It’s no secret that Apple often takes a puritanical view of art featuring human anatomy — the flapping genitalia, dewy folds and turgid protuberances that some of us find so arousing and others find a moral failing — at least when it comes to being submitted to the App Store or iBookstore.
So it’s no surprise that when Danish author Peter Øvig Knudsen submitted his latest work of non-fiction, Hippie 2, to the iBookstore, the e-book was rejected based upon the fact that it contained forty-seven photographs of hairy frolicking hippies with exposed breasts, buttocks and genitals.
What is more surprising is that they also rejected Knudsen’s resubmitted version of the text, which featured all of the photos censored with giant red apples.
Knudsen says that the censored iBook was removed from the iBookstore over the weekend without a word of explanation. Apple had previously rejected the book, but seemed to except the apple-censored version when it was resubmitted later.
Knudsen seems to think the issue is the apples.
“The case was already absurd, but it’s now difficult to find the words: is Apple really going to prevent authors from using apples to censor the very self-censorship they’re demanding authors perform?”
Clearly, the issue here is really Knudsen’s cheeky mode of censorship, and not the apples themselves. His choice of apples as the blotches that censor nipples, buttocks and genitals in Hippie 2 is a pretty obvious “fuck you” to Apple, which is what got his text pulled.
But of course, he’s right: Hippie 2 is a work of journalism that uses historical photographs to illustrate a specific time in Denmark’s history. It’s absurd that Apple would treat photographs like this in a book, when they wouldn’t even blink if the text of an iBook contained taboo and salacious written material.
Apple’s position in this is understandable: they just don’t want to deal with the possibly controversy that could come from allowing anything resembling porn into one of their stores. But the distinction between porn and art is often in the eye of the beholder.