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On Censorship

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, March 12, 2022

So I'm exhausted today, at the end of a very eventful week and a lot of work piled on work.

Which means I can't discipline my brain to write something more artsy or tropey. Though censorship is a trope, right?

When do we have censorship appear in stories?

Usually to illustrate that a regime is autocratic and oppressive. Basically, the existence of censorship is used as shorthand for “dictatorship” or worse.

Democracies, on the other hand, are illustrated by the sheer freedom of speech that exists, with the people being able to say whatever they want (with due feedback and reactions) being the norm.

In real life it's not so simple.

Probably because we rarely have a clean dichotomy, so all ‘sides’ have elements of ‘baddie’ to them.

Censorship is one of these messy elements: we may think we live in an area where we don't have it, but we do.

Media outlets do it all the time: assessing which piece of news gets to be aired is the most pedestrian type. Usually, to the benefit of a political affiliation or an ideology or in service to whoever owns the media in question.

It is a lot more blatant today. And what scares me is that people seem to like it and want for it. It's the sign of very dark times. Blocking something because it belongs to the “bad guys” isn't a good enough excuse: if your position is sound and objectively true, then you can simply refute the bad guy claims.

If you can't, you need censorship.

If you feel your position isn't strong enough, you need censorship.

If you want to force people to form an exact opinion, no variation, no nuance, you need censorship.

A “safe space”, if you like, but for questionable regimes rather than oppressed and persecuted individuals. Our world is becoming more and more skewed, and people seem to want to needlessly enhance a narrative that doesn't need enhancing. For example, war is bad. It is always bad. Even if there are reasonable excuses for its initiation, it stlll is unpardonable.

This message doesn't need grotesque enhancement through censorship to hold true and remain the bottom line.

The road to hell is built on good intentions, and perhaps raging, unbridled emotions. But once you are in hell, it won't matter how you got there or what you intended. You will still be burned.

We got it right in stories. In real life not so much.

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plymayer at 4:04PM, March 17, 2022

Ozoneocean censorship is very real in the United States of America at the moment.

plymayer at 4:02PM, March 17, 2022

It's even more important to allow opinions other than your own. If freedom of speech can be taken from one it can be taken from others.

PaulEberhardt at 8:25AM, March 14, 2022

Speaking of which: my students asked me how it can be possible that Russians actually swallow all the crap Putin keeps feeding them through the media at the moment. Drawing on what my Grandma used to tell me about life in Nazi Germany, I answered that many of them possibly don't. Only, if embellished news is all you ever get, it's extremely hard to tell what's true and how you should react to it. This is also why it's so important to try and get different sources when researching stuff on the internet. When I see how everyone just copy-pastes from everyone else until you can't tell where the information is originally from, I tend to get nervous, and so should everyone.

PaulEberhardt at 8:10AM, March 14, 2022

Unfortunately, while having a position that's sound and objectively true may be enough to refute a decent bad guy, it's not when dealing with idiots, because within a few minutes they'll just spout more and more bullshit than you could possibly refute in a lifetime. That's no excuse at all for censorship, mind, just for better education.

Ozoneocean at 3:28AM, March 13, 2022

@Bravo LOL! Were just returning the favour haha! We all know where the madness originated 😅😭

bravo1102 at 3:04AM, March 13, 2022

The United States would appreciate it if Australia would stop exporting its woo-woo spouting idiots to the US because we have free speech and you don't. Look at the most silly YouTube channels spouting the worst nonsense and chances are the narrator has an Australian accent. ;)

bravo1102 at 3:01AM, March 13, 2022

But isn't a society self policing with appropriate levels of cognitive dissonance? No opposing words ever get through the filters of the belief system so everyone is in lock step.

cdmalcolm1 at 1:53AM, March 13, 2022

The way things are going in media and social media, it beginning to look like those movies where the government breaks down doors of ppl who harbor works of expression and destroy it on site. This is only the beginning. I hate to say it but we are heading in that surreal direction. Sad.

hushicho at 5:04PM, March 12, 2022

I can't add anything to this but to say "preach" because this is so true, and so many people never understand it. I will say that censorship isn't usually about balance, and that typically it is neither needed nor welcome. It is a tool used by those who know their position collapses with the slightest question or different perspective, and freedom of expression is absolutely not an American thing. Wherever there is art and wherever artists exist, which is everywhere, there is desire for freedom in speech and expression.

princefishie lover at 10:47AM, March 12, 2022

"if your position is sound and objectively true, then you can simply refute the bad guy claims." - this is so frigging true and I wish more people got it. so many people just parrot things and can't make even a feeble attempt to defend their beliefs, and plug their ears when they realize you're not like them and have proper arguments and real sources.

Corruption at 6:45AM, March 12, 2022

Censorship can be very subtle, like using bubble filtering and other things. One trick I read about in a Harry Potter fanfic might be used in real life, but I could not tell. All the books containing information people wanted kept secret were classified as "disproven." For example, research in a new field may mean one theory was slightly off, but spot on with everything else. It was Disproven. Someone researching the differences in muggle and magical bodies? Experimenting with human bodies; lock the researcher up and show he was mad, thus disproving his work. Ban it, and everyone will want a copy. "Disprove" it and no-one wants it, or cares about it.

Ozoneocean at 3:55AM, March 12, 2022

Censorship is tricky, it's always a balance. "Free speech" is an American thing mainly I think but even there they've always had censorship of certain things.

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