Jump to content

Paypal to force Smashwords to censor.


Recommended Posts

Paypal Pressured To Play Morality Cop And Forces Smashwords To Censor Authors

One of the outlets for Midnight Dude is Smashwords (who distribute to others too). So, this might affect us - though probably not, as I wouldn't describe Midnight Dude as erotica.

We have become quite accustomed to Paypal arbitrarily deciding to shut down the payment services for a website with no warning and little recourse. Usually when it does so, it acts through its own volition. However, Paypal also has to deal with the whims of the credit card companies with which it is partnered. With that business arrangement, when a credit card company says to jump, Paypal must comply. When it does so, it effects all its own customers as well. Ebook publisher Smashwords reports that it has become one of the latest recipients of one such action. Under pressure from credit card providers, Paypal has put in place a policy that it would no longer process payments for ebooks that contained themes of rape, incest, beastiality and underage sexual content. It then decided to give Smashwords less than a week to remove all books that fit those criteria.

Complete article

Link to comment

Can anyone define 'underage sexual content' to me?

If a six year old wonders why he has an erection, is that sexual content?

If a 13 year old boy feels an attraction to another 13 year old boy, is that sexual content?

If a 17 year old boy makes out with a 17 year old girl, is that underage sexual content?

I wish people would not use terms whose definition they assume everyone agrees with.

This is a very complicated issue. I don't think it should be decided by a credit card provider, especially when no one can possibly know who is running the show and making decisions about this sort to thing. What does this have to do with providing credit for people?.


Link to comment

As I grew older, I realized that we didn't control our country, the people who controlled our money did. And, it's unfortunate that the Constitution cannot control the people that control our money. The only way that that can happen is for the situation to enter our legal system. That means that PayPal and Smashwords have to respectively sue the credit card companies for squashing their 1st ammendment rights.

Scarry indeed! There's a lot at risk for these companies to contemplate such an act. But when you think about it, it could help how "We the people" are viewed by large corporations. But the reality is that it won't happen, because the risk of losing their business may be too high.

Link to comment

It's really a scary mess, whether it's the proscribed censorship that is as hypocritical as it is manipulative, or the corporate counterintelligence censorship that is flouted for profit.

As for Cole's concern about defining 'underage sexual content' what it amounts to, is loosely implied legislative prohibitions that can be interpreted at the whim of prosecutors and religious disciplinarians seeking to impose their own ideas on what is acceptable. So yes, if you write about a six year old wondering about his erection, or 13 year old boys considering their attraction to each other, then in some locations you could be guilty of writing 'pornography'. Your looking at being guilty if intent to provoke an erotic feeling can be proven, regardless of whether the author actually had the intent or not. That's where it gets confusing. An author can write without deliberate intent and yet be accused and found guilty of intent even if he doesn't

The 17 year old example however, may not attract as much attention because the age of consent in some places is 16 or less. However if the 17 year old was being seduced by an older person, with graphic sexual description, then all bets are like the clothing, off. There are places in the world who gladly execute an author for writing about homosexuality. In the U.S. you have some protection with your free speech, and in Australia we have flexibility under common law but not as much freedom to express ourselves. Lawyers give opposing views as to what will or won't attract the attention of law enforcement, but feel free to make a movie or write a story describing murders involving the tearing off of adult body parts with gruesome realism, just so long as the body part is not a sexual organ.

Censorship does offer a protection in that it can allow the work to be classified as Restricted, or XXX (porn). But the difficulty is that the classifications do not readily apply to the undefined 'underage sexual content'.

Look at what the religious right is trying to do, politically, in certain states, at limiting sexual discussions in schools. If they have their way, then children will not be allowed to know what their dangly bits are for, until after they have their first orgasm at the onset of puberty. Ignorance is their only reference for bliss which, certainly has nothing to do with sex. :redface:

How do you write stories which involve underage child development...very carefully.

There are a number of precedents that might be used in defence if one writes carefully. the book, Lolita is one example, the play Eqqus, is another, and the oldest of references, The Satyricon by Petronius.

One might also engage in pointing out the nature of the story is not meant to be erotically stimulating, and that an author has no ability to control the reactions of any reader.

Link to comment

One might also engage in pointing out the nature of the story is not meant to be erotically stimulating, and that an author has no ability to control the reactions of any reader.

