Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022
Censorship Rears its Ugly Head in Virginia
Tonight, June 14, 2022, I got a publication disapproval notice for the June issue of ‘Rolling Stone.’ A very good friend recently gave me a subscription and this was my first issue on that subscription.
It was disapproved for “Material that contains nudity. The showing (human or cartoon) of the male or female genitals, pubic area, female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of the areola, or male or female buttocks with less than a full opaque covering of the anus.”
I photographed nudes starting in the 1960s for more than forty years. I’ve seen countless female breasts. Seeing one now is somehow going to cause me harm? And note that it’s only seeing female breasts that will hopelessly corrupt me! I can see topless photos of Vladimir Putin day in and day out. Men have nipples and areolae, too!
I remember seeing an article years ago featuring a number of closeup photos of nipples, challenging the reader to identify which were male and which were female. It was impossible to tell. As I recall, one or two weren’t even human.
Sexual discrimination is illegal, so how does the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) get away with having such a blatantly sexist policy? Are we living in some restrictive theocracy. Will the VDOC next impose Sharia Law?
The magazine was also disapproved for “Material that depicts, describes, or promotes gang bylaws, initiations, organizational structure, codes or other gang-related activity or association.”
I’m a 75 year old white man. I’m going to join a gang??? Wonder if there’s one called ‘Hell’s Geezers?’ Is there a southwest Virginia chapter?
The man who signed the disapproval is the ‘OM’ the same man who recently disapproved ‘The Week’, my weekly news magazine, for showing gang symbols. Fairly new on that job, I think. Maybe he should consider relocating to Iran. There are probably many jobs open there for censors.
‘Rolling Stone’ contains important political articles and stories about culture. It is often quoted in other media. It is a highly influential journal that I’ve been reading since the 1960s and often features cutting edge photography.
I plan to contact Rolling Stone’s legal people. Maybe they would like to slap the VDOC down for ignoring the US Constitution. The US Supreme Court has held that freedom of the press contains the right to read. Censorship is unconstitutional! It must be stopped wherever it rears its slimy, reeking head!
About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-my-photographic-philosophy/