Tag Archives: canonicity

A few remarks on the “virtues” of censorship

“I hate censorship, but there is something to be said for the creativity censorship imbues into artists of all crafts.” — Brad Brevet

This is not a new argument.  People who have identified their own as the highest form of moral caliber have been employing it for centuries.  The basic function of censorship is not to suppress creativity (they argue), but to protect the Greater Good.  If some things must be outlawed as taboo in order for the larger number of people to benefit, then so be it.  But how do we weigh these so-called benefits?  One of the many problems with censorship, though, is that, because of its deep, insidious roots in our culture, people frequently mistake it for something else.  A few years ago, Kirby Dick made a film called This Film Is Not Yet Rated, in which he laid  the American film industry’s creative problems at the feet of the Motion Picture Association of America.  (I only mildly hyperbolize.)  He argued that the contradictory and arbitrary standards held by the MPAA ratings board — which decides what rating a film gets before general release — have curbed the original “vision” of many filmmakers to the point that their films are creatively crippled.  Clearly, the removal of three pelvic thrusts from a sex scene is the crucial difference between creative freedom and repressive fascism. Continue reading

Annotations to the Obligatory Top 100

More for posterity’s sake than anything, I thought it worthwhile to include a link to the list of my one hundred favorite films, which is available on MUBI as as list entitled, ironically enough, “The Obligatory Top 100.” As I noted there, my criteria were incredibly broad. So broad, in fact, so as to be arguably little else than the fact that these films bring me a great deal of joy.  I imposed some arbitrary other criteria on my winnowing process, mostly because without arbitrary restrictions, I would never be equal to the task of narrowing my favorites down to a mere one hundred.  As I explained to a friend the other day, there are probably at least four hundred films that could just as easily hold a place on my list, but since 100 is the conventional number for such a thing, it is the number by which I abide (with much grumbling, groaning, and other pouty noises). Continue reading


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