Russians Censor Website About Russians Censoring Websites
from the we've-gone-meta dept
There are a few things that seem fairly clear about the Russian government. First, it loves to censor stuff, preferring whitelists to blacklists. Secondly, the Russian government isn’t so big on this whole free speech thing, and it’s even less enthused about anonymous speech. Also, we know that the Russian government likes to limit what it calls “obscenities,” which not only feature your common curse words and YouTube style internet comments, but also anyone who is gay and likes being gay enough to tell someone else that being gay ain’t so bad. And, finally, I now know the Russian government sucks at irony.
I say that because a language art website in Russia that published a bunch of satirical material on how gay people give the Kremlin the censorious heebie-jeebies has been itself censored.
In August, Russian-language art website published two satirical ebooks spoofing Russia’s new anti-gay propaganda” laws, Homosexuality for Kids and Lesbianism for Kids. Now, they along with their entire blogging platform, is apparently banned in Russia. The two gay “guidebooks” are full of explicit images and tongue-in-cheek pronouncements like “Sometimes, when you look at another boy, you suddenly feel happy and strange.” But as Animal New York points out, “one look through them and you know they’re not gay textbooks for children. If you don’t, you are silly or tyrannical Kremlin minion.”
Methinks the Russian government doth protest too much. That aside, here’s the lesson for all of you interested in civics: authoritarian regimes suck because they have no sense of humor. When you can’t let an art site poke fun at you, you’ve lost all governing perspective and you should expect the revolution to begin post-haste, because if there’s something people won’t put up with it’s the inability to have a laugh.
Meanwhile, back in the non-hissy-fit world, this censoring by Russia is Streisanding the blocked site to world’s attention.
Luckily for Looo.ch, being banned by one of America’s geopolitical adversaries is a great way to get blogs to write about you here in the U.S.. So what is looo.ch? It’s the online home of New York-based Ukranian artists Anatoli Ulyanov and Natasha Masharova. The site is a raw, intriguing collection of projects, many of which seem to be direct provocations of Russia’s overzealous web censors, recently empowered by the blacklist law that allows sites to be blocked if they are deemed to contain “information dangerous for children.”
Ah, the “for the children” excuse to silence political opponents. And oldie but a goldie, as they say, except that a previously minor website’s message is now front and center in the news. Your move, humorless Russian censor-borgs!