Expression: hilarious Triggered 2 times, weighting 58

31 March 2007 at 00:28:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

Holy freakin poop!!!

31 March 2007 at 01:12:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

The world has gone mad.
First scrotum is banned, now vagina ?

@#%!!! (if you'll excuse my French)

31 March 2007 at 02:46:00 GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

Hey, Eddie, a Heads-up: Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon Dalies.

And I see FireFox is still not displaying the Visual Word Verification image. I'm having to open the comment page in IE. ANyone else having this problem?

31 March 2007 at 04:28:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Not here. The word recognition works fine (alas): it has NOT been censored.

31 March 2007 at 05:18:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably not a good idea for Hayley to move to Scunthorpe, then....

Then there's this from last month:

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -- A theater's marquee was modified twice this week after controversy over the title of an upcoming play.

On Tuesday, an Atlantic Beach theater and comedy club altered one of the titles on its marquee, which lists the titles of several oncoming events. The theater replaced the word "vagina" in the play titled The Vagina Monologues to "hoohaa" after a woman called and complained about being offended.

"We got a complaint about this play The Vagina Monologues. I'm on the phone and asked 'What did you tell her?' She's like, 'I'm offended I had to answer the question,'" said Bryce Pfanenstiel, of the Atlantic Theater. "We decided we would just use child slang for it. That's how we decided on Hoohaa Monologues."

Two days later, The Hoohaa Monologues was restored to its original title -- The Vagina Monologues -- after the play's organizers demanded it be changed back.

The organizers are a group of Florida Coastal School of Law students who said the sign had to read the play's original title because they have rights to the well-known play only if they do not allow any censorship of its content.

"We are not allowed to censor anything because the whole play is about being a woman, about telling certain women's stories. Vagina is the essence of a woman, and if you're going to suppress the name, then you're suppressing us as women," said play organizer Elissa Saavedra.


America: it's fucked up.

31 March 2007 at 08:43:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

Fukkin' great post.

31 March 2007 at 09:21:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Stephen said...

And on the off-chance you'll stop fretting about comics and write some more good'uns I'm putting you in my sidebar.

I'll see what I can do! :)

31 March 2007 at 10:39:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

To John C: my post on censorship. See what you think.

31 March 2007 at 11:19:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christopher: yes, censorship is invariably a result of fear of one kind or another. I've been on the receiving end myself, having had some comics work banned by a court in 1995. Those comics were part of David Britton's aggresively challenging Lord Horror work from Savoy, works that managed to draw complaints from supposed liberals (in the American sense of the word) as well as conservatives.

Censoring art never works. Even if you destroy the art completely you only succeed in making it notorious. It's an old argument but one which is still with us, as with the case this week of Cosimo Cavallaro’s chocolate Jesus. Catholics have succeeded in having that withdrawn from public display with the result that millions of people all over the world are now looking at pictures of it and discussing it. This is a lesson the censorious never learn.

31 March 2007 at 12:41:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

why are the complainants always women? that's what I want to know.
the recent business in Missouri where the library took Blankets and Fun Home off the shelves was started by a complaint from 'a mother'.
But I remember a few years ago here in Brisbane there was a lovely series of local ads for a business specialising in attractive underwear for pregnant women. The first people to complain were certian women because the ads 'promoted motherhood'.

drjon--- thanks for the cannyon link.

1 April 2007 at 02:09:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Chocolate Jesus complainants are Catholics of both genders, it seems, including one Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League. Last night I read an eye-popping transcript of a CNN discussion between him and the artist where Mr Donahue came across as a bizarrely petulant and intemperate individual incapable of arguing his case in a rational manner.

The Savoy case is a complicated one beyond the usual puritans on the warpath. Dave's comics and his Lord Horror novel offended them on the grounds of satire (attacking the local police chief, a notorious homophobic god-botherer of a man), bad taste (sex and violence of one sort or another) and political incorrectness (horribly racist characters who think the Holocaust didn't go far enough). Added to that was the usual "comics are for children" attitude from people who never look at comics. For the record, the magistrate who banned the comics (there were two separate trials) was a woman but the previous judges and magistrates had all been men.

1 April 2007 at 08:28:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

Haha. I love curse words. What would we do without them? Likely there would be more violence among the species if we didn't have that outlet.

I curse like a drunken sailor. Learned it from my dad, whose every third word or so seemed to be a brightly colored curse word.

I get into trouble at work from time to time because of my language. My supervisor took me aside a couple of weeks ago to tell me that my use of curse words had caused one of my co-workers to begin praying. HAHA!

1 April 2007 at 09:26:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

I just googled 'why women complain' and got 1,520,000 hits.
so I googled 'why men complain' and got 1,530,000 hits
I guess that settles it.


1 April 2007 at 16:24:00 GMT-5  

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