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Censorship(34 posts)

Dec 27, 2001 5:01 AM
... ok, this might not be the best forum for it... and indeed, the ad in question comes from two (or more) MTB rags, but here goes (note: a similar question was posted over at "Bicycling"'s forum...

... given that we live in a diverse world with diverse beliefs... I submit this to the forum for debate, amusement, or abuse... as those who view and/or respond deem appropriate...
These two ads are currently running in competing MTB rags (Mountain Bike and Mountain Bike Action respective to the order of pic post)... even given the age group of those who might see this ad in both mags (or this site for that matter) is this going too far???

Note, that Mountain Bike Action has refused to run ads for Voodoo bikes in the past because of the religious connotations of "Voodooism" (their "right" to do so). I don't work for "Bicycling" or "Mountain Bike", nor am I anti "Mountain Bike Action" (I subscribe to both)... I'm just curious how others feel... personally, I have no problem with the uncensored ad... and again, I recognize a magazine's right to print what they deem acceptable and a reader's right to choose what mags they want to support (I know, wordy and broad, but I'm trying to keep flames to a minimum (Yeah, I know...)).

And, not to leave anyone out of the debate... it's interesting that Cannondale would allow their ad to be censored rather than not appearing in the mag at all (cha chinggg)...

... the censored image can be seen at*BTCzL1kQ5dVPzLjcxqoKx0BFeb2DvS9PS21ooVA1DHyfFhz9fu7IIR5qnr2Z3pDOxsY6I3ttpmsf9I9iqi75siZJPEK771M!*mK9uS!5CFsg8wOuHWxoAg/Censored-Dale-Ad-01-Feb-02-Issue-of-MBA-mag.jpg

We abide.

Remain In Light.
is there something offensive about that picture?MJ
Dec 27, 2001 6:35 AM
what would need to be censored from that picture?

it's a naked guy's ass - is that offensive to somebody?

BTW - can't open the link

(this is not a flame...)
... the other link...Akirasho
Dec 27, 2001 6:54 AM
... I put the censored pic on another site...

We abide.

Remain In Light.
re: CensorshipJohn-d
Dec 27, 2001 6:41 AM
Well, that's sort of interesting, It seems to me a question of line drawing. A year or two back Cycling plus featured an ad for a magazine called 'Red Line'. This is a fairly way out car enthusiasts mag. Now the advert showed the current front page that depicted a girl, legs apart with a by-line along the lines of keep it wide open, which presumably refered to the throttle on the car and the red line on the tacho. Well, much criticism and complaint followed that resulted in C+ stating that never again would such an ad be permitted.

As for this, it seems to me to be acceptable and not indecent, but I can see that others would not agree. Many ads show the back view of naked women and are not censored (in the UK), but there again Cannondale are presumably going for the worldwide market.

Perhaps a prudent company would have submitted two pictures one as is and one in gym clothing so that editors could facilitate their perceived readership. I think the censored sign makes it look silly, where the idea presumably was to be dramatic.

I can see that this hasn't forwarded the debate much but it is my two pence worth.
that's not CensorshipDog
Dec 27, 2001 6:52 AM
Censorship is usually an official telling someone what they can or cannot publish or view. Private publishers can choose what they want to print, based upon their standards. Freedom of the press means you can print what you want, or what you don't want.

Personally, I'd rather not look at some guy's butt. No big moral thing, I'd just rather not see it.

Dog's rightMcAndrus
Dec 27, 2001 8:01 AM
It's not censorship, it's editorial discretion. For what it's worth, I used to be a newspaper editor and I can tell the difference.

Most publications make their money by selling ads. They will try to balance two sides, the wishes of the ad buyer to sell a product and the tastes of the target buyer for whom the ad is designed.

Is it censorship for an editor to decline a cigarette ad for a health magazine? No, it's editorial discretion. The editor knows full well that his or her fitness fanatic readers would be offended by a cigarette ad.

Europeans are less sensitive to nudity than North Americans and Japanese. I know because I see the English tabloids on the internet. I know because I get Cycle Sport which has had semi-naked women in ads in the past.

A few years ago Bicycling had an article which contained several instances of mild cussing. I wrote them a polite note asking them to not do that. I had young girls in the house and they liked to read the magazine. Lo and behold, I've never seen the likes of that article again. I suspect they got several letters from Dad's and Mom's like me.

Magazines that choose not to run an ad like this one are simply trying to tune their publication to their perceived reader's tastes. Like all of the rest of us, they want to make money.

