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  1. #1
    David R Munson's Avatar
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    This forum has been quiet for a few days now at least. Seems we need something new to chew on. And so, with that in mind...

    To what degree, if at all, should the federal government and other authority be allowed to censor and limit artistic expression? If no, what's your reasoning? If yes, where do you draw the line.

    To me, two things immediately come to mind when I think of this that complicate the issue quite a bit. First, it's the question of whether the NEA and other public agencies should be giving funding to art (I use the term loosely) that some find to be patently offensive. Some people stand firm on the ground that no, absolutely not, no way in hell should some things get public money. Others take the stance that by saying certain things can't get funding because they're controversial is to censor through the forcing of particular morals on the general public regardless of what the general pulic has to say.

    The other thing that comes to mind is simply the matter of where to draw the line in terms of what is considered truly offensive and what is simply controversial. Some moralistic zealouts would attack all but the most conservative artwork. On the other extreme are people who would allow essentially everthing to the point where even I (one of the biggest liberals you're likely to meet) would object.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Artistic expression should never be censored, ever, no matter how offended some might be. The very premise of censorship assumes that one person or group of persons have artistic authority over another person or persons. Censorship is itself always more of a threat to any free society than the artistic expression of any member or members of that society. When the ideology of censorship prevails over the freedom of expression, a society is not truly free, regardless of the degree or extent of the censorship. Count me as one who would allow everything, because the alternative is to concede freedom of expression which is absolutely unacceptable to me.
    I will remember this the next time a child is used for pornography.

  3. #3

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    Instead of looking at the content of an image as a basis for censorship, why not pursue how it was created. A Jock Sturgis photo taken in a nudist camp is far different than a coerced pornographic image. The latter can be handled thru criminal proceedings rather than thru some form of community censorship.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  4. #4
    Ole
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    Another vote against censorship here. I do not believe it is possible to reach a consensus about what is offensive and what is not. So any censorship would be based on the "morals" of some group or other, which can not represent some kind of universal standard. This leads in one extreme to the "Farenheit 451" situation, where all books are banned because anything will be offensive to somebody somewhere.

    Depictions of criminal acts are totally irrelevant, as the circumstances around the making of the picture will be subject to criminal investigation.

    [editted fur speling]
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  5. #5

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    Got to go with JDEF and Ole on this one. This was a BIG issue seems like with the NEA a few years back..my opinion is the public will tell us. The government does not need to tell me what is right or wrong - what I should look at or not.

    Ole is dead on when he states the "morals" of some group is the basis for censorship..there are some groups that would find the following objectionable...
    1. overweight people (yeah I'm one of those)
    2. thin people
    3. people that drink alcohol
    4. people that watch sporting events
    5. people that DO NOT watch sporting events.

    You get the picture, we tend to associate with people that think like we do, there are already enough laws on the books to protect children from the creeps that are out there.

    No offense Aggie, but many people would find some of the family snapshots and studio work of children nude (these are the shots we use when they grow up to embarrass them) very pornographic.

    Just my opinion, yours will vary.
    Mike C

    Rambles

  6. #6
    jd callow's Avatar
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    I'm with jdef.

    Aggie, A reasonable person would view child pornography as a crime not a right of self expression.

    I am no lawyer but...
    I am of the mind that your personal freedoms end when your fist meets my face. Being insulted, made uncomfortable or having some personal disagreement is insufficient cause to prohibit artistic expression. The first test should be material harm and that should require heavy qualification. Free speech is just to dingdang important.

  7. #7

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    I am opposed to censoship in the arts. Let the marketplace and time decide if a work is of any lasting value.

    However, I am not supportive of my tax dollars being used to fund art. Not becuase I might find some of the work objectionable, but becuase I do not think it is the governement's job to decide what art is or isn't worthy of financial support. Art that is funded through tax dollars also seems to somehow be "approved" by the government or the current administration. I think that is wrong.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  8. #8
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    I'm for no censorship and if the work on display offends then those offended can close the door as they leave, they have that choice.
    I understand Aggie's concern but we are talking of a fine line and personal judgement when we get into the pornography issue.

    I know a photographer from Edinburgh who made his name and living making extremely beautiful and sensitive photographs of children, sometimes partially nude sometimes not and at the parents request and in their presence. Some busybody saw some of his work and reported it to the police who sized his negatives and held them for several years before dropping all allegations. It ruined his business and just about ruined his life.

  9. #9
    juan's Avatar
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    I oppose censorship, but I also oppose the idea of the NEA - at least insofar as it getting tax money. I don't think the government should steal money from people in in the form of taxation and give it to any artist for any project. Let the artist be paid through voluntary exchange.
    juan

  10. #10
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim68134
    However, I am not supportive of my tax dollars being used to fund art. Not becuase I might find some of the work objectionable, but because I do not think it is the governement's job to decide what art is or isn't worthy of financial support. Art that is funded through tax dollars also seems to somehow be "approved" by the government or the current administration. I think that is wrong.
    I to would like to see tax dollars out of the arts, but there is a quid pro quo that needs to be recognized. That is that our government gives exclusive and very lucrative rights to the private sector for communication venues that are owned by us the tax payers. This amounts to charity and is for all practical purposes needed. The public sector does not have the means and in many instances the qualifications to compete, and without 'public assistance' would go unheard.

    Art is not a commodity that can live on the open market, but there is a very compelling reason for it to live heartily.
    In a perfect world we all would make art a necessity and buy it like we do our groceries. To single the arts out for disenfranchisement over a long, long list of other governmental charities is not right. Or at least I would be polite and say to the broadcast industries and the Cotton industries and the other government subsidized businesses "After you."

    As it is a less perfect world might find some middle ground and require networks to pay PBS's bills(and others like it); the same would occur for radio stations and NPR; and we might also look at other industries that benefit from the public's generosity to support the arts as a whole.

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