Thursday, June 16, 2011

I see red

Censorship has always made me see red, always offended me and it always will.

There are blatant and subtle censorship and both are equally wrong.

The Friday Flash initiative on Twitter and on Internet certainly becomes very wrong because of this.

Here is what the organizer says in the guidelines:

«Please, no explicit erotica or gratuitous graphic violence. You can post them, but they will drive readers away and will not be included in the weekly wrap».

He evidently wants timid and sexually and morally inhibited readers. I, myself, and others fortunately set higher standards.

During my editing of my novel Dreams Belong to the Night I got lots of creative energy released and started writing short stories on an assembly line, and the Friday Flash seemed, at first glance to be a suitable arena for them. That was what I figured… until I read the before mentioned misguided guidelines.

I write all kind of stories and don’t have to write «gratuitous violence» or erotica, even though that part of my creativity is stimulated every time I come across shit like this. I know all the arguments people like the organizer are using and they’re all wrong or irrelevant and dangerous. Dadaism and Transgression and similar have been my guidelines since I started making art.

People usually ask me questions like these on these occasions: «It’s his thing. Shouldn’t he be allowed to decide the rules»? «Why don’t you let this one go quietly and go elsewhere»?

And similar stupidity.

The answer is simple and obvious:

No, we shouldn’t leave censorship in peace. Never! We do not live in a vacuum, in our own self-contained world. Censorship in one place supports it everywhere.

Freedom of expression should be total, everywhere, of course. Anything contributing to diminishing that, contributes to diminishing life itself. Censorship is very common today. That doesn’t make it right, but even more wrong.

Any artist not seeing the crucial value of free expression isn't much of an artist, or much of a reader, for that matter.

I will call my stories «My Thursday short stories» instead. Having your own blog and your own countless ways of expressing yourself freely is a great thing about Internet and the digital revolution. I and others may come back to you with some sort of collective platform here.

I have unfollowed the before mentioned organizer on Twitter, of course. I kept using the Friday Flash «logo» for a while, as an added protest, but not anymore.


ganymeder said...

This makes no sense. It's not about censorship, but rather aiming at a certain type of audience. Children's magazines have guidelines that don't allow certain content, so do many fantasy and scifi magazines and anthologies. He's organizing content for a certain audience, that's all.

And you are perfectly free to post whatever you want, and even use the hashtag. He's just not including it in the wrapup. He's simply trying to keep it family friendly, especially since his own family (as well as others) participate and read the content.

I'm glad that you did stop using the hashtag (after this post) since it bothers you so much. When you posted this under #FridayFlash, I was misled into thinking I'd be reading flash fiction, so I appreciate that you're not using it anymore for nonfiction.

Have a nice day.

Owl said...

These are certainly points I would agree with, with my writings I don't have your directness or brutality and that is because of my choice, but I wouldn't want to be part of an arena that censors authors works. I wasn't aware of the Friday flash on twitter (to be honest it's just another hash tag that I didn't really understand) but now I have no reason to even bother with it. Regardless of if writing is direct, brutal or subtle it should always be read as the story teller intends

Amos Keppler said...

Owl: i checked it out and found it wanting.

ganymeder: Any artist not seeing the crucial value of free expression isn't much of an artist, or much of a reader, for that matter. As stated I know all the "arguments" used by supporters of censorship and I reject them, like everybody should.

It was just great that you got to read the article... since you obviously need to. You should have let it open you, instead of closing you further.