Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fighting Censorship: Off With Their Clothes!

A group of French booksellers and publishers have gotten together to protest censorship in an entirely new and different way.

When Tous à Poil, (Everyone Naked), was attacked by a politician, these publishing professionals took their best shot in a campaign entitled “everyone naked against censorship.” Wearing nothing but carefully placed books the group said they were naked to show their “support for authors and books which have been unjustly attacked.” From The Guardian:

After a French children's book which set out to remove stigma around nudity by featuring drawings of everyday people getting undressed drew the ire of France’s UMP party, a group of publishers and booksellers decided to register their displeasure -- by posing naked.
Jean-François Copé appeared on television earlier this month to denounce Tous à Poil, a children's picture book in which characters including a policeman and a school teacher are shown getting undressed, and naked, before plunging into the sea. The authors, Claire Franek and Marc Daniau, wrote it to take the shame out of being naked. "If you think about it, whether you're a baby, a doctor or a baker … we all have buttocks, a tummy button, genitals and even moles," they have said. "With this book, we therefore decided to take an uninhibited look at nudity."

Predictably -- even for France -- the book didn’t sit well with everyone. Copé, who is the head of France’s Union pour un Mouvement Populaire party, said that he was outraged when he saw the book:

"My heart missed a beat," he said in an interview. "A naked teacher … isn't that great for teachers' authority! We don't know whether or not to smile, but as it is for our children, we don't feel like smiling. A naked baby, a naked babysitter, naked neighbours, a naked granny, a naked dog …" he went on.

His comments backfired, sending the book racing to the top of bestseller lists in France, according to Le Monde, and drawing widespread condemnation, with minister for education Vincent Peillon calling Copé a "spokesperson for extremist groups", the French press reported.

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