Friday, October 30, 2009


Censorship in Saudi Arabia, like many things, has evolved over time. To keep up with modern technology, most censorship of images in magazines and books is done digitally. At bookstores here you can purchase bridal magazines, but the women pictured inside all appear to be wearing long sleeved black shirts under their gowns. Likewise, fashion magazines have pictures of women wearing short dresses or skirts, yet they somehow also have long black leggings on as well.

I don't care for this new digital censorship of images, it's just a bit too slick for me. There was something much more authentic about an era where an entire building full of men scoured every media source with a black pen and scratched out anything they deemed offensive. It's really just not the same to imagine a bunch of graphic design majors carefully editing out legs and arms on Photoshop.

So I was quite pleased to find this children's inner tube package at a toy store last week. The scary giant blob next to the smiling boy is presumably his mother. Thank goodness someone took the time to completely obliterate her image; I can't imagine how offended I would have been to have seen a mother enjoying the day with her child in a swimming pool.


emily said...

also, i've always wondered what makes the censors so immune to evil influence. in your example, for example, why are they allowed to look at women's legs while they photoshop them out? what makes them so lucky to get that glimpse that they're denying other people?

Adam said...

I'm sure there's some obscure hadith that says that keeping evil from others is a good deed and those that are exposed to evil in the course of trying to eliminate it are exempt. Or something to that effect.

There's a pretty strong tradition of interpreting religion to suit the needs of those in power. I think that's fairly true across the board for most religions.

Not that I'm a cynic or anything like that.

Kara said...

The picture of the kid's inter-tube totally made me bust out laughing. It looks like he's being attacked by some crazed sea monster! :-)

Adam said...

I was laughing out loud in the store, that's how I knew that I had to buy it.