Censorship and Greatness

Nothing infuriates like the truth, especially when it controverts a deeply-held prejudice such as that censorship is bad for great art and even incompatible with its production. Whenever, therefore, I adduce a certain truth that is obvious to the point of truism, namely that the majority of great art in human history has been produced in conditions of censorship, or at least of such severe self-inhibition because of social or political pressure that it amounts to censorship, I find that I am the object of fury, as if I were personally the Chief Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. Here is a truth that, even if it is true, ought never to be uttered: that ought, in fact, to be the object of self-censorship.

He is quick to add that stating this simple truth is not necessarily to call for censorship, but it “is almost always taken” that way.

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