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Sunday, November 21, 2004

 

war and speech


christian cultists are on the warpath against speech they see as inimical to the unthought myopic values that they would misguidedly promote (read: enforce) as an antidote to social decay. a group know as the american family association managed to get abc to yield on showing -- on armistice day -- "saving private ryan".

one might ask how a film that was shown in exactly the same manner in 2001 and 2002 came to be banned this go-round, despite the same protests arising. and one would find the answer in the ascendancy of a christian cultist to the presidency and his subsequent consolidation of power. in the words of times' columnist frank rich:

What has changed between then and now? A government with the zeal to control both information and culture has received what it calls a mandate. Media owners who once might have thought that complaints by the American Family Association about a movie like "Saving Private Ryan" would go nowhere are keenly aware that the administration wants to reward its base. Merely the threat that the F.C.C. might punish a TV station or a network is all that's needed to push them onto the slippery slope of self-censorship before anyone in Washington even bothers to act.
this sort of moral cleansing of the airwaves is seen by the christian cultists represented by organizations like the afa as a good thing, perhaps even as an absolute good. in their view, remembering what actually happened in the past is not as important as being sure that no christian need countenance anything unwholesome in their lives. approximate history is apparently no substitute for approximate chastity.

their interactions with others, consisting of temptation management -- of both others temptations and their own -- could be seen as their futile attempt to, once again, begin constructing a moral utopia. there can be little doubt that they owe much to the kind of idealism that led plato to author his republic or rousseau his social contract.

but, unlike those examples, it is an unconsidered, reflexive idealism -- in fact, anti-intellectual and spiteful of complexity. it is primitive, desperate and mystical, simple to the point of being childlike, along the lines of the cults that arise in dying ages past than any philosophy.


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