Friday, July 23, 2010
Censorship! Another word for Hypocrisy?
Downfall of humanity has been it's closed mindedness, and a concept like censorship is one of our many self destructive methods to make sure that nobody interfers with this free fall of ours till we hit rock bottom and smash ourselves out of existence.
We wouldn't want anyone showing us the right way for humanity to take, that would be too intelligent for us foolish & petty animals.
Even though censorship interfers with artist's work to different degrees in different countries, the basic underlying reason behind it is our failure to accept another man's point of view, and also to stick to one of the most fundamental of human rights, which we like to talk about a lot, but seldom practice, freedom of expression.
Well if you are expressing an opinion that at least a billion people share in common with you then you have all the freedom of expression that you could ask for. But! if you are thinking about expressing a radical,unique, and an original point of view, you better be doing it from behind a bullet proof glass.
According to the dictionary censorship means "Counterintelligence achieved by banning or deleting any information of value to the enemy".
And looking at the way censor board has functioned in the past, it is clear that anyone who doesn't conform to the views put forth by the government, and wants to express his/her own, is an enemy.
It's also important to point out that censor board is actually controlled by the "Ministry" of Information and Broadcasting. So don't for one minute think that it's not political.
This is our way of isolating, rejecting, and undermining the ones who wander away from the herd mentality to find their own path, just like a herd of sheep does.
Friedrich Nietzsche very aptly pointed out that
"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently".
In fact what is the use of 6 billion people walking around with almost identical point of views? It's a complete waste of human energy and time. We could just assign one person to have a point of view in every field, and we could all just follow that, couldn't we? Why do all the thinking ourselves?!
Oh! But hey, that's exactly what we are doing. Isn't it? We have one institution for every field which tells the rest of us what to believe and what not believe and what to think about and what not think about, be it religion, politics, or economics.
We are often told that censorship is necessary for a safe and peaceful society. But is it really so?
I am not sure about the safety and peace, but I do know that censorship is definitely necessary for the politicians and businessmen to make sure that we don't see or read anything that they don't want us to see or read. They very well know that ignorant public is easily manipulated and led.
Censor boards and other political/religious bodies usually have a problem with artistic work dealing with either
1) Real incidents of the past like genocides, riots, wars, political policies and so on,or,
2) Sexual content/abusive language, or,
3) Against current religious norms.
Let us explore these three points and see if the censor board and the whole concept of rejecting unpopular ideas is doing any good to the society.
According to the Supreme Court of India:
“Film censorship becomes necessary because a film motivates thought and action and assures a high degree of attention and retention as compared to the printed word. The combination of act and speech, sight and sound in semi darkness of the theatre with elimination of all distracting ideas will have a strong impact on the minds of the viewers and can affect emotions. Therefore, it has as much potential for evil as it has for good and has an equal potential to instill or cultivate violent or good behaviour. It cannot be equated with other modes of communication. Censorship by prior restraint is, therefore, not only desirable but also necessary."
First of all, most of the movies and books that face trouble with the censor boards and political-religious bodies usually deal with the reality of the state of affairs in the society, or with an incident from the past i.e., war,riot etc.
I haven't seen a single movie or read a single book which for no reason urges people to be violent, and I don't think there are too many of such works out there anyway.
And let's say for the sake of argument that there are such movies and books out there that instigate people to be violent, but what do people have their brains for? If I came across such a work, I would with an open mind see what it's about and if it seems illogical to me, I will move right on. Besides if someone is stupid enough to be influenced by a movie or a book to kill other people, then isn't it possible that the problem is the person himself and not the book or the movie?
Chances are good that he was thinking of killing a whole bunch of people for a very long time, may be he even bought a gun much before he read that book or watched that movie.
So why should the rest of the sane people be refused to indulge in free flow of art and information because of a few morons?
And even if there are propaganda movies and books out there that wrongfully instigate violence, isn't there a clear difference between such movies/books and the ones which are plain artistic representation of the reality of affairs in society?
Why do always the latter kind of books/movies face trouble?
And Why should the movies and the books be considered dangerous and unfit for the society? The movies and books are not violent, the society is. The movies and books only bring out what already is.
If the society can handle and live with the reality itself, i am sure it can handle a movie or a book about it.
And by the way it's the people of the society that brought about all the wars, riots, killings, girl infanticides, and child marriages in the first place.
