Google is becoming the Web’s unofficial policeman

“Whatever there is of value in America Whitman has expressed, and there is nothing more to be said. The future belongs to the machine, the robots.” —Henry Miller

Joel Whitney in the Boston Review:

ScreenHunter_339 Sep. 26 18.05In June 2011, Guernica, an online magazine that I helped to found, received an ominous letter from Google.

“During a recent review of your account, we found that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our program policies,” the letter read. Google cited an essay Guernica published in February of that year, Clancy Martin’s “Early Sexual Experiences.” We were given just three working days to change our site or else—the threat was clear—we could lose the income we were making from Google’s AdSense program, which served advertisements on our pages.

We stood by our violation, and our author. In the process we learned the workings of GoogleSpeak, how it can be used to stand arbitrarily with government despots, and how it serves as the Web’s unofficial censor.

Born in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq war, Guernica is an engaged literary magazine. Politics and art, we believe, are never separate but part of the same cultural cloth. This became particularly clear as the U.S. media collectively failed to stand up to the Bush administration over its shifting rationale for the Iraq war. From the outset we covered feminism and sexual politics in what we have always taken to be a thoughtful, if frequently provocative, way.

More here.