Unpopular Opinion: Censorship and “Offensive”Bookstagram Pictures

I don’t consider myself a controversial person, nor do I try to stir the pot when I see a problem brewing. However, it’s becoming progressively more difficult to stay quiet on certain issues, particularly issues involving censorship.

Today I was exploring Bookstagram when I came across a picture from one of the content creators I follow. In this photo advertising the book “Carve The Mark” the photographer painted her arm twilight blue and golden slash marks on her forearm.

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Wow. That’s a lot of dedication, I thought.

I proceeded to scroll on.

Later, I discovered the same photograph covered in white text reading “TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING.” Curious, I investigated to find a crap storm of biblical proportions.

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Apparently many people were complaining that this photograph promoted self-harm and that the photographer should take it down immediately or else they would file a formal complaint. The content creator explained that it was just art and she hadn’t meant any harm by it (she suffers from depression herself). Nevertheless, commentators were not appeased and continued to espouse PC rhetoric about how this could trigger someone or that this was somehow romanticizing cutting.

I’m not in the business of offending people, but I am in the business of creating and defending others that choose the arts as their vocation.

As such I have to say I’m getting tired of this cultural elitism that demands artists change their message or content because someone somewhere might be offended by it. Art has many interpretations and just because you interpreted something a certain way doesn’t give you the right to say something needs to be taken down. What gets me is most of the people that rushed to their keyboards don’t even have depression. They are becoming offended on another person’s behalf.

“What if someone with depression saw this and it triggered them?!”

“What if someone who self-harms saw this?!” 

I don’t know. What if aliens saw Keeping Up With The Kardashians and decided they didn’t want to make first contact anymore? Are we really going to crucify someone based on a hypothetical?

In their quest to come to depressed peoples’ aid they verbally attacked a person with actual depression for posting a picture they didn’t like.

Don’t misunderstand. I am not dissuading criticism. I think critique is perfectly fine. The problem occurs when someone tries to shut a person up or hurl vulgar abuse at them rather than have an intelligent discussion on the subject.

My problem, first and foremost, is with censorship. People being offended by everything is a close second, but censorship is by far the most important issue.

Anyone with any creative background should support another person’s right to make art. It’s as simple as that.

If you don’t like someone’s work, don’t follow that person. Don’t give them your money. Don’t give them your time.

You are not the definitive voice on what is and is not offensive. You don’t have the right to try to de-platform someone just because you don’t agree with their views or what they have created.

6 thoughts on “Unpopular Opinion: Censorship and “Offensive”Bookstagram Pictures

  1. I thought it was a beautiful picture/photo. Societies sensibilities are changing aren’t they? We once thought Lady Chatterley’s Lover was obscene. At the heart of censorship seems to be this desire to protect others – in this case from themselves. Instead of government’s banning books or movies people are taking it upon themselves to be the experts. At the end of the day good art (including writing) is about self expression and I would hate to live in a world where social media stifled the artists expression.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked this picture also. What’s more is I believe it was done in good taste as it was only mirroring the style on the book cover anyway. It’s sad what censorship has become. I see censorship as less of a benign entity. I believe protection is simply a facade for something much more sinister: control. People want to be able to control what other people say (or at least what they believe someone is saying) so they try to shut them up.

      Like

  2. Thanks for a thoughtful post–it made me think a lot, too. Criticism is an important component of art, but it’s possible to critique in a constructive way. Censorship is definitely not the answer. Sadly, nuance seems to get lost easily on the Internet.

    Liked by 1 person

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