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The Arts Censored Essay

Censorship is the regulation or suppression of writing or speech that is considered harmful to the common good or a threat to national security. The Arts have always been involved in the world, but there has always been someone behind the scenes that censors what is shown. Lately, people believe that more is shown than necessary. It has seemed in the past that nude portraits have been acceptable, but now if that was shown in, say, a public school people would be offended. “No one has come up with a workable definition of art that can universally separate garbage like Karen Finley’s body goo from Michelangelo’s David. (Shapiro)

Art is truly in the eye of the beholder, and these different opinions create conflict over what material is appropriate and what should be censored. Both sides have valid points: one idea being that the arts are, and always have been, be free expression, but the world has changed and now some people believe that the arts have crossed boundaries which must be re-created by censorship. Many people are for the arts being censored for certain reasons, but with it being so hard to place limits on–this causes people to not put limits on it.

The best policy, we have decided, is to allow everything into the artistic marketplace, and let history and time sort it all out. ”(Shapiro) These arguments for the arts being censored by Ben Shapiro show that art itself will die if the artistic marketplace is full of “crap,” no one will want to take time to view the art. More reasons for not allowing certain forms of art to go public is to keep the financial state for corporations in order. Music can arouse doubts for the way a corporation does business.

A movie can turn an opinion against an idea causing lawsuits to form from the public, only if it was released sometime around an environmental problem which would involve that company or country. All of this can scare away investors. Some censorship, in cases like these, can avoid unfair situations. What is considered taboo in a society can be a norm in some other society, and if this is taken as the basis for censoring art; everything we know of would be censored. Such as how in India they worship cows, in America, we eat beef on a meal-to-meal basis.

Some artist want to censor for themselves, self-censorship, because they fear the repercussions of religious people, and other groups. The dangers of self-censorship are very broad. William Gaskill states that “Artists have a right—and sometimes a duty—to offend their audiences. And audiences have a right—and sometimes a duty—to be offended by what they see or hear… For once arts organisations cease to present work that might offend, artists will cease to create it.

Then the small-minded, the bigoted, and the self-righteous can celebrate their victory, and the arts world can only count its losses. (Cooke) Cooke goes onto say artist are seen as talented individuals who see, and point out problems in todays society which help broaden the public minds. Uncensored art is as important to the development of a society as criticism. Because art is the expressions of an artist, censoring art is equivalent to violating the right of free speech. People can always choose not to look at what they don’t feel conformable with, but asking an artist to stop practicing art because it doesn’t suit society, is wrong.

Cooke ends his article stating that art doesn’t always have to be the way we like it, so censoring it only to suit our tastes is unethical and violation of free speech. “An artist has the freedom to express what he or she feels and nobody, for whatever reason, has the right to censor their work. ” Censoring art would only mean stopping the development of a society. These arguments are very convincing. Shapiro’s argument has a feel of sympathy towards artist, in that if they continue to do degrade art their work will be not as successful.

He is also fearful of more and more profound works. The article “is Censoring Justified” had many cases where you could fall to either side of the argument. Both arguments were very solid, and I would have to do more reading to pick one side just yet. To write an essay on censoring the arts, I would need to find real cases and instances where the artist was not able to produce their original work. I would also need to find more unbiased sources for both arguments. For not censoring the arts I would need to read more on how the time period was effecting any artist at any point in time.


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