Is anything off-limits?

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Is anything off-limits?

Is anything off-limits either as a topic or as content for 'good writing'. For instance were Mein Kampf to have been published on ABCtales should it have been removed?


Nothing should be censored for writing period ( Good or bad ) Now.... my suggestion to the writer who took on a hard topic, and wrote about it, is... grow a thick skin, be skilled, and knowledgeable concerning your subject matter because you also have to deal with whatever backlash is created afterwards. I have yet to see anyone want a piece removed on this site, even if they object to the content. They are simply voicing opinions, critiques, and emotional reactions, uncensored as well.
"The fact is, we need to stretch the boundaries but all I can see is a constant shrivelling, mostly because of societal fear led by politcally correct shysters who can't face their own demons." Amen Blighters !
I can think of a few things that shouldn't be posted, and perhaps your example is one of them. I think it would be fairly obvious what that would be though, I shouldn't really have to give example of what would be bad to read, but if someone wrote something about killing a group of people, and meant it as a true way to get that deed done, I would not want it published in any way. hateful material should be banned. not material about hatred, or exploring the minds of people who feel that way, but deliberate efforts to make people hard other people would be bad. I hope I'm being clear enough.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

Actually I am following you Cormacru. I just followed a case with Amazon here not too long. A man literally wrote a " How to " guide for pedophiles. Of course everyone wanted it banned. Honestly I found that an odd reaction considering all they had to do was not buy the book. Now.... Here is the part that really fascinated me. The book quite absolutely defends the molesting of a child, and points out "gentler" ways of doing it. The "artist" that wrote this drivel got the crap beat out of him by his neighbors. The neighbors are the ones that called the cops, went to jail, paid their fines, and accepted responsibility for what they did. The "artist" however refused to accept any responsibility under the guise that he was creating an artistic expression. your thoughts ? Mine are rather simple and straight forward. Yes... He had the right to write that garbage. I had the right to not buy it and call it exactly what it was. The neighbors ? While I don't condone them beating up the man, and under the law they had no right to do so, I do UNDERSTAND WHY they did it. THIS is a perfect example of how truly insane this stuff can get isn't it ? Hence why I have always said there is a responsibility to speech, as well as a freedom. So... Think long and hard before you put something out there. Take responsibility
cormacru999 "hateful material should be banned. not material about hatred, or exploring the minds of people who feel that way" Agree absolutely.
Yes, that's what I'm saying, some stuff should just not be printed. I don't condone assault either but I do understand it. and I don't understand why someone would write such a thing unless there was something seriously wrong with them. I hope no one bought that book, but I bet there are people that would.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

OK - so here's the official line. Anything illegal, racist, overtly sexist, or extremely distasteful is removed. We try to allow as much as we can but we do draw a line. We don't encourage 'edgy' stuff but it does sometimes appear and I have to make a decision. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm not but I do try to be as liberal as I can be. Clear enough?
Before anybody accuses me, let me say that I am not now, nor have I ever been, Honorine. Coincidence: my current book for reading on the loo is The Two Cultures. It contains a long intro (otherwise it would barely be a pamphlet), Snow's original lecture and his later thoughts on the matter. Unfortunately it doesn't contain Leavis's infamous response, which I've seen many quotes from but never read in its entirety. Funny that after half a century they still feel the need to keep Snow and Leavis in separate books, presumably in case they start fighting. Snow asserts (don't blame me, I'm only the messenger) that it is an unthinking response from literary intellectuals (Hi Mags) that the written word should never be censored. By unthinking (I'm paraphrasing) I mean that it seems obvious and unquestionable to them. I'm struck by how much Maggie's posts resemble Snows stereotype. I'm not saying she's wrong, just that it's a common view amongst a certain segment of society. I know of no case where a story post has been deleted on ABC but there has been 'censorhsip' of forum posts. Spam obviously, but we also used to have somebody who persistently wrote long posts calling for the establishment of Moslem schools. It went on for years. In the end his posts were just deleted, and since that didn't deter him either, his account was eventually removed. Any comments? I have a copy of a book called 'The Anarchist's Cookbook'. It explains in detail how to manufacture drugs (mescaline, DMT, etc.), and how to make explosives and bombs and other improvised weapons. I believe it is, or at least was, banned in the USA. The book is about forty years old and these days we have the good old internet, but supposing we didn't - should such a book be banned? Is banning an entire book the same as censorship? The argumant that you have no need to buy it yourself certainly doesn't work here! Should you try to deny knowledge to others, of things we'd rather they didn't know? I suppose it's similar in some ways to the question of banning firearms or drugs. Should consorship/banning be linked to literary merit? Or what?
Lucan Hell of a post btw ... and what you are talking about is literary the slippery slope. When we start banning/censoring information where do we stop ? Who gets to decide ( In Mr. Cooks case it would be whomever owns the site. No disrespect intended Darlin. This is a PRIVATE not a public site, and your rules apply. I get it ) and what gets deemed "distasteful" and subject to this censorship/banning ? It is not so much of where it is that worries me, but where it could go. Get my point ? Hence why I have come to the conclusion that the FIRST responsibility lies with the author themselves. Let them think about what they are doing and the consequences there of. I truly believe that one of the biggest problems the non artistic world has with the artistic world is its obvious lack of self-control, and self-policing. We require this from most other realms of society. Why not ours ?
I totally agree with that, and believe that people in their everday lives should be responsible for how they affect other people. everything we do has impact, especially our writing if we publish it, and we should be held accountable for what we write. I don't know why you would write a manual for abusing children, but I think its wrong. I can understand why someone would write the Cookbook, but I feel like most of it is a joke and the how to won't really work, but I can understand why it would freak people out. but it doesn't hurt anyone by being published and it people use it to hurt other people than that's on them, not the book.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

