By censoring the film, they urged me to see it
John Colson October 20, 2007
Aspen Times Weekly Opinion
The refusal by GrassRoots TV last week to air a
'Holocaust denial' film was disturbing.
The film, which purports to tell the story of how
'Judea Declares War on Germany,' and at the same time questions the accepted
view of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against Jews and others,
apparently scared the board so badly that its members could no longer read the
stationís mission statement clearly.
In the process, the board has placed itself
squarely on the wrong side of an ongoing battle over our rights as citizens of
the United States to consider all viewpoints and draw our own conclusions on any
number of questions and issues.
It is an attack on our right to think.
Iíve been observing this battle all of my adult
life, starting with our countryís ill-considered Vietnam War and the
government's attempt to paint the conflict in the red, white and blue of
As I went through my high school years, while the
war escalated and our streets back home erupted, I confronted a bewildering
array of supposed 'truths' expressed in cultural and political propaganda on
everything from the dangers of rock music and marijuana to the jingoistic
sentiments represented by the phrase, 'America, love it or leave it.'
The prevailing blue-collar culture in suburban
Maryland outside Washington, D.C., where I was living in those years, enforced
conformity with violence, which in my case manifested mainly in demands that I
cut my hair, dress like everyone around me and think and behave as I was told by
teachers, fellow students and the police.
I rebelled, and Iím glad I did.
I learned to be sceptical, to think for myself
about everything around me, and to make up my own mind about what I saw, read
and heard. And in many cases, my conclusions were radically different from the
ideas being foisted upon me by society.
This is the intellectual tide that has carried me
along throughout my life, and I donít like it when supposedly clear-thinking,
progressively minded adults tell me I canít look at something because they
think it is wrong, or evil or subversive.
I find this kind of paternalistic, smothering
attitude wrong on so many levels itís hard to enumerate them.
For one thing, when a group of people begin to see
themselves as the guardians of what is 'right,' I begin to look for evidence
that they are wrong. Canít help myself. And I believe I am not alone in this.
So, when the GrassRoots TV board decided to nix
the film, they left me wondering if maybe the film contains some information I
really need to know. I still havenít seen the film, mostly because it really
hasnít risen to the level of a 'must-see' in my mind, but also because Iíve
just been too busy to check it out.
But I intend to, and that, it seems to me,
directly contradicts the intent of the GrassRoots board.
It could be, of course, that the board believes
that the stationís viewers are so complacent and lazy that they will simply
cave in to this blatant censorship and forget about the whole thing soon enough.
If so, that is truly dangerous thinking. It is
Orwellian in the most basic sense of the phrase, in that it assumes that by
controlling what we see and hear they can control what we think. But history has
shown us that this does not work, at least not usually, and that the suppression
of objectionable ideas leads to frustration, which can lead to curiosity, which
can lead to exploration and possibly to action, maybe even revolution.
More than a century ago, a small number of women
and their supporting cast of men rebelled against the idea that women should not
have the right to vote. The prevailing wisdom at the time was that women were
too delicate and simple to deal with the tangled and complex ideas and passions
Well, we got that wrong, as the explosive
womenís suffrage movement showed, and all the effort to block the movement
only made it stronger.
The same was true of the civil rights movement of
the 1950s and '60s.
Society as a whole was wrong on both counts, and
it took a lot of violence, death and turmoil to get it right.
Iím not saying the Grassrootsí decision is on
a par with those historic movements or the film has historic merit. But the
underlying principles have parallels, and the GrassRoots board has erred on the
side of fear and prejudice.
John Colson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr Colson
I am pleasantly surprised to read your thoughtful article because it is so balanced and does not reveal any malice but rather a really mature and mentally challenging item.
This whole episode of Grassroots TV banning the
video amazes me especially because it was made just on ten years ago, and more
importantly the film was made on no kind of budget at all. Four years ago
US-based Revisionist of HonestMedia,
Mark Farrell, turned it into a DVD. I had nothing to do with it because
since the 2002 Federal Court of Australia court order, the contents of it
would put me squarely in contempt of court.
An associate of mine in the film industry put the
whole film together and my input was rather of a limited nature. Although I make
a point about the Protocols it is one book I have not read, nor have I read Mein
Kampf Ė not yet.
The whole affair proves to me how far Revisionist
research is ahead of public opinion Ė but thanks to the internet this gap is
Thank you again for presenting a view that
augments mine: If you take away my freedom to think and to speak, you take away
my humanity and you commit a crime against humanity Ė truth is my defence.
Dr Fredrick TŲben
©-free 2007 Adelaide Institute