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The Cozy Spot

1 post categorized "censorship"

May 13, 2008

From Porn Bans to Thinkpol

In Orwell's novel, 1984, those who challenge society by way of thought - which leads to open debate - are monitored, and the reason why these characters are 'caught' is due to the other instrument the totalitarian government uses - psychology - to create fear. Surveillance and psychology work in tandem 1984 to generate fear and maintain control.

It's difficult to ignore Orwell's novel, a work that can be considered a magnum opus, during these times, or during this current time in the United Kingdom, in respect to sexuality, the concept of arousal and pornography. I admit, my mind has lingered over the idea (within the drafted legislation) that sexual arousal (that is caused by literary or visual content) is 'bad' or obscene, because I think it absurd and stupid.

Each country has its own censorship codes. Some are stricter than others, while others simply frown on adult content. The real reason I didn't seek an Australian web host for Lucrezia Magazine was due to the scent of sensationalism that is becoming the norm in Australia, with the federal government 'think tank' planning some form of Internet filter that is to be conducted by telcos. I don't think this plan will unfold overnight, based on my cynicism about Australian telcos - I've worked in one, and I know the immense bureaucracy behind Australia's major telco first hand, and it's something I find humorous most days, but even so, I thought I'd nip the issue in the bud and go with an overseas web host because I don't like conservative politicians dictate what I ought to publish. Even the Office of Film and Literature Classification in Australia requires a 'fee' for adult content that is published in print. Yes, publishers have to pay to have their publications classified if they are to have any mature content within them.

It's so much simpler to allow adults to make up their own minds on the subject of nudity and consensual sexuality. But you see, adults aren't capable of that. Adults are like babies, or are viewed as being incapable of making any decisions, but it is quite all right to have adults working and paying taxes without so much as a complaint.

Back to Orwell. Thought-crimes aren't anything new. Thought-crime has existed in literature since the dawn of history. The Bible has numerous tales that illustrate thought-crime. The New Testament has the best example - Jesus Christ. If we take Jesus Christ as a character within a story, then his crucifixion is the punishment received for going against authority or rebelling. His thoughts, or views on what constituted a different society, caused immense upset among religious leaders and the Roman occupiers, so much so that it became a tug of war; who'd punish Christ first? To me this is just a story, but to others it's a literal account. Either way, the essential ingredient of this story is thought crime.

In Classical Greece, Socrates' death related to thought-crime. His views and teachings were seen to 'corrupt' youths, and he was punished for this.

Is it any different in the 21st Century, with the nascent wave of anti-sexual or pro-procreational thought?

Sex is always promoted -perhaps more so recently - as a (hetero) marital right. It doesn't matter if there are various sexual orientations or the reality of adults making their own choices, the mainstream view of sexuality is diluted. If a male 'heart throb' actor is outed, he immediately loses his appeal as a male leading actor. Why did Rock Hudson hide his sexuality for the duration of his career? What happened after his sexuality was outed? Many know that what unfolded was an indication of prejudice and narrow mindedness. British actor Rupert Everett is attractive, eloquent and has appeared in many interesting roles, but he seldom appears as a romantic leading male because our society tends to blend acting with real life. Why else do paparazzi chase celebrities? Whether we admit it or not, the moment any public person reveals their inner self, or sexuality, associations are made and broken. Look at Tom Cruise's career after the various allegations about his sexuality? People would like to say that it's all about his eager sofa moment on Oprah, but is it?

If thought can be considered a crime, then what of associations that are made based on subjective arguments and sensationalism? What is thought anyway? How is thought shaped? Is it really simple to, like Orwell, have thought crime without having the other variable of the equation - conditioned reflexes (based on conditioned/psychological stimuli such as prejudice, fear, and a variety of variables that play on human insecurities).

After all the censorship is complete, what next? People are people, and it is only natural for a portion of people to rebel and challenge authority. There will also be a portion that will sit on the fence, retaining their frustrations due to their fear of being hated or lynched, and sometimes this fear is imaginary, within the person and based on their insecurity of being disliked or viewed as being odd, or whatever else. It's the story of humanity: one one side one will see those who (may disagree or agree) are verbal, who won't stand for any totalitarian or fascist bullshit, and on the other there are the mice who will take the path of least resistance.

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