So why are we trying to stop artists from talking about these facts, rather than stopping these horrible acts themselves? Doesn't it seem a little un-intelligent for us "Intelligent beings", we are so proud of saying that.
All we are doing is censoring any work that talks about the reality of social/political/religious affairs, under the pretext of safety and peace of the society. Nothing more.
What we fail to understand is that banning a book or a movie is not going to make a society peaceful.
Violence has been there since the beginning of time. Other animals are violent too, but they don't have any violent books and movies. They are violent because it's in their nature, it's their instinct to be violent for survival, they don't know any other way, neither do we.
We are violent for the same reason, we are semi-conscious beasts ourselves. It's in our nature. We are far from understanding the meaning of peace as a society. At least a few light years away, and banning books and movies, and shutting people up is not going to help.
Secondly, different modes of art appeal differently to different individuals, and I don't think it is right for an institution like supreme court to make a generalized staement that movies have more impact on people, because to some people books are more engaging than a movie, and to some others music might be.
Now talking about censoring sexual content:
There are currently 4.2 million porn websites (12% of the total) and growing. The pornographic industry of the entire world is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and Earthlink.
Daily, 65 million pornographic search engine requests are made (25% of total)and 2.5 billion porn emails are sent.
42.7% of internet users view porn.
That will give you an idea how hungry people are for sex. Yet as a society we have failed to accept sex openly.
You'd think that the total sexual urge of any society would be the collective total of the individual sexual urges of the people. But even though as individuals we all want as crazy a sex life as possible, as a society we act like it's a shameful act?
As individual people we walk around with hard-ons but our society is like a 75 year old man with a limp dick.
Isn't something wrong here? I sense double standards.
Sex is alright in the bedroom, but in the living room we don't like to talk about it.
None of us would be here if it wasn't for sex, so why act like it's such a bad thing?
A lot of people blame pornography and prostitution for having a bad influence on the society, but neither are bad of and by themselves. They are demand driven markets. When people don't get sex they either go to a porn website, or to a brothel. You can't blame them for that.
Reproduction is the second most fundamental obligation of any living thing after survival. So anybody whose got his dinner sorted out is going to want to fuck, and there is not a god damn thing in the world that can stop them.
People also like to use children as an excuse against sexual content. But where is the sense in, at one hand trying to convince children that sex is an imaginary and evil thing, and on the other forcing them to believe that santa claus is real? Why is everything so upside down?
We are so weak and scared of dealing with the simple facts of life that we are forced to use our children and culture as our shield.
Besides your children are going to find out about sex anyway, either through self exploration or with the help of the uncle next door. So why not talk to them about it yourself, they will definitely appreciate that more.
And let's face it, the root cause of all sexual crimes is not prostitution or porn, it's the lack of sexual awareness and our failure to accept sex openly for what it is.
By mindlessly censoring sexual content censor board is only allowing the society to continue to elude the issue of sex, and hence is not doing a thing to help the society positively.
Last but not the least censoring of independent ideas about God, and religion:
I don't want to delve into the details of how hollow, illogical, archaic and insecure all the religions of the world are. All I want to say is that- if millions of hindus, muslims, christians have the right to proudly talk about their beliefs and gods and build their temples and churches, why can't the people who don't want anything to do with religion of any sort be proud about their beliefs?
What happened to all men being equal and all?
If a hindu has a right to be a proud hindu, and a muslim to be a proud muslim then what is wrong with me being a proud non believer and talking about it?
Why do a few non believers make billions of believers so insecure? If the religious people have so much faith in their god and religion and if they are so sure that god exists, then what can a few men's opinion do?
Why can't these self-righteous people just ignore the non believers?
I will tell you why - Because they are insecure about their own belief systems, and they don't want anyone reminding them of that.
In conclusion my question boils down to this - Where is the sense in trying to fix the society by banning books and movies?
Even if our movies are censored and our books are screened to protect the easily influenced people and children, who is going to protect them from the stinking garbage that society itself is.
All the artistic works that a censor board has a problem with come from the people of the society, and are usually about the society anyway.
So even if all the movies and books disappeared, people would find reason to be violent in the society itself.
Hence we see that censorship doesn't help the society positively in anyway and the justification for censorship being a neccessity is pure political jargon meant to serve the purpose of the establishment and not of the people.