USA/facebook conundrum : Nudity and fake news

Nudity not ok

I have been banned from posting on facebook for 24 hours. I re-posted a political cartoon critical of exploitation including sexual exploitation and hypocrisy.

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I self censored the image above so you are not blinded by two cartoon nipples and facebook will allow this blog to be posted. You still might be offended if you fantasise about what you can’t see behind the bar. I bet that your fantasy will be so much more vivid and therefore offensive than the actual hidden detail of the image. As they say ‘radio is better than TV because the pictures are better’.

Just to make sure that the censor at facebook understands the meaning of the objectionable image let me give you my interpretation of what the artist depicted. It shows a privileged white male sitting comfortably being served all sorts of conveniences like lab top computers, smartphones, chocolate, toiletries and even marihuana by crouching poor mostly dark third world figures. The one blond female figure is even exposing her bare breasts. All this while the privileged white male is ironically wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt.
In one image we get the whole story of exploitation including sexual exploitation and hypocrisy.

The Problems with Censorship

The main problem with censorship has always been with the dirty minds of the censors. To prove this point famous 19th century Austrian satirist Karl Kraus once wrote a little piece where he left spaces blank. The story was designed so that the missing words could either be innocent fitting a harmless storyline or dirty fitting a naughty storyline. The dirty mind of the censor at every turn inevitably supposed the naughty version and the piece was banned even if not one objectionable word was uttered. The satirist had made his point brilliantly.

In the case of the facebook bare breast/nipple policy the question is : What is the reason for the blanket ban ? Is it that the sexual exploitation of women is objectionable ? In this case I would wholeheartedly support the policy and for that very reason I posted the image in the first place.
Or is it that Mark Zuckerberg thinks that nudity per se is objectionable and that the human body is dirty and somehow pornographic ? I do not want to open up the whole breastfeeding debate at this point. However I am reminded of the actor Hugh Laurie on a recent US comedy show. When discussing Donald Trump’s obsession with women’s appearances and walking in on naked beauty contestants his therapy recommendation was breast feeding. It had to be consenting adults, which needed to be emphasised in the case of Trump. And I would wholeheartedly agree with that approach as well.

In any case the image should not have been banned by facebook. If it was for an anti sexual exploitation stance it should have been welcomed. If it would be for an anti nudity stance it should not have been banned as many of the old masters in the great art galleries of the world should not be banned. Instead Mark Zuckerberg and his censors should book some breastfeeding therapy.

Fake News ok

Fake news stories on the internet have become a real problem. Facebook as the main player has come more and more into focus. It is claimed with some good reason that it might have had a decisive influence on this years US elections.

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Even if Mark Zuckerberg dismissed as “pretty crazy” the idea that fake news spread on his site could have affected the presidential election facebook is now taking the issue a bit more seriously. Reputable PewResearch found that 44% of US adults get news from facebook, which is a staggering reach. If you are responsible for the news of so many people you cannot just wash your hands off the problem.

More and more governments around the world are increasingly concerned about the power of social media to control the “news” content. The German government for instance is demanding access to the algorithm behind the “news” selection the users are fed.

Most of the fake news stories are so blatantly false as the one above that any sensible half educated person would check the date of the publication if it was not the 1st of April. Which brings us of course to the level of education of many including Donald Trump who believe things because they have seen it on the internet. As a product of decades of neo-liberal cuts to education they lack the basic knowledge to asses if a news story is even close to the realm of reality.

Word of the year 2016 “Post-truth”

The Oxford Dictionary has named “Post-truth” the word of the year 2016. It could as well be the description of the state of the US society and politics where the term was used to characterise the election campaign. Observers already call the incoming administration the most anti truth – as in science, as in climate change – ever. Up to 40% of US citizens don’t even care about the truth of climate change as they believe that the world is going to end anyway on judgment day in the next 30 to 40 years during their lifetime.

Instead they care about nipples. Remember the infamous wardrobe malfunction during a Super Bowl performance when Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed for about half a second showing her breast covered with a nipple shield. People went bananas and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tried to impose a record fine of $500,000.- on the broadcaster. A case which got all the way to the Supreme Court.

Please excuse my generalisation. Many friends and family are Americans and I apologise to them. But as this year’s election has proved Americans do not care about the truth while if facebook is anything to go by are being obsessed with female nipples. They just elected the president to suit.

Donald Trump, an unabashed pathological lier with a lifelong obsession with the shape and appearance of women in urgent need of some breast feeding therapy.

 

 

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