Tapping Philosophy: Censorship summary
• This one got a little heated.
• Almost immediately into the discussion it became apparent that there was a schism at the table, regarding the meaning of the term censorship
• Censorship A: Borrowing from Chomsky and Herman’s conception of the media with a propaganda model, it was argued that self censorship occurred within the media framework, and that there might be implicit and specific political and economic reasons for information not being brought to the public’s attention, or being considered culturally taboo. In this way censorship can be diffuse and widespread, without a specific censoring agent.
• Censorship B: These folks argued for a more specific and limited definition of censorship where there is an agent who attempts to speak and is then deliberately suppressed. Also, the Censorship B coalition argued for a freely willing subject that was separate from the structure of society, and one of the more uppity B’s argued that society didn’t configure subjectivity at all!
• The censorship A people argued that the propaganda model of the media effectively served to censor the facts or the truth, while the B people argued that agency was absent from this definition of censorship and was therefore untenable. The A’s argued for the insidiousness of the propaganda model’s effectiveness, because of its presumptions of liberal objectivity and the relative difficulty in accessing the facts and the absence of accountability. The B’s argued that this definition of censorship was in fact too broad, and needed a different name, such as widespread corruption or delusion as opposed to censorship, which requires an agent and occurs ex post facto a particular instance of expression. Furthermore the B’s argued that the question in the broader sense became an issue of culture in general
• I attempted to bridge the gap between an overdetermined materialist model of subjectivity as offered by Censorship A (which I was admittedly a part of) and the free subject of Censorship B by implementing Ranciere’s model of the anarchical political subject that alters the distribution of the sensible, basically the field of expression, through radical aesthetico-political action, but the B’s wanted to preserve the abstract freedom of the subject separate from any social structure, such as the distribution of the sensible.
• At a certain point the conversation moved toward the issue social and cultural structure in general, or the lack thereof, which I felt moved away from the topic and became far too abstract.
• Overall, good discussion.