Friday, January 03, 2003

Birds Etcetera Banned in Michigan

That’s right! Incredible as it might sound, Internet users in all public libraries and schools in the State of Michigan are being blocked from accessing Birds Etcetera. During a trip to my hometown last week, I visited the public library so that I could show off my blog to my Mother. I typed in the Web address and waited for my blog to appear on the screen. Instead, up popped a warning screen from CyperPatrol!

When I questioned the librarian about my inability to access my blog, I was informed that Internet filtering software was required by State law. This has been a controversial issue in the State, as revealed by a Google search of the key words Michigan Internet filters.

This was all very embarassing and left me trying to explain to my Mother why my blog was being blocked. Birds Etcetera is almost exclusively about birds and birding, topics that don’t lend themselves to obscene or objectional material. Still, I suppose that I may have used a few words here or there that might upset ome people or trigger an Internet filter when taken out of context, such as breast (it’s hard to describe a bird without mentioning the color of the breast feathers), cock (as in “Who killed cock robin?”), copulate and copulation (technical terms that describe how birds do “it”), and sex (yes, just like all other animals, birds must do “it” to procreate).

This experience left me incredulous at first. Then, the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. My civil rights are being violated! My blog is being censored!

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