Archive for the ‘Article’ Category

Photoshop and Auto-Tune

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Welcome censorship to the 21st Century.

For decades, we have all seen manipulated and doctored photos whether we know it or not. And recently, software like Photoshop has made the revision of photographs and images easier and more difficult to detect. Harmless or malicious, they can alter our perception.

See many examples of historical photo revisions at this site.

Now Auto-Tune, the computer correction of musical notes and melodies. For further description, here is an excerpt from an article in The New Yorker:

Auto-Tune locates the pitch of a recorded vocal, and moves that recorded information to the nearest “correct” note in a scale.  Unnaturally rapid corrections eliminate portamento, the musical term for the slide between two pitches.  Portamento is a natural aspect of speaking and singing, central to making people sound like people.  Auto-Tune can turn the lolling curves of the human voice into a zigzag of right-angled steps.

So, censored are the flaws in talent found in some modern music.  Is exceptional musicianship now less valuable?  Are computer wizards the new musical virtuosos?  Though true ability will not be taken from those who have it, the illusion of its possession is more available.  This censorship of musical deficiency muddies the water between art and technology.

In 1941, FDR gave a State of the Union address commonly referred to as the Four Freedoms Speech.  In it, he discussed his desire for a worldwide freedom of expression.  Offered here is the ending clip of the original speech, Auto-Tuned.  Enjoy.

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If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

In January 2009, the US Vice President’s house once again became viewable on popular map and satellite image websites.  Previously, VP Cheney made sure his residence looked like this:

Now it again looks like this:

Article here.

Silentium Victoriam Accelerat

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

The United States Office of Censorship operated from December 19, 1941 through August 15, 1945 to censor international wartime communications.

When President Roosevelt created the office, he wrote:

All Americans abhor censorship, just as they abhor war. But the experience of this and of all other Nations has demonstrated that some degree of censorship is essential in wartime, and we are at war.

Read Roosevelt’s entire executive order here.

Byron Price, the executive editor of the Associated Press was appointed the first and only Director of Censorship. Price’s biggest task during the war was to keep secret information about development of the atomic bomb.  Price’s office developed the “Code of Wartime Practices” which, although voluntary for American radio and press outlets, made clear that certain pieces of information were not to be published.

The office operated under the motto Silentium Victoriam Accelerat, which from Latin translates Silence Speeds Victory.

Interesting further reading:
Secrets to Victory


Friday, January 15th, 2010

Google v. Chinese Censors

BEIJING — Google’s declaration that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in China ricocheted around the world on Wednesday. But in China itself, the news was heavily censored.

Some big Chinese news portals initially carried a short dispatch on Google’s announcement, but that account soon tumbled from the headlines, and later reports omitted Google’s references to “free speech” and “surveillance.”

From New York Times article by Andrew Jacobs.  Full article here.

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Two quotes from an article The Press: Censorship, Pros & Cons published in TIME magazine December 31, 1945, 64 years ago today:

No one who does not dislike censorship should ever be permitted to exercise censorship.

-Director of U.S. Office of Censorship, Byron Price

Censorship is a necessary shield, “in democratic countries, including Russia,” against “all kinds of poisonous slander harmful to the cause of peace,” and is justified “as long as influential newspapers or private owners” commit slander.

-Quoting Russian writer N. Baltisky

Full article here.