Ulysses Gets Censored Again; This Time by Apple

Apple’s strategy of censoring apps that contains content unsuitable for children is certainly defensible, but sometimes the results are ludicrous. A comic adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses was denied approval until the developer and artist made some changes, notably reframing the image below:

Come on, Apple, even the famous court decision overturning its censorship in the US made things pretty clear:

[W]hilst in many places the effect of Ulysses on the reader undoubtedly is somewhat emetic, nowhere does it tend to be an aphrodisiac.

This is really sad; Apple censoring a comic of one of the English language’s greatest novels, while still, fortunately, allowing that novel to be sold in ebook format via its iBookstore. Apple has set standards that are very difficult to enforce, and should really rethink the kind of stupidity they are leading to. Keep out porn, sure, but provide a parental control system so things such as this comic – and its subsequent episodes – can be distributed. The future of a lot of creative content is at stake here; Apple shouldn’t be the one arbitrarily deciding that a comic of a great novel is obscene just because there’s a penis in it.

In any case, the entire work – including all of the supporting information, which will be of help to any reader of Ulysses, is available on the web. And, by the way, the iPad app is free, so grab that too!

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2 replies
  1. Chad Rutkowski says:

    Thanks Kirk. We’re sure Apple will eventually reach a more nuanced approach to its censorship. In the meantime, we think we’ve used the tablet platform in a pretty unique way, and hope we’ll be able to do similar projects in the future. We’ll just work around the censorship issue as best we can.

    And don’t worry about us finishing Ulysses “Seen”– I think Rob is pretty much doomed to spend the bulk of his foreseeable free time illustrating away.

  2. Rob Berry says:

    Doomed is right, Chad, but it got a little bit easier now that I know I won’t have to draw all of those fig leaves!

    Thanks again for the kind words, Kirk. If you or an other iPad owners have downloaded the app already, we appreciate some reviews or suggestions either on our site or at the iTunes Store. We think the thing is a pretty darn cool way to introduce people to the novel through this new device and that seems to be getting lost a bit in the other point of topic.


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