I think one of the things that writers and creative artists generally have to deal with is the censors that we have in our heads, the voices that we have that say you better not tell that and don't tell that, and people will think you're not a good girl, and your grandmother's going to be mad at you and all of those things.
there are lots of would-be censors out there, and although they may have different agendas, they all want basically the same thing: for you to see the world they see...or to at least shut up about what you do see that's different. they are agents of the status quo. not necessarily bad guys, but dangerous guys if you happen to believe in intellectual freedom.
I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors; and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution.
If people will be censors, let them weigh their words. I mean that the words were unfair by that disproportionateness of the condemnation, which everybody with some conscience must feel to be one of the great difficulties in denouncing a particular person. Every unpleasant dog is only one of many, but we kick him because he comes in our way, and there is always some want of distributive justice in the kicking.
Photographs have always been the tar baby of censors and obscenity laws. Literature can certainly (if it's any good) conjure up the most pornographic imagination. But photographs dare to be real. No matter how contrived or constructed they are, there's that damn body staring you in the face.
Feminists who want to censor what they regard as harmful pornography have essentially the same motivation as other would-be censors: They want to use the power of the state to accomplish what they have been unable to achieve in the marketplace of ideas and images. The impulse to censor places no faith in the possibilities of democratic persuasion.
In decades from now, I'm sure they'll say we Joes were all noble, every one of us grimy but patriotic cherubs. Because we won a war. Back home they already do think it, thanks to the publicity teams, the ads, correspondents, censors. I'm not buying it. If we have to come here and fight to do away with your Hitler and the sorry mess he created, then people ought to know just how much the effort sucks all our souls. That way, maybe no one will try a war again.
What is dangerous about the far right is not that it takes religion seriously - most of us do - but rather that it condemns all other spiritual choices - the Buddhist, the Jew, the Muslim, and many others who consider themselves to be good Christians. The wall of separation between church and state is needed precisely because religion, like art, is too important a part of the human experience to be choked by the hands of censors.
The space between the private and the public is the nexus of the personal and the social, if not political. It's where we meet the strong or subtle cultural censors who attempt to define what community, race, class, or gender can or cannot speak, to tell us which stories are told and valued and which are not. In short, it's where we're reminded of the power of personal stories and the power of the storyteller.
John Capecci and Timothy Cage
"Cynicism," like "heresy" and "heterodoxy" and "atheism" and "agnosticism" and "paganism" and "heathenism," is above all else a way for organized orthodoxy's caste of official censors to encyst and segregate and thus neutralize all contrarian forms of seeing and thinking, all (necessarily implicitly) prohibited and repressed ways of exercising disruptive and iconoclastic intuition and intellection (for to analyze and explain these things too openly is to give them publicity and potential cogency when the point is to asphyxiate them).
I maintain that cultural sensitivity should be replaced by cultural awareness. Awareness implies research, consideration, thought, and judiciousness... Sensitivity denies equal access to language. It segregates and censors based on the background of the writer rather than the content of the story. No society can embrace cultural sensitivity and retain full capacity for freedom of speech.
Scott M. Roberts
In 1916, when Johnny Heartfield and I invented photomontage in my studio at the south end of the town at five o'clock one May morning, we had no idea of the immense possibilities, or of the thorny but successful career, that awaited the new invention. On a piece of cardboard we pasted a mishmash of advertisements for hernia belts, student song books and dog food, labels from schnaps and wine bottles, and photographs from picture papers, cut up at will in such a way as to say, in pictures, what would have been banned by the censors if we had said it in words.
All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let's get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States - and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!
Shut the door, they're coming through the window, shut the window, they're coming through the door," are the words to an old song. They fit my lifestyle with newly arriving butcher/censors every month. Only six weeks ago, I discovered that, over the years, some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had, bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from the novel. Students, reading the novel which, after all, deals with censorship and book-burning in the future, write to tell me of this exquisite irony...
Isaac Deutscher was best known-like his compatriot Joseph Conrad-for learning English at a late age and becoming a prose master in it. But, when he writes above, about the 'fact' that millions of people 'may' conclude something, he commits a solecism in any language. Like many other critics, he judges Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four not as a novel or even as a polemic, but by the possibility that it may depress people. This has been the standard by which priests and censors have adjudged books to be lacking in that essential 'uplift' which makes them wholesome enough for mass consumption. The pretentious title of Deutscher's essay only helps to reinforce the impression of something surreptitious being attempted.
Rome tolerated every abominable practice, embraced every foul idea in the name of freedom and the rights of the common man. Citizens no longer carried on deviant behavior in private, but pridefully displayed it in public. It was those with moral values who could no longer freely walk in a public park without having to witness a revolting display. What happened to the public censors who protected the majority of citizenry from moral decadence? Did freedom have to mean abolishing common decency? Did freedom mean anyone could do anything they wanted anytime they wanted, without consequences?
And wasn't it this bright boy you selected for beating and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for their are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man's mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won't stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world (you were correct in your assumption the other night) there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior: official censors, judges and executors. That's you, Montag, and that's me.
For the first time in my life, I was reading things which had not been approved by the Prophet's censors, and the impact on my mind was devastating. Sometimes I would glance over my shoulder to see who was watching me, frightened in spite of myself. I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy... censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to it's subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked, contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything-you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
Robert A. Heinlein
Sometimes I think Earth has got to be the insane asylum of the universe... and I'm here by computer error. At sixty-eight, I hope I've gained some wisdom in the past fourteen lustrums and it's obligatory to speak plain and true about the conclusions I've come to; now that I have been educated to believe by such mentors as Wells, Stapledon, Heinlein, van Vogt, Clarke, Pohl, (S. Fowler) Wright, Orwell, Taine, Temple, Gernsback, Campbell and other seminal influences in scientifiction, I regret the lack of any female writers but only Radclyffe Hall opened my eyes outside sci-fi. I was a secular humanist before I knew the term. I have not believed in God since childhood's end. I believe a belief in any deity is adolescent, shameful and dangerous. How would you feel, surrounded by billions of human beings taking Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy and the stork seriously, and capable of shaming, maiming or murdering in their name? I am embarrassed to live in a world retaining any faith in church, prayer or a celestial creator. I do not believe in Heaven, Hell or a Hereafter; in angels, demons, ghosts, goblins, the Devil, vampires, ghouls, zombies, witches, warlocks, UFOs or other delusions; and in very few mundane individuals-politicians, lawyers, judges, priests, militarists, censors and just plain people. I respect the individual's right to abortion, suicide and euthanasia. I support birth control. I wish to Good that society were rid of smoking, drinking and drugs. My hope for humanity - and I think sensible science fiction has a beneficial influence in this direction - is that one day everyone born will be whole in body and brain, will live a long life free from physical and emotional pain, will participate in a fulfilling way in their contribution to existence, will enjoy true love and friendship, will pity us 20th century barbarians who lived and died in an atrocious, anachronistic atmosphere of arson, rape, robbery, kidnapping, child abuse, insanity, murder, terrorism, war, smog, pollution, starvation and the other negative 'norms' of our current civilization. I have devoted my life to amassing over a quarter million pieces of sf and fantasy as a present to posterity and I hope to be remembered as an altruist who would have been an accepted citizen of Utopia.
Forrest J. Ackerman