Blog Archives

Otaku: Japan’s Favorite Scapegoat — and Tourist Draw

October 8, 2012
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Otaku: Japan’s Favorite Scapegoat — and Tourist Draw

Japan has long had a checkered relationship with its subculture of otaku, a word whose nuances cannot easily be translated to English but which more or less means “geeks whose hobbies border on the fanatic” (Ito). More often than not, these hobbies include consuming, collecting, and obsessing over manga, anime, and video games. Add in…

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Virtual Read-Out: KING & KING

October 3, 2012
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Here’s another selection from the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out, an officially sponsored YouTube channel that compiles videos of people reading their favorite banned and challenged literature. In this one, college student Rachel reads an excerpt from King & King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland. The children’s book about a prince whose true…

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LGBT Graphic Novels Face Frequent Challenges

October 2, 2012
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LGBT Graphic Novels Face Frequent Challenges

Regular CBLDF readers are probably already aware that comics and graphic novels are frequently challenged or banned for content that would pass without comment in an all-text novel. Would-be censors, often clinging to the notion that any book with lots of pictures must be for children, tend to flip through graphic novels and pick out…

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U.S. National Archives Holdings Provide New Insight Into 1954 Anti-Comics Hearings

September 25, 2012
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U.S. National Archives Holdings Provide New Insight Into 1954 Anti-Comics Hearings

Happy National Comic Book Day! In honor of the occasion, the U.S. National Archives shared some wonderful items from their collection on their Facebook page. All became federal records in 1954, when they were presented to a Senate subcommittee which was investigating whether comics led to juvenile delinquency. In addition to copies of Mad (the…

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Kansas Sculpture Targeted in Grand Jury Investigation Reveals Pattern of Bullying Businesses

September 14, 2012
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Kansas Sculpture Targeted in Grand Jury Investigation Reveals Pattern of Bullying Businesses

A sculpture depicting a partially-clothed woman snapping a picture of herself in an Overland Park, Kansas arboretum is drawing accusations from one local resident of “glorifying sexting,” and a petition against the work has now garnered enough signatures to trigger a grand jury obscenity investigation. The sculpture, “Accept or Reject” by Yu Chang, is one…

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Graphic Novel Removed from Connecticut School District’s Summer Reading List

September 5, 2012
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Graphic Novel Removed from Connecticut School District’s Summer Reading List

The video game-themed graphic novel Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux will be removed as an option on a Connecticut school district’s ninth grade summer reading list after a parent complained of profanity and sexual references in the book. The Enfield, Connecticut, Board of Education will also change its policy so that a board committee must approve…

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Egyptian Humor Fuels Revolution

August 15, 2012
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Egyptian Humor Fuels Revolution

As the Arab Spring blossomed in Egypt early last year, people around the world quickly noticed something about the protesters and their signs: they were often funny. But as Satenik Harutyunyan outlines in a recent article for the University of California San Diego online journal Prospect, Egyptians have long employed humor to circumvent censorship and…

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Syrian Cartoonist Ferzat Featured in Amsterdam Exhibit

August 1, 2012
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Syrian Cartoonist Ferzat Featured in Amsterdam Exhibit

Almost a year ago, when Syrian political cartoonist Ali Ferzat was abducted and had his hands broken by men likely connected to authoritarian president Bashar Assad’s government, the message was clear: stop drawing. But Ferzat defied the warning and, in solidarity with the rebels fighting the Assad regime, resumed creating his cartoons with new zeal…

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Canadian Fair Dealing Expanded to Include Parody

July 25, 2012
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Canadian Fair Dealing Expanded to Include Parody

While working on my recent post about Canadian political cartoonist Dan Murphy’s animated parody being removed from his newspaper’s website, allegedly under pressure from the very company targeted by the video, I was somewhat surprised to learn that such works were not necessarily protected under the “fair dealing” provisions of Canada’s copyright laws. In the…

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Animated Parody Removed from Canadian Newspaper Website

July 5, 2012
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A Canadian political cartoonist who works for the Vancouver Province newspaper says that his animated parody of oil pipeline company Enbridge’s ads was removed from the newspaper’s website, apparently due to pressure from the corporation. According to a blog post from The Guardian, Dan Murphy’s video was removed by the paper’s owner, Postmedia News, which…

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