PDA

View Full Version : More censorship


Ed
24th November 2005, 05:23 AM
Poor Chris Marlowe

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1887902,00.html

IT WAS the surprise hit of the autumn season, selling out for its entire run and inspiring rave reviews. But now the producers of Tamburlaine the Great have come under fire for censoring Christopher Marlowe’s 1580s masterpiece to avoid upsetting Muslims.
Audiences at the Barbican in London did not see the Koran being burnt, as Marlowe intended, because David Farr, who directed and adapted the classic play, feared that it would inflame passions in the light of the London bombings.

Darat
24th November 2005, 05:28 AM
It isn't censorship, a writer has adapted a play to his wishes. That's called artistic freedom.

One of the quotes in the article says "I don’t believe you should interfere with any classic for reasons of religious or political correctness." That is artistic tyranny - that is telling an artist/writer etc. that she cannot do whatever she wants.

Ed
24th November 2005, 05:39 AM
There is something called integrity. He is not doing this to expand on his "vision" of Marlowe, he is doing it to avoid giving "offence". I have never heard, at least nothing pops into my mind, of an artist modifing anything, their own or someone else's work to "avoid giving offence". Have you?

Are you suggesting that "lack of offence" is now something worthwhile in reinterpeting the masters?

Ian Osborne
24th November 2005, 05:47 AM
There is something called integrity. He is not doing this to expand on his "vision" of Marlowe, he is doing it to avoid giving "offence". I have never heard, at least nothing pops into my mind, of an artist modifing anything, their own or someone else's work to "avoid giving offence". Have you?

Still his call.

Are you suggesting that "lack of offence" is now something worthwhile in reinterpeting the masters?

Yes. Malvolio in Shakespere's Twelfth Night is far more sympathetically portrayed in modern-day performances than he was in Elizabethan times, when laughing at the mentally ill was part of the comedy.

Darat
24th November 2005, 05:50 AM
There is something called integrity. He is not doing this to expand on his "vision" of Marlowe, he is doing it to avoid giving "offence". I have never heard, at least nothing pops into my mind, of an artist modifying anything, their own or someone else's work to "avoid giving offence". Have you?


Yes many, many times, especially artists working in a mass-market or attempting to break into the mass-market. Many artists do consider the audience they are aiming at and therefore will modify their work to suit that audience. Artists will also do the opposite as well to break into the mass-market, I (on a personal level) have known artists who will also modify their own work to add "offensive" , normally in an attempt to garner publicity in order to increase sales or prices.


Are you suggesting that "lack of offence" is now something worthwhile in reinterpreting the masters?

I believe artists should be free to do whatever they want using whatever material they want at all times. (Within the law of course)

Artists should be free to do whatever they want without this mock outrage but hey it's free publicity.

CFLarsen
24th November 2005, 06:23 AM
There is something called integrity. He is not doing this to expand on his "vision" of Marlowe, he is doing it to avoid giving "offence". I have never heard, at least nothing pops into my mind, of an artist modifing anything, their own or someone else's work to "avoid giving offence". Have you?

Steven Spielberg. Removed the guns from "E.T."

Jocko
24th November 2005, 06:43 AM
It isn't censorship, a writer has adapted a play to his wishes. That's called artistic freedom.

Funny, it doesn't seem he adapted anything ELSE in the play to his "wishes," so that sounds like PC bullsh*t to me, Darat. That's called "hijacking a classic and twisting it to your political agenda."

One of the quotes in the article says "I don’t believe you should interfere with any classic for reasons of religious or political correctness." That is artistic tyranny - that is telling an artist/writer etc. that she cannot do whatever she wants.

Yeah, and another says:

Audiences at the Barbican in London did not see the Koran being burnt, as Marlowe intended, because David Farr, who directed and adapted the classic play, feared that it would inflame passions in the light of the London bombings.

See, Darat, it's the "because" that puts the lie to that theory. Sure, they make mealy-mouthed excuses about bringing it into the 21st century, but why change the ideas if you're not going to change the Elizabethan English its written in? That's a far bigger obstacle to accessibility than some dramatic but politically unpopular scene.

So, do you think the same "artistic integrity" would demand Shylock be made a Presbyterian so as to not inflame the Jews? How about a Hispanic Othello so as to not to offend blacks? I know! Make Juliet a man so as to not offend the gays. That's got integrity, huh?

Sheesh. The saddest thing of all is the way so many will jump to defend this kind of limp-wristed intellectual surrender.

Darat
24th November 2005, 06:53 AM
Funny, it doesn't seem he adapted anything ELSE in the play to his "wishes," so that sounds like PC bullsh*t to me, Darat. That's called "hijacking a classic and twisting it to your political agenda."


