Also in the news: Facebook bans “hateful” comments against sex abusers, and the BBC reminds us why we love to hate Ebeneezer Scrooge. It’s your Daily Blunt!
Numerous accolades have been piled on Angie Thomas’s YA sensation The Hate U Give, but everyone knows that you’re no one till somebody bans you. Enter the Katy, Texas educational system, which yanked the book from library shelves based on complaints from just one parent, who openly admits to having only read thirteen pages of it – enough to be appalled by the book’s “discussion of drug use and explicit language.” In removing the book, the school district seems to have skipped its own protocol for judging explicit content, drawing criticism from other librarians and school figures in the same district and beyond. So far they’re sticking to their guns, but it’s only had the opposite effect so far: “The waiting list for the next available copy in the Harris County Public Library system is currently ten-people deep.”
Elsewhere in the free speech files, women are reporting that Facebook has been censoring their responses to the blizzard of sexual misconduct allegations, deleting comments that contain sentiments such as “Men are scum.” Under the social media giant’s standards governing “hate speech,” white men are considered a protected group, which can inordinately penalize users who speak out about important issues related to inequality. One woman who was suspended for writing “men continue to be the worst” points out the double-standard in Facebook’s implementation of the policy: “There was one guy who was threatening to find my house and beat me up… I got banned before I could even successfully report it.”
Perhaps some of these influential figures will find themselves visited by three ghosts this Christmas Eve. They’re in great company: the BBC has assembled this compulsively scrollable feature exploring why so many people still love and hate (and love to hate) Charles Dickens’ timeless miser Ebeneezer Scrooge. They include many early illustrations of the character, showing how these early portrayals still echo in the way we draw, animate, and act out his story today.
The tradition of visual storytelling remains alive and well in the ever-expanding world of comics, and The AV Club’s year-end list of 2017’s best books shows just how hard writers and artists are working to help us cope with world affairs – some with escapism, others by tackling issues head on. Click through to see a panoply of panels that serve as a sampler of the best this blighted year had to offer. (And as you’re finishing up your shopping list, don’t forget to support your local comic book store!)