This is a home for posts censored elsewhere for no good reason.
January 11, 2009: we’re moving on to the second instalment of this extremely popular section of acciaccature, so please post your censored bits ‘n’ bobs in our extension.
Annals of Guardian Censorship: the Evidence (part 2)
December 4, 2008
As a fairly regular reader of the online Guardian, I often chortle over John Crace’s elegant eviscerations of the books of the famous. When I want to re-read one of them, I can call it up on the Guardian’s site in microseconds (via Google, not GU’s witless search tool.)
By contrast, I can never count on being able to take a second look at a comment by Desmond Swords, one of the wildest, nimblest — often acute and provocative — below-the-line critics to visit this newspaper’s books blog. It might be there two days after he’s posted it. Just as often, it’s been deleted by the Guardian’s fanatical but curiously inconsistent censors in less than sixty minutes.
Any objective reader would find it hard to understand the vastly different treatment meted out to them. Des’s unpaid contributions – written to blogging standards — are rough, unedited and pounded out at top speed; John’s are polished by experts in grammar and vernissage at the paper that employs him. But try as I might, I can’t see them as so essentially dissimilar that the thoughts of only one hugely entertaining scribbler should be vaporised.
For comparison, here’s an extract from John’s recent column impersonating Nigella Lawson, and two censored posts by Des – impenetrably disguised as BobGraves — taking issue with a Guardian journalist’s claim that writing on computers has killed off the stream-of-consciousness novel. I can’t say exactly why, but I don’t believe that this young writer lacks a sense of humour – and would be extremely surprised if she didn’t laugh till she cried, reading Des’s first attack on her – which is followed by an apology eleven minutes later that makes it clear that he has nothing against her, personally. He calls her ‘thick’ – but uses the identical word to describe himself. He’s certainly rude, but there’s a venerable tradition of deliberately trangressive Anglo-Irish humour into which his tirades fit impeccably.
Both men are satirising the work of younger female writers — and also attacking their privileged lives. Des’s objections to Alison Flood’s argument are shared by the very first person to comment after him. So why couldn’t the Guardian have turned a blind eye — simply let BobGraves speak his piece – just like John Crace?
* John Crace
* The Guardian, Tuesday October 14 2008
I’ll be honest. I never thought I’d write a Christmas book. But then my publisher called to gossip about the credit crunch. “What’s that got to do with me?” I yawned, stretching out on my chaise longue.
“Nothing, sweetie,” she said. “It’s us here at Chatto I’m worried about. We’re desperate for a Christmas bestseller to help us make budget . . .”
[. . .]
“OK, darling, you’ve twisted my arm,” I cooed. “But there are a few ground rules. My Christmas isn’t some kind of austerity family hold-back affair. I want to be able to forget the sad, grey little faces of all my neighbours who have lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and luxuriate in guilt-free greed and over-indulgence.”
“That’s perfect, Gelly Baby,” she laughed. “Just the kind of pointless consumerism Christmas publishing is all about. Getting people to buy expensive crap that never gets read.”
So where to start? How about with a feeble pun about how we always call Prosecco “Prozacco” at casa mia? [...]
Dec 02 08, 7:33pm
Please forgive me for being a thick Flood, but I do not follow the logic of claiming the PC has largely led to the death of stream of consciousness novels.
I do not detect any support for your claim. The only direct quote you invoke from this pill popping drinker, is that he wrote On The Road fast, because the road is fast. You then tell us of how another writer writes by hand (which would negate Kerouac’s method, surely?) – then how one with alzies is suffering cognition difficulties, and this is the sum total of the intellectual genius advocating a cast-iron right on Guardianista reality.
I’m not being funny, but why are you here?
I know there is no chance of you responding, because you represent the Jacqui Smith school of intellectuals. No obvious talent hiding behind some tin pot plastic reality in which you do not deign to engage with the suzzie norms who post far more eloquent and intelligently than you do.