I don't seek to control what an artist decides to do, your posts reads as if you believe that artists should be controlled (outside the normal legal framework). Personally I prefer to allow artists to do whatever they want.


Yeah, and another says:



See, Darat, it's the "because" that puts the lie to that theory. Sure, they make mealy-mouthed excuses about bringing it into the 21st century, but why change the ideas if you're not going to change the Elizabethan English its written in? That's a far bigger obstacle to accessibility than some dramatic but politically unpopular scene.

So, do you think the same "artistic integrity" would demand Shylock be made a Presbyterian so as to not inflame the Jews? How about a Hispanic Othello so as to not to offend blacks? I know! Make Juliet a man so as to not offend the gays. That's got integrity, huh?

Sheesh. The saddest thing of all is the way so many will jump to defend this kind of limp-wristed intellectual surrender.

Ah the wonderful "artistic integrity", what a load of bunk. That's as big a crook of Ofili'a work as "political correctness". It's just another way of trying to impose your censorship on an artist.

As I said I am quite happy for any artist to do whatever she wants using whatever material she wants. I suspect many artist are always going to "disappoint" you if you insist that they must only produce artwork that complies with your "artistic integrity".

Roboramma
24th November 2005, 07:04 AM
I agree with Darat. There's a big difference between what you should do and what you should be allowed to do.

You might think the adaptation is bs, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be allowed.

Darat
24th November 2005, 07:10 AM
I agree with Darat. There's a big difference between what you should do and what you should be allowed to do.

You might think the adaptation is bs, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be allowed.

It does seem to be that if you support free expression those that don't support free expression tend to tar you with the "expression" you think others should be free to make no matter what your own views may be about it.

Nick Bogaerts
24th November 2005, 07:20 AM
Self-censorship is of course the best form of censorship, from the tyrant's point of view. Theo van Gogh's murderer made a tremendous sacrifice for his cause: now people think twice before offending religious fuundamentalists.

The Central Scrutinizer
24th November 2005, 07:21 AM
Yes. Malvolio in Shakespere's Twelfth Night is far more sympathetically portrayed in modern-day performances than he was in Elizabethan times, when laughing at the mentally ill was part of the comedy.
You mean we can't laugh at the mentally ill anymore? :(

When did this start? I didn't get the memo.

CFLarsen
24th November 2005, 07:24 AM
Self-censorship is of course the best form of censorship, from the tyrant's point of view. Theo van Gogh's murderer made a tremendous sacrifice for his cause: now people think twice before offending religious fuundamentalists.

Not in Denmark. The script writer behind his movie has gotten very favorable response on her next movie from Danish movie makers.

Darat
24th November 2005, 07:30 AM
Self-censorship is of course the best form of censorship, from the tyrant's point of view.


That we consider other people's feelings and views is one of the costs of living in a society. But it a difference in kind to not being allowed to decide for yourself whether to be considers other's views and opinions or not.


Theo van Gogh's murderer made a tremendous sacrifice for his cause: now people think twice before offending religious fuundamentalists.

And there was Salmon Rushdie before that and many other before and since who have been harmed or even killed when expressing their views, but that doesn't make it censorship.

Nick Bogaerts
24th November 2005, 08:03 AM
That we consider other people's feelings and views is one of the costs of living in a society. But it a difference in kind to not being allowed to decide for yourself whether to be considers other's views and opinions or not.

And there was Salmon Rushdie before that and many other before and since who have been harmed or even killed when expressing their views, but that doesn't make it censorship.

It is a difference in form, but not in kind. Whether you have the backing of the law, or that of a bunch of thugs, the effect is the same: preventing the free exchange of information and ideas. The very definition of censorship.

Ian Osborne
24th November 2005, 08:08 AM
You mean we can't laugh at the mentally ill anymore? :(

When did this start? I didn't get the memo.

If this is meant to be funny, I didn't get the joke :(

Darat
24th November 2005, 08:18 AM
It is a difference in form, but not in kind. Whether you have the backing of the law, or that of a bunch of thugs, the effect is the same: preventing the free exchange of information and ideas. The very definition of censorship.

We'll have to agree to disagree, although I agree that both can result in suppression. To me the difference in kind is that one removes my ability to make my own choice, the other does not.

Kiless
24th November 2005, 08:50 AM
Yes. Malvolio in Shakespere's Twelfth Night is far more sympathetically portrayed in modern-day performances than he was in Elizabethan times, when laughing at the mentally ill was part of the comedy.

[pendant] Malvolio wasn't mentally ill when he jumped around cross-gartered - he was tricked into doing so. Olivia innocently interpreted him as having gone mad, which was the comedy, along with the fact that a stuck-up social-climbing letch was having his come-uppance at the hands of those he regularly insulted.[/pedant]

Kiless
24th November 2005, 09:01 AM
In a production of 'Billy Liar', we discussed whether the lines regarding Billy's grandmother refusing to see her local GP because he was a black man was relevant and deserved to be kept in the play (it was raised by the woman playing the grandmother). We chose to let the lines stay as they were, since it made sense in the context of the time and we felt that it reflected upon the character that she chose such a nonsensical reason for not getting medical help. We scorned 'political correctness'.

