Censorship. What Is It And How Does It Effect You.

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Apollo Slaying Python, plate one from The History of Apollo and Daphne

Pictured above:
Apollo Slaying Python, plate one from The History of Apollo and Daphne.  The alteration to this impression is not initially evident, but closer inspection reveals that this predominantly nude Apollo is missing his genitalia.  A viewer deliberately scraped away the ink at the God’s crotch in a campaign of extremely localized censorship.  Given how modestly Apollo was originally endowed, this change does not significantly alter the image overall.  Rather, the God’s sizable arrow quiver dangles more provocatively between his legs than his own penis ever did.  The objecting viewer, apparently lacking a grasp of age-old visual puns, may not have realized that, with his alteration, the visual emphasis merely shifted to this larger and more obvious phallus substitute.

I was ask the other day about censorship. In the question that was ask, I read the undertone as to state “what is the meaning of it and what is the history of it.”

It’s become obvious in today’s social media circles that the word is thrown around like a well worn toy, most of the time, in some skewed form or another that does not relate to what the correct purpose of the word actually means.

Take for example the image above. A censor thought he was doing the world and art community at large a favor by censoring the image, only to discover that he had inadvertently made things worse with no way to fix a historical work of art.

According to Oxford, the word censorship means:

1. The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.
“the regulation imposes censorship on all media”
2. (in ancient Rome) the office or position of censor.
“he celebrated a triumph together with his father and they held the censorship jointly”

According to Oklahoma State, the word means:

1. Supervision and control of the information and ideas that are circulated among the people within a society. In modern times, censorship refers to the examination of books, periodicals, plays, films, television and radio programs, news reports, and other communication media for the purpose of altering or suppressing parts thought to be objectionable or offensive.

According to Britannica, the word means:

1. Censorship, the changing or the suppression or prohibition of speech or writing that is deemed subversive of the common good. It occurs in all manifestations of authority to some degree, but in modern times it has been of special importance in its relation to government and the rule of law.

Now that we have what some of today’s institutions feel the word censorship means, lets look at how it might effect you.

Lets say for example that you are driving to work and you see a detour sign that say “Turn right. S street is closed.” While this might seem like an innocuous sign, what you didn’t realize is that the fearful road engineers had actually censored the sign from shit street to S street and now you are lost on Crap Ave without knowing how to get turned around.

In that simple example, the well thrown-around word of censor has now caused you to have a bad day before even getting to the office to see the rest of the bad news.

In much like the example above, the so called, self appointed egregious fact checkers that inhabit the world of social media, also throw the proverbial hammer and many thousands of people that occupy the same social space, more times than not, only to have their skewed opinion be heard.

According to the ACLU, censorship is prohibited by those that feel they are the self appointed righteous.

The ACLU states: “The Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment’s protection of artistic expression very broadly. It extends not only to books, theatrical works and paintings, but also to posters, television, music videos and comic books, whatever the human creative impulse produces.

Two fundamental principles come into play whenever a court must decide a case involving freedom of expression. The first is “content neutrality” – the government cannot limit expression just because any listener, or even the majority of a community, is offended by its content. In the context of art and entertainment, this means tolerating some works that we might find offensive, insulting, outrageous – or just plain bad.

The second principle is that expression may be restricted only if it will clearly cause direct and imminent harm to an important societal interest. The classic example is falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater and causing a stampede. Even then, the speech may be silenced or punished only if there is no other way to avert the harm.”

As you can see, the word censorship could harm those that are being targeted.

In another example that came to mind, lets say a lawyer composes a meticulous legal brief only to discover that his or her secretary decided that he or she did not like one of many of the words in the lawyers’ brief. Unfortunately for the lawyer, that brief was not only printed for him, but was also submitted to the courts that he now stands in front of.

As you can imagine, the lawyer lost the case, the secretary lost his/her job and the lawyer now has a big mess to clean up.

In the legal world, the Latin language is used quit heavily. The secretary, not knowing anything about the Latin language thought he/she was above all others and in their self-entitled way, thought they were doing good. As we can see, it caused a lot of harm.

While censorship is heavily used in communist countries as a form of suppression, it has never been so predominant as it is in today’s media – all forms of media. Social networks are in fact and form of media.

Will it ever go away. The chances are zero and minus zero as it has been around us and in our daily lives for centuries.

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