From the late 19th century through to the mid-20th century the phrase Banned in Boston was used to refer to artworks, be they books, plays, paintings, or films that the city council of Boston, Massachusetts found objectionable. The city officials were invested with wide-ranging powers to ban anything they felt the good folks of Boston might, or should, find offensive. The list of banned works is long and by our modern standards nothing short of silly when you consider the Everly Brothers’ Wake Up Little Susie was banned in Boston! One can only imagine the field day the councilors would have with Miley Cyrus.
We still ban things, but usually provide a reason
No explanation was required to ban a book or play, the fact that the council didn’t like it was plenty good enough. The phrase may still be heard every so often,but of course we don’t do that anymore. Not that things aren’t banned but usually an explanation of why something was banned is provided; we ban child pornography for obvious reasons, we ban certain pesticides for health reasons. However if you’re dealing with the Huffington Post it seems they can ban your account on a whim without any reason given.
I had been a reader of and commenter on Huffington Post for a couple of years; during that time I didn’t receive a single negative reply to any comments I posted, I even had a handful of ‘fans’ as they call them. So it was a surprise to me when I recently attempted to log in only to have the image above appear on my screen.
No explanation offered for banned account
They have my coordinates, couldn’t they have sent me an email explaining my banning and outlining how I could launch an appeal? Nope. Just this very rude notice splashed across my monitor. No note saying “We’ve banned you because your comments were level-headed and thoughtful whereas we prefer drooling moronic blather on our forums”. Could it have been because I included a link to my blog at the end of my level-headed thoughtful comments? Isn’t that what the internet is all about? InterNET as in NETwork, links, ping backs, shares whatever you want to call them the idea is to promote interaction and exchange.
There are those out there who seem to get a kick out of playing the role of Internet Police. Some moderators on Reddit and other overly zealous administrators of Facebook groups are among those who attempt to stifle the flow of ideas – good, bad or otherwise – that make up the Internet.
Oh well, I’ll not moan too much. Considering all those who were Banned in Boston, I’m in pretty good company, and at about the same time the Huffington Post was banning me CNN was linking to me. I’ll take that any day.