That is certainly true. A leather fetishist can get turned on by a description of a black, shiny jacket. A writer would certainly not want to be incarcerated because he was good at describing somthing that had nothing to do with sex, to him.

So by that reasoning, you'd have to worry about the mental state of your judge. And if a prosecutor thought the cute, sentimental material about a 6-year-old contemplating his stiffy to be arousing, perhaps he's the one who needs to be prosecuted.


Link to comment

That is certainly true. A leather fetishist can get turned on by a description of a black, shiny jacket. A writer would certainly not want to be incarcerated because he was good at describing somthing that had nothing to do with sex, to him.

So by that reasoning, you'd have to worry about the mental state of your judge. And if a prosecutor thought the cute, sentimental material about a 6-year-old contemplating his stiffy to be arousing, perhaps he's the one who needs to be prosecuted.


I do like the idea of prosecuting the prosecutor for having a dirty mind.

Link to comment

The real issue here, to me, is that the moment we allow our corporate overlords to dictate their version of morality to us, their customers, it's already too late. We've lost. Freedom and liberty is a farce. Whether it's Visa or Paypal, their position of handling financial transactions gives them absolutely no say whatsoever in what the world reads. Or, at least, it shouldn't.

Link to comment

The real issue here, to me, is that the moment we allow our corporate overlords to dictate their version of morality to us, their customers, it's already too late. We've lost. Freedom and liberty is a farce. Whether it's Visa or Paypal, their position of handling financial transactions gives them absolutely no say whatsoever in what the world reads. Or, at least, it shouldn't.



Link to comment

We're much nearer the point when the corporations become de facto governments. That's been one possibility in science fiction, going back to around the 50's or 60's. I'm not so sure we haven't already reached that point.

* A boy (of whatever age) having questions about his body's functioning and maturing, or his feelings developing along with that?

Believe it or not, some places/people think that's inappropriate. Kids at elementary and middle school and high school levels still have to get parental permission for sex ed in health, P.E., or biology. Yes, in the local districts I'm aware of, from what friends and relatives have said. For that boy to learn about his own body, or anybody else's body, male or female, in terms of its sexual function, development, hygienc, health, safety, disease prevention, contraception. I'd joke you're just supposed to hold it, but they'd say you're not supposed to hold it. Heh.

* A boy's attraction to another boy?

It might be OK if he's attracted to a girl, but maybe not. If he's attracted to another boy, well, how could he be? -- So goes the thinking. Never mind that he is indeed attracted and wishes some other boy would be attracted to him, particularly the boy he's attracted to. Why it's OK for him to think about or express attraction to a girl and ask her in public, but not a boy, is a question. Why, further, he's not supposed to be very attracted to the girl either, when after a certain age, he's likely to be attracted to *someone*, and that's normal, is another question.

* Two boys acting on that attraction, hugging, kissing? (Making out?)

If it's a boy and a girl, then it's fine even on prime time family TV. In fact, it will boost ratings and be very popular and talked about in positively glowing ways. Except by the people who think the boy and girl should do absolutely nothing and think nothing until they reach 18 or after. How they're expected to develop normal relationships and affection like that, and express them, I don't know.

If it's two boys? My goodness, can that air on TV or get printed in a book? Whatever were you thinking? You're one of "those people" with an "agenda," aren't you? -- Well, yes, my agenda includes living my life, paying my bills, making it to the next day, -- and being honest with myself and getting to love someone and him love me in return. -- Only very, very recently has it been at all possible to show that without an R rating, while again, it's just fine and dandy to show it between a boy and girl, of whatever age, and have it be a nice, romantic, sweet story...or a compelling if not sweet story.

* Two boys going any further than making out?

Oh my goodness gracious, hide grandma and the kids! Hide the dog! Just hide! No, grandma, don't peek! -- Now, if grandma actually thinks it's fine for those two boys to love each other and do whatever it is they were doing under the covers, then old granny's probably gone round the bend and needs to be in the old folks home.

^ Please note that is total sarcasm on my part...and I've seen old folks homes and am not too fond of even the best of those, along with the thinking about granny, whether she's still got it or not. (Granny is cool. I've seen many thinks about growing old up close and personal. It ain't pretty, but it's very real.)