cormacru - trust me, the book is no joke. Possession of it has been used in the USA as prima facie evidence of, if not terrorism, at least some kind of nefarious activity. And I know enough chemistry and suchlike to be sure that the recipes would indeed work. Mags - wow! You really think that? I think your grass roots assumption must be that people are all fundamentally reasonable and nice and will recognise the error of their ways once it's explained to them. I'm tempted to ask what planet you've been living on! What about the publishers? Presumably they read a work before printing it. Does no responsibility lie with them? Or is it assumed that they only judge according to commercial considerations? 'If people are willing to buy, we'd be fools not to sell.' I'm so gobsmacked by your post I don't know how to reply!
The question 'Is anything off limits' is intriguing. First off---who is the audience for the spirited vehemence one wishes to share? For those reading the various wonderful stories in they will discover, love, relationships, rememberance and yes, anger is portrayed through thoughtful stories and poems. To me, a blog or rant which espouses nothing but four or five letter words of hate, suspicion or aggressive panting does not make long-term sense. For anyone who spends their time writing those kinds of thoughts, I suggest they create their own blog and seek out similar thinking people. As a Christian, I may not agree with the styles or subject material of some folks, but I do read them for insight into their way of thinking. Many persons were raised up learning Biblical stories and they discovered Jesus did not spend much time with Christians in the beginning of His Ministry. He sought out those banished from society, and others who were considered despicable people. He wished to show them they could not only be loved but they themselves may actually discover they too could love others, and perhaps erase the hurts they harboured within themselves. He associated with prostitutes (not because He had a physical need for them), tax collectors, lepers, and others shunned by society. In this world we have only so many years to live. We were all born into this world through an act of love, and how we spend our precious days is one of personal choice. Before retiring from a long Social Services career, I learned so many people of all ages were resentful, lonesome, and needing someone, anyone to care for or simply talk and listen to them. I choose to write about these men, women and children who deal with life's issues, and if my writing comes across as 'soft, soapy stuff' that is my choice. I do appreciate the many kind persons who read my material and comment on it. Now to other ABC... writers, choose why you wish to write, AND for whom? Best wishes, from Richard & Esther Provencher.
Richard L. Provencher
"Mags - wow! You really think that? I think your grass roots assumption must be that people are all fundamentally reasonable and nice and will recognise the error of their ways once it's explained to them. I'm tempted to ask what planet you've been living on!" LOL ! The planet Bubbaloo actually *smirks* No.... I do not think we are fundamentally nice. Quite frankly for the most part I think morals are a dying art in and of themselves. But what I am suggesting is moral isn't it? Before another person need be involved, we actually take a look at ourselves, and ask those deep dark questions without the safety blanket of excuses such as "artistic expression" I also said we are the FIRST line of defense, not the last. And if you want to pander, and prostrate yourself for the sake of nothing but the all mighty dollar ? Go for it. Says tons about your character, not mine. Understand what I mean ? You live with the responsibility.
Another good thread - and I have removed about five pieces over the past 11 years of ABCtales. One was gratuitously vile about people of another race, another was so violently disgusting that it had to go - I can't remember the others. I do try to allow what I can and we have definitely lost some members as a result - but I really don't encourage it. I think that you can normally express yourself perfectly well without 'pushing the boundaries'. I think we are about the most liberal of all the writing sites and at times that goes against us - and, yes, the final arbiter is me - legally as well as morally - and I take the flak as well as the praise. So I accept the responsibility but if you look at my career you'll see that's what I've always been about!
Mr. Cook Walking in here and thinking I can post anything I want to is nothing more than me thinking I could walk into your personal home, and do anything I want to. I clarified it earlier. This is private property. You make the rules. I have no qualms with that. My points are made more in the realm of public, not private. I am glad you keep such an objective eye. Someone in your position should. As you put it, it is taking responsibility.
"Freedom of speech"... does not mean "Freedom of getting published." A responsible publisher has to consider the content before making the work available to the public. ABCtales has many amazing, talented writers. I tend to search out creativity instead of opinion. I find that a lecture from blabbering lips above a black bow tie is no different than a buffoon talking about a boil on his butt that won't go away...unless the boil is shaped in an image of something interesting. We don't tolerate one human abusing another physically, therefore we can't tolerate one human abusing another verbally. The market for hatred is usually found in the elitist egos and ingnorant sheeple that follow such. A good question is,"What lies behind the limit?" We don't have to finish what we begin to write or read. Humans love to complain and is our nature. We hunger to prove our opinions to the world...then, at some point...the truth shows up. But....we can't bitch at the cook...if we don't taste the food.