What is your job description? I mean, I cannot recall reading anything by you that has any intellectual depth. You try and make out you’re dead literary, as though your mind is some rare space in which the plebs just don’t get the supremely superior order of your mental machinations, bemoaning the dumbing down of Literature, and yet you yourself are an integral part of the problem you espouse.
I have no problem with you appearing here, but if you actually engaged with the posters, instead of forming the vixens coven with the laughbly inedpt Armistead and the others stirring the pot in cold silence, imitating the male aspect, acting out the fantasy that you are an important cog in the bloomsbury mafia, instead of what you are, a joke withno talent.
You advocate freedom of speech and the right of artists, and yet your security commando patrollers who enforce the censoring of this site, like Smith and her jack boot stazi – nowt to do with you, the erosion of free speech.
Kerouac, the outsider, the bloke who upset people and didn’t give a monkeys who thought what, was excluded and truned down by people like you when he lived, don’t make us laugh Flood, you have no interest in anything other than acting out this ridiculous queen by fix rubbish, and if a real 21C poetic voice came from the beat ethos, of not giving a fig for the mafias you are part of coz yer can’t get on by talent, what would happen, d’yer fink, ficko?
Dec 02 08, 7:44pm
oops, typo, scuzzie, not suzzie.
Sorry to be blunt flood, I am not really having a go at you personally, just using you as a textual construct, as a placebo and exemplar for everything that is shoddy and wriong with this blog, especially since the changes came and it collapsed into being a purely commerical outfit in which the below line commentators are the guardians and lovers of the literate flame, with you lot just being paid gobs selling *stuff*, and so nowt personal, i don’t even now you, this is an intellectual exercise and *Flood*, the placebo on which to focus the ire about how unfairly i have been treated here as an intellectual. You being the rep of all that’s inept and wrong.
It was a cheap shot to say you have no talent, as you clearly have a talent for doing whatever it is that got you here pontificating.
But the essential point is, you lot talk and talk, and when put to the test by the people you claim to be on thinking terms with, the clever ones, you kick them out the gaffe and professionally exclude them, just because they have more talent.
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Dec 02 08, 8:01pm
I rather agree with Bob Graves but he is veering a little off topic – albeit in an impressively lucid fashion – so let me turn to the column’s rather dubious thesis. [continues . . . http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2008/dec/02/jack-kerouac-on-the-road-manuscript ]
The Annals of Guardian Censorship: the Evidence (part 1)
November 16, 2008
Example of a post recently deleted by The Guardian, illustrating the point I am making in The Guardian’s books blog: they do prate of freedom, but . . .
Apologies for the missing apostrophes — which were eaten by software glitches on that site:
Oct 26 08, 9:36am
Without bloggers commenting and writing poems, GUs advertising revenue would shrivel up. . . Yet they are doubly indebted to us. It isnt just that we arent being paid for our support, the Guardian is stuffing our machines full of information-gathering software on behalf of market research and advertising companies (at least 6 at present, according to my security software), and so routinely invades our privacy.
Shouldnt we be entitled to know why posts are being removed? A couple of weeks ago, GU removed my quotations of a brilliant review from the NYT to support Margaret Drabbles complaint about the dumbing down of publishing. I made no personal attack on anyone. There were no copyright issues, since that newspaper offers free access to that review. . . Yet when I complained about this here, the mods did no more than email me to say that they couldnt discuss moderation policy in public.
I am sure I am not the only person who remembers the Sarah Crown promise of openness and transparency about moderation and editing policies in the early summer of last year.
thebeardedlady and I have also been complaining about earlier deletions of posts without any indication or record of their disappearance. The complaints are then being deleted — . . . and bloggers are beginning to discuss this surreptitious censorship by GU in gatherings elsewhere.
I dont know if anyone else saw the Cif blog two or three weeks ago about Chinese authorities banning performances of Western classical music written for the Church. Someone in the thread said that there has been no official announcement on the subject. People planning or staging these concerts are merely silenced with a telephone call from someone powerful. . . Decidedly creepy, yes, but none of that seems quite so far from home any more.
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