Ahem, sorry. Again, if it's a guy and a girl (man and woman, or boy and girl) then it's somehow fine, except for the "don't ever do that" folks. It is not so popular if it's boy and boy.

(By the way, I'm saying "boys" and not also saying "girls" because it gets really tedious and confusing writing he/she, him/her, boys, girls every sentence. Also because most of the audience here are males. Not everyone, thankfully, but most.)

And please note, I'm not saying what should be or ought to be, or even what is accepted in more places than it used to be. I'm stating the majority reaction, which unfortunately, we are probably already too familiar with.

Maybe more useful is this line of thinking: Yesterday morning when I signed on the web, my home page, which gives news and info and other less useful stuff, had among its eye-catching headlines a large photo of three women for "Winter Swimsuit Pictures." (Don't blame me or say I'm focused. I had nothing to do with the choice of articles.) In fact, that's from a major cable provider's choice of articles. They went with what they thought the public would most like to see, and being a cable provider, they'd know what their viewers watch. So, three women over 30 or 40 in very skimpy swimsuits somewhere warm and sunny and attractive. Hey, they look good, good for them. If I were a straight guy, it would've brightened my day a lot more. Instead, being a gay guy, I thought, "You know, if they showed three good looking guys that age in as little clothing as that, it'd probably be shouted down as inappropriate and prurient content. Instead, any straight man or boy who sees those nice big pictures of nice big um, curvy body parts, has nothing to worry about when he looks. Why is it, I ask, that those women can be shown (in very tastefully neutral and inoffensive, very attractive) photos, I might add, but yet it can't be of good looking men, whether in swim shorts or speedos or baggies or well, as little as those bikinis were hiding? It is because our cultures are, on the whole, worried about the possibility of any male having feelings for any other male and expressing those feelings, even looking. Now, the women in those photos happened to be in their 30's and 40's. But the same source shows young women in their 20's or teenagers on the beach with other teens. But no, again, doesn't show (or hardly ever, ever shows) men in similar pictures. It is only in sports or outdoor activities or beach or vacation type photos. Because, you know, for a male of any of the same ages that females can be seen in beach wear or sports, is simply not OK. You're not supposed to see the guys like that. (Unless, of course, you're a straight female. Then it's OK, but you'll be looked at funny, especially if you cuss. And yes, women are as bad or worse about it, when they say what they like in a man, than the guys are when they say what they like in a woman.)

Yes, I did wonder, when I saw those photos. Mind you, I don't object to the photos or the article being on there. Good for them. People like people-watching and celebrity and travel and all that. Nothing wrong with that.

It's great when they have real news to report too.

But why is it that there is such a huge double standard, such a huge difference, when it comes to how people can see women, versus how people can see men? -- As long as those women can also be seen as beautiful in an evening dress, or jeans, or capable in business and technology and personal or home life, then what's wrong with seeing them as beautiful on the beach, not wearing much? -- And why is it that people don't think it is every bit as OK to see a man or boy the same as they have no problem seeing a woman or girl?

Why? Double standard. Homophobia too. Insecurity about a male showing any feelings of affection or compassion or "softness." (Oh, all sorts of connotations in even that word, "softness.") Why? Because many or most people still don't see it as OK for men or boys to express feelings for each other, even the most basic kinds of affection like a hug or arm-in-arm or arm-around-waist or holding hands, or caring if your buddy is down; much more so if there's not just friendship, but love (non-sexual); and outright problematic for many, if there's attraction and romantic or sexual feelings between two guys (two boys, or two men).

A couple of stories tackle that question head on: The boy in the story is gay. Most of his friends are straight, which, of course, is usual. But he gets frustrated with them and finally asks them why it's OK for them to talk about the girls they like, who they like, what they like in a girl (body and emotionally); but if he wants to chime in with the guys he likes, who he likes, what he'd like in a guy (body and emotionally) it suddenly gets very uncomfortable and the conversation dries up. That is precisely the kind of thing I'm talking about. And that is so often even with friends who are mostly accepting. (Yes, they are mostly, but they're still not always comfortable with it directly.)

That does not say it's right for many/most to think and act without tolerance or acceptance, or to exclude even the possibility, the images, or the discussion. What a shame that so many can't even admit the possibility.

