The Mighty Censors Have Won
Its Bugs Bunny vs Elmer Fudd in the Free Speech Fight
A friend of mine told me that he spent an evening watching Bugs Bunny cartoons on DVD. I happen to love Bugs. I remember a time when Loony Tunes was on Saturday Mornings. You know, the regular over the air TV stations like ABC, CBS and NBC.
I also remember a time, as a child, watching them uncut. I know, its hard to understand that at some point in time someone decided that a cartoon aired for generations on TV was not suited to young viewers.
This was my first run in with censorship. I did not understand what it really was back when I was 10 or 11. But there it was. Broadcast for all to see. Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Loony Tunes gang being cut, reshaped and replayed as if it were the original.
There was no notice about this. The powers that be just decided that one September morning when the new cartoon season began that Bugs and Friends had to be reigned in. They had to have their 6 minute shorts cut down to an even shorter run time.
Why? Because they were too violent or racist or whatever else the TV monitors could think of. It got to a point where they stopped showing some Wile E Coyote and Road Runner shorts. Why? Because they cut so much out of them that it didn’t make any sense to air them.
In a land that touts FREEDOM as its hallmark, you know, Freedom of Speech, it was a shock to many. But the censors didn’t stop with Bugs. They turned their eyes to many things in American culture.
At first, this stuff didn’t take hold. Then came the 1990’s and the Clinton era. Vice President Al Gore had a wife (had being the operative word since later in time they divorced) everyone knew as Tipper. Her “government name” is Mary Elizabeth.
Tipper made it her calling to censor just about everything. Remember the whole Rap Music censorship debacle? Yes, Tipper wanted some Rap music banned and if it was not banned then it needed to be labeled much like our movie ratings system.
The music industry at first resisted but then acquiesced. But Tipper and her minions didn’t stop there. Soon video games had a rating. And now just about everything, including regular TV shows have ratings.
This was a blatant attempt to censor what the people, including adults, were watching or playing or consuming. And the wonderful censors didn’t stop. They got their foot in the door with Bugs. Then they shoved their whole body through the door with the music industry. Now we see it as normal.
But is it?
Now we have censors telling us that things like “LETS GO BRANDON” is not acceptable. In fact, people who wear the phrase on a shirt or hoodie have been kicked out of sporting and other events. Others who refused to leave were ordered to turn the clothing inside-out. If not, they would be arrested for trespassing. Yes TRESPASSING. In a public place at a public event in which they purchased a ticked to attend.
And yet we, as a nation, continue to let this incursion on our freedom happen. Why?
At what point do we as a free people say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH? When do we tell the censors that this is not appropriate in a free society? When do we tell those who seem to be offended by everything including the very breath that we take if we stand against them, to take a long walk on a short pier.
Oh wait, I’m pretty sure that is offensive to them as well. They will find a way to censor that, too.