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Is Censorship Acceptable?


Ron

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Sasha Distan created in the member Q & A thread this topic: https://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/37643-the-last-taboo/

 

The topic has been given much attention and many varied opinions abound within the thread. During the discussion of this topic, the subject of how we might like to be perceived was touched upon. Are we as gay men and women, in order to normalize ourselves to the greater world, supposed to censor ourselves? This is my question, but it has been posited that if we present ourselves in a less that positive way, that we have only ourselves to blame if we are mistreated. That we have, in fact, given the opposition ammunition of a sorts to use against us. This thought has some merit to it, I believe. I also believe that it can lead to the slippery slope of censorship.

 

My question is... Should we self-censor our writing, by avoiding topics that may be perceived in a negative light, in order to present a more normalized impression to the world?

 

 

 

no actual edit this morning, lazy finger on iPad

Edited by Ron
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My knee jerk reaction to the question is no.

 

1st amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, etc. All that stuff is to the American, the holy of holies.

 

However- when viewed objectively, we censor ourselves all the time.

 

Does this make me look fat? Are you going to fall into that trap?

 

There's also the matter of the law. While molestation, rape, incest and bestiality happen, such stories aren't generally appreciated and may actually involve questions and lawyers and judges.

 

While this site does not censor us, it does set limits. So far, I've had no problems with those limits. 

 

The topics that are limited are things that just don't interest me to explore.

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An author has to always look at who is the target audience. You're not going to get a lot of readers under the age of 10 if you write in an old English style, with smatterings of Latin and Russian without inline translations. If you're trying to write for that age group, you need to self-censor so the story fits the target audience. Please note that this is a generic comment that applies to all authors -- I'm not talking about erotica or gay-themed fiction.

 

So we self censor all the time in our writing, and that's normal.

 

More specifically for this discussion , GA has it's writing guidelines to fit with the audience that the site wants to attract. This means that the author needs to not only work out what target audience they want, but also what audience the hosting website (GA in this case) wants to attract.

 

So to answer the question:

 

 

My question is... Should we self-censor our writing, by avoiding topics that may be perceived in a negative light, in order to present a more normalized impression to the world?

 

Only if that's what you want to do. :) The driver is determined by why you're writing, and if you're writing to be popular, then you're going to have to do this to maximise your target audience size. If you're not writing to be popular, then you can write what you want, and you're only restricted by the guidelines of wherever your story will be published (or no restrictions at all if you don't care if the story isn't published but stays in your personal files for your own enjoyment).

 

 

Now, if you want to be a popular author, you'll self-censor so your writing hits the largest possible target audience. If you're more interesting in just writing for the sake of writing, then the only constraint is what you want to write about and what the hosting website will allow. And, naturally, there's a whole range in-between.

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lol, gosh like you can put every day copyrighted stuff into your story ... no mcD ... no coca cola ... no justin bieber ... no real senators ... no presidents lol

unless you can get them to sign off the movie version of your story

 

I was watching brothers n sisters ... they have the 2008 presidential elections ... republican primaries ... no mccain ... no obama ... yes health care

Edited by hh5
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lol, gosh like you can put every day copyrighted stuff into your story ... no mcD ... no coca cola ... no justin bieber ... no real senators ... no presidents lol

unless you can get them to sign off the movie version of your story

 

I was watching brothers n sisters ... they have the 2008 presidential elections ... republican primaries ... no mccain ... no obama ... yes health care

 

This is not the reasoning behind my post. My reasoning for the question was an off shoot from Sasha's topic and perhaps I can clarify for you. Should we, and by extension those whom are accepting, avoid or self-censor topics in our writing that might portray us as in a less than 'normal' light? Should our writing avoid taboos or any other controversial topics merely to be perceived as somehow okay and therefore acceptable?

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My knee jerk reaction to the question is no.

 

1st amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, etc. All that stuff is to the American, the holy of holies.

 

However- when viewed objectively, we censor ourselves all the time.

 

Does this make me look fat? Are you going to fall into that trap?

