Friday, February 03, 2006


Inside Higher Ed reports on Thailand blocking the Yale University Press website because of a highly critical forthcoming biography of that country's king, The King Never Smiles by Paul Handley.

This comment came from an official at the Thai Embassy: "He said it would be impossible for him to respond to any question involving a book with criticism of the king. 'All Thais revere the king and there is a law that he may not be criticized,' he said. 'You can't criticize the king because there is nothing to criticize him about.'"


  1. If this were just about the king, I could say that there was a traditional regime prior to democracy in Thailand, and thus challenge your use of the term "Orwellian," which is more about technology and equality based on debased self-interest allowing us to accept - even long for - a despot.

    But there is something really, really dark going on: see here.

  2. Thanks for that link.

    When I said Orwellian, I think I pretty much meant something more specific, which was to invoke the Orwell of Newspeak and "Politics of the English Language," i.e. something in particular about the quotation from the embassy official that struck me as an abuse of language. But of course I take your point about the distinction.