Sometime before this week, when it removed from its digital shelves a book critical of transgender ideology, Amazon altered its content policy to explicitly forbid books that promote “hate speech,” a major rule change that could be used to rationalize action against a broader range of books sold by the digital retail giant.
Amazon this week yanked “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement” from its main web store, its Kindle servers and its audiobook lineup with no explanation, even as the book had been available on the site for three years with no apparent controversy.
In the 2018 book, author and political philosopher Ryan Anderson draws on years of scientific research and data to criticize the prevailing approach to transgender issues in modern medicine. The book “exposes the contrast between the media’s sunny depiction of gender fluidity and the often sad reality of living with gender dysphoria,” according to its sales blurb.
Anderson told Just the News that he had received no explanation for the ban.
Reached for comment by Just the News, Amazon declined to provide any explanation, offering instead a link to its book content policy.
A review of those policies suggests that sometime in the last few months Amazon made a major change to the ways in which it moderates book content on its servers, imposing a much stricter standard on books than it had previously done.
The link provided by Amazon this week claims in part that, where books are concerned, the company “[doesn’t] sell certain content including content that we determine is hate speech … or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.”
Internet archives show that as recently as August of last year, Amazon’s book content policy did not include any mention of “hate speech.” At that time, the company stated only that “we reserve the right not to sell certain content, such as pornography or other inappropriate content.”
On the older page, the company directed users to “guidelines for other categories of products,” such as products featuring “offensive and controversial material.” That policy stipulated in part that Amazon “does not allow products that promote, incite or glorify hatred,” but the rule explicitly noted that the policy did not apply to books.
The company did not reply to a followup query asking when the policy had been changed, and why.
Disney has decided that “The Muppet Show” — featuring Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy — contains “offensive content” and can now be seen only on an adult account.
When viewers open the streaming service, which made five series available last Friday, viewers are greeted with the disclaimer: “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” The Daily Mail reported.
“Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe,” the statement says.
Said the Mail: “The warning is believed to refer to Muppet characters designed as stereotypes of Native Americans, Arabs and East Asians.”
At Urban Dictionary, a user named Dankulous Memeulon plumbs the wisdom of the ancient truism that the political left tends to generate inept, insipid internet memes. He describes this phenomenon as “an absolute fact: Leftists and their shills CANNOT meme, and any attempt by them to do so ends up as either cringe-worthy and biased propaganda, or [as] cancerously inaccurate.” But Memeulon goes a step further and posits an explanation as to why this is true: “a possible cause […] is perhaps a leftist’s despicable attempts to stay politically correct, like all cucks, and thus they cannot, by their very nature, produce memes without fear of offending a minority who couldn’t care either way.”
I must confess that as a bald, cis-gendered, white, monogamous, conservative, heterosexual, Christian, male, English professor in his early 40s, I am too square to claim any expertise in creating dope-ass memes. But I do study them, along with the ongoing meme war that continues to intensify. Look no further than the WallStreetBets crowd over at Reddit, who have now learned how to burn hedge fund managers by pumping “meme stocks.”
Many scholars have demonstrated the academic relevance of meme culture to understanding how digital communication helped to bring right-wing populism to a new prominence in American politics. But the circulation of political memes (and their resulting formalization as a genre of public discourse) hints at why it is that as mainstream culture moves further left, the culture also grows more ossified, more staid, and more rigid in its demands that people conform to a particular set of puritanical expectations regarding political speech.
Distilled to its essential rhetorical function, the purpose of the political meme is to expand the range of topics that are eligible for public scrutiny. Generally, this is achieved through an imagistic, minimalist lampooning of our culture’s prevailing pieties and the supposedly unquestionable assumptions that undergird them. In short, the key pathos of meme culture is irreverence: a disrespectful attitude toward the things that polite society holds sacred. Understanding how irreverence has operated in modern American life, and how the objects of American reverence have recently changed, not only sharpens the contours of the political realignment that is unfolding, it also explains why the left exhibits such inferior skill when it comes to creating internet memes.
Controversy has erupted online this month after a hospitals began issuing guidance to midwives to concentrate less on the term breastfeeding in order to be more supportive of transgender and nonbinary parents. Midwives are being instructed to use terms like “chestfeeding” and “chest milk.”
According to a report from the UK Times, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust is the first in the country to formally implement a gender inclusive language policy for its maternity services department, which will now be known as “perinatal services”.
Staff have been instructed that “breastmilk” should be replaced with the phrases “human milk”, “breast/chestmilk” or “milk from the feeding mother or parent.”
Other changes include replacing the use of “woman” with “woman or person” and “father” with “parent”, “co-parent” or “second biological parent”, depending on the circumstances.
“BSUH always aims to meet the needs of our local populations and provide the best possible, individually tailored care for every person. By adding to the language we use we will support more inclusive care and ensure that people who identify in a different way feel the service includes and represents them,” reads a statement on the hospital’s website.
“Adding to the language we use is something people who use our services have been asking for, for some time. Our aim will always be to treat everyone who uses our services as an individual, providing care that is personal to them, that meets their needs and uses language they are comfortable with,” said BSUH Chief Nurse, Carolyn Morrice.
This is not a trend reserved solely for the UK either as several universities in the United States are on the same page.