 

There's also the matter of the law. While molestation, rape, incest and bestiality happen, such stories aren't generally appreciated and may actually involve questions and lawyers and judges.

 

While this site does not censor us, it does set limits. So far, I've had no problems with those limits. 

 

The topics that are limited are things that just don't interest me to explore.

 

Yes, indeed we censor ourselves everyday and 'Does this make me look fat?' isn't likely to influence anyone's opinion of whether it is acceptable to be gay or not.

 

Nifty.org allows the various subject matter that you expose and while it is not be appreciated here on GA, each subject has it's following there. Irregardless of its possibly being biographical, it is written as fiction which makes it covered under the 1st amendment.

 

You say, James that you are not interested in exploring any of these topics, to which I reply - fair enough. I respect that but it still beggars the question, should we censor these types of stories in order to present ourselves as normal?

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Normal is a loaded word. Is it 'normal' to believe that a person well above consenting age, who is responsible for the emotional and physical well-being of a minor, engage in a sexual relationship with them that is not only illegal but could lead to emotional and social scarring should it be exposed? Or is it 'normal' to think that is wrong and should not be shown as sexually appealing by being written into a story meant to titillate readers?  Like it or not, our cultures do have some moral boundaries set by general consensus. Some are more harmful than others, some change and others do not. While I believe in exploration and freedom of expression, I adhere to the guidelines set down by GA and even agree with most of them wholeheartedly. This is where my 'don't make me message you for violating our guidelines' aspect comes into play when it comes to expressing yourself as an author.

 

I don't consider that censorship that in any way is geared toward people who identify themselves as LGBT. I consider that protecting ourselves, and the site, since we are the ones who could be held responsible for the content. When we had FSO active, the guidelines were the same and that site was geared to attracted writers with heterosexual stories. A big example of the risk of not enforcing our guidelines could be losing our ad revenue if we were to allow nude images on the site. That 'censorship' is in place for a reason that has little to do with sexuality and much to do with legality/social morality. We follow outside guidelines for that reason, and enforce them with members through our own guidelines, because there are repercussions we don't wish to face. There are always going to be limits people have to put up when their necks are on the line, even when it comes to pushing boundaries. Whether that be in society at large, an online setting, or a personal setting, you have to decide if you wish to abide by them for yourself. That decision can lead authors to stay on the site, or go elsewhere... but as always, that's your choice.

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First of all, Ron, I do not approve. :ph34r:

 

You couch it a lot in terms of that thread, but I know you are in part responding to what I said. And I didn't at all imply what you are saying. My plea was a call to think about the consequences before releasing them into the wild and own up, have a good sense of the responsibility of the image you create. It would be the same thing if you dance almost naked in a gay pride parade with bondage-themed gear on and then have the audacity to be shocked if a grandma covers her grandchildren's eyes. It goes without saying that everyone should have the right to express themselves, whether or not Madonna says you can, but along with that comes the responsibility of knowing the possible downsides and owning up to them, whether you agree with the reaction or not. Imagining what the neighbors will think every time you do anything is absurd, certainly, but it's unavoidable to a certain extent.

 

Second of all, self-censorship is a bullshit word.

 

By saying that, I don't mean that your opinions or thoughts are bullshit. It's just that we all pick up some bullshit words without thinking sometimes. What I mean is that self-censorship is like reverse racism or systemic misandry. It sounds like a useful word describing something that actually exists, but like those two other words, it doesn't. Censorship already describes a censoring of the self. It is either when an outside power forcibly intervenes and removes or changes the expressions of others, or you do it to yourself before you even express anything.

 

It is easier to think of internal censorship in the Freudian sense. It is the internal societal logic we all get when we grow up in a certain set of rules. It's what tells us to put on clothes before we go out the door, not just because we might be arrested, but because some sort of societal norm imposes itself on us internally to regard walking around naked in public outdoors and in plain sight as obscene. It's the same little voice that tells us, "Okay, now put on your clothes and take your sunglasses on and walk calmly back to the dorms and no one will ever know you were the mysterious streaker." The superego. I know Freud isn't as popular among psychologists as he once was, but modern psychologists are not popular with me, and anyone can see the utility in thinking of the internal limiter we have on ourselves this way.