On a slight tangent, if anyone's interested, the American legal system does allow government censorship after the publication of editorial material. You cannot, for instance, publish military secrets and not face the penalty. What the American system does not allow is prior censorship. The government cannot legally stop the publication of content is does not approve. It can however, punish the publisher after the fact if the material published is illegal in some way.
some legal authorities on prior restraint...Dog
Dec 27, 2001 8:46 AM

How bout the Marzocchi ad--latest issue of BikeColnagoFE
Dec 27, 2001 10:04 AM
The Marzocchi ads have always been pretty sexist, but the latest one seems to be really pushing it. There is a pic of the usual "shock slut" from an angle way low down (ie looking up at her crotch in a gold lame bikini) with the Headline stating something to the effect of ("Get 8 inches of pure pleasure")...alluding to the travel of the fork and the double entendre of ramming something up the poor emaciated model's you know what. Those Italians!!
can you supply us with a link to the ad and let us decide?ET
Dec 27, 2001 10:19 AM
Just kidding. :-)
I actually looked for itColnagoFE
Dec 27, 2001 1:42 PM
Couldn't find it online. The girls are attractive and dressed in interesting outfits. Personally I dont have a problem with it, but it is rather gratuitous.
Bomber GirlsDog
Dec 27, 2001 2:05 PM
Kittenbreath's gonna love this!dzrider
Dec 27, 2001 7:05 AM
I find the photo no better or worse than the Feminine Frames calendar of a few weeks ago. Just a different target audience. Personally, I've never understood censoring nudity but not violence.
Its no big deal (at least from this angle!)Tig
Dec 27, 2001 7:27 AM
Jokes aside, there is nothing obscene about that ad or photo. The human body in it's natural state is, well, natural! Like Dog said, I'd rather not look at some guy's butt, however I don't see it as vulgar, pornographic, or obscene. A well made photo with the intent of simple beauty and form are a far cry from in yo' face smut.

A magazine may choose what they print or not print. That's not censorship. It's their call. They have to consider what serves best their readers and yes, advertisers, as well as the magazine's reputation. The ad might be fine for "Men's Fitness", but maybe not in something that kids will be reading since that will tick off parents and lose subscriptions, blah, blah, blah. It all boils down to an individual's "morality".
The Mothers Against Reality are everywherecory
Dec 27, 2001 8:39 AM
Jeez, it's a naked guy...if you don't want to look, turn the page.
There's an interesting question here, though, about whom we think we're protecting when we protest stuff like this and what we think we're protecting them from. Somebody mentioned a Bicycling story with mild profanity in it, and its possible effect on his daughters. Hang out on the fourth-grade playground for one recess and see what you hear...
Since material a lot of people think is objectionable is EVERYWHERE these days (most recently, the word "piss" seems to be popping up on prime time television--that was a dirty word a few years ago, and it still surprises me to hear it), seems to me it might be better to look at these things openly and discuss it with the kids rather than make something shameful and secret of it. There's no problem, at least in my family, with saying, "You'll hear this word (or whatever) and here's what it means, but polite people don't use it in conversation."
time are changin'Dog
Dec 27, 2001 9:09 AM
My bother and sister are two examples of extremes here. My brother pretty much allows his two boys to see and hear anything. Even when young, it wasn't unusual for the boys to wake up at 2 a.m. and make themselves comfortable eating popcorn and watching the Playboy channel or some R rated movie on SINamax. :-)

By contrast, my sister has raised her four children to be absolute prudes. Mostly owing to more fundamentalist beliefs, they would not even allow the kids to participate in Halloween or secular Christmas or Easter activities. Television was highly supervised, and even their musical choices were mostly limited to "Christian Rock" and the like.

I doubt you'd find much more of a contrast in one family. Yet, all the kids seem to be fairly well adjusted and happy. I certainly can't say who is right, but I can say that each has the right to raise them the way they want to.

We never heard profanity, or even the allusion to it, on TV when we were young. The first time I heard Carlin's "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television," it really cracked me up. It was a big deal at the time. Now I think we are down to about 4 of those words that you cannot say, but then other words have been added, as the O.J. trial showed us.

and to further digressDog
Dec 27, 2001 9:18 AM
George Carlin's words:

Yes, there is profanity there.

