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 Post subject: Censorship
PostPosted: 090310 02:29 
Legendary Overfiend
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Censorship is a hot topic for me, as a liberal artist with a vested interest in the freedom of speech and expression.

I saw an episode of Family Guy today that brings up the recurring issue of the puzzling imbalance in the American approach towards sex versus violence.

Firstly, I'll say that I enjoy Family Guy largely because it is so unforgiving in its un-PC-ness - and that it manages to be intelligent despite its crudeness. It's the perfect solution to an overly uptight society.

The episode in question that I saw today is itself a really good episode, and probably one of my favorites. Both of the main story threads explored in the episode are of interest to me. On the one hand, you have the introduction of a nudist family, and the Griffin family's reaction to them (which is surprisingly harsh, considering how liberal the Griffin family is, in general), and on the other hand, you have Stewie's rise and fall in show buziness, with the help/detriment of his newfound rival Olivia. This story is quite humorous, and also pretty epic, as you get to watch Stewie descend into depression and ultimately utter insanity after being crushed by the biz and showed up by the more-talented and much-loved Olivia. A situation that I can partly sympathize with.

So most evenings I have the opportunity to watch Family Guy during dinner, on what seems by all accounts to be a local television channel. And every so often, I'll notice them censor something out in an episode here or there. For example, in today's episode, in all of the scenes involving the nudist family, any views of their butts were censored out - blurred or mosaic-style. Now, what exactly is so offensive about cartoon butts? Firstly, they were cartoon butts - not even real butts. And secondly, the drawing/animation (as I recall from seeing it another time) was not in any way crude or explicit.

Furthermore, in that very same episode, there is a scene where Stewie and Olivia come to blows and duke it out quite aggressively. With no censorship from the station. So tell me why two babies fighting in a rage is less offensive than the shape of a person's backside? In other episodes, there is even more explicit violence - for example, the various Peter vs. Chicken fights (which I love, by the way) - that even include blood. And I have yet to see those censored in any significant way. So again I ask, how is the mere shape of a nude body more offensive than bloody violence?

I'm not sure if this is actually an issue of sexuality, or purely an issue of nudity - since nude bodies themselves are apparently "grossly offensive". But if it's not related to sexuality, then I see even less reason for the censorship. I might not agree, but I could understand if somebody got offended at a live action butt on primetime television - but this is harmless cartoon nudity we're talking about! Yeesh.

Anyway, I don't know what the big hangup about sex is, but from a rational point of view, I've never been able to understand why the act of two people making love is considered more obscene than the act of people killing one another. Is it a gender value thing? We live in a male-dominated society, so aggression is more acceptable than expressing feelings of affection? I don't know, I'm not here to determine the cause, I'm here to bring to light this injustice in the hope that it can be amended for the future.


I just had a crazy idea. Maybe the reason the authorities are harsher on censoring sex than violence is because sex feels good while violence hurts. Because violence hurts, they don't really have to discourage it so much, because it practically discourages itself. On the other hand, sex feels good, so the only way to keep people from doing it is to keep people from thinking/knowing about it.

The problem is, they're implicitly encouraging people to hurt each other instead of make each other feel good. Truthfully, sex is a risky endeavor, what with diseases and pregnancy (a different form of disease) and the possibility of temptations overcoming reason and whatnot. But don't you think that if we embraced sex instead of shunning it, then we could all be better informed about it? It's like the difference between preaching abstinence versus teaching about safe sex. If we accept our desires, we're in a better position to control them in a responsible way, rather than denying them outright and trying to pretend that they're not there.

After all, doesn't pornography largely promote self-stimulation, and isn't that the safest form of sex?

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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090310 04:15 
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Are you sure it was the station censoring and not Family Guy censoring as some kind of statement about the ridiculous? That's the first thing that came to mind...


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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090310 05:39 
Legendary Overfiend
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Yeah, because I've seen the episode other times (on that station, and possibly others), and it wasn't censored.

And in fact, there's a completely different episode where they actually do do a parody of the FCC and censorship.

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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090323 09:00 
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I was going to say if it was censored it was probably because Family Guy censored it to poke fun at censorship laws. If it is indeed the local station then hell if I know.

I really can't comment on the sex thing. I'm kind of boggled, too. Dunno why you can't see some tits or something now and then without everyone freaking the fuck out.

PS - Abstinence isn't the banning of sex but simply abstaining from it until marriage. I'm pretty sure you know that but a lot of people really just like to hop onto bandwagons and think it's an outright ban on sex... >.>

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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090323 09:29 
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Celibacy being the ban on sex (and generally masturbation as well).


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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090323 10:12 
Legendary Overfiend
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Well, in those high school sex ed courses, they're all preaching "abstinence", right? I was convinced of it once upon a time, but that was before I came to the conclusion that I have no stake whatsoever in the institution of "marriage". Anyway, I like the idea of pro-sexuality with the caveat of not having to "do" it with a billion partners. I mean, sex is a fundamental part of life, and also an enjoyable one, but you can take advantage of it without swapping fluids with numerous partners.

