Some Issues in the Censorship vs Freedom of Art
(Based in part on Fisher's discussion, Ch. 4)
- Legal censorship vs moral censure
- Could say legal censorship not appropriate and say moral disapproval
(or approval) is
- One might believe that art ought not to exemplify
evil/offensive attitudes but still oppose censoring art that does
this (for opposed to censorship in all forms)
- Could legally allow art to be produced, but require or make people
label it (movie ratings) and govern how they market and advertise it
- FTC case of violence pedaled to children;
- Government regulations or voluntary standards?
- How in our society, legally, art is distinguished from mere
- Cincinnati arts center director prosecuted for violating obscenity law
- Do you think that if Mapplethorpe had been about women, he
would have created such a fuss?
- Definition of pornography/obscenity and how dif from art
- Definition of Obscenity: (From 1973 Supreme Court, Paris Adult Theatre I
v. Slayton) In Georgia code:
- Applying prevailing community standards
- Appeals to prurient interests (e.g., shameful interests in nudity, sex, or
- Utterly without redeeming social value when work is considered as a
whole (does it have artistic merit?)
- Goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor (i.e.,
- SUPREME COURT CASES
- Stanley v. Georgia (1969)
- States may not ban possession of obscene materials in the home; this
is protected by 1st Amendment
- Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slayton (1973)
- States may ban the sale and distribution of obscenity; this is not
protected by 1st Amendment
- Barnes v. Glen Theatre (after 1988)
- States my prohibit totally nude dancing; 1st Amendment does not
protect totally nude dancing.
- Texas v. Johnson (1989) (5-4)
- A Texas law that prohibits people from burning the American flag as
an act of political protest was ruled unconstitutional as a violation of
the 1st Amendment.
- How absolute freedom of speech is not plausible
- Yelling fire in crowded theater not allowed, nor should it be.
- Fighting words
- No limits on artistic freedom?
- No limits on art for offending people or the bad effects on audience
(such as extolling violence)?
- Say art doesn't affect people?
- Why have people read good novels then?