 

So, just like my common sense tells me that, although it may be terribly subversive, it may not be wise to name a children's book Fuck and Shit Go to the Market, my common sense may give me advice on any number of things when I write. Will people like this character? Is this boring? Could this confuse the reader? And so on, and so forth. This is censorship already happening. Whenever you delete the last sentence, because really, no that joke wasn't funny, that's censorship. It's not what is commonly thought of as censorship and that's why I'd love it if we all abolished the word self-censor or self-censorship and just let the first word be its regular, broad, excellently meaningful self.

 

Third, when it comes to gay people writing gay stories, when I said that above, I put it as vaguely as possible because it's just another form of censorship to think about when writing a story. Hardly anyone ever writes anything for the consumption and viewing of others that does not have at least a little censorship in it. (You could even argue conformity to grammar practices is a form of censorship. There's no logical reason we need to have period and commas and capitals other than somewhere we all agreed to do it for the greater good.) So when writing gay stories, one other thing to think about is, "Why am I writing this? What do I want to achieve by writing this? How do I want to come off when I write this?" and so on. I think these are very natural thoughts to have when writing any story.

 

In gay stories, an additional component comes in. Obviously, on some level, naturally people are already going to object, because it has "gayness" in it and that's like a disease, man, you're not supposed to catch it or spread it! So you throw away the level of censorship wherein society might object to gay themes.

 

Now then. If you then go on to take off your limiter for other themes people may object to (whether it be excessive violence, rape, incest, alien sex, baby-eating, Miley Cyrus, whatever, it doesn't matter) you must be realistic: there are people who will simply avoid it because they find it abhorrent. There's another long thread there about people not reading fan fiction because they associate it with low quality writing. If stuff like that is all it takes, then surely one can't be surprised when taboos come into the picture. Others will use it as an example to berate gay people and say, "See, if we allow gay marriage, this is the slippery slope of morality it leads to: fan fiction!" We're all aware that their arguments are a hot mess no one should pay attention to. But you can't deny that there is that element out there. So when you're writing, wouldn't it be best to be honest with yourself about what your motives are? (Do you want the applause of others? Is that one of the reasons you are writing? It's okay to admit that you want that.) The more honest, the easier it is to become happier with the end result. Know that if you choose to confront taboos, you may get violent or apathetic reactions and be ready to deal with it.

 

And would it be your "fault" for propragating stereotypes? Potentially and partially yes. When you don't give any thought to including the stereotypes and taboos that opponents to gay people are likely to object to, you partially deserve the thoughtless reactions you'll get, even if they're wrong. I believe thoughtless expressions thoroughly deserve the thoughtless reactions they get. Sensitive, well-considered expressions can stand up for themselves, without the original person who expressed them even being there: they are strong and impervious to feeble criticism. The best expressions stand up to all forms of criticism and last through time and I can almost guarantee that the bulk of these expressions were from people who hemmed and hawed and snipped and shaved and didn't worship the omnipotence of pure expression in its undiluted form.

 

You can't just say gay people get a "get out of jail free card" to having their writing criticized because they get unfairly ostracized. Straight people get into trouble all the time when they write about taboos. Straight black people find that sometimes society won't "allow them" to write characters they think are appropriate because they "reinforce stereotypes." Straight women have the same problem. You might think it would be lovely to be Stephanie Meyer, but do you want to deal with all the gunk she gets about how she should write more progressive female characters? So of course even gay people have the same problem too. It's a weird kind of equality, if you think about it in a certain way.

 

In one of DomLuka's best stories, the main character is an absolute git for the bulk of it: he does awful things to his friends and family and we are subjected to torrents of teenage angst before he finally comes to his senses. It certainly was challenging. I thought it would never end. That the main character would just explode in gibblets of angst at some point. I have a feeling this was written with a very sensitive eye of how much is too much. Some censorship had to be involved in this sequence's creation. And it was worth it, I think, because this is an excellent story for the type of person who rolls their eyes at angsty gay teenage plights. It gives a minute description of just how a person can break down if they have to confront something so life-changing at the same time they are forming the rest of their identity. It is one of the strongest arguments against not including teenage angst in a story because it is a major turn-off to many readers, but it's risky too. I bet quite a few people gave up on it before they got to the end. However, I think there is a strong possibility that if such a story was published and read by many straight readers, it would give them an excellent insight into why it may not be such a hot idea to tease gay teenagers, but only to those who have a possibilty of being receptive. For others, who are naturally opposed to even reading such a thing, it's no great mystery that 95% of them will not even give it the proper consideration. DomLuka shouldn't re-write it for those sods, but I have a feeling the story was rewritten in DomLuka's head for the receptive type while he was writing it.

 

So of course I wasn't saying anyone should or shouldn't do anything. My post was in response to a thread that was also about, "Why won't people give my stories the time of day?" It was taken in that context, toward the thread starter, meant to be a thorough response as to why people might not do so. Any traveler on the nets knows that there are places where your work will be accepted, because the nets are infinite, wide and varied. But they are also not entirely secure. One subset can easily flow into another and friction occurs.

 

I love artists like George Kamitani and works like The Fisherman's Wife (don't google either of those if you don't want a serious shock and don't know who/what they are) because it's extremely well-done, spooky and unsettling. I like being completely unnerved and having something I never even considered suggested to me. Subversion, baby, subversion! But I like it best when it's classy. With that artist/work mentioned above, there's a certain level of restraint in the absolute ridiculousness of what's going on. Even in that pioneering, devil-may-care spirit, there's a certain level of censorship. That's what elevates it from schlock to class. And classiness is my favorite virtue. 

 

But if you're going to do this, for goodness sake, be ready and be courageous. Learn to fend off the stings and blows of sharp criticism. Be able to do so. And don't just write off the opposition's arguments, even if you know or feel they are ridiculous. The opposition likes being acknowledged and understood.

 

If you write a story about incestuous gay giant space whales who hump their fathers, don't cry about the consequences you know are out there.

Edited by thebrinkoftime
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I tend to agree with Gaeme and Cia's opinion.  Though I must point out the title is "Is Censorship Acceptable," then you wandered into self-sensorship.  I think self-censorship is the author's freedom (i.e, I self-censor my work according to my own comfortable level).  It's only when the censorship that's imposed on the creator of the story by an external force, that's when it might become controversial.

Edited by Ashi
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Incest is a difficult topic.   If you are talking pedophilia incest between a parent and a young child, that is offensive to a majority.   Oedipus Rex by Sophocles was unknowing incest which was tragic in its consequences and is still studied as a classic.  Incest between consenting adults is another story entirely.   Incest between experimenting adolescent siblings of similar age has happened from time immemorial.  

 

So I think that if an author has a compelling story that involves incest and handles it wisely, it can be acceptable and have a following.  If it's just for sensationalism as a taboo, it's like gratuitous sex or excessive cussing/cursing in any story and becomes banal.    

 

Most mainstream readers don't usually follow gay stories.  Brokeback Mountain was perhaps an exception that proved the rule.  So why worry too much of how mainstream reviewers would react.   Gay romance novels are a niche.  If that can be set in a fantasy or Sci-Fi setting as well, all the better as for as this niche reader is concerned.   

Edited by Daddydavek
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It can be a rough topic ...

so what if we all wrote the plain truth and experiences exactly as life has happen?

Perhaps there are reason for self-censoring or rewriting how life happen to fit the story to tell? what is wrong with trying to get people to understand something?

Perhaps its about the repercussions of offending in graphic detail?

what if a story told all the horror stories of a third world country?

what if a story told all the skeletons of a family or culture?

what if a story told in great detail the horror of the 80s?

what if someone offended by the story decides to do something about it?