Artistic merit notwithstandingBrian C.
Dec 27, 2001 9:30 AM
I'm growing weary of marketers using imagery like that to sell their wares. It makes me feel like I'm being manipulated - not sold on something, but manipulated. Sure, marketers understandably want to be seen and heard above the cacaphony in today's mass media, but can they not think of something more fresh and interesting? Even when selling bicycles?
This ad reminds me of the United Colors of Benetton campaign of a few years ago. It was intended more to generate controversy than sell clothing. Still, any publisher who stamps "censored" over an ad and still runs with it, will only draw more attention to the ad.
By the way, an old saw in the journalism biz: "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one."
Just bad tastesalmonwheel
Dec 27, 2001 11:00 AM
I can't say the ad is offensive, but it is in bad taste, and I would not be pleased if I turned a page in a magazine and saw it. I might even stop subscribing to the magazine. Before I get flamed, think. I am not opposed to the naked body nor do I think the human body should always be hidden. This is an advertisement, not art, it says look at this naked guy and the ad is centered so you focus on this naked guys butt, it is a naked guy because that is seen as vulgar, therefore, it catches your attention and might remember the company name. I find these ads and others like them truly tasteless. They are not clever, they are not meaningful, they are not beautiful (although some of the people are) , they just try to get your attention. They kind of remind me of that kid in middle school who wanted to be funny, but wasn't, so they made sexual references all the time or sex jokes to be funny. I call it the easy tyoe of clever, make people uncomfortabel and they laugh or pretend its artistic. I am generally not supportive of censorship in any form; people should be allowed freedom of expression. I applaud the editors of magazines that will refuse to print these simple and tasteless ads instead of taking whatever advertising dollars come their way. It shows respect to their readership.
Just bad tasteohio
Dec 27, 2001 12:01 PM
It's interesting that you see the ad completely differently than I see it. It never crossed my mind that this ad was playing into shock value. I am not shocked by a interesting picture of a naked human body, so when I saw the ad, I simply thought that it was a clever play on the "Lefty" concept, and also that I wish I was in as good shape as that guy.

Maybe it's that several years of art classes and drawing from nudes has jaded me, or maybe it's that as a culture we've been taught not to value the beauty of the human body. There is nothing sexual to me about this picture. I didn't think it was a crass joke.

To call it bad taste means that it is sending an innapropriate message. What is the message that it is sending? The only thing inappropriate that I can think of is it is portraying a body norm for men that is unattainable, similar to JCrew using ultra-skinny female models, which helps to contribute to the appalling percentage of teen and college age girls with eating disorders.
re: Far from "right to print"....its about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$jrm
Dec 27, 2001 12:25 PM
Advertizing dollars and a favorable review on a advertizers products do wonders.....

PS: controversy...just makes the impact just that much better.
re: CensorshipMikeyvelo
Dec 27, 2001 1:41 PM
I do not find the guy's buttocks offensive in any way, shape, but that is just me; I am not a business who's profits depend on a customer's opinion of me. The editor of the magazine running the Cannondale ad probably did not take offense either; his motive for having the model's buttocks covered was simply a matter of sound economic reasoning. In accepting to run the ad, he could have alienated other advertisors as well as potential future advertisors, maybe even a sizable number of subscribers. The same dilemma may have existed witht he magazine not wanting to run the Voodoo ad!
re: Censorshipbluto
Dec 27, 2001 3:16 PM
I think the ladies of the Temperance League may have overindulged over the holidays.
re: Censorshipbluto
Dec 27, 2001 3:28 PM
Would it be more acceptable if he wore trousers and a handgun, with a flag as background?
Dec 27, 2001 5:09 PM
You know, it's amazing how much people change once they have kids. Do I think that it's a lewd picture? No. Do I want my 7 and 8 year old daughters seeing it when they look at my bike mags? No, I don't.
Right now, I'm really ticked off at the Fox network. My kids actually like watching football with me, and I enjoy helping them learn about the game. It's pretty cool helping little girls learn the finer points of offensive line play. However, the garbage that Fox throws out in the way of commercials promoting their own sleaze can be outrageous. And the beer commercials are almost as bad! That latest Miller commercial with the gyrating abdomen and the low waist is pretty hot, and exactly what I DON'T want my kids to see. And one of them had a nightmare after getting hit with a pretty disgusting X-Files promo.
There may be a point at which innocence has to be lost, but I don't think my girls are there yet. So my only option seems to be to keep them away from bike mags and daytime sports broadcasting. I guess the right of people to see the gross and sleazy outweighs my kids' right to have equal access to the media without seeing it.
Now that you think of it..salmonwheel
Dec 28, 2001 12:15 PM
ten years younger and the add probably wouldn't have bothered me, I still would of thought it in bad taste though. Now if I stumbled across the add I would have been annoyed that it was in an unrestricted magazine.

I agree about fox, they aren't afraid to to get down in the mud are they.

