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seun
06-21-2007, 07:34 PM
With the BBFC being in the news over the last few days after banning a video game, I've been thinking. What would happen if there was a similar organisation for books? Would it be as acceptable as a body that regulates what we're allowed to watch? The BBFC can effectively decide what we see. What happens if we had people who could do the same with books?

Pagey's_Girl
06-21-2007, 07:43 PM
2007 would be like 1984

MidnightMuse
06-21-2007, 07:46 PM
Didn't Hitler try that once?

benbradley
06-21-2007, 08:21 PM
Being in the USA, I haven't heard of the BBFC, but I found a story on the situation here:
http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2192393/british-board-film-censors-ban
From the Wikipedia page on BBFC (bolding in the quote is mine):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Board_of_Film_Classification

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), originally British Board of Film Censors, is the organisation responsible for film and some video game classification and censorship within the United Kingdom.

The BBFC rates theatrically-released films, videos and some video games. Legally local authorities have the power to decide under what circumstances films are shown in cinemas, but they nearly always choose to follow the advice of the BBFC.
From the BBFC website, http://www.bbfc.co.uk:

Welcome to www.bbfc.co.uk the official website of the British Board of Film Classification, the independent regulator of the film and video industry in the UK.
It appears the BBFC isn't an acutal censor, and has no formal connection with the government, but for practical purposes it IS a censor. This sort of thing may be more insidious than actual government censorship ("government censorship" is redundant, by the way), as it gives some plausible deniability that it is censorship. The fact that the BBFC changed its name from "Censors" to "Classification" piques my interested ... I'm sure there's some interesting history behind that.

Jamesaritchie
06-21-2007, 08:42 PM
With the BBFC being in the news over the last few days after banning a video game, I've been thinking. What would happen if there was a similar organisation for books? Would it be as acceptable as a body that regulates what we're allowed to watch? The BBFC can effectively decide what we see. What happens if we had people who could do the same with books?

Up until about fifty years ago, the entire world, including the USA, had such banning powers. I can't see where it really stopped much from being published.

Higgins
06-21-2007, 09:00 PM
Up until about fifty years ago, the entire world, including the USA, had such banning powers. I can't see where it really stopped much from being published.


If the bans had no effect, why did they exist? Or how would anyone know if an ban with no effect existed?

Didn't Ulysses and Lolita have trouble with bans?

I mean the characters of course, not the books (which were of course not effected by the bans).

Lolita had to take up a career (if you want to call it that ) as a "chanteuse"....

And Ulysses had to push the whole Trojan War up a hill in Hell over and over. Or is that just a myth?

aka eraser
06-21-2007, 09:13 PM
Censorship in one form or another has always existed and will always exist. When some countries ban books, you can wager that others are rubbing their hands and preparing extra print runs for the black market trade.

More than a couple Canadian millionaires founded their fortunes by selling booze to thirsty Americans during Prohibition.

benbradley
06-21-2007, 09:39 PM
If the bans had no effect, why did they exist?
Probably the same reason the War On Drugs exists, so The Government (politicians) is seen as Doing Something For The Good Of The Public.

Higgins
06-21-2007, 10:03 PM
Probably the same reason the War On Drugs exists, so The Government (politicians) is seen as Doing Something For The Good Of The Public.

So what most people seem to mean by "no effect" is that the (contra)banned objects do not simply magically cease to exist. However, clearly banning has all sorts of other impacts: smuggling, prices are high, lots of people go to jail and so on.

Censorship can definitely have a big impact on what people have access to, though censorship might not be very magical.

Novelhistorian
06-22-2007, 03:37 AM
There's another aspect to censorship that has nothing to do with book sales, and that's the hysteria that gets whipped up. Think of the myriad cases of school boards deciding that Huckleberry Finn, Harry Potter, J.D. Salinger, or whatever the bane of the moment, is the devil between hard covers, and the hate and mud that gets slung around afterward. Nothing prevents parents from letting their kids read Catcher in the Rye at home, but when you have to think twice for political reasons about what you admit you read, freedom of press and expression suffer for it.

It doesn't always take a law or a government agency to censor what others might or might not be thinking. All it takes is fear.

seun
06-22-2007, 12:18 PM
At least we're no longer back in the days of the Lady Chatterly's Lover trial. Apparently, the prosecution asked if the book was something the jury would like their wife or servants reading. Kind of sums up a lot of the pro-censorship attitude. :Shrug: