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JWR 2.49 - F*CK Y@U!
I think the idea of censorship is a poorly thought out one. I just wanted an answer to the question that has raged solely in my mind for more than a couple years now: Is Björk hot?
I have not received my answer. And perhaps this sort of philosophical question pertaining to a woman who disguises herself as a swan or a blind factor worker should go unanswered. Maybe.
It was MTV’s Most Controversial Videos and as with all things MTV, this was all hype whose substance fell flat like day old opened Dr. Pepper and boring like Jeff Godwin.
Who decides what is too controversial and what is not? I mean, they had to resubmit American Pie to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) more than once before they dropped the NC-17 rating to an R. When the movie came out on DVD, they released the unedited version (which, by the way, is severely edited, as all movies are, as all movies have a freaking EDITOR, and often times more than one!) which I bought (my first DVD) and watched and, personally I cannot tell the difference. Same with American Psycho. The unedited, or “unrated” version is not too terribly different than the officially released version. Same with Natural Born Killers (crap movie) and whatever movie that has more than one version floating around that you can think of. It’s like they have a stopwatch on the tits on-screen and if you exceed sixteen seconds, you’re slapped with an NC-17, the Deadly NC-17.
It’s a joke. In actuality, the idea of a rating system is a good, solid one. There should be a way to see what kinds of things are in a movie at a glance. You’d need to know about the violence, and within the violence, is it comical Jackie Chan violence, or is it Joe Pesci Casino stab you in the throat with a fountain pen violence, or is it Rambo: First Blood, Part II machine gun violence? Is there sexual content, and within that category is it serious deep dickin’ action, i.e.: bona fide porn, or is it tasteful Braveheart sensuality, or is it camera fades out as they begin to kiss and you come back the next morning to find them sharing pajamas? What about language: do we have Scarface two hundred “fucks” in here, or are we looking at a few bad words tossed around, or is this a flick where they creatively use regular everyday words in a new and exciting way that can be construed as obscene? The problem comes in, and this points to the controversial videos as well, when you try to set a standard because standards are simply not standard at all. Not only do set and accepted and normal standards change, but they also differ.
So, who decides and just when do we consider those decisions archaic enough to change them? I’ve learned one thing recently: just because something is done one way for a long time does not mean that it is not incorrect or cannot be improved upon. Rethinking is good. Change is good. Improvement is necessary. Stagnate and die.
Some say the act of censorship is necessary simply because it forces artists to attempt and push those boundaries. They attempt to shock and redraw lines of acceptance based upon the works they do. And I think there’s certainly some truth to this. One of the videos featured on MTV’s list was Eminem’s “Stan” which is the story of a fan of his who writes letters about how much he likes Eminem, who does not have the time to write back. More letters follow and each becomes increasingly more angstful until Stan tosses his girlfriend in his trunk and dictates to a microcassette recorder how shitty everything is and drives off a cliff. The final verse is Eminem writing back and giving his two cents until realizing that this kid was the one who drove off the cliff. The hosts of the program were commenting that there should have been a bit more responsibility by Eminem in the way the story was portrayed, whatever that means.
As someone who has from time to time dabbled in the controversial and the controversial fiction, let me explain the mindset involved. When you set out to tell a story there should be a singular goal in mind. I knew a girl at college who smelled like the strangely enticing mixture of cigarettes and perfume that told me when she wrote a story or a play her intent was a single line. The entire work was all to set up a certain line where the reader, audience, or what have you would be driven through the work to that point. All the rest was disposable or secondary, except that one part.
The creative process takes you to strange places, places where you never expected to go. I didn’t want a talking toaster, but it had to happen. You don’t want to hold your reader’s hand. You want to leave bread crumbs. Or perhaps a more accurate analogy would be to see the story as a drawing on a wall, faded after many many years. It should not be fleshed out. Only the most important information should be given. Maybe a dark line here and there so they get the feeling that this over here should be just as dark. A splash of color indicates more of that color on the left here. You leave it up to them to try and decide what is what, but once you finish it, your place as the God of your creation has ended and it becomes their turn to decide “what it all means.” Like a baby bird’s first attempt at flight. Like than bungee jump off a bridge. Like lighting your grill. That leap of faith.
The thrill is allowing people to discover what you really meant, even if you never find out about it yourself. You leave it out there for them to find on their own. So, should someone like Eminem have to take responsibility for a song whose lyrics are actually about these things being wrong where and he advises this kid to get help? No. In fact, for a change, maybe he should be given some praise for bringing to light this kind of idol worshiping issue. People do not take the time to listen. People jump at shadows and conclusions made in haste. This is why Ozzy Osbourne’s “Suicide Solution” took so much flack. The art of poetic language is gone because nobody cares to dissect the meaning anymore. Did you think “Pull up to the Bumper” was about a tailgate party? It was about anal sex, man.
I don’t think an artist should have to explain anything they do. Chances are you would be unable to understand what the hell they mean anyway.
So, what’s the answer? Well, education, the answer for nearly all our little problems. But more than that, perhaps we should stop being offended by movies or music or books and magazines. I know it’s tough to do, especially how sometimes it seems and sometimes these things do attack the foundations of my, your, our beliefs. It’s a personal attack on what we hold dear. But there’s free speech and that is something that I do not want to even think about giving up.
You can’t scream “FIRE” in a crowded room. Well, you can, but you can also be arrested for that. What about free speech there? If it causes a panic where people can be hurt, then you can’t do it. So, going a step further, if your speech changes things, then you can be censored for it. That’s a couple steps. If I convince you that life is meaningless and you decide to kill yourself, can I be held liable for your death? If I instigate a change in you that results in you killing yourself, am I at fault? If I instigate a change in you that makes you go into the sciences and you discover a cure for breast cancer, am I responsible for that? If I convince you that anyone who does not agree with your religious views deserves to die, am I the cause? If all this can happen from my speech, should I be censored? KKK rallies spark riots, but still they have the right to hold the rallies. Blurry line. Blurry view. Blurry sight. Blurry memories.
Talk about self-indulgent crap. I suck.
Copyright © 2002 John Lemut