I think the nudity in the add is unnecessary and inappropriate given the potential audience. What does nudity add to the message. When I ride a bike, I always wear clothing, If the dude was in bike shorts and a sleeveless jersey we could certainly see that he was muscular (and lefty). They used a naked body precisely because it does cross a line, and will catch peoples attention.
re: CensorshipBikeUSA
Dec 27, 2001 11:06 PM
Ok, first of all this ad has done exactly what it was meant to... caused controversy. I just read every post here and there are great opinions and points of view here but we have all fallen prey to this ad. If you don't like a picture (ad) in a magazine, turn the damn page or if your that offended, dont buy (subscribe) to the mag anymore.

Now secondly, I can't really agree with the idea of keeping things or hiding things from your kids. You can shelter them all you want but they will face reallity with or without you and your help. Have you kept them from watching TV or listening to the radio for the past 3 1/2 months? The terrible things that happened on Sept. 11th are far worse than a picture of a butt in a magazine. How did you explain that to the kids? I have to agree with the person that said worse things are being said and/or done by 4th graders.

Im sure some of you will have things to say about what I wrote and I encourage you to speak your minds. Voice your opinions with volume.
re: Censorshipwalter
Dec 28, 2001 5:57 AM
Well my wife's reaction was "about time." I guess she's seen too many female models, usually in much more suggestive poses, to feel anything except some slight pleasure in seeing the male body. She thinks he's pretty hot btw.

I'm a bit jealous as I'll never be in that kind of shape, oh well.

What was the name of the bike company again?
Thumbs upStarliner
Dec 28, 2001 9:58 AM
This portrayal of a naked body in an ad is acceptable to me because I see a consistency between the visual image and the message. The strong body communicates the message of strength, and the balancing, upside down position communicates the message of agility. All in all, it's pretty honest and straightforward.

Contrast that with the many manipulative ads where the connection between sexual imagery and the product message is pretty weak. Britney Spears is a great example of someone who uses teasy, manipulative sexual imagery to sell herself (and products). I am a man in love with the female body as much as anyone, but I feel disrespected by marketers (and women) who, through the use of sexual manipulation, treat me as if I am a direct descendant of Pavlov's dog.
then why isn't the man in the ad facing you?ET
Dec 28, 2001 10:22 AM
Because some, if not most, would find it objectionable. (Maybe there's even laws against that in some mediums.) But some might find even his rear objectionable. You can't understand that? You make it sound as if the intentions of the company inserting the ad are purely to convey the beauty of the strong naked body (almost forget what they're trying to sell). That's not it at all. It's to attract attention, and, in theory, increased sales. Sure, some of these types of ads do it more tastefully than others, but that doesn't change the objective which, while economically understandable and normal, is not so blissful and pure to me.
...or wearing shorts?Dog
Dec 28, 2001 10:43 AM
Yes, why is he naked? I can't think of any legitimate reason for it. It must be purely to attract attention or controversy.

Could this guy go walking down the street looking like that? Don't think so. So why would it be OK in a general circulation magazine?

...or lycra?ET
Dec 28, 2001 11:08 AM
shows the outline of the human form and is something with which cyclists can relate.
then why isn't the man in the ad facing you?Starliner
Dec 28, 2001 1:27 PM
Yes, I think you're right about the impact a frontal shot would likely have. I can understand also that some may find a rear shot objectionable. I don't, but that's just my opinion. I certainly didn't say the company intended to forget about what they were trying to sell in favor of showing off a naked body - I said there was a tie-in between the image and the message, or, the sales pitch.

In Family Circle magazine, you'll find pictures of naked baby butts helping to sell baby powder, but not frontal shots. Probably everybody would accept these, and wouldn't mind if their children were to look at them. So, at what age do you decide that a butt shot is taboo? And why?
The larger issuewalter
Dec 28, 2001 4:03 PM
is that our society has been taught (indoctrinated) to immediately equate nudity with sexuality. Combine that with the fact that our society still has very disparate views about sexuality and you're bound to create controversy. In fact there's nothing sexual about the picture. There's no potential partner in the picture and as has been pointed out this is not a frontal view.

Of course artistic merit is not the reason Cdale created this ad. The thing is the ad probably creates more traffic in its "censored" form than otherwise. I mean have you seen the Pinarello website? But if they put a black bar across that girl's breasts there'd be alot more traffic on the site b/c everyone would want to see why people are screaming "censorship."
Are we sure the "censorship" came from the magazine?jtolleson
Dec 28, 2001 4:21 PM
I'm sorry, but a black triangle labeled "censored" sounds like the work of a Madison Ave. ad "genius" created a memorable ad.

Magazines don't run ads and then place "censored" over parts. They simply refuse to run materials that don't conform to their content standards.

I'm skeptical that this is about censorship at all. It is a clever, titillating advertisement, and the mag had nothing to do with it. That's my theory and I'm stickin' to it.

Hopefully we'll hear the real story soon.