Monday, March 01, 2010

Nicely Done

Here's an interesting article about some witches fighting back against Google's censorship. A couple who go by the names "Lady Passion" and "*Diuvei," (apparently, he's not Diuvei, he's *Diuvei. I'm not sure how the pronunciation differs. How is it that none of us ever get "Shirley" or "Bob" as our magical names?), who are no strangers to controversy, wrote a book called The Goodly Spellbook: Olde Spells For Modern Problems. Then, they posted a video on YouTube that shows them pronouncing what they refer to as Magical Barbarous Words of Power. It's not clear to me how these words are "barbarous," which the online Merriam Webster dictionary defines thusly:

Etymology: Latin barbarus, from Greek barbaros foreign, ignorant
Date: 15th century
1 a : uncivilized b : lacking culture or refinement : philistine
2 : characterized by the occurrence of barbarisms
3 : mercilessly harsh or cruel
synonyms see fierce

nor do I know what language they are using (they describe it as Lingua Arcana and some of the comments on YouTube indicate that it may be Basque, used in Gardnerian rituals, or from a troubadour named Ruteboeuf [who] included it in a medieval morality play, [which is] its earliest record. But he clearly took it from an older source ). Nice marketing, though.

However, anyone who has, as they claim, saved an ancient magnolia, using both magic and good old-fashioned activism, is aces in my book.

At any rate, it appears that, based upon an anonymous complaint, Google slapp[ed] their YouTube clip . . . with a disclaimer[:] The YouTube Community has determined this video may contain objectionable or offensive material. Viewer discretion is advised. In a press release, Lady Passion and *Diuvei claim that Google gave no way to refute the complaint, even as the company got positive press for opposing Chinese censorship and was considering Asheville [a pretty Pagan-friendly location] as a test area for their experimental high-speed access program. They go on to note that they threatened a lawsuit unless the industry enacted fair policies regarding vetting the veracity of anonymous complaints, and [they also] aired the video several times on T.V., proving that it met YouTube’s Terms of Service and that they were not alone in being persecuted: The owner of Practical Magick Shop on Staten Island, New York had also been inexplicably targeted with the identical disclaimer.

“We’re thrilled with people’s sympathetic action,” said Lady Passion. “We got helpful e-mails from all over — some who had Google stock and complained, as stockholders, to the corporation on our behalf.”

And, it appears that they've been successful: Four days after Witches went national accusing Google of a modern-day Witch-hunt by slapping their YouTube clip Real Witch Magic Class with a disclaimer generated from an anonymous complaint, the international mega-corporation has removed the negative label.

It's long past time for the media to stop bowing to pressure from fundies and self-appointed censors. They don't want to know what I consider "objectionable or offensive material."


Makarios said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Makarios said...

I have noticed that some blog hosts (e.g. Blogger, interestingly) place a "content warning" page ahead of the blogs of a number of Witches and other Pagans. In substantially all of the cases of which I'm aware, there appears to be no good reason for it in terms of the content of the blogs, other than the fact that their focus is some form of Paganism.

I understand that similar issues exist re. some brands of content-control software, which are programmed to block sites with Pagan content.