Saturday, January 15, 2011

You Can't Say That

I wonder if anybody else is getting tired of censorship. We’ve just seen two major incidences of censorship in the name of correct thinking; the release of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and the banning from Canadian air waves of Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing.

The edited release of Huck Finn, is being led by an “academic” in Alabama. Twain’s use of the word “nigger” is to be replaced with the word “slave”, the term injun is also to be removed. The thinking is that schools are more likely to use the book if they can avoid the discomfort of loaded words. Never mind that a discussion of the place of offensive language would benefit all students, we wouldn’t anyone to have to deal with something they found unpleasant.

In a related story, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has shown it’s willingness to kowtow to people demanding censorship. After an individual in Newfoundland complained, a Dire Straits song, Money For Nothing, has been pulled from Canadian airwaves; for an ironic use of the word “faggot”.

Have we all gotten so weak that we can’t even tolerate words written years or centuries ago from people we’ve never met and never will meet? Have all the years of self-esteem building failed? Has all the affirmative action been in vain? Are we allowing the frailty of a few to govern what is available to all?

From where I sit our society has not progressed, it has actually reverted into something less robust, weaker, and less healthy. If can’t stand the occasional use of unpleasant words, how are we going to cope with the real challenges of the 21st century?


Anonymous said...

I'm fucking tired of those motherfucking shit-bags ass-kicking my god-damn God given rights to listen to whatever offensive bullshit I want to fucking listen to... fucking cunts.

But on the other hand, given that offensive language is already routinely 'bleated' out from the public airwaves, this censoring doesn't seem like such a big deal to me.

Parents of small children, people of more delicate constitutions, or the lone minority student in a classroom have reason to want some protection from mass media assault.

As to the degree that government bends to lend them that protection is debatable, but I don't think that a censored old dire strait tune or a censored version of Huck for lower grades is PC madness. People still have access to the 'real deal' if they want it... just go down to the public library or pogey up the dough at Indigo or fire up the old inter-webby thingy.

And if you want to delve into the intricacies of profane and offensive language, just walk outside and remove your ear plugs.


Anonymous said...

what about the parental leave debate about EI benefits? a recent legal case surrounding a family's fight for double EI benefits for parental leave (one for mom and the other for dad) because they had twins got me thinking:

that the doubling of EI benefits than what it was before is better for child development?

personally, that kind of causal relationship argument is weak at best.

however, if one were to somehow add up the intangible benefits of parental leave wrt receiving EI benefits than one could make a valid argument for that there is a good bang for the buck for such expenditures.

economics needs to begin - and it has due to innovation/technology - price up those externalities and intangibles to get a better picture of things and in turn improve the accuracy and relevancy of economic information.

a little scary thought is that when you compare President Hoover's speeches during the Great Depression and President Obama's recent State of the Union address concerning the economy, they are both eerily similar in language and tone - scary thoughts - since we know that those economic spurts of growth were false signals and the greatest economic collapse in modern history was about to come.

economistatlarge said...

@ Anon - If it's the same person - both good points. I'm going to think about your second post a little more, but I think there's the basis of a really good post there.

I'm still chewing on the speech and it's comparison to Hoover.

My initial reaction to the whole situation is that the U.S. is in a fair bit of trouble still. There's hope but there a lot of pain in their future.