Wednesday, June 16, 2010

UlyssesSeen / BloggerNotSeen

Dublin, June 16th 1904.

A comic book version of James Joyce's Ulysses hits the ether/cloud...


Apart from being free on the triple-W, this awesome effort is also available for free download from iTunes to the iPad and other iProducts... but only now that Apple has rescinded its directive to remove all images containing nudity from the comic book version of the novel. Apparently (in an updated version of the NYT article which I've only seen on the TimesReader edition), it now seems that Ulysses is "not obscene" after all.

There's a revelation.

Prior to its publication as a comic for the iPad, Joyce's stately, plump book was more often carried ostentatiously through university campuses than actually read. Now just carrying a iPad around is all that is required to evoke mixed feelings of jealous rage and supercilious dismissal in their fellow university layabouts.

Some would no doubt say that Ulysses is more famous for being banned than for being best-sellers - a la The Girl Who Really Knows How To Treat Rapists. Also in this category are that good gardening guide, Lady Lovely's Chatter and that medical textbook, The Topic of Cancer, amongst others...

Can't argue there. Nothing like a controversy to boost sales.

There is a fascination tale behind the publishing history of Ulysses.

First published in Paris in 1922, it was banned until 1933 in the USA and in Australia until 1937, only to be re-banned in 1941, which tells you something about how we do over artistic creativity down under.

One wonders if Steve Jobs' asshat morality guerrillas used the same criteria to assess the comic that Judge James M. Woolsey used in his famous overturning of the USA ban:

-- It did not give him an erection, therefore it was not pornographic, therefore it was not obscene. --

Fair call in those heady(npi!) pre-viagra days of course.

Didn't fuck up the sales too much either.


These too are the guys who temporarily popped an "Adults Only" rating on the iPhone book-reader Eucalyptus because you could download the Kama Sutra to it. That fact that the Kama Sutra is available for download to ANY book-reader or computer because it comes from Project Gutenberg appears to have been neither here nor there. This version doesn't even have the highly illustrative, um, illustrations with it.

Arbitrary, inconsistent and often contradictory are most people on the extremes of the moralistic universe.

Of course, Eucalyptus then became THE $10 eBook reader to have on your iPhone after this.

Controversy = cash.


And please don't ever forget the case of the immensely amusing David over at his once obligatory site for farangs in Thailand, MangoSauce. He lost his GoogleAds account for no good reason at all. Many of his posts are as classics in the expat genre, and thankfully his site is still up.

Oops. Controversy = no cash.


Speaking of arbitrary and unjustified censorship of free speech (no, not here in Singapore - we love Big Brother, and I don't mean the TV show), over the last week, Blogger and Google had taken down both Canadian blogger MJ's site, The Infomaniac (and locked her out of her Gmail account) and Spanish blogger Leni at Escritora y peligrosa (not a debilitating skin disease). For about five days MJ was in cloud limbo until Google apologised and reinstated her account. Leni was knocked out for most of Sunday.

WTF? The shivers have been going up Blogspot bloggers' spines.

A lot of Southern Kerfuffle was righteously raised by one of E@L's bestest blog-friends, that sweet person and ever-popular Savannah, her support bringing this unjustified and unjustifiable (to coin a phrase) injustice to blog-light.

Mago chased up Leni's case as well and it all came to a head!

Their efforts at raising online awareness of these cases presumably helped Google/Blogger to right their wrongs.

[Sav mentions in the comments here that eros den was the main guy to push Blogger in these cases.

As Leni reports, the procedure for getting one's blog back seems complicated enough - a 5-step process that calls for a review request, an appeal, etc... but I imagine it would be even worse if you no longer have an email account, as in MJ's case!


Why did this happen? Neither blogger is outrageously controversial or frankly obscene (not telling you what happened to my willy) though there might be a bit of flesh here and there or some stories about bits of flesh there and here.

Hell, nothing outrageous. Nothing to explain it at all. Leni talks about being slightly harassed by some religious nutter, but that may not have been the case. Blogger have not told her what happened, and same for MJ, although in her case they did apologize.

Interestingly, Leni's, MJ's, and even Savannah's (!!) blog now have the Blogger "Content Warning" when you go there, as you have should have seen.


There is a hesitancy with which many people are viewing the seemingly arbitrary censorship. Hell some people are blocked just for fucking swearing!

Like both Savannah (personal communication) and Mago (new site here), I have taken the anti-conspiratorial precaution of backing up and (half a day's work!) exporting all my posts and some (but not all, it seems) of my comments over to a mirror blog using my Wordpress account. I'm not migrating completely just yet, but I'll let you know if I decide that I will.

Depends how skittish we all get with the arbitrariness of the Hidden Ones at Google.

[Addendum 2: Don't foget that I lost MY old blog TWICE - when hackers used it to send phishing emails out. You still can't read my old blog in some places, like the BA business lounge at Heathrow. ]


Oh, yeah, where did this rambling post start? Happy Bloomsday.


Don't get yourselves banned without a back-up.



savannah said...

eros actually lead the charge, sugar! i just helped because we have different audiences. i've sent everything over to wordpress, too! i just haven't decided when or if i'll make the final jump...what i should do is make sure all my pals have my alternate email just in case... xoxoxo

savannah said...

*ack* wrong link! it's

eros den


DanPloy said...

The 16th was also Ba-Jang day so happy Ba-Jang!

Tom said...

There's a great "today in history" from two Bloomsdays ago I found yesterday:

expat@large said...

Sav: OK thanks, I'll add that to the post.

Dan: 4:30 am start! What sort of festival is that? One you automatically despise... (p.s. i saw that Bon's THai site you mentioned - now it's a post here!)

Tom: a 60sec Ulysses, cool.

expat@large said...

Dan: BTW, good on you for taking up the meme! I was only allowed to send it to five people remember! Izzy did her response through Facebook.

DanPloy said...

Sorry I didn't read Izzy's answers as I have gone all pretentious and left Facebook.

If its helpful whilst you are chatting away on Koh Samui, existentialism is at dta ti paa wa ni yom in Thai. Not many guide books have that.

marke said...
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