Friday, March 2, 2012


by Elizabeth Komisar / Sylvia Violetta
We live in perilous times. Pick up a newspaper or turn on the television and it seems the whole bloody world is spiraling further and further away from reason. From peace… From everything sensible and good… The list is endless. At least further away from the ideals I think our forefathers shaped our country with. What did they really mean when they slapped together that little document called The Constitution of the United States of America? The Bill of Rights?
I ask myself, after pondering the array of garbage that comes across the airwaves or is shown in galleries or in whatever venue you can think of as “art” what exactly did they envision as freedom of speech or expression? Did they intend it to include religious icons covered in excrement on display in public buildings or holy books being burned? Did they mean to protect proponents of child pornography or lyrics to a song that glorify school shootings with your “daddy’s” gun? I’m not sure, but I find myself thinking about it, often. In fact, today, another high school shooting in Ohio has claimed three lives and hurt many others. You might ask what all of this has to do with Senseorship. Quite a bit.
We walk a thin line between right and wrong. As long as we “think” something does no harm we overlook it. But the moment it backfires, we point the finger at whoever we blame without thinking about our own responsibilities and how turning a blind eye contributes to these violent episodes. The written word packs a more powerful punch than anything I’ve ever encountered. It’s timeless—in essence, immortal.
So my question really is how much freedom is too much? I dare not say, and have only begun to consider this myself. And I know I’m not alone. We need to think before we write, consider the consequences before we speak. I wholly believe our forefathers envisioned a people worthy of the freedom to think for themselves—and act appropriately. Senseorship doesn’t mean suppressing our words. It means embracing this precious freedom and remembering how delicate it truly is. Exercising prudence and commonsense. Lately, it seems some of us have forgotten what that tremendous responsibility entails.


Pauline Trent said...

I struggle with this one, as well. You are so completely not alone.

Anonymous said...

I count myself fortunate that I was raised in a family where nothing was off the table for discussion. That broad freedom to think about odd and sometimes distasteful subjects wasn't appreciated fully in my youth as it is now. I agree that our founding fathers hoped we would rise to the expectations they had for us. The way we, as a people, do that is to censor only ourselves and lead by example toward the ideals we wish to impart for all.Common sense works for most, censorship never works.