In our last editorial, the Flyer News staff restated our dedication to the pursuit of truths in the Dayton community. We pledged our support to the Mountain Echo, the student newspaper of Mount St. Mary’s University, as they countered censorship from their new president, Simon Newman–as well as the University of Dayton faculty and students who petitioned against the president’s actions. Since our last issue was published, President Newman resigned–a testament to the power of collectively speaking out against censorship.
Though censorship can manifest more insidiously, it can also be combated more innovatively.
Our cover story features art professor Joel Whitaker and art history major Kiersten Remster, both of whom have dealt with the topic of censorship. Whitaker featured one of his photographs in “After the Moment,” the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center’s 25th anniversary exhibition of the Robert Mapplethorpe censorship scandal. Mapplethorpe’s work called many to arms, who attacked his work as obscenity, often in the name of religion. Remster’s thesis research analyzes controversial artists like Max Beckmann and Boris Lurie and has faced some backlash herself for discussing this controversial artwork.
The artists they reference addressed the cultural and political climate with creative expression, whether it be through nudity or political symbolism.
Those in positions of power use censorship to stifle challenges to their power–to repress other voices. Sometimes, this happens behind closed doors, and we barely feel the air moving from their shutting. Sometimes, this happens with benign intentions – in the name of religion. Regardless, we have to remember that different pressures influence us at a private Catholic institution than at a nondenominational public institution. For those at the top and those at the bottom of the hierarchy.
We have to remember if we need to, we can still speak up. We may just need to do more creative maneuvering.