So here I am, once again borrowing inspiration from W! Today’s topic? Censorship. Why do I bother to bring it up? Well,
in his post, W discusses a couple of coworkers who badmouth the latest Harry Potter book without even bothering to read it. There seems to be an overabundance of people that are eager to hop on the boycott bandwagon without becoming fully educated on what exactly they are boycotting.
I can’t seem to locate the original source of the following quote but it holds true in this particular context; Know Thine Enemy. Isn’t that the truth? If you truly think about it, your own ignorance is put on public display when you criticize or chastise something that you are not sure about. When you base your inflammatory accusations on conjecture, you are bound to have some holes in your argument. I’ve met plenty of people like W mentions, people who say “well I heard it was bad so I have a real problem with it!” A recent example off the top of my head would be the movie “Dogma” by Kevin Smith. I remember when it was released there was people picketing some theatres and there were angry articles written online and all this nonsense. Even people I had talked to were saying “Ooooooohhhh!!!! It’s a horrible movie!!!! I’m going to protest!!!” When it came down to it, a good majority of the people boycotting the theatres NEVER HAD SEEN THE DAMN THING. I saw it and loved it. It was a comedy and yes it was pretty racy but it brought up some very interesting discussion points about faith and religion. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend it. One of Kevin Smith’s best movies and one of the funniest (probably one of the more intelligent ones as well).
How do you think investigations are run? How about trials? The investigators attempt to get inside the mind of their “opponent”. They formulate theories on how the suspect would think. They say “if I were….what would I do?”
The lawyers sit their clients down and say, “they will ask you this question and this question. Let’s get prepared for them”.
Know Thine Enemy. Knowing what you’re talking about gives you a firm argument and that’s a step ahead. Don’t bitch and whine about a book or film if you are only basing your dislike on what someone else has said. You have your own brain; USE IT.
And now on to the second part of my rant; The First Amendment.
The two-edged sword that is swung everyday in America is the First Amendment. We have a great privilege given to us in the First Amendment. Free speech means that EVERYONE has a right to say how they feel. This is great because as a basic human right, it works for everyone. Free speech fosters inventiveness, creation, and inspiration. When people are allowed to say and think how they feel, it feels like there may not be any boundaries and they do not fear that their contributions to the public arena will result in them being drug into the street and shot (might be a bit extreme but some countries DO have that fear).
The counterpart to this wonderful privilege is the fact that mixed in with the good, you get a taste of the bad as well. I won’t lie to you. I think there is a lot of total shit on the television and in the theatres. Utter, total, nasty shit. Things that I have no interest in watching and things that I have wondered who put the greenlight up for it. Does that mean that we should limit how much “bad” stuff gets put out there? Absolutely not. You can’t practice selective limitations, although there are times that it happens. The First Amendment is for EVERYONE, even the ones you don’t like.