American Elephants


The Strange Adventures of the Venus of Willendorf and Mark Zuckerberg by The Elephant's Child

This pudgy figure, the Venus of Willendorf, is to be found in the Naturhistorische  Museum in Vienna, Austria. She is a fertility figure, without face or feet, and one of the oldest sculptures we know. She was found in 1908 near Willendorf, Austria. She is a lonely representative of Stone Age sculpture, approximately from 28,000 — 25,000 years B.C.  She is carved of Oolitic limestone in the Paleolithic Period or the ‘Old Stone Age’. She’s about 4½” tall, and was covered with red ocher paint when found. An image of the work was posted on Facebook by Laura Ghianda last year, and removed as ‘inappropriate content’—despite four attempts to appeal the decision.

Ghianda, who is an activist, denounced the Facebook ruling,  The Museum protested in January requesting that the Venus be allowed to remain naked, and of course great fun was made of Facebook, and a spokesperson for Facebook apologized in March, saying that they had confused the post in question with an advertisement. “Our policies do not allow nudity or implied nudity, but we have an exception for statues.” Ms. Ghianda has launched an online petition asking that Facebook change its algorithms that are censoring art online. And so it goes in the halls of Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley has a lot riding on its algorithms, and people are getting a little testy about being banned or wanting someone banned. The companies depend on their algorithms to help them define who is likely to be a customer for what to tell their advertisers about how much they are going to have to pay for an advertisement on a particular page, which is why you get ads for shirts when you were just looking at shirts on someone else’s website. And future gadgets and photos of you and yours will tell them even more. They want to know everything useful about you, so they can monetize it . Privacy is a thing of the past.


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