Inspired by this topic: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=498447
If you could decide the law, how much censorship, if any, would you deem necessary? I mainly am interested in media (TV, movies, music) along with book censorship, but feel free to detail other kinds that are important to you.
I am not a parent, but I’ve been around younger relatives my whole life, so I get consistently sick of people saying that my view will change once I have kids. I dont want to piss on their parade, but not everyone becomes hypocritical when kids come. My personal beliefs are that censorship is never ok, except when it presents a physical danger to people
That doesnt mean I’m all for people dropping “fuck” in every other sentence, or referring to women as bitches or blacks as niggers. I’m against that and I wouldnt say that except when I’m very angry. I detest kids who seem to think swearing makes them cool, and feel artists are retarded if they cant get their point across without cussing up a storm. Still, I want to make a distinction very very clear: just because I hate it and find it annoying does not mean I want to censor it.
I am ardently for people having unfettered access to public broadcasts, even if its a children’s tv/radio station, to say whatever cuss words they want. I wouldnt flinch if I had kids who heard an uncensored movie where they talk about fucking, masturbating, suicide, drugs, and shooting people. Words may have power, but it has power only so much as we grant them. “Fuck” is nonsense, it only has the power to shock because we’ve been conditioned to recoil at its use. The generations following mine will make new cuss words, and soon I’ll be hearing about “zogging someone’s yitting huthole” and it’s supposed to be the worst thing ever? Please, give me a break
My anti-censorship stance extends to images as well. While I have personally not watched “2 girls 1 cup” and dont ever want to see it and would have a serious problem with whatever network that decides to show it, I would decry government censorship of even that. If my kid sees a superbowl nipple, I wouldnt mind, nor would I mind them seeing the Vagina Monologues in kindergarten, or naked models in front of a Victoria’s Secret store. I simply dont care
The only thing that matters to me are things that present a danger to people, and not the ephemeral spritual kind. I’m perfectly happy that people cant shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater and grateful that slander and libel can be sued. Real physical danger is more objective than if your sensibilities got hurt or your god thinks what you’re watching is naughty. That kind of thing is subjective and changing, and government has no place dictating what you can and cannot see
My field of study is psychology and one thing we are taught over and over is that correlation does not equal causation. This applies especially in something as hard to pinpoint as human thoughts. Yes, we know that violent imagery and situations can have an effect on human brains. But that doesnt mean it causes it. You may want to take a “just in case” attitude, but too much of that excuse is given when taking away legal things for adults to see and hear simply because some kids might be in the room. And we also know that it is a fact a great majority of sexual predators, serial killers, and other criminals typically are exposed to things like porn and violence at an early age. But the fact that many many others who grow up in that environment turn out perfectly normal speaks to a higher causation/correlation of good parenting. Or sometimes, its simply genes. The point is, specious correlations of violence and sex doesnt, at least to me, make very much sense when government is justifying taking away and censoring things for adults. If I had my way, all censorship except the above would be gone.
I think that an important and significant result of such stupifying censorship and crushing religious mores serve to indoctrinate people now into easily believing that things like Harry Potter, homosexuality, and safe sex are the rightful purview of fretful parents and family organizations. To me, Harry Potter in the school library is not a parental decision. Its a decent kids book, theres nothing anti-Christian about it, and parents should not have the ability to so easily dismiss books in a kids library. Neither should overly religious librarians. Homosexuality can and should be studied as early as possible, to teach kids that it is ok. Its not a parental decision, its an education decision, just like saying black kids and white kids are no different. And sex ed should begin in kindergarten, so that the safety of kids who may have weird uncles and suspicious babysitters can be protected early. This isnt about how “liberals” want your kids to have sex early, this is about having all the information necessary to make an informed decision