1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Banning artistic expression in the name of saving people from themselves

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Steerpike, Jul 30, 2011.

    I'm putting this here to take it out of the context of the terrible events in Norway. We're all "artists" here, in my view, because that's what writers are. When we talk about banning artistic expression, we can talk in terms of games, movies, books, music, paintings, or what have you.

    The argument in favor of banning expression has multiple flaws, but one point where it typically falls apart when you confront a proponent of bans is when you ask who is going to make the determination about what should be banned and what should not. Of course, our pro-ban friend is generally of the opinion that it should be someone who shares the same values as them, and thus will ban only those things the pro-ban person does not like.

    Life, of course, doesn't work that way. If you open the door to a ban, there is someone (or a group of someones) sitting in an office somewhere deciding what is OK for you to see, read, or hear. These people may or may not share your values, and they will change over time.

    They may be Christians who want to use the power to ban as a means of shifting what is available in the public sphere to that value system. In spite of a previous characterization of this as somehow offensive to say, human history proves time and again that people will do this.

    The people deciding about the ban may be atheists. Maybe they think religion is a destructive force and all religious materials should be banned. There certainly have been many more people killed in the name of god than as a result of video games, for example.

    Likely, the people making the decisions will start in a manner some people think is reasonable. Going after the easy targets that are hard for people to defend. Then, over time, in the self-perpetuating manner that bureaucracies have, and feeling the necessity to justify their own continued existence and power, they'll look for other things to ban.

    It's a terrible idea to open the door to this sort of government paternalism, where some closeted elite decides for you and your family what you should or should not see, read, or hear. It is quite unfortunate to see any suggestion from a writer that it is a good idea.
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Bans never realy work. 1984 was banned in the Soviet Union because it was seen as an attack on Stalin but that didn't stop it being available to Russians. Lady Chatterley's Lover and Ulysses were both banned for vulgarity and are now classics.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    True.

    And even apart from whether they work or not, it always amazes me that a person, any person, would be eager to delegate to the government the decision over what they can read, see, or hear. Weird.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It is weird.

    Really people should be worried about some of the really awful things going on in the world. I disapprove of Marilyn Manson's face, but I've only ever joked about trying to ban him from the UK.
     
  5. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    I recently had an unpleasant experience with someone a month ago. He didn't appreciate my work of art because it didn't sit tight with his wholesome Christian views. Do not take this as an offense, I am not making a statement against religion. However, he quickly stated a few things that hurt me as an artist. He asked me, couldn't I write happier things about life. I simply replied life is not always "simple and good" it isn't always humble and modest. It has a dark and dangerous life.
    And I think all aspects of media express this. They each express their own personal views on life. The person who doesn't want me to write self destructive horror is trying to "ban" me from expressing myself as an artist. I have had the unfortunate experience of having a bad life and continue to have a bad life. My art reflects what is in my soul.

    I realize how that may not seem to pertain to the topic. However, all forms of media are forms of artistic expression. From Suda51 who wrote Killer 7, I am still under the very impression that this man suffers from sort of sexual oppression, to Stephenie Meyer of the vampire series. Words have meaning, words have connotation. These artist aren't just writing stories they are placing themselves in the most vulnerable of positions. In essence they are the ones standing in front of crowds of people stark nude. Baring to the world the subconscious puzzle.

    Any sort of ban of this word/visual is a ban against expression. A ban against opinion and thought. A ban against being creatively artistic. It almost sometimes reminds me of the Victorian era. Who were prudent on censoring everything they sought was wrong for the Victorian era.

    A ban on artistic expression is taking 5 steps backwards in progress.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Governments respond to the population's demand for something to be done to curtail a perceived threat. The obvious action is to write a law, because that is what governments do.

    Never mind the fact that a government ban serves only to increase interest in what gas been banned. As a matter of history, the conservative city of Boston, Massachusetts used to ban a large number of books and movies. Before long, "banned in Boston" became a way to drum up interest for lurid but struggling films and books.

    Note that only a societal ruling body can engage in censorship. Private media or outlets are free to choose what content they will and will not carry, especially as it affects their overhead costs and their business reputation.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Suda51 is a legend. I'd give you some rep but I have apparently gave you too much already. :p
     
  8. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    He has made some great games. But that doesn't stop me from believing he has some repressed sexual tendencies.

    Er

    -Killer 7 had a ghost giving dialogue while doing a very suggestive pose to himself

    -No More Heroes that's really suggestive there

    -Shadows of the Damned the name of the gun "Big eh hem"

    So yeah. I have delve into the depths of his subconscious to come to this conclusion. Great games, but with some suggestive.
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Agreed. He is just a little bit too quirky sometimes.
     
  10. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    There is a difference between quirky and suggestive themes.
     
