Trying to make sense of censorship

If you criticise another person’s use of the word “censorship” does that therefore mean you’re trying to censor them? It’s a serious question. The trouble is, I’m starting to think I don’t understand what censorship means any more. Perhaps I just shouldn’t mention it, only then that would be self-censorship – or would it? Honestly, I just don’t know.

I ought to be better at this since apparently censorship is my “next move”. That’s at least according to a comment I received today, from someone who doesn’t like the fact that I find James Bond films sexist. I mean, yeah, I don’t like them – they fucking well annoy me – but I genuinely didn’t have any further plans. Believe me, I’m not that well organised. Now I’m worried I’ll need to get my censorship plans in place pretty sharpish. Otherwise, come the Feminist Revolution, I’ll only disappoint all the noble sexists lining up to lay down their lives for the right of Daniel Tosh to make shitty jokes. There they’ll be, waiting at the foot of the scaffold, and I’ll be all “what? I just said I didn’t like the jokes! I haven’t even bought a noose or anything!”

To be fair, I imagine that to be a proper censor, you don’t have to kill anyone. You just have to restrict their freedom, using either the law or extreme social pressure. If I’m honest, though, I don’t think “not liking James Bond films” really cuts it with this definition, either. Neither do I think “saying rape jokes are offensive” or “wanting Page 3 not to exist” really manage to live up to the term. The more I look at it, the more I think feminists get far more credit for being censors than they actually deserve. We should all just admit it – we’re not that good at this censorship lark. We could probably get better if we tried, but I’m not sure there’s the will.

A really good way to shut people up is obviously to tell them that they’re trying to censor you. That always puts them on the back foot, not because you’re actually right, but because it’s such a baffling accusation there’s no meaningful response. The other person will end up saying “no, I, like, totally respect your right to watch crap cinema”. Then of course the fact that you’re a complete knob who ought to be explaining why such offensive shit appeals to you will be completely forgotten. Result!

As for me, I just wish some people didn’t like crap things that belittle other people. And I’d like these crap things not to exist by virtue of no one wanting them to exist. Is that so wrong? Is that such an attack on liberty? I mean, I suppose it makes me one of the minority “liberal elite” who want to impose their views on others. But what am I meant to do? Obviously I’m not going to work on the basis that my beliefs are quite possibly wrong, otherwise they wouldn’t be beliefs. On the other hand I’m quite prepared to change my mind about things, but not, on the whole, when the only defence for the existence of something I dislike rests on the abstract idea that were it not to exist this could only ever be down to “censorship”.

Am I making any sense (cense?) here? Perhaps I ought to wrap up this post now. But would that be censoring it?

PS for a more considered and knowledgeable discussion of the issues, this post by @boodleoops (and the comments that follow) is perfect. Unless me suggesting that is in some way censoring the views of people who might disagree…


2 thoughts on “Trying to make sense of censorship

  1. The best way to sensor people is to eat them. So yeah, Feminists are doing it wrong. Embrace cannibalism and then you shall be shone the way to true censorship mastery. Flip it…cannibals make the best censors.

    And you deciding not to let this post post on your blog post…not censorship. It’s your blog, not mine. If I want a podium I can get my own and talk about cannibalism all day if I want. And I could block your replies about how you might think cannibalism is wrong (not that you’ve come out either way on your stance on cannibalism, I’m hypothetically speaking here, of course) and that wouldn’t be censorship.

    At least in my opinion. Probably by definition as well, like for it to really be censorship the censoring party has to have power over the other person(s). Just because you don’t like a particular film (regardless of the reason) and you speak out about it, I’d be quite foolish to interpret that as censoring. I mean, I can still go see the film to see for myself if it is as deplorable as you say it is. But were you to go see it and then tell me I shouldn’t see it and try to even make it difficult for me to see it or make it impossible for me to see it, well, then we’re talking about getting close to the censorship road because you’re actively trying to make laws or set up roadblocks or have armies of children gnaw off the tires to my car…all making it difficult for me to get to the cinema to see the movie (not that you’ve done any of those things…and/or if you have I’m not even remotely aware that you have, again, just hypothetically speaking).

    Plus, it’s not like cannibalism is a black or white issue. Er. I mean censorship. It’s not like parents censoring certain subjects from their children is a bad thing. I mean, we don’t need an army of 5 year olds getting any ideas from [insert a movie of your choice here; different parents parent differently after all].

    Anyway, long story short, I like your post.
    (the author of this post does not condone cannibalism but is willing to be dined upon upon his demise).

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