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Apple – ebooks – corporate censoring…

November 26, 2012

Did anyone else listen in on Q this morning (CBC Radio) and hear about how much Apple censors which books they will publish?

It reminded me of the discussion a few years ago around Walmart, and what books they choose to sell (or refuse to sell) in their stores.

The concept, this morning, was a bit beyond what Jian Ghomeshi could handle.

“Did this imply” he asked, “that corporate monopolies could dictate what “culture” would actually be?”

A little late for that question, don’t you think Jian?

When Apple has issues with Naomi Wolf’s “Vagina: A New Biography” because of the “V” word, or the 1960’s hippie movement, or bare bums, and a host of other puritant and/or moral issues that go to the base of American sexual and intellectual social immaturity – and when Apple controls such a large share of the e-book market – of course, they increasingly control the cultural dialogue.

But Apple is simply yet another example of a cultural and political censoring process that has been going on for 3-4 decades now as the media and publishing industries are increasingly concentrated into fewer and fewer hands.

The debate this morning was about Apple’s refusal to publish a Dutch book looking at the Dutch hippie movement in the 1960’s. Apple refuses to publish the book because it contains some pictures that had nudity in them. 

Oh no! Nudity!

But wait you say. Apple publishes art books with nudity. True. But that is art! This is hairy ugly naked people dancing in a field, or running through the woods! Ewe! That’s not art.

So, the Dutch Minister of Culture is taking this to the larger EU to consider.

Hmm, imagine what the French will say!



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