  11. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Steer, you are correct.
    Any laws proposed are just another "Feel good" step that will ultimately falter. These laws etc are proposed by politicians seeking to calm the anger and other emotions of the populace hence ensureing they live yet another day.
    I personaly have delt with people saying you can't write or do x, y, or z and I always tell them the same thing, not thay they hear or understand it at all because those who would be that idioct rarely have the IQ of a cupcake but...
    I tell them the moment I am allowed to tell them how to do their work, and live their lives then they might have grounds to speak up till then sit down and shut the F up.
    This is usualy good enough to make them stomp away in a fit of self righteous rage... LOL.

    However something should be done to address the mental helath issues that so many people face. that would go a long way towards preventing these things from occuring. IMHO.

    People are prefectly happy to live life with out thought to anyone or anything that does not directly effect them. Untill something or someone blows up in their face, then all of a sudden it's "how did this happen?" and "What can we change to prevent it." Rarely is it said "what can we do better, how can we reach these individuals before they do something so hurtfull?"

    As for movies. T.V. Games etc, they are not the problem, 9/10 times it's lack of proper parenting, that other one time it is usualy mental illness.
    Placing conditions on creativity would not do anything to prevent these things from happening, it would only force more people to seek a way to live out their fantasies. Depending on that persons imagination etc this could and prolly would make things much worse.

    Just my take on it. We can agree to disagree if need be.
     
  12. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    What annoys me is that when they write laws to ban stuff, they only ban the popular stuff. Why doesn't the same law apply for everything? To give you an example, how often have you heard politicans complain about a game-series called Gran Theft Auto? Sure it's violent. You often play a member of some mafia family (although in one game, you played a gang-member) and are "rewarded" for shooting people and cops, can steal any cars by pulling the driver out (and shooting him if you want), gives you more health if you visit a prostitute, gives you your money back if you kill the prostitute afterwards and so on. So yeah, it's violent, no doubt.

    But have you ever heard anyone complain about Saint's Row? It's very similar to GTA, except you play a gang member. You can still steal cars, shoot people, shoot cops and all that. I remember a classic mission where you and your gang hid in your hideout and were attacked by another gang. It led to a fun fight where several of your gang members and yourself desperately tried to shoot everyone else to prevent them from taking over your hideout. It was really violent, but also really fun. :) My point is Saint's Row is very similar to GTA (though with a lot more humor), so why is only GTA banned? Why not both games?

    I think the reason could simply be that the politicians doesn't give a crap about banning violent games no one has heard about. They only want to ban the popular violent games to get their name in the news and increase their chances of being re-elected. Think something like Sim City. Sure it's a managment game where you build and run a city, and it sounds peaceful enough. But you can build a city with millions of people, then destroy it with volcanoes, UFOs, big fires and all that. Why isn't it banned yet? You are killing millions of people and having fun doing it.

    Sometimes names are just for fun. If you played Doom, you might have found a gun called BFG9000. They have given us a couple of suggestions what BFG stands for, but "everyone" knows it's simply means Big F*cking Gun. :p GTA4 had a commercial for America's Next Top Hooker, but that doesn't mean id Software wants more brothels around.
     
  13. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Just so you know the mad man in norway is ticked off because he thinks "the jews" are taking over.... talk about immature hatred of diversity.
    I stand corrected, It is Islamic people hes got the problem with... Irregardless it is still "Immature Hatred of diversity".
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^ Actually I believe it was because of 'Eruabia' and Islam.
     
  15. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Lemex, you are correct is was Islam not Jewish religion he has/had issues with. My mistake.
     
  16. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I agree.

    Hating an entire country and her people because of a few rotten apples (that may number in the hundreds of thousands) is very immature.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Oh, and just to make you even more angrier, East: I'm a male, southern, white, middle-class, Christian American and I believe everyond deserves to be treated with respect and judged by their own merits.
     
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  17. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Let me add a little salt to that wound, East I am A White, American, Lady who grew up in poverty and worked damn hard to get ahead in life. I was raised as a southern baptist and converted to Hinduisim years ago, I married a man outside my race despite my Fathers hatred of anyone "Colored" and have enjoyed every stinking moment of it. Because IT'S MY LIFE, and I'LL DO IT MY WAY.
     
  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    HEAR HEAR!!

    *raises glass*

    Be proud of your heritage! Be proud of who you are! Do the things you want to do and ignore the crummy people you meet daily!
     
  19. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Dam Link, I gotta bottle of Chocolate wine I'd just love to share with you :)
     
  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well...I don't have chocolate wine, but I do have...

    *gives you friend request*

    I think people should be free to write whatever the hell they want. In my "Santarnica Stories", I'm writing about a black captain who's from Atlanta, capital of the American Kingdom.

    Will some people pitch a fit? Most likely.

    Will I keep writing it? Yes. After all, the story isn't about her gender or skin color. It's about her, her crew, and the ship. Oh, and a romance plot involving a Scotsman, but I won't spoil it. :p
     
  21. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Ever up in VA I'm near DC, look me up :) Friend request accepted. TYVM.
    I'd love to read it, let me know if it ever pubs K. :D
     
  22. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Will do! :D
     
  23. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Sweet beans! Looking forward to it.
     

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