I've just received a disturbing letter in my email inbox:
"Dear Blogger User,
We're writing to tell you about an upcoming change to the Blogger Content Policy that may affect your account.
In the coming weeks, we'll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually
explicit or graphic nude images or video. We'll still allow nudity
presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts,
or where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not
taking action on the content.
The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015.
After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any
blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content
will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have
expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we've made
The Blogger Team"
Here's a link to more information about the policy change: https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/6170671?p=policy_update&rd=1
And an article discussing the repercussions of this egregious infringement of the freedom of speech: http://www.zdnet.com/article/google-bans-explicit-adult-content-from-blogger-blogs/
What does this mean? Well, if my blog suddenly disappears from the internet in a month from now, it's because Google decided that the world can't handle what I'm laying down. It's hard to predict which side of the line my blog is going to fall on - but that's kinda the point, because from here on out, Blogger is going to be making arbitrary distinctions between protected speech and restricted speech. It's exactly the same kind of discrimination that the federal government employs in singling out sexual speech as uniquely devoid of first amendment protections, simply in light of generations of religious moralism that idolizes sexual purity (a strategy that is itself in violation of the Constitution's separation of church and state).
If your speech involves sex, then it has to be benign enough (not too explicit), and has to carry some socially redeeming value, otherwise the governing body (whether that's Google Inc., or the United States Government - can anyone even tell the difference in this corporatocracy anymore?) has the authority to tell you you're not allowed to say it (and others aren't allowed to hear it), first amendment be damned. No other category of speech has those requirements. And you know why? Because it violates the whole principle of freedom of speech. But where sex is involved, the normal rules don't apply. Not even those of the United States Constitution.
Maybe I'll get lucky, and my blog will have enough "redeeming value" (so Google employees are sociologists and anthropologists, now?). But the best case scenario is that I'll be more wary of what I post from here on out, lest I lose the privilege of hosting a blog on Blogger (one of the biggest blogging platforms on the internet). This is called a Chilling Effect. It inspires self-censorship via a regime of fear. It's the kind of strategy employed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And where sexual speech is involved, it's fast becoming the norm here in what we thought was supposed to be the free world.
Seriously, I'm terrified of the trend I'm seeing towards censorship of the internet, where speech is supposed to reign free. We take it for granted that sex is singularly damaging to the human psyche (despite the fact that it is entirely natural, much less harmful than violence, and that crippling people with sexual shame is unhealthy and inhumane), because that's just the way we've always known it to be. But the free-thinkers, the sex-positives who would suggest an alternate strategy, have as much right to express their opinions in public as anyone else. Except they're rarely given the opportunity. You're allowed to praise dogma, but dissent will be silenced. Is this how we do it in America? Is this how we do it on the world wild web?
Increasingly, the answer is becoming yes.
God, I'm just shaking with the rage and frustration of this decision. Please, tell me what I can do to protest.
Update (2/27/15): It appears that Google is backing down on this policy change in an unprecedented move that actually takes into account user feedback, and can be considered a rare victory for free speech.