Tag Archives: censorship

A meditation on individual expression

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a meditation on censorship. In light of all the recent discussion surrounding the film Tropic Thunder, I thought I should post this companion meditation on individual expression:

Emperors uphold censorship,
But extreme repression leads to extreme reaction.
Individualists believe in freedom,
But extreme expression leads to extreme reaction.

To answer the question I posed in my last post, “No, I don’t believe the creators of pop-culture have a responsibility for limiting their content to what is ‘acceptable’.” The nature of art is individual expression, and in that the ‘artist’ is responsible only to himself.

As the meditation above states, though, this unlimited expression might result in “extreme reaction.” Artists must accept the consequences of their expression. If they offend or anger a group of people, or even individuals, they should expect those people to express their own feelings. This could be a blog post, a letter to the editor, or a boycott.

In the case of Tropic Thunder, I don’t agree with calls for the film to be changed or for it to not be shown. That is an extreme on the “censorship” end of the spectrum. I do, however, support those who call for a boycott or other action against by individuals or groups about the film. That is an acceptable reaction to the individual expression of the film-makers.

A meditation on censorship

The following meditation on censorship comes from 365 Tao (June 13). It’s been on my mind lately, and Kristina Chew’s recent post The R Word and Not So Nice Language has prompted me to share.

Emperors uphold censorship,
But extreme repression leads to extreme reaction.
Individualists believe in freedom,
But extreme expression leads to extreme reaction.

The challenge, of course, is learning how to live and act in between these two extremes, and how to deal with those who inhabit the extremes.