Author: Mark Bousquet

In Defense of Alan Moore’s NEONOMICON, NCAC Reminds People That Comic Books Are Not Just For Kids

by Mark Bousquet

While the National Coalition Against Censorship’s recent headline, “Graphic Novels and Comic Books, They’re Not Just for Kids” feels anachronistic to fans of the medium, a recent complaint filed against Alan Moore’s Neonomicon (Avatar Press) at a public library in Greenville, South Carolina, reminds us that such reminders are still needed. Despite Neonomicon being correctly shelved in the adult section of the library, a patron recently filed an official challenge against the book after it was checked out of the library by her 14-year old daughter, even though her daughter had both a library card that allowed her access to the library’s adult material and her mother’s permission to take the book home. At the heart of the mother’s complaint is the common misconception that graphic novels and comic books are a medium only for children.

More after the jump…

Is A Person’s Commercial Identity Inheritable? New Hampshire Legislature Says Yes, Governor Says No

On Wednesday, June 12, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch vetoed Senate Bill 175, which would have extended an individual’s right to commercially control their own identity beyond their own death by making identity an inheritable commodity. As written, S.B. 175 states that “individuals who are domiciled in New Hampshire at the time of death retain a protectable right regarding the commercial use of their identities that is descendible to their heirs or successors,” and that this right “endures for a term consisting of the death of the person plus 70 years after his or her death.” Of greatest concern to First Amendment advocates like the Media Coalition and the First Amendment Center is that the final version of S.B. 175 that was passed by the state legislature stripped out protections for journalistic and artistic endeavors, which are protected by state and federal Constitutions.

CBLDF blogger Mark Bousquet takes a look at the bill and its implications for artistic expression after the jump.

Artistic Censorship Continues to Plague Post-Revolutionary Tunisia

On the heels of Tunisia’s Nessma television channel director Nabil Karoui being convicted of “disturbing public order” and “threatening public morals” for airing the animated cinematic adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis on his station last October, artistic censorship continues to plague Tunisian artists in the post-President Zine El Abdine Ben Ali era. In recent weeks, the struggle between artistic freedom and government censorship has seen books seized from bookstores for alleged religious blasphemy and artwork removed from an exhibition for being “too politically engaging.” Ending government-enforced censorship was an integral aspect of the revolutionary movement in Tunisia, but instead of the practice coming to a halt, Tunisian artists are discovering that censorship is simply taking new forms.

Click through for CBLDF blogger Mark Bousquet’s look at the victories and defeats in combating Tunisian censorship…

Pakistani Twitter Ban After Cartoon Contest Raises Concerns Over Country’s Commitment to Free Speech

by Mark Bousquet

A recent ban on Twitter by the Pakistani government highlights the growing conflict between conservative governments and dissatisfied citizens over the use of, and access to, social networking sites. On May 20, Pakistan blocked access to Twitter for part of the day, holding the social networking site responsible for an allegedly blasphemous cartoon contest being run on Facebook. Critics argue that Twitter has given a voice to those who oppose the government’s security practices, and that actions like the May 20 ban give credence to the idea that Pakistan is not interested in having a truly free media.

BLOWN COVERS Reveals Controversial and Rejected New Yorker Covers

by Mark Bousquet

A recent Forbes article discusses some of The New Yorker‘s most controversial covers and reveals images that never made it to print. The subject of the piece is the recent release of Françoise Mouly’s book, Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See. Though typically drawing attention for their artistic and satirical merit, select New Yorker covers have also proven controversial, such as Barry Blitt’s July 2008 cover that depicted President Barack Obama and the First Lady exchanging a “terrorist fist-bump” in the Oval Office. Ms. Mouly’s book helps to illuminate the tension that exists between artistic expression and commercial interests.

Click through for more about covering The New Yorker and links to images of some of the most controversial covers.