I was thinking last night: when did censorship become a ‘good thing’? (I am obviously not talking about a ‘good thing’ from my perspective.) I am trying to remember: was it because of Trump?
So much of this time calls me to remember before. Before, when we used to explore difference. When it was okay for one of these things to not be like the others. When we all wanted to be free and to discover the limits of ourselves and the world; because that’s what art means, and all of us were, one way or another, artists. We all wanted to set ourselves free, to liberate ourselves through a newness and an embracing of the unknown.
In those days, we would celebrate the artists who had gone before us, those who had paved the way for a bigger world, a world a little bit freer from the conservatism of the past, freer from the oppressive conformity of middle class values. In those days, we would read Henry Miller or DH Lawrence or Hubert Selby Jr and marvel at the bigotry which censored them. We would try to understand why such explorations of humanity could be censored, puzzled, finding instead a liberation of self and grateful for that. In those days, those who had censored the likes of Aldous Huxley or James Baldwin or Simone de Beauvoir sat in the same dustbin of history as the Nazis who burned books. Censorship was a bad thing, something not to be encouraged. It was an injustice, a moral wrong, something to be resisted. It was to be derided because ‘we’ were open-minded and tolerant of difference and dissent.
Wasn’t it? Or was that just me?