Art & Censorship Essay, Research Paper
Art & Censorship The nature of art determines that it cannot be censored under any condition. Art thrives in an environment where expression is free and limitless. Without this freedom, art can exist, but something valuable will be lost from it. When art loses the purity of its original intended form, it cannot be presented at its full potential. We cannot censor art. Art is any medium that is expressed creatively and succeeds in enlightening a truth about the human condition. The “human condition” is a broad term, which I would use to sum up the world, as we know it, as it relates to us as a species. Art doesn’t need to bring about earth shattering revelations about our reality, although it can. It can be as simple as drawing shadows properly on a charcoal drawing so that the lighting is realistic; or it can be a grand novel that tells a story and raises thematic questions about human behavior at the same time. Art can be anything to any person. What is significant to one person about a “piece” of art may be meaningless to the next person. Art is completely subjective; if someone feels that something is art, you can’t prove him or her wrong. Although this makes it trivial to attempt to review or grade art, it gives us the freedom to be creative to no end. To be an artist is to see things in a new and revealing light; in a way that inspires the audience to think about life from a different perspective. Art can enlighten our senses and our minds to a whole new world that lies dormant until discovered by inquiring minds. Art is very much a product of the society and culture that inspires it. It is that same culture that tries to regulate and suppress it. In Webster s College Dictionary, the definition of censor is as follows: an official who examines literature, television programs, etc., for the purpose of suppressing or deleting parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds. How could our culture ever agree on what we should deem objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds ? No society is utopian to the point that all citizens have the same values, moral or otherwise. What we must do as a society is agree to disagree. Freedom of expression is one of the most important things that a person can have. It cannot be regulated properly when it comes to artistic issues. In order to regulate something, you must have rules. In order for rules to make sense, they must be consistently in harmony with each other. Art cannot be a well-oiled and controlled machine, because it is as natural as a beautiful sunrise. That is why you cannot teach art in the same sense that you can teach algebra. In my mind, the situation is all or nothing . No censorship should be allowed.
Why do we have censorship? One reason for censorship is government control over its population. The government establishes laws knowing the effect on society that will result. Artistic mediums continue to change the way people think, and if that view risks clashing with the political goals of a nation, then you can bet that the government will do what it takes to limit its potential. Another reason is that children who are growing up in the age of mass media can often be exposed to certain arts that could be harmful. Mainly we have censorship because most people know that art influences themselves and those around them. Much of this art, people do not like. It is this simple disagreement over content that leads to censorship. The solution is simple. Art is presented to you; whether you like it or not, and want it exposed to yourself or your children is up to you. If you disapprove, then ignore it. Art has more of a right to express itself freely than you have to suppress it. Art surpasses the rights of any one person, because art represents the culmination of the creative thoughts of millions of people. Perhaps it is human nature for one to be overpowered by the desire to disallow those things that are not agreeable to that person. The fairest and most logical solution is to not censor anything. Art is bound to offend many. It is in its nature to clash with what we know. As the late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick once said: “I’ve got a peculiar weakness for criminals and artists–neither takes life as it is. Any tragic story has to be in conflict with things as they are.” People are scared when they see things that are new, that change their lives and make them think anew. The backlash is that they try to suppress what frightens them. It is perfectly normal for social and conceptual change to frighten, but censorship is a step backwards in that it prevents us as a planet from learning more about ourselves. The freedom to form our own opinions and express them is a blessing. Agreeing to disagree is a step that can truly show that we are maturing as a species. Censorship suppresses as much as it can. The trouble is that if someone is interested in what is being suppressed, they will find the whole truth anyway. All censorship really does is anger those who care about the truth, and about the true vision of each individual artist. All art is good for society. Art will continue to surprise and amaze us, even under the pressures of a society not yet mature enough to handle provocative thought in its purest form. Using the word mature suggests that we are on a course that is making progress towards that goal. I hope that suggestion is right because history has an incredible knack for repeating itself.