Monday, December 14, 2009

The Biz Monday Starter: Censorship

Censorship is always something interesting to come back to when exploring theatre and film. I've been checking up on some of my favorite theatre blogs, and stumbled across this post on the Praxis Theatre Blog. Usually when censorship is discussed it has do with a powerful majority silencing a not so powerful minority, but what happens when there is censorship within a minority/ethnic group? Is the argument that we must censor so that the majority does not misunderstand a valid one? Does censorship within a minority group stifle growth within a community or protect it from being victimized/vilified by outsiders? It is always interesting to remember that art, even within an artistic community, is not immune to censorship.


  1. Some native communities try to keep outsiders from saying art/dances/folk stories etc. It normally doesn't work to well because you can't legislate in such a way to prevent a particular tribal member from sharing a story, dance, etc.

    I guess this is different because its more of an attempt to "not air dirty laundry" than an attempt at pure isolation as a way of maintaining identity. You can walk that road but it reaks of denial, and they always say the first step in solving a problem is admitting that you have one.

    I'm not sure that art necessarily should have broader social value or be an instrument of change, but if your in that camp then I think 'intra-minority culture censorship' is going to be a big problem for you.

  2. That is a good point. I think that art that does have some broader social value or is an instrument of change tends to get more media and in the "art world" (and I extend art world to include more than just visual arts). But does it have to have be an instrument of that to be art is a good question. Can art just be art? Or does the very nature of art make it hard to separate it from some form of a statement, even if that statement is trying to be devoid of a statement? As far as this story is concerned, it looks as if the missing funds are in the process of being raised, so that the attempted censorship actually seems to have garnered more attention towards the artist's play. So in the end, maybe controversy (and even censorship) sells.