Censorship, hegemony, state power

Tue Feb 14 00:45:08 MST 1995

On 2/12 Andy wrote:

>I would say that the state has demonstrated a great deal
more tolerance towards diversity of expression in cinema than in literature.
 But why would the state take this attitude?  Isn't cinema potentially more
subversive to hegemony than literature?<
   I have no conlusive answer to this. But here goes:
    Writers tend to have connections abroad. Publishers, critics, and
sometimes even agents form a life-line outside the confines of the state.
This is regarded as dangerous by guardians of the state. "Can these people
ever be trusted entirely?" seems to be the attitude.
   Film makers, on the other hand, tend to have their support network within
their own country (this is even true of US film makers), and also, in the
case of countries like Cuba, get their intitial (if not only) audience from
their home country.
   The state tends to view film makers with less suspician precisely because
they are more connected (and dependent) on the state. So even a critical film
(within limits) might be regarded as less of a threat than an apolitical book
issued without the blessings, or knowledge of the proper authorities. In
fact, a regime can often point to a critical film as evidence of democracy or
tollerance, but books can be very personal, and therefore the criticisms are
very personal, thus less open to rationalization.
   >Is it simply that ICAIC has carved out a bureaucratic space for
itself, shielded by the international acclaim for its films, that makes it
off-limits to Stalinist challenges?<
   This can be true, to some extent, as well. Although many of the Cuban
writers thought they had a space created by international connections, and
found that to be a house of cards. After exile, it was precisely these
connections that led to these writers becoming well-known critics of the
revolution, often buttressing (though not necessarilly intentionally) the
extremities of US foreign policy, ala Robert Torricelli and Mas Cansosa.
  For now, this is the best explaination I can come up with.

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