Art and Morality

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Name Professor Name Course Name 8th December 2011 Art and Morality The first amendment to the USA constitution gives all citizens of USA the freedom of speech. Provisions like the first amendment which allow free speech are made in almost all the modern constitutions of the world.


Artists are the ones who have to normally face the brunt of this censorship. Whether you consider the criminal obscenity charges against the rap group for the album 2 Live Crew in the 80s or the fatwa issued to kill Salman Rushdie for his book Satanic Verses – artists have always been persecuted for bringing out work which goes against ‘ethos’ of society. (Greenwood) This chant for censorship is not limited to Islamic countries or third world countries which are not considered ‘mature’ enough but extends to the self proclaimed champions of free speech – USA and the Western Europe. From the Comstock Law of 1873 to the 1996 Communications Decency Act; the developed world is full of laws which stifle artistic freedom. (Caso) The question which arises is this – should we allow censorship of controversial art which shows murder, explicit sexual scenes or offends religious sensibilities? The answer is a big NO. The reason is very simple. Censorship is like a wild poisonous snake – you cannot control whom it will bite. Once power is given to the government to ban someone else; it may turn it head and ban something you like too. The most frequent target of censorship is sexually explicit art forms. Hundreds and thousands of books have been banned all across the world for their sexual content. Some books may be sexually explicit; however sexual content is usually an excuse for the ban. ...
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