Monday, April 12, 2010

Censorship: Modern Iconoclasm

Iconoclasm is image breaking otherwise known as censorship. Iconoclasm was seen most when it came to religion in history in relation to the church especially. Many times the use of iconoclasm was for the removal of Christ from pictures because they church leaders felt that to try to depict Christ was to essentially worship images and not actually Christ. In the video we watch in class there was a ruler who had the face of Christ removed from all imagery for that exact reason. Iconoclasm was not left in the past though; today we see instances of iconoclasm even if we don’t realize it. Originally iconoclasm was image breaking because they would literally smash statues and frescos and anything else they could physically destroy. They would also paint over things, such as Christ or a face. This is all a form of censorship covering or removing something so that the masses do not see it.

Censorship is a large part of controversies that we see today. Although the methods are different, the intent is the same. Artists have to change their lyrics all of the time or else that won’t get on the radio or they will be bleeped out. Maybe the language isn’t necessary, but that is how the artist intended it. People gawk at nude art and are often times outraged by it. One pope covered Greek statues with fig leaves. Today, television and photographs can be seen with black censor bars over parts of the body. Time magazine featured an article about banned books. There is one week a year dedicated to how far society has come and free speech. They offer a list of the most tested books even to today. On that list are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye and the Harry Potter series. Although the attempts to ban these books has been fruitless they are still attempts at censorship.

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