by oooph on September 22, 2013 - 11:26pm

Censorship has always been kind of a big deal in terms of what we should censor, who should censor, why we should censor a certain piece and I could go on. I can definitely say that I'm against all censorship. I think that whatever an artist creates, as long as it doesn't cause physical harm to someone, go against the law or anything along those lines, should be given full credit for. Sure warnings and age limits should be advised but nothing should be blocked off to certain groups of people. The particular issue I'm getting referring to is Xavier Dolan's latest piece of work, a music video he directed for the song College Boy by a band called Indochine. Here's the link so you can go watch it before reading the rest of this article:

Obviously, after watching the video you can now understand why there has been so much controversy. The question asked, of course, goes like this: Should we or should we not censor this very graphic and violent video clip that yet, denounces an extremely important issue, such as bulying,  which is very present in today's society?

My conclusion comes down to the fact that, no, we should not censor this video because as mentionned above it sends a very strong message about bullying and the consequences of bullying. If we were to censor this piece for kids under the age of 16 or even 18, wouldn't that defeat the purpose? Bullying is mostly present within those categories of ages. Dolan was given entire creative freedom while working on this shoot and made the choice to involve those scenes as a mean to cause a reaction; to disturb the audience and give them a wake up call about this issue. As shocking as these images may seem, video games and films often have worst gore than this and we are so used to it that it doesn't really bother us. Why, then, is it so shocking when put in a video where a boy gets crucified and shot? Xavier Dolan says, 

"Is there really another way today in 2013 to make an impression on people so they will know if they do hurt other people they will feel the pain and the violence and how far will we go? We live in a society that allows this sort of extreme violence." 

The symbolism of the blindfold used in the video is such a strong visual because it demonstrates how everyone always shuts their eyes and walks away from acts of bullying instead of trying to stand up for the victim. When people keep ignoring those acts, they start increasing, little by little until it degenerates as seen in Indochine's video. Yes, this video may be hard to watch for some but it brings awareness about a very important problem that today's society needs to solve and which is, in my opinion, amazing well crafted.

On the other hand, I do understand that some may think that bullying will never literally go as far as shooting or crucifying someone, therefore why have to bring religion and extreme violence into play? There are many other ways to solve issues such as bullying without having to create such a scandalous music video. Françoise Laborde, member of the CSA (Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel) says,

"On va l'étudier (le vidéo) évidemment en groupe de travail. Mais il devrait y avoir au minimum une interdiction aux moins de 16 ans et peut-être une au moins de 18 ans." 

Rather than depicting violence in such a crude manner, Dolan should present us with solutions on how to solve the bullying issue instead. Amplifying these acts of cruelty may simply give children nightmares or even worse, ideas on how to bully others in the future. 

Now, considering every detail of the College Boy music video, how did it make you feel? And if you were part of a Censorship Office, how would you classify this content? Why?

-Ophélie Lacasse


Let It Be!

My initial question is: what is art for? To whom ever it only consists of a past time seriously need to reconsider their ideology. To some art is the only way to express themselves. Haven't you ever heard, pictures speak louder than words? So as a person who appreciates art, I do not see the purpose in censoring such powerful messages. This article caught my attention because I have seen Xavier Dolan's work, and in my opinion he is the true definition of creativity. So to me it is incomprehensible to why such powerful messages, such as the one portrayed in College Boy, be censored.

Like it was asked, if I was part of a censorship office I would have no right to enforce censorship on this particular video, I would actually recommend high school teachers to show this video in their classes. Yes, it does illustrate violent scenes, which might offend parents, but thoughtfully if all anti-bullying campaigns haven’t shown significant effects on teens, what else can be done. Fortunately, Dolan was brilliant enough to come up with a different approach on bullying awareness. Like it was mentioned in the article, he made the choice to provoke individual’s reaction and personally I do think that his way of presenting bullying will have a bigger impact on our society.

In total honesty, any artwork, whether it is a painting, a video or a photograph, with an important theme should not be censored. If we are trying to inform our people on the different issues in our society, why would we censor it? Wouldn’t it simply open’s people eyes to what is really happening around us. Like it is depicted in the video, people seem to close their eyes or ignore the problems around them, but by showing these types of controversial videos it might make people realize that they are part of those people and without knowing it they do aggravate the problem. Another example of this type of issue is the “United Colors of Benetton’s UnHate” campaign, which shows different kinds of child abuse around the world. Facebook censored this campaign and if you look at it closely, most people are already aware of these problems around the world, but none of them seem to want to stand up for the cause. But by advertising this campaign, it’s a real eye opener to what needs to be done and that we need to stop ignoring the problem and fix it once and for all, similar to the College Boy video. Overall like she said “as long as it doesn't cause physical harm to someone, go against the law or anything along those lines” it shouldn’t be censored.

An interesting point that was brought up in the article was the comparison between the music video and video games. Why would we censor College Boy, but not do anything about Grand Theft Auto V? The way I see it is lets censor a factual problem in our society, but let kids kill people virtually. Does it even make sense? Is it really that shocking to see a boy get crucified or shot rather than some gruesome horror movie scene? The point that was brought up was a really interesting issue, and could be formulated in an ethical question.

Like I mentioned earlier, the campaign “United Colors of Benetton’s UnHate” is a great example of this ethical issue. In the article posted further down, shows the campaign and why it was censored.