31 December 2012
To Censor or Not To Censor?
Censorship is a necessary evil. It is used to protect the public from harmful thoughts and ideas. However, when taken to the extreme, it can cause mass chaos in society. This can be easily seen in Ray Bradbury’s science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451. In his novel, Bradbury depicts a futuristic dark age. Humans shorten, condense, and then simply burn books to “protect” society from ideas. Bradbury points out that ideal censorship lays a thin line between an arbitrary government with totalitarian control and anarchy of unregulated thought. His novel brings into question how much a government can restrict and regulate from its citizens. A recent event that brought up this question can be found in Jacques Steinberg’s article “Parents Say Censoring Films Is Their Job, Not Politicians’”. The debate is on whether parents or politicians should control content that children see in the media. Because of his views on censorship, Bradbury would certainly defend his first amendment rights if faced with this situation.
Bradbury claimed one of the main reasons why people censor ideas is the fear of offending a person. He explains, “Don't step on the toes of the dog lover, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico” (Bradbury 57). Simply put, Bradbury depicts a society that has banned books because they have become afraid of offending minorities. Several parents have banned music, movies, and other forms of media they thought to be inappropriate to their children. (who?) Phyllis Blackman banned prevented her daughter, La Toya, from listening to rap music because she did not doesn’t want her daughter to constantly hear verses about sex, drugs, and other adult topics (Steinberg 2). In this case, Ms. Blackman has taken took a smart step to...