Censorship Meaning – 7 Examples Of Censorship In America
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Censorship in America is a complicated issue that involves various factors, such as freedom of speech, artistic expression, media regulation, and societal norms. It is a subject that has a long history and continues to present challenges in modern times.
The topic of censorship in America is complex and involves various viewpoints demonstrating the need to balance individual liberties and societal well-being.
Censorship is the act of Inhibiting words, images, or concepts deemed “offensive” and occurs when certain individuals can enforce their personal political or moral beliefs on others. Both government and private organizations can engage in censorship.
It involves prohibiting or suppressing parts of books, films, news, etc., that are considered obscene, politically inappropriate, or dangerous to security.
Technological advancements in the United States during the 20th century ushered in transformative changes to the entertainment industry. These changes encompassed the realms of cinema, music recordings, and comic books, which experienced surges in popularity.
Consequently, the surge in popularity prompted an increase in attempts to regulate and censor these forms of entertainment. The Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, emerged during the 1930s as a film regulatory framework.
At the same time, the Comics Code Authority (CCA) was established in 1954 to oversee content in comic books. Simultaneously, the recording industry encountered censorship through the implementation of Parental Advisory labels.
Furthermore, LGBTQ materials encountered prevalent censorship throughout the 20th century, and the advent of the internet in the 21st century posed novel challenges to censorship. Consequently, censorship efforts have influenced diverse entertainment and materials throughout the 20th century and beyond.
Examples Of Censorship In America
In the 1930s, the Hays Code was introduced to control and censor the content of movies, limiting the portrayal of explicit or contentious subjects.
In 1999, a high school advanced placement English class in Savannah, Georgia, prohibited including Truman Capote’s 1966 book “In Cold Blood” in its curriculum due to its explicit content.
The decision to ban the book was made following a complaint from a parent who objected to its depiction of sex, violence, and profanity. However, after facing a series of protests, the ban was lifted in 2000, resulting in reinstating the book as part of the curriculum.
The act of removing artworks that may be considered controversial from public areas, for instance, eliminating paintings or statues deemed unsuitable or offensive.
In 1971, the strict censorship regulations imposed by the Comics Code Authority were overturned, thanks in part to the intervention of Spider-Man. The Comics Code Authority had implemented rigorous guidelines that limited depictions of violence, sex, and drug use in comic books.
However, when Spider-Man comics tackling the issue of drug abuse were released, it ignited a confrontation with the Comics Code Authority. Consequently, in 1971, the Code underwent revisions that relaxed restrictions on horror and crime comics, sexual content, and drug use.
Nevertheless, only a few major publishers remained active by that time, and the Code had significantly diminished in its influence.
Government policies and actions, such as internet filtering and monitoring programs, aimed at regulating online content and communication, leading to censorship and surveillance of internet activities.
In 2004, Alabama State Rep. Gerald Allen proposed a bill to prevent allocating state funds to acquire books deemed to “promote homosexuality.”
The proposed measure encountered opposition from detractors who contended that it had the potential to ban literary works such as “Brideshead Revisited,” “The Color Purple,” Walt Whitman’s poetry, school productions of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and even Shakespeare’s plays. Despite generating controversy, the bill ultimately failed to pass into law.
In 1955, censorship affected Elvis Presley’s music and live shows. The authorities in Florida went as far as threatening to arrest him if he continued his energetic movements during performances.
Two years later, when he appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” only the upper half of his body was filmed, avoiding controversy surrounding his provocative dance moves. Furthermore, in 1960, certain radio stations banned some of his songs that were considered sexually explicit, refusing to play them on air.