As you might have guessed, we’re not big fans of censorship over here in Odd Sockian waters.
We believe that censorship is one of those things we do as a society to try make sure that no one’s feelings are hurt, that no one’s sensibilities are unwittingly thorned ~ that everyone is granted the right to live a manicured and pedicured life where all the icky sticky stuff is left unseen, unheard, un-smelt, like it didn’t exist. It’s a form of baby proofing, basically.
More than that, however, and more perniciously than that, it’s a form of (typically) unnecessary control imposed upon us ~ the Odd Socks. It’s a way to landscape a world that looks something like Pleasantville, a land in which everything is picture perfect, where mufflers are placed over butts so farts go unheard and un-whiffed, where swear words magically turn into pots of honey that Pooh himself would have no second thoughts about stuffing into his yellow little face.
In short, the role censorship plays is to either perturb the “unpleasant truth” beyond recognition, or ban it completely ~ dilute it till it’s flavourless, or simply remove it.
And we think that’s a mighty shame. Because ~ surprise-surprise ~ it’s only the interesting stuff that’s censored, the stuff that can yank out a visceral reaction and draw attention to that which lies beneath the surface, the unconscious mechanics of mind and body. Nope ~ it’s not always the prettiest of stuff; but it’s the stuff that this world is made of. True stuff, ladies and cavemen.
A clever fella named Voltaire (apparently) had this to say on censorship: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
Of course, censorship doesn’t always necessarily lend itself exclusively to power, in the conventional sense of the term. We censor all kinds of shit, like things related to sex and language and “obscene” or “lewd” behaviours. Anything that, as belaboured above, offends our often too maudlin sensibilities is too often censored. We censor nipples for Christ’s sake. Nipples! Why on earth nipples ~ i.e., female nipples and only ever female nipples ~ need to be censored is beyond us.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t make Voltaire’s statement untrue.
See, sex, and “foul” language, and “obscene” behaviour, or even “obscene” ideas (or nipples!) ~ they control us. They control us because they hold power of us, leading us to act and speak and even be in certain ways, curtailing paths that simply shouldn’t be trod in polite society, coyly but forcefully elbowing us onto the righteous track.
They are the soiled undies we don’t want to pick up; they are the nefarious parts of ourselves we wish didn’t exist; they are the urges and magnetic pulls we feel but are afraid to express, or see expressed by others.
This type of power is as invisible as the wind, and just as fierce. Censorship is a force whose razor snips off our beautiful flowers of individuality every chance it gets, a predator pouncing on unsuspecting prey. A tricksy, overprotective, tyrannical mother fudger (you know what word we mean! HINT: it rhymes with trucker) whose “love” is conditional, manipulative, and controlling.
Fortunately though, and hats here go off to you, Mrs Internet ~ freedom of expression is no longer so easy to regulate.
Sure, Instagram continues to remove all nipples from nippled images that are reported for their nipple-ness (because the female nipple is something that so desperately needs to be censored!). And hey, Facebook will similarly remove any images that are flagged as being inappropriate, whatever that means. The radio still won’t play songs containing words that teenagers like to use freely ~ like shit and piss. Televised debates featuring people whose views are unpalatable (and, in truth, sometimes ludicrous and/or dangerous) are still being pulled off the air.
But ~ odd friends ~ the world’s a changing. The more and more The Dictator Socks try to flatten out the creases in our eccentric fabrics, the louder we sing our songs.
And to celebrate that fact, here are some works by a man named Jean Francois Painchaud ~ aka Super Phazed ~ that Facebook pulled off its cyber shelves en masse for being… too awesome for Facebook. In an interview you can read here, Jean talks about how that despite his efforts to censor his own work, it continues to be pulled down, over and over.
These beautiful illustrations demonstrate how sometimes hallucinogenic drugs (a big no-no in our Western waters) can be used to create worlds of beauty. In these illustrations he explores the nature of sex as a form of connection, and dives into colour as a means through which energy permeates.
It’s a good thing his work was censored. Otherwise we very well might not have had the opportunity to find it and share it here with you, fellow Odd Socks. More below!
For more of Jean Francois Painchaud’s work visit…
Deviant Art page ~ for his X-rated stuff (which he sells)
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If the human form naked and naughty in cartooned illustrations offends you, it’s time to change the channel.
Also, if you’re susceptible to epilepsy ~ again, probably a good time to turn away.