I'm saying, I think it's obvious I'm saying, that they should be as accepting of how males are viewed and portrayed as they are of how females are.

We aren't there yet. There is a long way to go.

At least I can still say what I think in some places and to some people.

I am very glad that some people, whether friends or family, like that hypothetical granny and some of the families and friends of people here, do "get it." I just wish I didn't run into so much of the static from people who don't get it, each week.

(Note: I'm not advocating all the gay people moving off into their own little safe neighborhood. That just ignores all those friends and family who do care and accept, and it deprives the gay folks and the straight folks alike, from getting to know each other the way we all really are, and getting past that fear of "other-ness.")

My opinion, that's all. -- I just wish I could see more positive stuff from more people.

Link to comment


My questions were to show the absurdity of the situation. You also managed to show the hypocrisy. Because, of course, deny it as they will, boys of six do contemplate their stiffies, boys do find other boys attractive, and kids, below and above 17, do make out. And, everyone knows it! So the fact it isn't considered fit for prime time, or mainstream stories, is simply hypocrisy and censorship.

I think things are improving, which is well supported these days by the number of gay characters on TV. I wish those characters were as a whole less camp. I think their campness is a concession to the critics. See, Ed, those guys aren't normal. They don't act like we do. And then the kicker, They ain't real men. I'd really like to get past that.


Link to comment

Yeah, Cole, that too. And yes, it is absurd.

I sure had questions, as a preteen and teen, when awareness and physical and psychological development started kicking into higher gear. And there wasn't exactly a long list of people or sources to find those answers. (Add to it that I was shy and thought I wasn't supposed to have/express sexual feelings, at least, not much, and about other boys? What was up with that? Pun intended.) So even a very reserved kid is going to have feelings and want (and need) answers, support, friends...and a chance to figure it out with others like-minded. (I think that often, the lack of those opportunities short-circuits gay people's development as people. In other words, it tends to create some of the problems, not the fact of being gay (or bi), but the lack of an outlet as normal as the straight kids have.)

I found myself thinking about my answer above over supper. I stand by my answer, but I think it was too knee-jerk and ignores something. I'm not sure yet how to put it, so I'd like to come back to it when I can figure out what I want to say better. Maybe I'll manage that now, but I think it's still percolating, so I'll write later if I can figure out how to say what's in the back of my mind..

This is 2012. It is a much different world than the one I grew up in. In some ways, today's world is really getting better. Yes, really. But in other ways, it's getting worse, and because of those, it is so easy to lose track of the good stuff.

* There is more acceptance of gay/bi people in general and more in the under-30 age groups. At least some of these folks have figured out it doesn't matter to them if Johnny or Joanie is gay.

I'm glad for that. I know very few gay/lesbian/bi folks in person. I've been so caught up in my own (and especially my grandmother's) problems up until she passed away, that everything else, especially the support I needed most, or my own growth out of the closet, went by the wayside for a long, long time. It'll be a while yet before I really get to where I'm making headway. But at least the ball's rolling.

* There's so much access to information, books, movies, TV, the internet, cell phones now. There's a lot of good in that. It is at least somewhat possible to answer some questions about it all, including about being gay, and it's possible to find both positive and negative views out there, the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of things...and that there are people who just want to be themselves and love who they want to love. Example: Yes, there are gay stories out there. These can tell some of the truth of what gay folks want and how we feel. They can also show the less than saintly fantasies some have, but then, straight folks have less than saintly stuff too. (And why there are other things around with little to differentiate what and where, probably says more about the lack of acceptance of being gay, the lack of equal readiness to put out a published story that wouldn't get even a blink, if it involved straight characters.) (I am not trying to divide or downgrade straight people. I'm saying that our world does not offer as equal and ready an acceptance of gay people or gay content as it does for straight relationships.)

* Online: Sure, there are jerks and nuts and people masquerading out there. But let's face it, that happens in the real (offline) world too. There are ordinary, nice people online too. The anonymity online is both a blessing and a curse. It means the ones out there who want to impress or get away with something or pretend they're something they're not can act that way. It also means the ones who want to be just themselves can be themselves. It also means there is information and misinformation and disinformation out there. We have to learn to figure it all out for ourselves, whether "we" are adults or teens or kids, male or female, whoever, whatever our background. I bring that up, because people get so all-fired up in the air about it all, and because anybody with a podium seems to want to fan the worries instead of point out all sides of things.

