Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cheer up the censored

Sunday, 11 July 2010 - What the beep? It's Sunday already? How the beep did that happen? Wasn't it just Friday a few hours ago? Well, beep, isn't that just the beep? Another weekend, come and gone and beep if I didn't get a beep thing done.  I would have taken pictures but the beep black bars are beep to look at.

It's hard to believe that censorship has it's place in the world today. If you were really going to attempt to censor, you would have to censor the conversation at the next table during coffee - and probably your own.  You would need to censor the commercials, the football announcers, the cheer leaders, the billboards, the radio, the magazine rack, the galleries, the bus stop ads and pretty much every conversation on the trains (in rush hour and out).  The less we censor however, the less we get bothered by the things that once upon a time would have sent congress in to a tizzy and Auntie Mabel to a myocardial infarction. Censorship is a slippery slope we have been trying to scale for decades.  Every now and again we make a misstep and slide down the slope a little.  Fortunately, we keep getting back up and make up a little bit of ground.  But we are still far from the top of that pile of full out, non-beeped fucking bull shit.  Oooh... a swear.

In Canada, censorship of books coming in to the country relies on a book falling in to one of four categories (hate literature, treason, obscenity and sedition) and then relies next on the customs officers determination of artistic merit and/or educational value. I want to know how you get that position?  In order to do that job effectively, I would assume you can have no religious values, no prejudices, no political affiliation, no attachments to people of the same or opposite sex and do not identify as either male or female, gay, straight, bi or trans-gendered.  And what about when the line blurs or moves a little more toward freedom of thought and speech?  This line has been continually moving for decades... centuries. As recent as 1962 "Lady Chatterley's Lover" was considered pornographic and banned from entering Canada. You would think that the graphic comic book version would be a more likely target.  Is there a graphic novel version?  I could maybe force myself to sit down with Lady Chatterley if it had pictures... and video??

Today is Censorship Day or Bowdler's Day.  Thomas Bowdler was an English doctor who re-published works by Shakespeare to be more appropriate for women and children.  Imagine taking out all the good Elizabethan sex scenes out of Hamlet?  Why else would you go see the story of the black Prince of Denmark?  (Perhaps that is just the version in my mind...  Help!!! I need a censor.)  Thom also re-wrote the "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" to take all the juicy bits out.  The Gladiators were no longer happy Romans.

The act of censoring literature, and subsequently television and motion pictures, became known as Bowdlerizing - or to Bowdlerize.  Mr. Bowdler (Senior Censorship??) was born on todays date in 1754.  I'm sure if it hadn't been Thom, we would have found another to do the same job.  How about Orel Roberts or one of our many high and mighty beeping Popes?

Today, books and magazines are being stopped at the border, so our libraries and books stores are being Bowdlerized, all because the violate somebody's sense of appropriateness. You would have to question the validity of such governmental effort. In today's Internet world, why bother?  If you can't get the book at the corner shop, you can always log in and grab the content for yourself.  The Internet would have been the bane of Thomas's existence. Go ahead and try to censor this medium.  Shit, this blog could be edited.  I said a bad word and often suggest it's good to fantasize about 'Hamlet'.

Besides, without the Internet, and porn, and controversial content, how would the lonely people stay connected (or disconnected) with the world? An evening spent with the keyboard could really cheer up some. Today is also Cheer up the Lonely Day.  It is likely the Internet is not what is intended by cheering, but let's be honest... who of us doesn't turn to the Internet when we're alone or looking to fill a void from time to time? Hell, maybe this blog fills a void.  If that helps cheer up someone feeling alone... then it's worth it.  It has been known to fill a void for the writer.  Cheers!

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