Thursday, July 23, 2009

ROD DREHER'S IMAGISTERIUM. Former film critic Rod Dreher hears about a movie (by the auteur of "one of my favorite Catholic movies," yet) and starts talking censorship. But with an explanation! First:
Unlike in the US, censorship is legal [in Britain]. You may not believe in censorship -- and please, let's not have that fruitless debate here, American readers; the US government is effectively powerless to censor anyway, so it's not a real issue -- but consider the moral point the critic is making here in his essay...
You'd think that were that as far as the c-word is concerned. But hold on, Brother Rod's comin' round again:
As I said, in the US, we haven't got censorship in any effective way, so I see this debate for us as being one about what we choose to censor -- that is, to treat as completely incompatible with civilized discourse and bounds of art.
It's as if he didn't have a dictionary, or the "c" section had been ripped out of it.
The American version of the critic's point would go something like this: In America, discussions of a film's moral qualities, with regard to declaring it "obscene," comes down to the feeble principle that if it doesn't harm children, there are no grounds to judge it so harshly.

What happens when a society loses the will and the capability of condemning "art" of this sort? What happens when there are no grounds to ban snuff films, or at least pornographic films that simulate raping and then murdering a victim, depicted onscreen for pure pleasure. What happens to that society?
We get the mail, go to work, to the mall, pay taxes, raise families... sorry, what was the question again?
We are a civilization that lacks the courage to condemn. We lack the vision to see clearly, and the spine to damn what is damnable. This is not going to end well for us.
We've been hearing this since the turn of the last century and somehow we managed to win World War II. As to this whole proposed discussion about what movie the brethren would choose to censor (none of them take the bait, though one offers a hilarious condemnation of the "Catholic movie" Dreher starts by praising), he might as well have asked them what underage movie star they'd like to fuck. The ensuing debate would have been as bootless, but a lot more interesting.

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