* GSA's, Gay-Straight Alliances -- They exist. A student under 18 can go to one at his/her school. A student over 18 can go to one at his/her college/university. (Crud, there was a new one when I went to college, but I was too uptight and self-righteous and downright scared to get my butt through that door. Wish I could go back and give that guy a shove over to the building and in that door...but he would've had to find out when they met.) Despite the detractors who claim this is for gay dating or gay recruiting, or promotes an immoral/unhealthy "lifestyle," if there's a GSA there, and if a student can get his/her butt in that door, there is at least that much of a chance for dialogue and support and acknowledgement, publicly recognized and supported openly, that you and your friends are OK, whether you're straight or gay. That tiny bit of truth in itself is important. (Wow, if I'd known anyone at all in school who would've been OK with being gay, that would've seemed so amazing and impossibly wonderful. You mean, I could talk to someone? Without getting called names or getting hit? Cooool!)

* TV and Movie Characters: Hey, I can actually turn on the TV or a movie and see gay characters. And some are ordinary, not the villain or psycho or freak of the week. -- OK, I could do with a little less over the top or camp or a few other things sometimes, I admit. But...well...why *not* a little camp too? One of my friends, whom I stood up for, in school was...a lot like Kurt on Glee...with some important differences, both more and less than the way Kurt is portrayed. One important difference: If my friend *was* gay, he wasn't saying. My own speaking and singing voice are not some deep bass, there's more variation in tone and higher pitch than many guys. (Aw, listen, you can go hear recordings by me at Codey's World and my own site, and if you heard past recordings on AwesomeDude Radio, you'll know what I sound like. So there.) In school and college, I got pretty self-conscious about trying to sound/look more, well, like the other guys. (Yeah, more butch, dude.) I did finally figure out that was silly, just be myself. But it was something I thought about and tried to change for a while, and yes, I still get pegged as "Mizz" Blue now and then.

But wait, what about those gay characters on TV and the movies? Well, dang, they weren't there when I was growing up, but they are there now. That's progress. There *is* a Kurt on Glee, along with Artie, Mercedes, and all the rest. And God bless Kurt (and Chris Colfer) for being there, being gay (or queer) and being himself. How great it is to see there can be a guy being a gay guy, on TV, and not have so many howls of protest that he can't be there. That goes for the young kid on Ugly Betty, who is or isn't gay, which I think is an important distinction, that maybe he is and maybe he isn't, but he's still an OK kid, as weird as any other there. Jack on Will and Grace? OK, it was a comedy, and one I hardly ever watched. But it wasn't meant to be literal or serious. Yes, there are other examples I should mention, but these days, I haven't watched much on the old telly or in theaters. Lack of opportunity.

Yes, perhaps it's good for me to be challenged a little bit in my own assumptions or past or present or future, to see that say, not every gay guy or girl is what I expect them to be. I might just grow personally a little and understand a little better, myself and people like me...or people not quite like me too, sometimes.

I can say, though, that yes, I would like to see some gay parents. Some very average, ordinary, who'd-a-thunk, he's or she's gay folks. That could, and should, be any character. The local office worker. The small business owner. The neighbor boy. The geeky kid. One of the guys on the school team, football, track, basketball, swimming, I don't care; the important part is, he's not who the audience might think at first glance is, "oh, that's the gay one." Why? Because who he is and what he's going through in the story are more down to earth, relateable, and real, than the, "Oh, we'll make the character so-and-so, because that way, no one will have trouble figuring out he's the gay guy. Phooey. What about the small town boy who's living his life, town or farm or ranch or anything else around there, but yes, he happens to be gay? -- See, I'm throwing out all those, not as tropes to copy into some formula, but because I haven't really seen much on TV that wasn't pretty readily identifiable as, "say, that's the gay guy or girl." While we're at it, I would like to see a positive, optimistic character, not "oh, always the poor victim," but, "hey, I'm doin' alright," or "hey, listen bub, I'm gonna stand up for myself and you're gonna listen and make nice, hear me?" Or even such things as, "Junior is our son. We love him. We love his boyfriend too. So quit getting in my face." Or even, "Yes, my grandson and his beau were over to fix up the house for me this weekend." (I don't say beau, but that grandma would, you just heard her.) Or how about, "Hey, Jimmy, glad you could make it. Guys, this is Jimmy." (Jimmy is already known by the audience and the group of friends to be gay. If the issue comes up, Jimmy gets supported, can say what he wants, and the people who try to make trouble can't. Or possibly some guy there asks him to dance, date, etc. -- Why all these? Because it happens rarely, if at all, in any video form I've seen. Too often, the gay guy or girl is fighting a tragic battle and losing somehow, or the outsider and staying that way. Yes, that happens in real life. It would be nice to see the successes too, the times where we've gotten beyond that or it is at least not happening then, whether it did before or will again. -- And yes, I can say I have often yelled or whimpered in my posts about my own past or current state. Yes, that's too true. I would very much like for that not to happen so much. It's a symptom of having spent the last many years with so little outlets of any kind, so focused on myself and my grandmother, with online being one of the very few safety valves where I would say what was on my mind, my private self made sometimes too public because...where else, who else, could I say those things to?