In this case... I ponder how I might react if I was the director. Perhaps I may do an interview with the media about how I was staying true to it and what was Marlow's intentions at the time and that they don't reflect modern times at all and our growing sensitivity towards such issues... but then, is it truly showing sensitivity of modern attitudes by producing such a play? Are we again, too politically correct to the detriment of literature?

Then again - isn't the Merchant of Venice seen as 'insensitive' too? But then, don't some of the best actors in the business leap at the chance to play Shylock and that reflects more about the wealth of the character rather than any intended prejudice on their part?

Conflicted. I'd have to be the director to make a choice... is the play a 'modernised' version? That would probably influence me to omit the detail in the scene, if I was pressured enough. If it is set in the era, I'd probably keep it, as a nod to context of the time.

I've seen plenty of versions of 'Taming of the Shrew' that included a pointed essay in the program about feminist interpretations of Shakespeare... perhaps a note about the director's reasoning behind the performance of Katherina's final speech in Act V... such a thing should be considered, IMHO.

The Central Scrutinizer
24th November 2005, 09:11 AM
If this is meant to be funny, I didn't get the joke :(

That's unfortunate, because it was a good one!

Darat
24th November 2005, 09:11 AM
...snip...

In this case... I ponder how I might react if I was the director. Perhaps I may do an interview with the media about how I was staying true to it and what was Marlow's intentions at the time and that they don't reflect modern times at all and our growing sensitivity towards such issues... but then, is it truly showing sensitivity of modern attitudes by producing such a play? Are we again, too politically correct to the detriment of literature?


...snip..

In this instance (as far as I can tell from the report and for some reason I suspect it may not be giving us the whole picture) the "edits" are stupid in a play that is already bloody inaccessible to a modern audience!

Ian Osborne
24th November 2005, 09:44 AM
[pendant] Malvolio wasn't mentally ill when he jumped around cross-gartered - he was tricked into doing so. Olivia innocently interpreted him as having gone mad, which was the comedy, along with the fact that a stuck-up social-climbing letch was having his come-uppance at the hands of those he regularly insulted.[/pedant]

Moot point - the fact remains that he was incarcerated as he was believed to be mentally ill, a condition the Elizabethans could find funny.

luchog
24th November 2005, 03:40 PM
Then again - isn't the Merchant of Venice seen as 'insensitive' too? But then, don't some of the best actors in the business leap at the chance to play Shylock and that reflects more about the wealth of the character rather than any intended prejudice on their part?
My reading of it was that it wasn't so much his Jewishness that was the key note of the character, but his miserliness (admittedly, a Jewish stereotype of the time), his mercilessness, and his intransigent adherence to the letter, rather than the spirit, of the law (by which principle he was finally brought down). Pharasitical, certainly; but not specific to Jews, even in the stereotypes of the time.

As an artist myself, I see a very fine line between faithfulness to the original author's words, and reinterpreting them through one's own vision.

I don't see this as censorship, since it's 1) not forced by a government agency and 2) only applies to this one adaptation and is not an attempt at repressing the work itself. But I also don't see this as personal interpretation either, since in the words of the director himself, that is not what the issue is. The issue is simply dumbing it down to avoid offending a particular segment of the communtiy. Bullsh1t political correctness. It's not a horrible travesty of justice, or a "great offense to a master"; it's just bad art that doesn't deserve the attention it's gotten. Its accessibility, or lack thereof, is really irrelevant.

Ed
24th November 2005, 04:09 PM
Agree, not censorship.

If this were not pandering pcness, I would trust that he takes similar liberties with other masterworks to not give offence to anyone. Somehow I doubt that.

Ed
24th November 2005, 04:10 PM
Steven Spielberg. Removed the guns from "E.T."

Kids movie, I can see that. I wonder if he will do the same with the drug references in potergiest if it is ever director's cutted.

Darat
24th November 2005, 04:14 PM
George Lucas - Solo no longer shoots first.

Ed
24th November 2005, 07:06 PM
George Lucas - Solo no longer shoots first.

St. Paul: Jesus no longer pops Mary Magdelane

There is editing for an audience, there is editing for craven pc reasons.

Regnad Kcin
24th November 2005, 09:44 PM
...I have never heard, at least nothing pops into my mind, of an artist modifing anything, their own or someone else's work to "avoid giving offence". Have you?I am aware if at least two regional productions of Big River -- The Advertures of Huckleberry Finn where the original Broadway book's use of "******" was altered to "negro" for just that reason.

