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November 13, 2003

Carnival of the Rejects

See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learnèd art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song;

--William Wordsworth

A post by a Friend of Hraka, Snooze Button Dreams, was left out of the latest Carnival of the Vanities, due not to an oversight on the part of the host, but because it was, in his own words

"... a personal call based on the nature of your post. I do apologize if you feel slighted, but it was just my preference not to add that one particular post."

God knows I've been tempted to leave posts out of the Carnival, though as a rule it's been because I considered the writing to be butt-ass horrible in nature. As I've said before, my own words prevented me from doing so.

Everyone possesses something of the creative urge, the desire to mold a child of the mind out of inspiration and effort. Children are allowed to express it, to put part of themselves into a misshapen clay ashtray, a lopsided blue house drawn on construction paper, or sparkles and glue on a paper plate. Sometime around the teenage years the urge gets suppressed in many people, or hidden, perhaps as a defensive mechanism. It's hard to see your child derided, laughed at, or ignored, so most of us consciously stop creating them. The urge doesn't go away, it never will, it just finds new avenues, ones that aren't as vulnerable to the criticism of the world.

Censorship is a slippery slope. The post in question was pulled because of its erotic nature, but the same justification could be easily used by a future host when it comes to posts of a disagreable political nature. Censorship is like murder--the act gets easier after the first time.

Erotic writing has as much as place in the world and in the blogosphere as any other type of speech, and can just as easily rise to the level of art as any other kind of human expression. Just ask Anais Nin.

Ideally, a specific Carnival should represent an entire cross section of the blogosphere; right, left, gay, straight, religious, agnostic, young, old, and all the shadings and blendings in between. All it asks from a person is that they send the best part of themselves to participate. To reject a submission based on one's "preferences" is anathema to its ideals.

And, come to think of it, anathema to the ideals of America as well.

If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. If you can't link to posts you find disagreeable, don't volunteer to be a Carnival host. The waiting list is literally months long--let someone with a more democratic nature have a chance.

Posted by Bigwig at November 13, 2003 12:54 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

Thanks for the support, BigWig.

That's the take that I had on the Carnival and I'm very glad that it's the genuine intent of the beast. I can understand that somebody wouldn't want to post something that they find objectionable but that's not what hosting the Carnival is about. Carnival hosts are emcees, not moderators.

Posted by: Jim at November 13, 2003 01:01 PM

Is it OK to pass on it because it reads like "filler" from a detective paperback? I know the idea behind the Carnival is to give lesser known bloggers some exposure, but, c'mon. All that was missing was, "It was a dark and stormy night."

Posted by: Frank DiSalle at November 13, 2003 01:47 PM

Absolutely, Frank. No post by any person is going to appeal to everybody. The readers should absolutely pass on whatever they want, for whatever reason they have. The point was that the audience didn't get that option because the host censored the submission.

I couldn't put the dark and stormy night thing in because that always makes me think of Snoopy and that just really kills my erotic writing mood.

Posted by: Jim at November 13, 2003 02:20 PM

Hi Bigwig,

Thanks again for the Carnival. As a fairly new blogger I really appreciate the opportunity to participate.

Regarding your direction above that Carnival hosts must be willing to link to posts they disagree with, I have to ask if your answer would be the same if the post submission was different.

What is the post submitted was a racially motivated hate rant advocating violence? Would the Carnival host be obliged to provide a link to that post, that 99.9% of us will find offensive?

If your answer is no, the host has the right to not link to it, then maybe we have to re-examine the issue.

You and I are adults and I assume neither of us is offended by adult content. However, I would choose not to provide a link on my blog to adult content, being aware that my children may read my site.

Does that disqualify me from ever hosting the CoV?

I honestly don't think any blogger would consider censoring a post due to political content, so I would argue the slope is not as slippery as we might think.

I do however think the host should be able to request that their site not be required to link to adult content, because not everyone on the internet is over 21.



Posted by: DC at November 13, 2003 06:12 PM

Off the cuff I would say yes, the link should be made. Remember that the content and presentation of the link are discretionary to the host. If said hatepost was a submission you could lead into it with "This is the most foul hatefilled racist crap I've ever had the sorry misfortune to be exposed to. I strongly recommend that nobody visit this site except to express their foul indignation at this suckhead's warped opinion."

A good amount of submissions are on adult topics. Most are not of the nature of my censored post but many would not be considered safe for minors. I would say that if you are not comfortable linking to topics of an adult nature that you probably should not volunteer to host the Carnival.

That's just my opinion, of course.

Posted by: Jim at November 13, 2003 09:36 PM

There's a huge difference between topics of an adult nature and erotica.

Again, I don't have an issue with adult content, but then again I'm not going to be the one to introduce it to my 12 year old either.


Posted by: DC at November 13, 2003 09:40 PM

I agree that there is a large difference but that difference occurs past the minor/majority line so it's effectively irrelevant.

Posted by: Jim at November 14, 2003 05:39 AM

I see that there are some people who fail to understand what the word vanity means. It is a shame and thank you for clarifying what I believe is the purpose of the CoV.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at November 14, 2003 09:56 AM

I think it's important for anyone who participates in a process to have a clear understanding of the expectations and the responsibilities of that process. I appreciate anyone who hosts the CoV, especially as a new blogger trying to generate some readership. But I think that anyone who volunteers to host should understand, though, that they are intended strictly as a conduit and not as an editor. Perhaps this wasn't clear before, and that's why the misunderstanding occurred.

If I was a little uncomfortable with the content of certain posts, then I would simply note that the link goes to adult content and leave it at that.

Anyway, it's just a shame that this week's CoV caused hard feelings, and maybe now that everyone understands the motivation and the guidelines, it won't happen again.

Posted by: Captain Ed at November 14, 2003 01:50 PM

I couldn't put the dark and stormy night thing in because that always makes me think of Snoopy and that just really kills my erotic writing mood. Heh
Good answer.
Do you write anything besides "detective paperback filler"?
Maybe I'll head over there and see

Posted by: Frank DiSalle at November 28, 2003 01:40 PM
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