That last is an issue too. I'm not the only one out there, my age or otherwise, who doesn't have the opportunity or friends/support or comfort levels to let loose with what's inside, deep down. Now, I'm rare in that I will post in forums where I visit, about such things. No, I don't often post those inner musings or insecurities about being gay or my life experience, on other forums. But yes, I've been known to, and yes, the forums where I'm a member, I've been there long enough to be comfortable saying what I do say, and -- and here's the important part -- getting feedback, especially the helpful, positive feedback, or sometimes the challenging, get your act together, or what do you mean, sort of feedback. I can also say, once in a while, I've gotten as good or better support there than gay-friendly forums. Why? I'm not sure why, and it puzzles me some.

But when I post here or elsewhere, it's what's on my mind, it's how I feel, and it is for sure, the real me, strengths and faults and all.

About those TV shows and movies, those characters, those stories, books and plays and whatever else? -- I once joked that I couldn't remember a single story where the hero got the guy, either his sidekick or the handsome prince or the ugly frog. (Note: Mercedes Lackey notably did write a set of three or four books, the Herald Mage series, Valdemar stories, but there's a very tragic ending. Still worth reading. Actual gay characters in a medieval sword and sorcery story.) -- Well, it would be nice to see all kinds of stories and all kinds of characters, just as ordinarily uncommon as the straight characters and stories.

That is why it's important that there are gay story sites like this one and others, and why there's room for them all and a need. It is precisely because I can't simply walk into the bookstore or library or get a video and find those stories just as easily and unremarkable (and available to everyone) as all the other stories out there on the shelves.

(And here my teenage self wasn't so sure how to take the appearance of any gay characters in the very few, mostly science fiction, stories where they might appear. Relax, buddy, it gets better.)

...Maybe that's what I was trying to say. Still not sure I have really said what I was trying to get out, earlier....

Link to comment
Amazon.com is an alternate source for Midnight Dude that doesn't seem to be content-restrictive. Colin :icon_geek:

Yes. -- And other fiction and non-fiction.

For that matter, the Barnes & Noble nearest here has a section on gay and lesbian / LGBT books, though those are non-fiction. Yes, I got myself up to the checkout counter more than once. Big whoop. Discovered it was a non-event. At least, the woman who checked me out didn't give me the hairy eyeball. :)

Link to comment

I'd like to respond more to Ben's post, but I am working on an article that touches on some of the points that he and others raise. I'll advise you when it is done.

In the mean time, in-between time, here is a novel reference in which
the heroes do live happily ever after with each other
. I've pasted the introduction from
Maurice was also made into a charming movie.

Maurice (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

E. M. Forster's Maurice

Maurice is a novel by E. M. Forster. A tale of homosexual love in early 20th century England, it follows Maurice Hall from his schooldays, through university and beyond. It was written from 1913 onwards. Although it was shown to selected friends, such as Christopher Isherwood, it was only published in 1971 after Forster's death.

Forster resisted publication because of public and legal attitudes to homosexuality — a note found on the manuscript read: "Publishable, but worth it?". Forster was particularly keen that his novel should have a happy ending, but knew that this would make the book too controversial.[1] However, by the time he died, British attitudes, and law, had changed.

