He's sat there, in his office. A very sad and lonely character. He watches the film, making careful notes. Yes, that bit is just a bit too rude. Stop the tape. Get the scissors. Cut out those two seconds worth of film. Yes, this filth will no longer corrupt our nation. He smiles, hiding the cuttings in his oversized briefcase.
Our standard image of the censor is just that. Someone who sits there with Basic Instinct, chopping all the best bits our and bunging them in the bin. Perhaps the more twisted of our readers think that they take the rude bits home and play them on their 8mm projection unit.
Censorship plays a big part in our lives. It has its supporters and its enemies. We can moan and groan about it as much as we want, but it is there. Take Natural Born Killers: if the British Board of Film Classification hadn't thought about not awarding it a certificate (a cunning way of making sure a film gets banned - it is illegal to show an un-certified film) this dire film wouldn't have become so popular. By delaying a decision, the film achieved cult status.
It is mainly in films where we see the effects of censorship, but also on television too. A little snip here and there cuts out the swearing and maybe the five second glimpse of a nipple. These things are supposedly done to protect our children from seeing things that they really shouldn't.
One argument that I hear a lot on this subject is that, who knows what kids are watching at night when they have a TV in their room. Well, if you're worried about this, you shouldn't have given them a television in the first place, or at the very least, a timer should be fitted to prevent kids from using the television at certain times. It can be done.
Should it really be up to some bloke in London to regulate what we watch on the screen. After all, it should be the parents responsibility to see that their offspring don't see anything that isn't appropriate for them to see.
There is a general lack of willing of the British parent to take responsibility for their children. Countless times in supermarkets, offspring are told that an assistant will discipline the child if they don't behave. Supermarket staff amazingly, don't get paid to do this, so why do we expect them to tell off our children?
Censorship also lead to a loss of free speech. Take people in China and Nigeria. Censorship has deprived them of a right to say what they want in their national press. Free speech is one of the most important that we can have. We tend to take it for granted in the west, but when it is removed from us, for whatever reason, it is generally not popular and can lead to distrust and anger. It is a loss of civil liberty.
Everyone should be allowed to air their views. If you don't, you might as well rename this country Iraq. Iraq: home of free speech. Honest. And wasn't it a surprise when Sadam won 99% of the votes in the recent elections. That was almost as predictable as Cyprus giving 12 points to Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The 1% who didn't vote for Sadam were probably told to vote this way in order to make sure that the elections didn't look like a complete fix. Yes, if free speech was allowed by Mr Hussain, you can bet that he wouldn't be in charge of the country right now. Depriving us of free speech is effectively making those in charge like Sadam.
Unfortunately this country seems to be going that way. Look at the Criminal Justice Act. This deprives us of our right to make peaceful demonstrations. Perhaps its a subtle way that John Major has, to make sure he keeps control of this country. Major: the next mad dictator. Here we come folks!
I'm not saying that all censorship is bad. Take hard core pornographic material. I don't mind this being censored. Censoring a journalist who has just filled an article full of expletives when the article is going into a family magazine, that's all right.
What I object to is censorship when it leads to loss of free speech and when more parental responsibility should be taken. If the latter was put into place the amount of censorship which takes place could be reduced by a great deal.
Free speech is very important. Everyone is entitled to their say no matter what it may be. That is what living in a democracy is all about. But hey, perhaps the way we are going, it won't be a long before we ain't a democracy. Think about it any potential censors out there?
This was the first of my new, subtle axe-to-grind articles. It was about censorship.
It came after the October 1995 edition had been 'censored'. The full story is long, confused and not that important, but needless to say that the fact that we no longer had press freedom did not amuse many of us and some people never wrote for Hydra again. Articles had been shelved and the edition was delayed. Tipex was involved. We all became very frustrated.
In The Cutting Room was written in response. It did not mention the incident specifically but someone in the know, reading between the lines, might have realised why it had come at that time.