This came in while I was out on book tour:
I live in Kuwait, and just ordered your Great Big Book of Tomorrow from Amazon. I have a little bit of a problem and was hoping you could help me out.
Some background: stuff from Amazon usually gets to Kuwait no problem, although 9 times out of 10 it is opened by customs to check if it contains any pornographic material or material considered to be an afront to Islam. Censorship is rife here, and although almost any magazine or newspaper you can think of is sold in the bookshops (from Harper’s to Cosmo to USA Today…I kid you not), any photo that is slightly ‘fleshy’ or depicts images of ‘god’ is swiftly seen to with a big black pen. If there is an entire offending article, or the questionable picture is really big, they just rip the whole damn page out. It’s rather frustrating, as you may be halfway through an article about ETA activity in Spain, only to discover that the last page has been printed on the back of a Calvin Klien advert, and then you’re stuffed.
Anyway, to get to the point, the officers at the Kuwaiti customs found something offensive in your book. I got to page 172, only to discover that page 173 – 4 had been roughly torn out. I have no frickin’ idea what they could have found so offensive, and, man I’ve got to know! I mean, I am a bit pissed off that my book is somewhat ruined, and I thought about writing to Amazon to send me another copy, but what a colossal waste just to get one page. And who knows, the customs dudes might rip that page out again.
The cartoon that the guardians of morality in Kuwait found offensive can be seen here. It’s the same cartoon that the guardians of morality in Oklahoma found so offensive when it first ran (more on that here). It’s nice to know that my little cartoon can help fundamentalists the world over discover how much they really have in common.