There has been all sorts of censorship in the news lately, on multiple fronts: the Smithsonian being pressured to remove an installation, the absurd rating of NC-17 for the film Blue Valentine, and, well, Disney.
And it’s all such fucking bullshit I hardly have the energy to address it in complete sentences – so Ima just break it down for ya.
The Place: The Smithsonian
The Issue: Video installation, part of which includes the a plastic figure of Jesus on the cross while ants crawl over it – a commentary on the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s and the response (or lack thereof) and concern by the Church for a group disproportionately affected: the gay community.
Who’s Hating: Right wing culture warriors Rep. John Boehner (OH), and Rep. Eric Cantor (VA).
Why: Cantor takes the work as a provocation against Christians during Christmas time.
* You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.
* The work was made, when? In the mid 80’s? and they, just now, decide to bitch about it?
* Defunding the Smithsonian, as they are threatening to do (as with defunding NPR, mind you) is in blatant disregard for the values these same douche bags claim to uphold: the Constitutionally granted freedom of expression and speech – and most importantly protecting speech that we do not agree with.
* Don’t these people know that Jesus was born in the Summer? And that we took this holiday from pagans? And that the idea of the decorated tree is directly from wiccan and pagan spirituality? This is yet another time I’m happy I went to Catholic school and came out an Atheist.
* Maybe if the Church stopped persecuting gays, molesting young boys, disenfranchising women and started acting more like their sacred sky-daddy, people would stop making Piss Christ and the like. Somethin’ to think about.
The Place: The MPAA
The Issue: The absurd rating of NC-17 for the currently limited release film Blue Valentine
Who’s Hating: The MPAA, and noone else as far as I can tell
Why: While many people who have already seen the film in the festival circuit are tight lipped about the film, it is clear that the rating is a result of one emotionally intense sex scene in which, it is rumored, Ryan Gosling’s character ‘goes down’ on his wife, Michelle Williams.
* Really MPAA? Really? I saw James Franco saw through his arm, recently. I watched a zombie eat through and tear apart a human body in the most realistic way possible. I watched puppets get it on, hardcore, for 5min – one puppet even shit on another puppet! I watched a girl get raped for all of 10minutes and then her friend raped and murdered on screen. And somehow a woman getting her groove on is too much for audiences to handle?
* from Ryan Gosling’s mouth to God’s ears and my pants:
“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.” –
The Place: Mt. Olympus
The Issue: Some pretty blatantly racist depiction of a servant centaur, Sunflower, who is part Black human, and part donkey. Essentially, she looks like a person in blackface. Other issues include the African centaurs that are crosses between Black humans and zebras and young women centaurs who bathe and walk around topless, flaunting their figures.
Who’s Hating: eh. Well. Disney, and everyone kind of. And shouldn’t we all just a little?
Why: The terrible depiction of this 1940’s Black woman caricature, upon re-watching the film as an adult, it pretty jarring.
* Naked centaurs are a problem, why? Boobs are bad? Oh, yeah, I forgot. Kids shouldn’t be exposed to the human body, and if they are, they should understand it is bad bad BAD!
* Editing out a racist character? Her existence sucks, but, in my mind,she should remain there as a true representation of the work – and serve as a reminder of the sadly common themes of American life at the time. However, does her removal change or hurt the overall story? Not a bit.
* Sunflower was edited out of much earlier versions of the film by way of zooming in on other characters, or cutting short scenes in which she appeared, though there are some who managed to get the original scene online. Don’t expect to see Sunflower in the latest release of Fantasia in the 4 disc DVD/BluRay combo pack.
Here’s the clip- see and judge for yourself
The Moral of the Story: I don’t like a lot of stuff. But it ain’t my business to tell other people who they can and can’t watch/read/experience, or my place to make preferential decisions that affect other people’s ability to make their own personal choices.
I can’t believe in 2010, this very special moment still has to be said. Ugh. Censorship. You’re such a drag.