Friday, February 12, 2010

Plato and Censorship

Hello Class:

As I am trying to finish the reading for tomorrow’s class, but I still find myself keep going back to the essays I enjoyed reading the most.

The essay that discusses Plato’s refusal to accept fiction as a proper educational tool, titled “Risk and the Internet: Perception and Reality,” brings about very intriguing points. Once again, in the Republic there is a specific part that is dedicated to the explanation of why the youth should not be exposed to fairy tales and unrealistic stories.

This essay touches on the fact that according to Plato, Homer should not have been held in such a high standing since his stories would harm children’s perception of reality, distorting the foundation of education.

Homer’s stories have numerous gods mixing in mortals’ affairs; there are many occasions in which gods even presented themselves as mortals. This specific account aggravated Plato, since a god was the ultimate force. Why would a god ever want to present himself as a mortal? How would the minds of young children interpret such information?

Plato deemed such stories as unacceptable to promote, especially to reveal them to impressionable children.

Censorship was always connected closely to new media. On page 187, it is noted that pornography is the driving force that continues to bring change and encourages the development of new media.

My thesis was about almost this idea. Cinema started in a very similar way, attempting to capture artists’ fascination with sex. Censorship is the direct result from overexposing the public with “harmful” imagery, but most importantly it is the tool that generates further demand from all that is labeled as inappropriate.

Margaret Maria Roidi


  1. Excellent point, and the chapter on risk also makes the point that the concern is all out of proportion to what's actually there online.

  2. I think one of the big issues with internet pornography is how easily it can be accessed. This is by no means a scientific study, but few sites have more than a "If you are under 18 go away" type warning. Any kid can click ok and head on in. Of course there are filtering programs, and some sites require passwords, but on the internet this stuff is readily available, unlike at the newsstand for example, which was mentioned in the reading (the magazines there are usually covered up or in the back or whatever). As for TV those channels come with a separate subscription (remember when they used to be all scrambled back in the day?), whereas free porn sites are abound on the internet.

    I really think Zimmer and Hunter said it best in "Risk and the Internet: Perception and Reality" - people were afraid of the internet because it was new and unknown. People assumed the net was full of pedophiles and porn, and while that stuff does exist and always will, these are by no means unique to the web. By no means should children tread lightly on the internet, but there are plenty of pedophiles creeping around the playgrounds and Chuck E. Cheese's of the world as well. As people have become more familiar and comfortable with the internet, the paranoia seems to have died down quite a bit.