Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jezebel and The Guardian and the fine art of taking offence

The problem with any rational discussion of censorship is that it requires the public airing of the material that some might want censored, which rather defeats the purpose. The same paradox applies to the modern, lightweight variant of censorship, which stops short of demanding an outright ban but leaves you in no doubt that the matter in question is a very bad thing indeed and that the people who like it and the people who consume it aren’t much better. And to prove it, here it is.

Two recent examples: a Guardian appeal for photographs of sexualised imagery that readers find offensive; and Jezebel’s piece about why a Vice fashion spread depicting the suicides of female writers was a bit iffy. The latter is particularly delicious because the Vice piece has been taken down while the Jezebel one is still around. It’s today’s variant on ironic quotation marks; you can put the most horrible material in the public domain, provided you make clear the extent to which you disapprove of it. The question is, in the modern media world, is an eyeball still and eyeball if it’s topped by a raised brow?

1 comment:

Murr Brewster said...

Also handy, in casual conversation, is the appended "I'm just sayin'." I'm pretty sure anything is fair game as long as it's wagging that tail.