The San Francisco Chronicle gave a little boost to freedom of speech this morning by publishing an opinion piece by Nick Danforth. The writer took note of Turkey's two-year ban on YouTube. It's a relatively unsuccessful ban, made all the more pathetic by the way Turks have taken to mocking it. Danforth points out that the notice “Access to this site has been blocked by order of the court” is no longer limited to popping up on the screens of Turks trying to access forbidden Internet sites. It has now been printed out on banners that protesters use to decorate urinals, escalators, and anything else that an enterprising free speech advocate might see fit to substitute for the word “site” in the original notice.
The Chronicle is to be praised for bringing this situation to the attention of its readers. I nodded my head in silent approbation when I read Danforth's article over breakfast.
Then I switched my attention to the Chronicle's Datebook section. Mick LaSalle's review of Judd Apatow's Funny People was on its front page. I like reading LaSalle's reviews and plunged right in. He was saying nice things about an Adam Sandler movie, which challenged my credulity just a little. (A good Sandler movie?) Then I got to the end of the review and spewed Cheerios as I read the notice (in bold!):
Advisory: This film contains sexual situations, strong language and multiple jokes about the male member.Excuse me? “The male member”? Can't we just say the movie contains several penis jokes? Or doesn't the Chronicle allow the word “penis” in its entertainment section?
Access to this penis has been blocked by order of the court!