Essay by Lawrence NorthropCollege, UndergraduateA, March 1997

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The freedom to read is essential to the democratic way of life. But

today, that freedom is under attack. Private groups and public authorities

everywhere are working to remove both books and periodicals from sale,

to exclude certain books from public schools, to censor and silence

magazines and newspapers, and to limit controversial books and periodicals to the general public. The suppression of reading materials is suppression of creative thought. Books and periodicals are not the only things being suppressed by pressures to the political and social systems. They are also being brought against the educational system, films, radio, television, and against the graphic and theater arts. Censorship occurs often in todays society, much of which is justifiable, but in some cases is simply unnecessary.

What is Obscenity? Obscenity is difficult to honestly discuss. After all, what makes a thing obscene? It is something too vague to be defined.

People often see things differently. Some see obscenity in nude pictures, statues, paintings, etc. While others find less obscenity in these things. This is where the discrepancy is found between what should and should not be censored.

The world is filled with obscene things. And it would seem that parents are just trying to protect their children from the outside

world. But does it really help? My friends sister was upset with her parents for raising her in such a sheltered environment. When she went away to college, she got a taste of what the real world was really like. These days, an average elementary school student knows many things. They are influenced by a wide range of sources, from television and other forms of media, their environment at home and school, to their personality and background. What they read does not necessarily mean that they will follow it.