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June 05, 2003
Times Herald-Record
Letters to the editor for June 5, 2003

 On censorship
   I would like to applaud Sandee Pointer for stepping down in response to the removal of Franciszek Kulon's fine painting (in the county Government Center in Monticello) and also the Record for chronicling the event.
   Censorship is one person exerting their opinion to the exclusion of another. It is an abuse of power for one person to make a decision for the majority. We have the ability to formulate our own opinions about art, and should be offended by those who try to force their opinion (regardless of what it is) on us. It's a little like shutting down a whole theater because you disagreed with the movie.
   Art is clearly a potent medium for political expression. Why else would Gen. Colin Powell have Picasso's "Guernica" shrouded at the United Nations when he was pleading for support of the invasion of Iraq? Artists are cultural creatives and have often been singled out by repressive officials acting on "behalf of the public interest." Only someone insecure about their own opinion would be threatened by an opposing view.
   One of the things our country prides itself on is freedom of expression. That seems to only apply to those who "toe the line" and express mainstream viewpoints. It seems rather hypocritical of the government center to be "touting the triumph of democracy over terrorism" on one hand while censoring art and squelching political dissent with the other.

   Shawn Dell Joyce

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