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Self Censorship in the USA
#1  Thasaidon 09-17-2020, 10:12 PM
Have a look at this article.

https://www.blacklistednews.com/article/78031/selfcensorship-soars-in-the.html

Do you think it affecting new authors and writing?

#2  haertig 09-18-2020, 01:04 AM
I would doubt that authors really care. I wouldn't. But then, I'm not an author. Possibly they would self-censor if that would enhance their career.

Along those lines, if I am ever inept enough to be caught by a political pollster/advocate, I do not self-censor, but I lie through my teeth. Say I want person X to win. I will tell the pollster that I'm voting for person Y. Because if the pollster is a Y supporter, they might feel all smug and think Y has it in the bag, so they sit back. Alternately, if the pollster is an X supporter, they might get worried when I tell them I'm voting for Y, and start working extra hard to convince more people to support X.

Either way, my desire for X to win is supported. In political polls, one lie is worth a thousand truths. So I lie, which is different than self-censoring. Self-censoring is used to try to hide something, lying is a strategic means to an end, to help realize your goal. Or in other less serious situations, just a fun way to mess with the pollsters data. It's always a gas to read a study that concludes that 95% of the population has sex 17 times a day.

Some authors may use this lying strategy as well. Saying who or what they support may have no basis in truth, and only serves as a tool to advance their career.

#3  meeera 09-18-2020, 01:54 AM
"Self-censorship" is not a thing. It's just... "deciding not to say/write an offensive thing out loud". I'm not getting the problem with that.

Everyone thinks offensive, discriminatory stuff from time to time. Not saying them out loud or including them in your books is basic politeness. Working on your self to reduce the thoughts (and ensuring you're not putting them into action) is the next step to being a better human.

#4  issybird 09-18-2020, 02:11 AM
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#5  hildea 09-18-2020, 03:33 AM
One of my favourite authors is Chinese-European American. She writes romance, mostly historical, and wrote once on her blog that it took her several years to realise that she could write protagonists of colour. I guess you could say that she self-censored, unconsciously, influenced by the overwhelmingly monochrome examples in the genre then.

#6  pwalker8 09-18-2020, 07:59 AM
Most authors have self censored for a very long time, otherwise they don't sell books. Jules Verne famously changed the nationality of Captain Nemo because his publisher didn't want to offend various foreign governments. There are, of course, some authors who like to be controversial. Social media does make it al lot easier for those who find something offensive to stir up outrage. Before social media, you needed a certain level of connections and influence to do so. Now, anyone can do it.

Being an author is no different than most small businesses, you don't offend the customers if you want to stay in business. You can call it self censorship, or you can call it knowing the market place. Now, if by self censor, you mean authors avoid certain topics or characters because they worry a small extremely vocal group of people will stir up a tweeter storm over, then I'm sure that's the case.

#7  astrangerhere 09-18-2020, 08:14 AM
I am not inclined to read a story on a website that Mediawatch has categorized as pseudo-science and moderate conspiracy theory.

From what I recall of my university studies, self-censorship in the negative connotation is when a population limits what they express due to a climate of political fear that chills an entire population. The New Republic described it as this in a 2017 article:

Quote
That is the function of political fear: not to quell one individual, but to make an example of her, to send a message to everyone else that they should be careful, or they might be next.
As American literature seems to have a very healthy pulse of dissent, I would not say that self-censorship is an issue in fiction yet. Though I am sure it is affecting the press to some degree.

If you mean self-censorship in terms of authors writing less about views which are now widely taken to be discriminatory or opressive, then I welcome the change.

#8  Deskisamess 09-18-2020, 08:33 AM
There are many areas in life where one does not need to share every opinion or thought they may have. Work, school, social gatherings, etc. Some people share everything, some share very little. Because I may not share a political view doesn't mean I'm censoring myself. It may simply mean I don't enjoy talking about politics, or the setting isn't appropriate.


Some family members talk about nothing but their health problems, in gory detail. Some share every detail of their family struggles. I personally don't do that, because I don't think it's anyone's business why, for example, our oldest son's marriage failed. Several family members have asked very personal questions about it, and my answer was that it's not their business.

Authors are like everyone else. Some write with a strong hand that supports their views and hopes to guide the reader along to agree with or learn from that view. They have a "moral of the story" to weave and conclude with.

Some are outspoken to the point of rudeness, and some are more gentle, and many are somewhere in between.

The very word "censor" has negative connotations. I'm not sure it's the best way to describe being cautious with sharing opinions. I don't like talking about football either, but no one would use the the word "censor" to describe that.

#9  issybird 09-18-2020, 09:06 AM
Quote astrangerhere
I am not inclined to read a story on a website that Mediawatch has categorized as pseudo-science and moderate conspiracy theory.
That was my reaction, also.

#10  leebase 09-18-2020, 09:38 AM
Quote meeera
"Self-censorship" is not a thing. It's just... "deciding not to say/write an offensive thing out loud". I'm not getting the problem with that.

Everyone thinks offensive, discriminatory stuff from time to time. Not saying them out loud or including them in your books is basic politeness. Working on your self to reduce the thoughts (and ensuring you're not putting them into action) is the next step to being a better human.
Should be interesting to see how this thread stays about ereading. I prefer books that express an author's opinion. Whatever that is. Some I'll agree with, some I won't. Some I might but BECAUSE of an author's caustic opinions. Some I'd avoid for the same reason.

Political commentary deleted.

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