I have to say not all authors have the support or the space to hash out their ideas ... it would be nice .. lol it sounds like one of those writers groups

 

I love history in terms of how we got from point A to point B ... I love the stories of knowing what it took to get from point A to B

But sometimes making a story too graphic ... the story can get lost

 

it seems the difference between a novel and its movie ... is where the story gets simplified for the masses to appreciate the beauty of the story than to get bogg down by the complex drama or its details

 

Sometimes the plain truth detracts and sometimes it helps ... its how we write it using self-censorship

 

ie: If we wrote about Vietnam War from the USA perspective we make the Vietnamese the bad guys

     If we wrote about Vietnam from the Vietnamese POV then the Americans be the bad guys

     If we wrote about both like a Romeo n Juliet ... we might convey how bad war is ... 

     If we gave the story some history that leads to modern day then we give perspective about human evolution through its social, economic, and political issues.

 

This is not the reasoning behind my post. My reasoning for the question was an off shoot from Sasha's topic and perhaps I can clarify for you. Should we, and by extension those whom are accepting, avoid or self-censor topics in our writing that might portray us as in a less than 'normal' light? Should our writing avoid taboos or any other controversial topics merely to be perceived as somehow okay and therefore acceptable?

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It's a good question Ron but I think there might be as many valid answers as there are viewpoints.

For a start, how do we decide on what is 'normal'? And then, is that what we really want to be?

I remember that quite a while ago Graeme made a great post about 'norms' and 'normal'. I can't remember exactly where.

Robert Owen's quote sprang to mind. -  “All the world old is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer”

 

I have a suspicion that a rule like that might lead to stories becoming rather bland.

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I do agree though, we do censor ourselves a lot. People probably think I should censor my mouth a bit more, since I have the tendency of saying things that are abrasive and a bit mean. I hardly ever do though. In my writing, I don't really do a lot of censoring either, for the protection of my readers. I censor myself because I am just unwilling to go there for myself.. Some of them probably wished I went farther, especially in my sex scenes, they are always bordering between fade to black and erotica. But I don't wish to push the envelope, I am a strict romance/comedy/drama writer for the most part and it is what I like. 

 

In writing, if you do anything taboo with little or no conviction behind it, it just becomes an eyesore. You have to be at least comfortable to go there and do it some sort of justice or you won't be believable. You will get negative criticism from those that shoot off about the story having it there in the first place AND the ones that are ok with it being there, but NOT doing it smoothly and on par with the rest of the story. If you're doing it for shock and awe, you probably need to rethink it. Having a scene or a portion of the story that doesn't fit with the rest is like having a square peg and a round hole. IT will annoy everyone.

 

An author wants an audience. You have to be comfortable with that audience and the audience has to be comfortable with the story you give them. I'm not saying, 'don't do that,' I'm saying, 'know what you are doing, before you do it.' 

Edited by Krista
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??? I see absolutely nothing wrong with using the term 'self-censorship'.

It comes with the connotation of unforced decision making, like the marketing, personal decisions, internal censorship (surely a synonym for self-censorship?) people have described.

The term, 'censorship', has a strong connotation of external and forced decision making and is quite different in meaning - as pointed out by Ashi.

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It's a good question Ron but I think there might be as many valid answers as there are viewpoints.

For a start, how do we decide on what is 'normal'? And then, is that what we really want to be?

I remember that quite a while ago Graeme made a great post about 'norms' and 'normal'. I can't remember exactly where.

Robert Owen's quote sprang to mind. -  “All the world old is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer”

 

I have a suspicion that a rule like that might lead to stories becoming rather bland.

 

The norm is what is typical. Normal is what is natural. Never confuse the two.

 

Being right-handed is the norm. Being left-handed is not the norm, but it's still normal.

 

Main-stream music is the norm (okay, that's probably by definition). Alternate music is not the norm, but it's still normal.

 

The norm with fiction are adventure, drama and romance stories. Other types of stories are not the norm, but they're still normal.

