Samuel Brace on banning films…
Sorry snowflakes, but it’s true.
Passion of the Christ, A Clockwork Orange, Last Tango in Paris, Deadpool, Hostel, Mad Max, The Da Vinci Code. These are all films that a nation has banned. Banned because of violence, blasphemy, pornographic images etc and so on. These films, and films like them, have been banned because people were upset by them, because they didn’t like what they saw. And now, Clare Foges of The Daily Mail, has called for Nicolas Winding Refn’s new film, The Neon Demon, to be banned as well.
“What possible case can there be for allowing such hideous material onto British cinema screens in the first place?”
She’s a fool. And her views on censorship are far more dangerous than any films graphic continent. No film, under any circumstances, should be banned. Ever. Period. End of story. Yes, children, even a film glorifying Nazism. The answer to something that despicable is to watch it, talk about how horrible it is, tell people how dangerous the message is, and make a film that promotes the exact opposite. Free speech is everything. Freedom of expression is everything. “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties”. John Milton was one hundred percent right with this statement. This is the most important liberty we have, because without the freedom to express ourselves, the right to life means nothing. A suppressed life, an enslaved life, is no life at all. The answer to speech we don’t agree with is more speech of our own — as much as leftists would like to claim otherwise.
You can’t, under any circumstances, ban ideas that you don’t agree with. That’s not how freedom works. Freedom is you not caring what I think, and me not caring what you think. As long as we are not infringing on each other’s rights, you don’t get to tell me what to think and feel. You certainly don’t get to tell me what to watch. Sorry, Clare, that is a decision I can make myself. Just like it’s not the government’s job to make us better people, it’s not cinema’s job either, and it’s absolutely not cinema’s job to protect your feelings. You can run to Daddy for that.
We have a right to make our own decisions, not to kowtow to your scales of what is suitable for viewing and what is not. Stopping people from talking about, seeing, or knowing of atrocities, is not how you make the world a better place. Policing my eyes will not maintain the utopia. Educating and informing the public is the answer to promoting moral decency. How are people supposed to know right from wrong, if you purge all the nasty things from the world? How is society supposed to have a functioning barometer for good and bad, if we are afraid to see things that show us the worlds evil? Films, books, or TV, should never be banned, censored or blacklisted, for the same reason we should never refrain from talking about rape, slavery or the holocaust — oh, sorry Clare, I forgot your trigger warning. We stop the spread of such horrors by learning from history, not by ignoring it. If no one learns about Nazi’s committing genocide against the Jews, no one will know what heinous things humans are truly capable of. If we don’t teach kids about Hitler’s rise to power, or about Karl Marx’s beliefs and why they are dangerous, they will find it hard to spot and stop these things from happening again.
Yes, we should promote good, moral behaviour and values. Of course we should. No, we don’t want torture, murder, necrophilia or paedophilia, influencing our culture. Morality is important. But you can’t stop people from seeing the horrors of the world, and nor should you want to. This is the UK. This isn’t the USSR. This isn’t North Korea. This isn’t the place for arbitrary government. We aren’t afraid of people learning about the world. Well… at least we shouldn’t be. All of this is totally stupid, it’s ignorant and scary and dumb, but all the more so because we are talking about fiction. It’s not real. A fictional character in a book can be a cannibal, that doesn’t mean the author thinks cannibalism is cool. The creator doesn’t have to condone the acts of his characters. That’s dumb.
And yes, there is some disgusting stuff out there that I would rather not see. I mean, does anyone want to see paedophilic images in film? No, of course not, no one of a sound mind is seeking this content out, but that doesn’t mean you get to ban a piece of make believe fantasy for having a storyline about nefarious topics. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the characters in The Neon Demon are not actually doing these things. A fictional film showcasing a fictional crime, isn’t the same as actual crimes being committed. No one is advocating the atrocities of this fictional content. These are make believe people in a make believe story. Learn the difference between reality and fantasy, folks. It’s important. If Refn was discovered to actually be filming real murders and cannibalism, sure, send the police over. But you see, Refn did something rather clever. He made up a story and filmed it. He’s quite the innovator.
Society, and government, likes to make us think we are all victims. That we need to be looked after, coddled, protected from the mean and nasty things of the world. Unfortunately, many have fallen for it. Many have retreated to their safe spaces, crying to Mummy about how horrible people are, about bad words with nasty connotations, declaring that “My feelings hurt”. Give me a break. Toughen up. Don’t infringe on the rights and liberties of others because you can’t handle the world. Censorship is a slippery slope, a slope that can lead to very frightening places. If we start censoring violent and graphic content, it could lead to the banning of any film, like films with a pro-life message, because they upset ‘the narrative’, films that show a gay person being discriminated against, because people might get the wrong idea. You have to let people be responsible for themselves. If someone does something wrong, in real life, there are laws to deal with them.
This is a messed up world, where messed up things happen. Grow up. Deal with it. I am all for promoting a world of moral values, but you do it by spreading the virtues of such beliefs, not suppressing distressing content or shutting up those with alternative viewpoints. The same people that want to ban these films are the same people that want to censor conservatives on Facebook and Twitter. If you can’ trust yourself to see or hear views that you disagree with, then perhaps your beliefs aren’t as rock solid as you thought. Perhaps we should be more afraid of you then the material that you want to censor. After all, you might see someone having sex with a dead person on TV, and then find yourself with a shovel over one shoulder, prowling through the local graveyards.
If you don’t want your kids to see a film, for fear they may not know the difference between right and wrong, then be a good parent, don’t let them watch it, and teach them about morality. But who the hell are you to tell another adult what they can and can’t watch? It’s wrong, and anyone who advocates such authoritarian censorship should be ashamed. It’s immoral and so are you.