CENSORSHIP AND THE LIFE WE LIVE – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #42

It’s a good question for everyone to ponder these days.

There has always been censorship of some kind in every country as long as humans have been “civilized.” Its definition — or at last one of its many possible definitions is, “Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or “inconvenient.”

Censorship can be conducted by a government, private institution, and corporations. Or by your local sheriff or lynch mob.

The question is:

There is some kind of censorship in every nation, every government and in nearly every business. Even if the big secret is “what ingredients are in the Coca Cola recipe,” it’s still censorship.

There is censorship to keep technology private. Censorship which aims to keep military movements undercover. In some places, religions force secrecy. No society is completely open. There’s always something — militarily, governmental, corporate, technological, religious, or personal that are forbidden to say aloud. Sometimes censorship is unwritten, but everyone knows about it. Sometimes it’s part of your professional contract.

Sometimes you just know what you should simply not talk about because if you do, something bad will happen to you or those you care about.

Issues like this don’t affect everyone. The business you are in, how well-known you are, what kind of profession you follow are part of the process. If you are a general in an army, most of your life is censored. If you are in the Mossad, or a television reporter, what you can say is by definition censored. In the United States today you can get away with anything if you are personally unimportant but can get away with very little if you share a spotlight on the big screen of life.

Does it affect me? Personally? Mostly not because I am not regarded as knowing anything worth censoring. I don’t belong to a corporate entity that is creating new technology or know anything about the government other than what I read in the news.

Garry has a lot of secrets and most of them — nearly ALL of them — he has never told me. I have pointed out that many of the people about whom he “knows stuff” are gone from this world.

“They have families,” he says and that is the end of the conversation. Reporters always have secrets.

So do I personally feel threatened as an individual citizen by censorship? Not at the moment. When I worked for Grumman I had a “top secret” legal rating and there were things I could not say to anyone lest I be imprisoned and fined. I worked in a “black building” and I hated it. I hated everything except those great bridge games at lunch. They were fun!

If I live long enough, this could change, but I think for most non-political, not military, and no, not a spy either? No one cares what we say because we don’t know anything and when you are low enough on the totem pole, nobody much cares what you say.

But if our world changes dramatically and for the worse, this could alter. I hope I’m not alive if it does.



Categories: #FPQ, Daily Prompt, journalism, Marilyn Armstrong, newspapers, Provocative Questions, public relations, social media, Word Prompt

Tags: , , , ,

13 replies

  1. You’re right. We get away with criticizing the government because we are not in the spotlight.

    Like

  2. Even us “lowly” bloggers, at least those who have published posts or comments critical of the orange baboon/buffoon in the White House, could be in jeopardy if he decides, as his back is against the wall, to initiate a full scale assault on anyone who has criticized him. It’s unlikely, and unprecedented, but how many times in the last three years have we seen Trump do what others would have called unlikely and have been unprecedented?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango, we were talking about secrets earlier this week at a wake for a former colleague who died on Sunday.
      Our collective group of veteran journalists have quite a heavy bag of secrets that will remain secrets til we’re called to the big newsroom in the sky.
      it’s part of our legacy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true, but the volume of data they collect about all of us is so overwhelming that mostly unless you use the right “buzzwords,” no one notices you. Too much data is the same as no data. There’s not nearly enough instrumentation or personnel to process it, so most of it is never looked at or read by anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These days, the powers that be know everything about you – where’ve you’ve been, who you’re in contact with, what you spent for lunch, etc. I don’t worry about it much. If they’re tracking me, they’re probably falling asleep at their terminals with their headphones on.

    Like

    • Most of us lead pretty dull lives. If we were more exciting we’d be under attack. Our safety lies in our obscurity. And the truth is that they really DON’T know much about you. Unless they think you’re an operative from Isis or some other major terrorist group, there aren’t enough people to process even 1% of the processed data.

      Volume is effectively nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think they would throw me in jail for what I’ve said in letters to the editor if there were stricter censorship here. They even publish a lot of them too.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

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