I am going to sell you on the fact that today is #5 in my censorship series.
Back Door Censorship
I love when a quote gets me thinking about something in a completely new way. I had not really considered that creating a market for some things but not others, based on moral judgment, is a back door method of censorship. It’s really not about whether something can sell or not, it’s much more about the powers that be building a market world that only allows certain types of images, books, films, dance, songs, to be distributed and sold.
Here ye, Here ye, Judge Money Presiding
Think about the Ratings Board for Film in the US. What is that but a censorship bureau? I am not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing, but that it is a construction meant to limit the commercial viability of products they deem as ‘too much’ in one way or another. The stated goal of the Ratings Board is to help society know what they are about to see, whether it is appropriate or not. But it also is guaranteeing that any film rated NC-17 will not be distributed widely at all, thus making it’s commercial viability minimal. That isn’t just a by-product of the Ratings Board, it’s one of the main functions of the ratings board, albeit not publicly stated.
Profit within the non-profit
How does a non-profit organization, like a museum deal with this idea? They can’t say the paintings won’t sell, since they aren’t selling anything. But they can say the artwork won’t bring in people to the museum, that it will cause a controversy, that it will offend people, and the result of that? The museum will lose what? Money, that’s what. Now, most museums I have been to make some pretty courageous choices about exhibitions. But they also reject exhibitions because they are not ‘commercially viable’ for their institution, even though their institution is supposedly not commercial.
Basically, behind it all, and around it all, I think the power of money is a huge censorship device. What do you think of this idea?
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman
Quote by David Mamet, American playright