 

If you write a story that is not part of the norm, then don't expect it to be popular. It may be, but it probably won't be. That doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile story -- it's just not a commercially successful story :D

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I find myself wondering at the various directions this thread has taken.  

 

Censorship of a story falls pretty much into 2 categories. The "self censorship" of the writer, and limits upon what may be written levied by outside influences. Some external limits are necessary at times. The limits placed here are for the benefit of the sight, to keep sponsorship and the like. There are other forms even more "acceptable".  Freedom of speech protects my right to express myself.  It does not give me the right to make public information about some neighbor that was the victim of an attack. If said neighbor does not want the details of that attack made public, that is their right.

 

As I understood Ron's initial question, it was asking opinions on if a writer should change how he/she portrays a character so as to present the gay community in a better light. My reaction to that was "Is the portrayal realistic?"  

 

Chosing to avoid a controversial subject will not make that subject cease to exist.  Gay bashing happens. It is not right, most reasonably minded people know it is not right, and would never engage in it. Unfortunately it does happen. The same can be said for some forms of incest and child abuse. For the most part it is pretty much reviled, but that doesn't stop it from occurring.

 

Society has its ills.  Ignoring those ills will not make them go away.  The only way to minimize the occurrence is to make people aware of them, vigilant of the issues, and hope that bad situations can be corrected.  That a family member see's signs of impending incest and intervenes. That someone on the street sees the beginnings of a potential gay bashing, or any beat down for that matter, and takes steps to stop it - which could be anything from speaking up to dialing 911. Ignoring it only enables.

 

Fiction does not mean patently untrue.  It can be a way to expose the ills of society without some real person needing to suffer those ills.  Better that someone learns how horridly rape can affect a person through a fictional TV series on prime time than through experience. Better to learn about the different forms of incest through a fictional story than having the weird uncle corner you on the holiday.

 

So - should an author self censor to present a topic, group, or issue in the best possible light? There is no "right" answer to that.  Is it wrong to white wash something just to gain public approval?   I think so, but each of you will need to make that decision for yourselves.

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I think most of the points I would have wanted to make have already been addressed, but I would like to add that, of course I think it's wonderful when people read my stories and enjoy them. But if I were to tell a story in another way than the way I really wanted to tell it, all the praise in the world couldn't make up for the feeling of having compromised my integrity and my art for the sake of being liked. Don't get me wrong, I edit and rewrite and poke at everything I write a gazillion times before it's ever even seen by a beta or editor, but when I tell a story it's because I think it needs to be told, and when I make a creative choice (such as including a metric fucktonne of swearing) I do so deliberately, and when I split an infinitive, I mean for it to bloody well stay split. And I will never shy away from pushing at boundaries because that, in my opinion, is what art is for.

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The way I see it there are four separate issues here - imposed censorship, self-censorship, the idea of "normal", and compliance with site rules / standards.

Compliance is easy - the site has rules / standards. You either accept them or you don't. Likewise the starting point for imposed censorship, which is the thread title, is easy - "no". But sometimes it needs to be "yes" for example kids TV, games etc. Beyond that it starts to get more difficult ... Self censorship, as Iarwain explained, is different and is also easy - you are free to choose, you decide, based on your own standards and your own agenda, no-one else's.

As to the notion of "normalisation" I disagree with Graeme - what is "natural"? - and I agree again with Iarwain :P In fact I'd go further - this is abhorrent to me. There is no such thing as "normal" human behaviour. There are cultural "norms" such as "moral standards", "right" and "wrong", "good" and "bad", behaviour that is "acceptable" and "unacceptable", legal compliance and lawbreaking etc etc. We all do things - and think things - that fall both sides of whatever is the dividing line. Does that then make us "normal" or "abnormal"? And who sets those dividing lines anyway? And wherever they are set they are most definitely not fixed - they move and change over time and place.