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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090409 22:34 
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I do agree with the basic idea that sex, being natural, shouldn't be considered more obscene than violence. However, I think it does come down to the way we view it, even those so enlightened as us. If you'll recall the discussion on...I can't even remember, because I only started paying attention when it came to Anne Hathaway being nekkid in it. My thought process:
1. Anne Hathaway is hot.
2. I want to see hot girls' tits.
3. This movie has some scene in it where Anne Hathaway's tits are shown.
4. I want to see this movie.

It's not about accepting sex and the human form as natural and nothing to be hidden or ashamed of, it's about a glorification of it. Bottom line, I was raised in a culture where it's not normal for girls to go walking about topless, so if I see a girl walking about topless, it's not like it's no big deal, I don't think nothing of it or even only think 'hey, it's a person walking down the street', I think 'tits ftw'. It's how my mind works, and to be honest I don't really mind (I never, ever, in my life want to get to the point where I believe that topless girls are 'no big deal', that would just....agh, I'm depressed just thinking about it, it'd be like no longer finding penises funny). I can't separate the two ideas in my head - between accepting nudity as natural and glorifying in it.

I like action movies, I like it when the good guy runs around blowing things up and pretty much ruining the bad guys' shit every two minutes. But I don't like slasher flicks. I don't like movies who rely on the imitation of a close up of a girl getting a knife stuck through the back of her head and coming out her eye for their entertainment value. I find it tasteless and rather unpleasant. So I understand why there is some reluctance, lest we do the same with sex. I know I'm using extreme examples here, but I'm just trying to find some sense in what is probably 99% nonsense.

I can separate action scenes from my desire to go out and do violent things. I can't with sex scenes.

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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090409 23:09 
Legendary Overfiend
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You bring up a good point about sex being a selling point. The thing is, there is a lot of explicit sexual material out there - in the form of pornography - and the hint of sex and sexuality is used pervasively in this culture to move product and get bums in the seats. What I'd like to see is a more open portrayal of sexuality for its own artistic merit, and not for the sake of turning a profit. And that's not to say that the sex can't be titillating - in many (though not all) cases, it should be, because that's just what sex is about, that's what it is. I just wish we could separate it from this big money-making machine... This goes back to the line by Alan Moore that I quoted in The Quote Thread, "the only genre that is actually dealing with sexual material is this gritty, unpleasant, under-the-counter kind of genre, where there are absolutely no standards." Porn, for the most part, disgusts me, and I don't think sex is something that should disgust me. If it were more socially acceptable to approach explicit sexuality from a tasteful and artistic perspective, then I think the general standards for such material would improve, and we could elevate sex from being this sleazy cash crop to the sort of holy communion that I like to think that it is.

Granted, there are probably a lot of people out there who get off on the idea that sex is sleazy, and they might not agree with my opinion on the subject...

Monkee wrote:
I never, ever, in my life want to get to the point where I believe that topless girls are 'no big deal', that would just....agh

I can't separate the two ideas in my head - between accepting nudity as natural and glorifying in it.

Ok, this is a valid concern. Sure, if girls started walking around topless from now on, you'd get used to it after awhile and it wouldn't have the same shock value that it used to. However, I don't think that means that you would lose all interest in seeing girls topless. It may be less of a "special" opportunity, but I don't think your appreciation for what you're seeing is just gonna vanish because you're overexposed to it, unless the *only* reason you appreciated it was because it was rare. And besides, unless you truly have no standards, not every girl's gonna have perfect tits, so I would think that it would still be a special occasion when that girl comes along. And here's the best part - if the girls hadn't become accustomed to walking around topless, you may well have never seen those perfect tits in the first place.

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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090411 21:26 
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That quote you took from me was something I said a bit tongue and cheek - I felt there was a valid point to be made, but I also don't want to pass myself off as one of those guys who girls can't be comfortable around while wearing anything lower cut than a turtleneck. I make girls uncomfortable for reasons entirely unrelated to ogling, thanks.

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If it were more socially acceptable to approach explicit sexuality from a tasteful and artistic perspective, then I think the general standards for such material would improve, and we could elevate sex from being this sleazy cash crop to the sort of holy communion that I like to think that it is.


While I do like the idea of sex being able to be portrayed in a praise to its beauty rather than a cheap selling point (think of the female form Renaissance art as opposed to in Hustler), I personally feel that growing up in 1990's America influenced all of us at a profound enough level that I can't see it being our generation to break away from this; teach your children well.

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 Post subject: Re: Censorship
PostPosted: 090412 20:29 
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Monkee wrote:
I can't see it being our generation to break away from this; teach your children well.

As long as this generation remains in power, I doubt they would be comfortable with me teaching their precious youth. :badgrin: But yes, new ideas take hold as the old ones die out (literally). But for any one person who wishes to change the world, what hope do they have of being around to see their efforts come to fruition? It is a troubling quandary. I suppose the best we can do is to change our own little worlds. But building a personal empire isn't much fun without any subjects...

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