Wednesday Workshop: The Silent Code

Read the above, because it's coming back. Oh, not in its original form, but you can see the invisible hands of censorship everywhere, especially when the below phrase is applied in context of the rule:
"Thou shalt not upset those with the money."
You see this in Hollywood, those big-budget movies that also have significant overseas investment (from many places, not just one) that are supposed to 'play well' in countries where certain things are not allowed. Certain things shall not be criticized. Certain things shall not be shown. The script shall be changed.

In short, overseas governments have control of what you see and enjoy.

So we get movies that seem strangely antiseptic and clean. No nudity. No sex. No criticism of those in power. No sedition. No glamorization of criminality. No showing another country or institution in an unfavorable light.

Women? Don't give them any ideas that they should act outside the norms of our culture and what we view as acceptable. Same sex relations? Transgendered heroes? Let's not talk about those, shall we? Thank you, here is the check.

The less said the better.

I go to the theater and I sit there in a strange numb haze. In every word and scene my mind wonders what was originally written or said. I wonder what was cut out. I wonder how the original vision was changed to fit the new money norm. Worse yet, was the film in which I see written from the start as not to offend anyone?

It is all so strangely unoffensive.

I expect to look to my left and see George Orwell stuffing popcorn in his mouth, his eyes telling me, "I told you so."

It is like the Hays Code has never went away. What was old is new again. Our rights, our freedom of expression, and the free flow of creative ideas feel like they are all placed under the yoke of international money and restrictions. What we enjoy on the silver screen, and I feel to some extent streaming services, is all impacted by this strange alliance of money and content politics.

Content politics. Remember those words.

Better yet, learn to recognize the invisible hands.

And what bothers me about this is the creeping nature of all of this censorship. You get these multi-national corporations, and of course they want to 'play' in these overseas markets. They want a share of the pie, and I have no problem with that. But then comes the restrictions. You can't say that. You can't show this. Don't upset our population. Change the film to be less political. Don't show independent women. Limit the screen time of same-sex relationships, or better yet - just don't show them. Let's make things everyone can enjoy.

And in your stores in countries outside of yours, don't show things to the world which may upset us.

Hey, you want to 'play' in our market, right?

Don't upset us.

We vote for this with our wallets every time we go to the theater. We elevate the celebrities who participate in this economy of political silence as cultural gods on our late-night shows and on social media. They speak of social injustice but are unwilling to speak out against those who silence speech and free expression? We hold up pop-culture movies like stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments as examples of right and wrong, when those same movies were sanitized by some invisible apolitical and invisible code of behavior by the big-money few.

And I get a kick out of celebrities who cash that check and then project their anger at others.

Next time you want to support equal treatment and fairness to all sexes and beliefs I suggest you look in a mirror and spare us your sanctimony.

We buy from these companies, entertainment, big sales, and social media. We vote for this cultural censorship with our wallets. We treat the celebrities who participate in homogeneous cultural silence as guideposts of morality, free expression, and public opinion. We support the commercialization and copyrighting of our fables and fairy tales into corporate properties that belong to the few.

And these companies get so big that they must participate in these overseas markets, so the hands of those outside our normally liberal and free-thinking culture are allowed a voice in what we should see and hear.

A small bookstore or record shop? Sure, it can sell whatever it wants. But big stores move in, online stores take over the market, and all of a sudden there aren't any more small shops with a more free and liberal sales policy anymore.

And we did this with our wallets.

I get this feeling of outside interference is coming. Call me paranoid but I have no trust of online stores or the money that flows through them. I write erotica, and also transgendered erotica, so those are sensitive subjects in many places in this world. I worry that the big booksellers may be pressured to hide my books because they want to sell in other countries and demands are made to push our books father into the darkness of the back room.

These books and topics upset us. Please make them harder to find.

Everywhere in the world.

That music upsets us. Please make it harder to find.

Those movies are not acceptable to us. Please change the script.

Those ideas are not what we wish to see.

Thank you, here is the check.