The glorious and triumphant return of now-19 year old Blogger, the revival of a once-grand and dare I say influential webspace that produced daily content, and the crippling anxiety of a young woman who no longer has any time or motivation to write, and feels like any ability she had acquired in the past through repetition and sheer will alone is now slowly slipping out of her grasp. Brief history of the Blog and Blogger can be found here.

Here be personal journal entries, observations, slices of life, questions and conclusions, as well as exploration of social and political topics seen through the lens of a Malaysian Muslim, feminist, lesbian, Marxist, and horse enthusiast.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Censorship On Television

The Idea
The general idea of censoring stuff on TV is a little bit, how do say, blurred here in Malaysia. I won't talk out of topic and I especially won't even bother to start discussing TV censorship in other countries because I don't have access to their local TV networks, I only have what I am given. I'll just try to split this up a lot to make it easier. 

If you say they are censoring things for the children, it makes sense. It makes sense on the lowest level of sense-making. I mean, think about this in the Hfzh way: when I was younger, my parents didn't allow me to watch certain TV shows because, looking back upon it, yes, they were sort of a negative influence on my life (I mean, without Johnny Bravo, I wouldn't have learned the word idiot as young as I had). Technically, I wasn't one of those kids who watched MTV all the damn time (yes, I think we all know who I'm talking about) but isn't that just the thing? Now that I'm older I know a hell lot of things (and plus, my mind is kind of forever stuck in the gutter). That doesn't really differentiate me from the people who were exposed to more at a younger age. (Maybe they did end up becoming prostitutes or something but circumstances aren't something I can control). In a sense, we're all pretty fucked up when you reach adolescence. If you can tell right from wrong from the get go, then what's a little exposure? Besides which, everyone is already so exposed to things like sex, drugs and whatnot from other forms of media, not just television. The Internet for one. Let's be honest and just admit it: how many of those pop-up ads are pornographic in nature? And how many parents actually take the initiative to install pop-up blockers? 

So, if not for the children, if not for preserving their purity until they reach a much more suitable and matured age, then for what? Is it just because of sensitivity to religion? Is it just because it would be... uncouth to premiere things like people kissing and macking on each on public access television (well, you actually have to pay for Astro but I don't think that's the point since everyone has it these days)? I guess it's because it's a "rule". Rules are weird because they're kind of useless when you really think about it. Take this one, for example, the closest of close examples: if, in the end, all children are going to be exposed to obscene things one way or another, and if grown-ups have already been exposed to these things prior, then the point of censorship actually ceases to exist. Is the point of censorship to stop people from seeing the things they shouldn't see or to stop them from thinking things they shouldn't think? Because they're kind of failing on both fronts, actually. 

Oh, and like how in America they have to censor a few words, right? Like "shit" and "fuck". This all kind of reminds me of Lord Voldemort and how everyone's afraid to say his name (which is humorous, when you look at it from one angle). I know "fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself" has like zero to do with saying swear words but still. It's just a word and there are probably less than 0 percent of the population of the English speaking world that doesn't know what those words mean anyways. And the ones who don't speak English know some great swear words in their language, too. And the children will learn it when the time comes. So, really? What is the point. 

When It Comes To Ridiculous Malaysian Censorship 
I'll have to admit that it does piss me off when they censor great make-out scenes because sometimes I've watched an episode online but it's never the same as watching something on TV. I'm going to use 90210 as an example here because it's the only one I remember anything from. So a few days back, I watched this episode where all these damn things happened (as per 90210 standards) and then Annie wanted to have sex. Or something. But the thing here is this: they are clearly, explicitly, without any filters whatsoever discussing sexual intercourse and it is surprising, oh, so surprising, given that they cut out a few seconds of kissing. On what planet does this make any sense? So you can talk about premarital sex but you can't actually show people kissing? 

Next I'll move onto Ugly Betty. Wasn't the whole Justin/Austin thing SO CUTE? YES, IT WAS (too bad about their names, though). Also too bad for the whole cutting out every single scene in which they kissed. Hey, hello, Adam Lambert came to Malaysia and he is the number one representative of glitter and dildos and glittery dildos so what are we even trying to stop the masses from thinking here? And then at Hilda's wedding, there's the scene where Justin and Austin slow dance and obviously they cut that out, too. Only how fucking stupid is it to cut that part out because one moment, everyone's bloody dancing, and the next, they're all staring at this invisible couple on the dancefloor. Best part? They still kept the whole Justin's coming out party intact. 

You are showing, and might I say promoting a TV show featuring, themes of homosexuality without actually showing two guys kissing and dancing? If you expected me to understand this, then you are without a shadow of doubt wrong. What exactly are we supposed to think when they just cut out a few seconds - a few really obvious seconds? The motives behind censorship has got to be questioned and at this moment, it's pretty obvious that they're in it only to not taint our eyes with impurities such as kissing. And gay dancing. 

Season 2 of Glee is a gay fest. Have fun censoring that and still retaining a smidgen of coherent plotlines (the "but then again it's Glee" is fairly implied).

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