Nope, the last thing I want to do is to lead my life in order to please others - be true to yourself! - nor do I want to be "normal", and I certainly don't want to be "normalized", thank you.  Good thread question though, Ron :)
 

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In fact I'd go further - this is abhorrent to me. There is no such thing as "normal" human behaviour. There are cultural "norms" such as "moral standards", "right" and "wrong", "good" and "bad", behaviour that is "acceptable" and "unacceptable", legal compliance and lawbreaking etc etc. We all do things - and think things - that fall both sides of whatever is the dividing line. Does that then make us "normal" or "abnormal"? And who sets those dividing lines anyway? And wherever they are set they are most definitely not fixed - they move and change over time and place.

 

Nope, the last thing I want to do is to lead my life in order to please others - be true to yourself! - nor do I want to be "normal", and I certainly don't want to be "normalized", thank you.  Good thread question though, Ron :)

 

Exactly. Couldn't have said it better. Thank you very much Z.

 

Look at literature in general; it looks like a Gaussian bell-shaped curve, most authors write 'normal' things and then there are those on the right and left side. (this is not a political statement) Over the years the whole curve moves right or left, 'normal' moves with it. Normal changes, IMO because of the authors on the right and left side of the curve.

Edited by aditus
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First of all, Ron, I do not approve. :ph34r:

 

You couch it a lot in terms of that thread, but I know you are in part responding to what I said. And I didn't at all imply what you are saying. My plea was a call to think about the consequences before releasing them into the wild and own up, have a good sense of the responsibility of the image you create. It would be the same thing if you dance almost naked in a gay pride parade with bondage-themed gear on and then have the audacity to be shocked if a grandma covers her grandchildren's eyes. It goes without saying that everyone should have the right to express themselves, whether or not Madonna says you can, but along with that comes the responsibility of knowing the possible downsides and owning up to them, whether you agree with the reaction or not. Imagining what the neighbors will think every time you do anything is absurd, certainly, but it's unavoidable to a certain extent.

Brink's reply was shrunk to save space

 

 

Hey, hey, hey no reason to go all ninja on me. 

 

I have said it privately and I will reiterate for you and also say it publicly... I value your opinions. This one no less than any of your others.

 

The question is indeed inspired in part by what you said. I am sorry if you feel that I have somehow mangled your words or turned them around or against you. That is simply not the case nor was it my intent. I don't like thinking that I can be faulted for taking the one paragraph of yours, coming to my own conclusions and then furthering the thought. Or, asking a question and making a connection to another thread because of it.

 

I was not couching and if it seemed that way, you should not have assumed that it was in order to deceive or misdirect anyone.

 

It was my hope that folks would link to Sasha's thread and read it. Sasha's story, 'Home Grown' is a tough story. Its' depiction of a incestuous pedophilic uncle and two brothers who fall in love was surprising to say the least. I thought that it was extremely brave of him to put that out there but perhaps also a bit crazy to do that here. Although I hit the like button, I did not leave a review. My thought at the time was that liking it was a safe option but reviewing it might be a way to shoot myself in the foot. I am a new presence here on GA and still unsure of my place in it. I am most certainly a new author and very new to the craft. I want folks to read what I write so I don't want anyone making false assumptions about me because I reviewed a story containing incest in a positive way. But, I wanted to leave a review and my self imposed censorship has bothered me ever sense. I wondered all along if I was alone in my action? When Sasha began his thread - The Last Taboo, I thought that I may possibly find out if there were others that felt as I did. I did not find any such thing and so I continue to wonder. What I did find was a lively discussion of incest and other possible taboos. Then your reply showed up and one thing led to another.

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I tend to agree with Gaeme and Cia's opinion.  Though I must point out the title is "Is Censorship Acceptable," then you wandered into self-sensorship.  I think self-censorship is the author's freedom (i.e, I self-censor my work according to my own comfortable level).  It's only when the censorship that's imposed on the creator of the story by an external force, that's when it might become controversial.

 

You point out the distinction of my using Censorship in the thread title and self-censorship in the leading thread comment. Self-censorship was perhaps the wrong word choice but like Brink mentions, it falls into the greater catchall of Censorship even so. Still, it is a distinction that many are making in this thread and one that I use myself when it is convenient for me to do so.  :P

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