Another interesting post about the poem I've never read. I hope there are other poems like it.


"We hunger to prove our opinions to the world...then, at some point...the truth shows up." Yes... Drop the personal agendas and look at something objectively. You might be shocked at what you defend and what you don't defend :)
This is a fascinating topic, and bravo to everyone entering the debate. I have never read Mein Kampf but that doesn't stop me fom being curious about it , and may one day read it. You can't understand what I would call pure evil, in that instance, by ignoring it. It needs to be read precisely because it is probably the most destructive book to have ever been written. There are a few internet sites that young girls read, on how to starve yourself, perceiving starvation as salvation. This is appalling, but I still do not believe they should be banned. Who is to decide that anorexic girls are not allowed to voice their feeings and thoughts, repellent as they may be. Similarly, there is at least one site that instructs you how to commit suicide, without making any mistakes. Again, as appaliing, and reprehensible as this might be, who is to decide that suicidal people do not have access to this information. Clearly if I was a relative of someone who had read this site, and had then committed suicide, I would want it banned. But if someone is determined to commit suicide, they will,at some point, probaly succeed. going to desires, thgruesome as they may be. It is so complicated that I have been swayed each way by everybody's highly thoughtful and eloquent arguements. But ultimately, I believe writing has become rather anodyne, and I have ended up agreeing with Blighters and Maggie. Blightrs has provided us with excellent examples of why censorship should be anathema to us. I think we even play a bit too safe on the site at times. Swearing, which can underline something ordinary words cannot always convey, is treated with too much caution. I am not saying we should swear gratuitously, but the odd swear word, whaen you feel a piece needs it, is hardly going to turn us all into rioters or football hooligans. Ultimately, I think Peaceful said it all by citing book burning as the start of something that no-one ever wants to see again. And that's all i'm bloody well going to say on the subject. Too much brain stimulation for me.


"I have never read Mein Kampf but that doesn't stop me fom being curious about it , and may one day read it. You can't understand what I would call pure evil, in that instance, by ignoring it. It needs to be read precisely because it is probably the most destructive book to have ever been written." I have read it... And you know what frightened me the most about it ? For the time it was written in, how manipulatively logical it is...
The consensus seems to be that nothing is off-limits unless the writing itself actively seeks to incite hatred of others or criminality; although extreme content suitable for adults only is probably not suitable for a site like this where anyone of any age can access it. I notice that where the writing addresses religion or faith the reaction of readers seems to be at its strongest. But that's a whole other topic!
"A possibly interesting point is that what people read is not always what you wrote." You make a very good point FTSE. The only thing a writer can do to ward off such misunderstandings is to be very clear and concise about their subject matter. It doesn't completely eliminate the problem but it does minimize it .
"There's a problem with irony too. Some will understand it as such; others will take it as a literal (or random?) expressions of your views" If the irony is intended, in writing there are devices to show it as such, in word or deed. An example - I just watched a movie about two male prostitutes. One was quite angelic looking, while the other was more suave looking. The suave looking one was a blatant thief, and con artist while the angelic one kept appearing to be somewhat of a naive kid. ( Or was he ? ) The "irony at the end of the movie was the little "angel" was as devious as they get, and caused the suave one's death. The writer of the movie played upon our visual prejudices, and showed how they were not a sound basis for decision by the end of the movie with "irony"
As I said it will not completely eliminate the issue, simply minimize it. To a certain degree I see what you are saying. I write ( particularly here lately ) in heavy metaphor. I have a piece in here right now that uses the metaphors of bodily functions, and Christian imagery to describe my opposing feelings about my writing. On the one hand I wish it to be "divine" while on the other hand I think it is shit. Strangely enough I have had little flack over the piece. Most people have got the idea that I was not literally talking about Christ. Mark called the metaphor "movingly inappropriate" lol Nothing to get too stressed about I would say. I simply explained to him why I did feel it was appropriate, and moved on.
I took the suggestion in your piece FTSE to literally be ironic. But I also put it in the context of the subject matter itself ( the 60's ) No you can not be sure every one is going to understand you. Not without an IQ requirement for a book lol BUT... You can as the writer work to see that you are understood to the best of your ability. If someone doesn't get it past that point ? Then you simply listen to their critique, make your own sound judgment, and move on.
Thank you Darlin, but.... Uhm no ! lol I have a hard enough time keeping myself in line ;) Here's the piece
How dumb am I ! Put it down to an irrational love that can blind me to subtly! I'm lying ,feels beautifully rational!
"Is this sexism I see before me? Should I call you Sweety Pie, Toots? You have to be so careful what you say... ;)" Tell you a story ok ? lol My Da was chatting up a woman one day , and I asked him " Da, what is her name ? " He grinned, and said " Hun, Darlin, Doll, all that mess, until I can remember what it really is. " ;)
there's no cure for what ails you. its a deep failing that would take too long to fix.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

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