I haven't read the replies. Thought I'd just respond to your original post and then read what others had to say, so if I repeat some comments, please excuse me.
I'm pretty annoyed with people constantly talking about how freedom of speech and expression in America is a joke, especially people living in england, where they have the video nasties type shit. There are parts of europe that ban bondage videos and any type of non vanilla porn, places that still band fucking books. but america is the country that people talk about as being the great opresser.
Yes, but USA is the only country, as far as I know, that states that freedom of speech is a basic human right in its constitution. I think many people bag on the USA because of the apparent hypocrisy in this country. Unfortunately, hypocrisy in general has been growing on many levels in this country, specially within the last several years.
Yes, on the surface the USA is one of the most free countries in the world. However, what I find alarming is not the blatant form of sensorship, where for example the FCC starts fining radio stations left and right for "indecent" content, but the more subtle sensorship which doesn't even look like one.
Let me explain with an example. When I used to live in the USSR, the government tried to run a campain to block a shortwave radio program called "Voice of America", which is an american propaganda station broadcast on shortwave radio, specifically intended for foreign countries (broadcast in at least 50 languages). I would also like to add that all the radios in the soviet countries included AM, FM as well as shortwave frequencies, as standard. When I asked my grandfather what he thought of the whole ban thing, he said that USSR had a point, because in the USA almost 100% of the radios lack shortwave, thus the american public is automatically blocked from receiving foreign broadcasts.
Of course you can counter that by saying that if someone wants a shortwave radio, they can purchase one... however, the fact remains a fact that not too many people are even aware of the existence of shortwave radio.
Along those same lines, it strikes me how little an average american knows about the rest of the world, compared to people living in other progressive, 1st and 2nd world countries. In the USA this is apparent how US-centric information and entertainment is. The only time we hear about some foreign country is when there is some US involvement. The news media in other countries is far more inclusive. Same goes for pop music and movies. In general if you want to see some foreign movie, you'll have to either go to a festival or rent it on video. When was the last time you saw a French or Italian movie?
As oppressive as USSR was, when we lived there, we were far more aware of what was going on in the rest of the world. Then again, in USSR you'd be sent to Siberia if your music was "too western" as they did to Alfred Schnitke...
Now, I don't think this is completely down to some conspiracy, although I do believe that there is some element of it going on at the corporate and federal level. For example it immensely benefits the US drug companies for FDA not to allow foreign medicine imports. Also, it is far easier to control public opinion when they only hear a one sided opinion about some subject matter. However, this also has a lot to do with the fact that the US population is also quite US centric and foreign subject matter, or foreign entertainment products don't necessarily sell very well.
Whatever the reasons, lack of information is also a form of sensorship, albeit a much subtler one, which by its nature is far more dangerous due to its "stealth" nature.
posted by: noisewreck on 2005-05-31 01:21:59
view other comments
posted by noisewreck