Sunday, 26 October 2014

Apelles, Cobbler, Censorship & Artistic Freedom

Apelles put a picture on display,
for truth he loved far more than praise,
behind it hidden, he listened to all what
both fools, and experts had to say.

Before it, a cobbler with his irons stops,
wretched man looks at the sandals,
straps he tells, are few to call them any,
what man says, immediately Apelles's mending.

When the second day comes the man of hooves,
instead of going on to where he'd been going,
he stops, since shoes are fine, comments on calves;

Rejects him painter proudly,
and you with him, who are complainer over nought

A poem written by France PreŇ°eren in nineteenth century, when he had enough of all the censors and moral police egging him on every step he made. So he decided he will have a bit of fun with the censor whose last name would translate as Cobbler, Jernej Kopitar. And while doing so, he made an example out of his nemesis.

Lesson of this story: If the man likes to write bawdy drinking songs let him. Because otherwise you might end up as the butt of every joke made about censorship and artistic freedom two hundred years down the line. While some believe any kind of publicity is good publicity, think twice as what you want history to remember you. Do you really want to be remembered as that one guy (or gal) who stuck his nose where he shouldn't?

This also translates to games. If you don't like something, don't play it, don't buy it. But as soon as you decide that something in the game is morally wrong, you are inherently wrong. It is art, it is entertainment. It should be subject to criticism, but never a victim of moral police in pursuit of their own ideology. Diversity does not mean that only games that are different than the mainstream should exist. Diversity inherently means that all games, no matter what subject, theme, or genre should be able to coexist. And the only one dictating what should be popular, is the market. Diversity in games should never mean sacking one type of game, because some thin-skinned moralist almost fainted when s/he saw breasts or puddle of blood.

More on this some other time. We're not done yet wit this topic.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece, very erudite. I second the thoughts on freedom of expression and diversity in games as being a very good thing.


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