The word censorship dates back to the sixth century B.C. in the Roman Empire.
Roman officials titled censors would assess citizen’s property, and they would proclaim its value. The wealthier a citizen was the more rights that citizen received. Censorship is defined presently as the suppression of all or part of a publication, play, or film considered offensive or a treat. Unfortunately due to current political and social circumstances, or just very wealthy right winged conservatives; the oppression of censorship has been stretched over the very head of the first amendment like the lower lip of a man stretched over his head. Countless times in our society we find cases of over censoring, causing many to question whether or not censorship has a rightful place anymore? In The New York Times there was an article printed about a censorship issue at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In October of 2003 a film student named Paula Carmicino was told to stop production on four-minute documentary of the “portrayal of the contrast between unbridled human lust and banal everyday behavior.” They administration felt that her film was inappropriate, even for a university.
The film required two actors to have sex on camera in front of the class. Her professor approved, but the administration of the Tisch School saw it as not acceptable. The matter caused a very tempestuous situation on campus.
Of course what angered most about the situation was not only the censorship of Ms. Carmicino’s film, but also the censorship or guidelines for any other film of every other student that came after Carmicino. “University officials said they would issue a written policy requiring student films and videos to follow the rating guidelines of the Motion Picture Association of America.” This would require that all films be no more than an R-rating. Many students saw this as an unnecessary attack on self-expression. Of course the university got its way, just as authority figures always do. Students here at Union Hill have be victims to unruly censorship.
In September of 2003, three members of the Union Hill History Club erected a bulletin board to honor Christopher Columbus. It was required for them to research and decipher fact from fiction in the story of Columbus’s arrival in America. Through investigation of valid sources, they found that Christopher Columbus was one of the first to introduce slavery in the America’s.
He also mistreated and enslaved native American’s that were habitants of the New World. After documenting and then displaying their findings, they were unruly reprimanded and asked to take down and redo the bulletin board. Unfair censorship you say? Correct indeed. For all intensive purposes the findings were very much fact, but did not meet to the likings of the administration.
The bulletin board was taken down and replaced with a more agreeable version of Christopher Columbus’s story. Censorship is a powerful tool, and in fact can be very useful in times of great need. Unfortunately it is usually misused and impedes the rights of American citizen’s to their freedoms given by the first amendment. Students, journalists, directors, artists, and authors should be able to express their artistic ideals in anyway possible. Of course if it is life threatening then censorship should be used; but having unfavorable information or opinions open to the public wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Censorship needs to be wielded and controlled. Censorship cannot and mustn’t become a weapon to use against anything someone says or feels like expressing just because not many people agree or even wish to hear it.