Regnad Kcin
24th November 2005, 09:49 PM
Just thought of another: Professional and amateur productions of Showboat over the decades have found other substitutions for the N word, which appears in Oscar Hammerstein III's lyrics for "Ol' Man River", if not throughout the play, if memory serves.

Ian Osborne
25th November 2005, 02:06 AM
And Agatha Christie's 'Ten Little Indians' was originally called 'Ten Little N*ggers'. Would anyone condemn this change?

The Central Scrutinizer
25th November 2005, 07:17 AM
And Agatha Christie's 'Ten Little Indians' was originally called 'Ten Little N*ggers'. Would anyone condemn this change?

I think you meant to say 'Ten Little Native Americans'.

brodski
25th November 2005, 07:53 AM
I think you meant to say 'Ten Little Native Americans'.
or "and then thre was one".

Mephisto
25th November 2005, 08:24 AM
Yes many, many times, especially artists working in a mass-market or attempting to break into the mass-market. Many artists do consider the audience they are aiming at and therefore will modify their work to suit that audience. Artists will also do the opposite as well to break into the mass-market, I (on a personal level) have known artists who will also modify their own work to add "offensive" , normally in an attempt to garner publicity in order to increase sales or prices.



I believe artists should be free to do whatever they want using whatever material they want at all times. (Within the law of course)

Artists should be free to do whatever they want without this mock outrage but hey it's free publicity.

As an airbrush artist and a writer, I agree with you 100%. It should always be up to the artist how or why his work can be changed. I've been a political/religious surrealist for years and I'll have to admit that the market for my style is particularly small, but I could always add brighter colors and happy little trees for mass appeal if sales were all that interested me.

I've also written articles locally that agitated all the good Christians here to the point that law enforcement, the Postal Service and the FBI were involved. My entire family was stalked by fundies as a result. I'll always support anyone (not just artists) using their freedom of speech and expression to make their point, but it often comes at a price.

I would never willingly allow anything I've done (whether controversial for religious or political reasons) be the catalyst in violence against ANYONE. If it were a visual piece, I would rather it not be hung in a controversial exhibit that might attract terrorist actions (not likely in the States) or give them impetus to harm others. If it were drama, I would rather the director take (some) liberties with the script than endanger the audience. A playwright or scriptwriter can never gauge the predominate tensions in the time frame or regions where his play may be produced.

Of course, these are my personal feelings. I have met other prima donna artists and writers who would DEMAND their work remain intact. They find out quickly, however, that sometimes "finding your niche" narrows your appeal.

When I'm ready, I'll use the fundies to provide the outrage and the free publicity.

Thanz
25th November 2005, 02:15 PM
Kids movie, I can see that. I wonder if he will do the same with the drug references in potergiest if it is ever director's cutted.
It was a kids movie the first time too, with the guns. What changed between the original release and the altered edition? Did kids change? If anything, they may be exposed to more violence now. I would argue that this is less "editing for an audience" and more "editing for craven pc reasons", to use your terminology.

Nick Bogaerts
26th November 2005, 02:40 PM
If it hadn't been for censorship in the first place, of course, it would not have been the Qu'ran being burnt.

shecky
26th November 2005, 06:32 PM
Wouldn't Disney be a big offender?

Also, Grimm fairy tales seem quite edited for modern audiences. I remember reading in my youth the original works, and being quite entertained by all the violence. I can't really recall many details, except for one of the sisters of Cinderella having her toes cut off so her big feet will fit in the slippers. :)

Gurdur
27th November 2005, 02:40 AM
Wouldn't Disney be a big offender?
Very true. Disney would have to be the all-time Bowdlerizeration biggest offender, if people really want to complain about "censorship" in the arts.

David Swidler
27th November 2005, 03:45 AM
And inthe end, so what? Shakespeare adapted old stories for his time. The Bible is chock full of "tweaked" episodes that appear elsewhere. Disney, like Shakespeare (Forgive me, O Will, for the juxtaposition), knows its market and aims to please becasue that's where the profits are. In both cases the art is in the execution, not the material.

The Fool
27th November 2005, 04:40 AM
When I spray paint slogans on the sides of buses and trains I never allow my own political views or worries about offending anyone influence the works. They stand alone as expressions of basic truth untainted by cheap party politics...... As do the huge mexican moustaches and the fangs on the photo posters of smiling, yet basically unstable, politicians .

luchog
27th November 2005, 05:38 PM
Very true. Disney would have to be the all-time Bowdlerizeration biggest offender, if people really want to complain about "censorship" in the arts.
Ugh.

Don't even get my started on Disney and their wholesale butchering of classic literature. Their execs really need to be hauled out into the streets and shot as an example to others. Not to mention their abuse of copyright legislation.