If there is one thing I despise on a personal and spiritual level it is censorship. Dionysians have an ancient track record of being banned and censored. Pythagorean/Orphic texts were banned very early, the persecution of Dionysians by Romans in 186BCE and the Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus. Hell, one of our most important text/plays is The Bacchae by Euripides about an impious king attempting to suppress and censor Dionysos himself.
With facebook, banning increase in length the more often they occur. I’m now on 7 day bans, which will increase to 30 days until my account will be permanently deactivated. I mostly use facebook to mentor and chat with fellow polytheists and for sharing our artwork, my posts are mostly tame, inane or educational.
Anyway, here is a list of times I’ve had my account blocked on facebook, each time was for no reason, and all fits within FB TOS.
October 23 2016
I was banned for sharing a photo of a “Modern Maenad“. I originally shared the photo in 2012. I shared it as a response of politicising ancient symbols in the now, as it is an image protesting Greek austerity. It was taken by Dimitris the Athens and published throughout the internet, including facebook, and in magazines and newspapers.
In 13th of May 2017 I was interviewed by the largest pagan news organisations The Wild Hunt. (By the way they have their yearly fundraiser going now!) For reasons which were never explained I was banned from facebook for sharing the article on my wall… I strongly suspect this was direct assault upon my religious beliefs.
The latest banning begun on the 10th of October 2017. With my partner being banned for three days, I protested to facebook staff about the removal of the image and they apologised and restored it on my wall, I reposted the image, after they approved it, and I was banned for 7 days. (I wrote about the symbolism of the Manticore and my interpretation of the images here.)
I find the excuse of algorithms and bot moderation by Facebook to be bullshit for these bans. This is a direct assault on my freedoms of speech, expression and religion as implied in the Australian Constitution and the universal rights granted by the UN Charter, which my country agrees to and applies. Facebook is breaching universal laws that are directly affecting my business, my reputation, my religious practice – including mentoring. These blocks are causing personal harm in the form of depression and harming my mental health.
After my ban is over, I’m going to limit my use of the platform and reserve it to mostly use it just to private chat to my students. (Why people refuse to use email or read my blog nowadays is puzzling to me!?) Anyway, I might be more present on other platforms that do not have such outrageous, ethically and legally unjust rules and regulations.
My email: email@example.com
My twitter handle: @DionysianArtist
My tumblr: https://dionysianartist.tumblr.com
I have Instagram but don’t like it much, plus it is owned by facebook. My handle is markos.gage
My partner Wayne is doing a series of Manticores, some are freaky and graphic, but still fall within realms of art. He describes them as satire, akin to something seen by Goya. Anyway something I want to make clear:
- Facebook posting policy, TOS, allows artistic representation of graphic subjects and nudity.
- These images are obviously artistic.
- The pictures are fantastic and related to mythology.
- The images are deliberately drawn in a non-realistic, cartoon-like fashion.
- The picture in question (The Female version) was banned for “sexual violence”, sexual intercourse usually requires two humans. A Manticore is not human, it is a monster. Their names literally mean “Man Eater”.
For your viewing pleasure, I proudly post them here.
In short, someone reported my sharing of The Wild Hunt interview, and facebook has blocked me for three days.
This is frustrating, but not really a concern. It annoys me because I mostly use facebook for spiritual mentoring and sharing our art / business related stuff. I regard facebooks reporting feature to be abusive, discriminatory and censorship.
What is bullshit is that the interview was published on a recognised news organisation, the content featured being acceptable by facebook’s community standards and laws in my country. What’s more, there is nothing I can do about it. Even if this is evaluated the block cannot be lifted.
This is the second time I’ve been blocked, the previous can be read here. From what I understand an account becomes blacklisted if reported and bans increase until the account is closed down. What this means is whoever is reporting my profile can shut me up permanently. Effectively silencing me.
I have no proof of who is reporting me, but I have made enemies on the street. Especially Christian Fundamentalists that park their bike near the area we do street art. This bike is used for advertising their church, and when we work we cover it up because we don’t want to be associated with it. This has caused altercations in the past. The ‘owner’ is extremely aggressive and very unchristian. He has called our work shit and an abomination. Also related members of this group have called me an idolater and spawn of Satan.
Last Saturday I passed the guys that place these bikes around Melbourne. I noticed the guy who I’ve had a fight with point me out to his friend. Also the interview was published.
On Sunday the bike was placed at our worksite, I found some cardboard and placed it in front of the bike. That same day I saw what looked like the guy taking photos of our facebook page and the bike covered.
On Monday I was banned.
I repeat I have no proof, but I suspect I’m being attacked by these people on social media. I think the guy behind the bikes is linked to Desmond Hynes. Edited: Found out the bike owner is called Barry, but he has a young Indian cohort.
I have been banned from facebook over an image I shared a few years ago. As these things work: someone must have reported me.
Honestly I can’t remember what I wrote about this, I’m supposing it was a rejection of the nationalism and appropriation of classical symbolism for modern day politics.
As I *despise* censorship I’m re-posting the image here. Right now I hold no feelings for it, nor opinion. Artistically, it has merits in making a good image. Politically, my only concern is using sacred classical themes and terms as a means of promoting secular modern day concepts.
Regardless, I would point out when this image was first published it went “viral”, it was shared by millions of people and featured in newspapers, magazines and facebook.
Yet…. suddenly I am banned from facebook for something I posted years ago (Like many other people at the time).
Thumbs up to censorship.
Edit for more info:
The photo above was taken by a photographer called Dimitris the Athens in 2012. Some interpretation of it as a response against austerity efforts, “cutting the umbilical cord of austerity”. It spread across facebook at the time by Greeks, often using the image as a rallying call. European nations have a long history of bare breasted woman as revolutionary symbols, i.e. Marianne of France.
I shared this image to discuss the phenomenon especially as it was using a title for a sacred role played by women of the Dionysian cults. I certainly was not sharing it for sexual gratification or being obscene.
I’m not naive enough to think that facebook gives a shit, I understand that they have blanket bots that look for nudity and censor it, but based upon my countries law, (laws I have to adhere to as a “citizen”, even with my use of the internet), this image would be regarded as genuine art. The image has cultural, historical and social importance and has gone down as an icon for it’s time.
This is a quote by facebook TOS:
We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures. Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous or satirical purposes. Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed.
So… in terms of law in Australia this image is regarded as genuine art. In terms of facebook’s own TOS it falls into he category of artwork for its: “educational, humorous or satirical purposes.”