The novel was made into a film Maurice (1987), directed by James Ivory and starring James Wilby as Maurice, Hugh Grant as Clive and Rupert Graves as Alec.

A stage adaptation, written by Roger Parsley and Andy Graham, was produced by SNAP Theatre Company in 1998 and toured the UK, culminating with a brief run at London's Bloomsbury Theatre. Shameless Theatre Company staged another production in 2010 at the Above The Stag Theatre in London.[2] The U.S. premiere opens on February 24, 2012 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, CA

I would remind you all about the lesbian authoress Mary Renault who wrote gay male romantic novels from 1956-1981, set in ancient Greece. Google for The Last of the Wine, and The Mask of Appollo.

Link to comment

I have to thank Mary Renault, among others, for my early and abiding interest in the classics, and E.M. Forster for a youthful awareness of the ideals of humanism, a state of mind largely unknown in small-town America during my youth. Those writers along with Somerset Maugham were among my heroes and my earliest antidotes to the literature deemed suitable for boys such as The Hardy Boys (about whom I did harbor deep suspicions). It was the romanticism of Maugham's life as well as his broad output as a writer that made me aspire to become a spy or failing that, a swell. I did not succeed at either pursuit but I am eternally grateful to writers like these for the gateways they provided me into the larger world.


Link to comment

I have now posted an article which addresses some of my thoughts on the morality of censorship in a broader (if personal) context.

The article is here at the archive Trab and I have made for our work.

Link to comment

Just got this from SmashWords

Smashwords author/publisher update: PayPal reverses proposed censorship, changes policies

March 13, 2012

Great news. Yesterday afternoon I met with PayPal at their office in San Jose, where they informed me of their decision to modify their policies to allow legal fiction.

Effective last night, we rolled back the Smashwords Terms of Service to its pre-February 24 state.

It's been a tumultuous, nerve-wracking few weeks as we worked to protect the right of writers to write and publish legal fiction.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to Smashwords authors, publishers and customers. You stood up and made your voice known. Thank you to every Smashwords author and publisher who wrote me to express opinions, even if we disagreed, and even if you were angry with me. You inspired me to carry your cause forward.

Smashwords authors, publishers and customers mobilized. You made telephone calls, wrote emails and letters, started and signed petitions, blogged, tweeted, Facebooked and drove the conversation. You made the difference. Without you, no one would have paid attention. I would also like to thank the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). These three advocacy groups were the first to stand up for our authors, publishers and customers. Their contribution cannot be overstated. We collaborated with them to build a coalition of like-minded organizations to support our mutual cause. Special kudos to Rainey Reitman of EFF for her energy, enthusiasm and leadership.

I would also like to thank all the bloggers and journalists out there who helped carry our story forward by lending their platforms to get the story out. Special thanks to TechCrunch, Slashdot, TechDirt, The Independent (UK), Reuters, Publishers Weekly, Dow Jones, The Digital Reader, CNET, Forbes, GalleyCat & EbookNewser and dozens of others too numerous to mention.

I would like to thank our friends at PayPal. They worked with us in good faith as they promised, engaged us in dialogue, made the effort to understand Smashwords and our mission, went to bat for our authors with the credit card companies and banks, and showed the courage to revise their policies.

This is a big, bold move by PayPal. It represents a watershed decision that protects the rights of writers to write, publish and distribute legal fiction. It also protects the rights of readers to purchase and enjoy all fiction in the privacy of their own imagination. It clarifies and rationalizes the role of financial services providers and pulls them out of the business of censoring legal fiction.

Following implementation of their new policies, PayPal will have the most liberal, pro-First-Amendment policies of the major payment processors. Will Google Checkout and Checkout by Amazon be next now that the credit card companies have clarified their positions, and have essentially given payment providers the permission to adopt more enlightened policies? Finally, thanks to Selena Kitt of Excessica and Remittance Girl for helping me to understand and respect all fiction more than I ever have before.

This is a bright day for indie publishing. In the old world, traditional publishers were the arbiters of literary merit. Today, thanks to the rise of indie ebooks, the world is moving toward a broader, more inclusive definition of literary merit. Smashwords gives writers the power and freedom to publish. Merit is decided by your readers. Just as it should be.


Mark Coker



Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...