- 3 Posts
- Age 17
What is censorship and is it really as bad as it’s connotation? Language is a beautiful tool we use for communication, but it can be very dangerous when manipulated and interpreted in all the wrong ways.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of censorship is: “the institution, system, or practice of censoring”. Now, the verb “censor” carries the definition “to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable” and yet the definition of the noun “censor” is “an official who examines materials (such as publications or films) for objectionable matter.”
If we look at the terms used in the verb definition of censor: “Suppress”, “Delete” and “Objectionable” we will notice there is a semantic field relating to words of deceit. Though if we look at the terms in the noun definition of censor “Official”, “Examine” and “Objectionable matter”, we can already see the terminology is more passive. Therefore, after reading these two separate definitions we think: “Okay, a censor is a good person, who looks out for curse words.” And then we might think “Suppress, delete, I see, they're deceiving me, hiding the truth.” And voila, we’ve already made judgments on someone or something based on those little adjectives hiding in a sentence.
Nowadays, censorship has a terrible connotation, for the most part. Though censorship is a bit like global warming: The temperature of the earth fluctuates naturally but humans are contributing to it with their production of carbon dioxide. It exists on its own, but humans are making it a phenomenon that has gotten out of hand.
I mean to say, censorship is in our everyday lives and relationships. Maybe I try someone’s cooking (and me being the spoiled girl that I am, who has delicious Italian food every night) thinks it’s the worst thing I’ve ever had. Now I could either say “You are a terrible cook.” Or I could smile and tell them “Thank you for thinking of me.”. Now, I didn’t lie, I rather avoided the truth. But you see, in a way, I spoke the truth because I’m genuinely happy this person cooked for me and thought about me. Instead, what I did was avoid certain words to give the person a different idea. This is known as omission in the media world.
Maybe your babysitting and while your cooking for the kids you burn your hand. You can either curse in front of the kids or bite your tongue and stay silent. You again are censoring yourself. The same way films and music are censored when there are curse words. Now here is where the debate starts. You either think: “Even simple censorship like hiding your opinion on someone’s food is negative because we should always be completely honest. Adults are always masking their true faults and it’s pure evil!” or you think “Okay, no this kind of censorship is fine.”
Then there’s the censorship we all talk about. We talk about media hiding the truth, leaving out facts, having bias opinions. We talk about silencing people so that only one idea is heard. This is the censorship we all grit our teeth at and think “How dare you to skew people’s thoughts to think what you want them to think, instead of being honest!”
And we have every right to be furious. Why? Because when censorship goes to its extreme it becomes incredibly dangerous.
An example of this is Nazi Germany. All writing, art, films made by Jews were burnt. In this case, censorship came in the form of fire. Then there was the barrels and barrels of propaganda, that convinced many young Nazi children that a pure Aryan Nazi Race was normal and morally correct. Children are always in danger because their minds are as easy to sculpt as clay. The censorship of Jewish works meant that there was only one way to think, and that was the Nazi ideology. It meant that you could only listen to German opera, German writing, and German films.
Nowadays, almost all the news is censored. All news has some political bias. Can we really trust what we learn from the news anymore?
The answer is yes. Well… it’s a sort of a yes. You can trust the news if you learn to read in between the lines. There is truth in everything, at least a slither of it. Let’s take this back to my cooking example. Say the person that cooked for me, is a clever chap. They are able to detect what I actually thought about their cooking through a series of actions.
1) They ask me more specific examples about the food.
2) They ask other sources, maybe my brother, my best friends etc.
3) They look at my reaction.
4) They take notice of not only what I said, but of what I didn’t say.
Well, it’s the same with news. Here are the facts.
1) I ate someone else’s cooking.
2) The person was with me while I tried their food.
Now the story can be twisted. Maybe someone starts misinterpreting this dinner and calls it a “romantic dinner” or maybe someone took a picture of me closing my eyes for a split second and all of a sudden, the story says “Girl sleeping at dinner”. There is an infinite amount of ways the story could be twisted. So, as readers, we need to investigate. We need to gather points in common of all the sources, to then identify the truth. What changes from article to article, is opinion and not knowledge, opinion must, therefore, be disregarded.
Instead of blaming people for censorship, which you have every right to, but why not just outsmart them all? Why not become a Nancy Drew and investigate the news? Read more than one source. Trace back the evidence from start to finish, sort of like when you lose your keys and your dad says “Okay son, trace back your steps and you’ll find your keys.” Well, in this case, keys are the key to the truth of the news. Ask yourself “Does that logically make sense?” or “Would that really happen?”
Lastly, form your opinions after an extended period of time, like when you have all the evidence on the table. You wouldn’t want to burn your energy fighting against a false truth, would you? Wait until you know for sure, then act, that way no time or energy will be wasted.