Media Censorship Essay, Research Paper
censorship”Censorship”"The song [Cop Killer] is fiction, not fact. At no point did I go out and say’Let’s do it.’ I am singing in the first person as a character who is fed up with policebrutality. I ain’t never killed no cop. I felt like it a lot of times. But I never did”-Rapper Ice-T, National Review, July 20, 1992. Statements such as that has started an on going debate about censorship in thetelevision and music industry. What exactly is censorship? Some feel censorship is aviolation of the first amendment right. Others say censorship is a must in the violent,abusive world we call “society”. Who has the right to censor? Who doesn’t? What needsto be censored, and what doesn’t? The fact of the matter is that their are the pro’s andcon’s in the music and entertainment industry about censorship. Since its invention earlier this century, television has become the most popularformat for entertainment. We can be entertained, informed, and inspired by programs onTV. In fact, Americans love TV so much that we probably watch far too much of it. TVstations are becoming less restrictive about content in their programs. More violence,profanity, and nudity than ever before now graces our TV screens every night. Clearly,there are things that children should not be seeing on TV. The new V-chip legislationpassed be Congress requires all TV manufactures to install an electronic device that allowsparents to set the tolerance levels for violence, profanity, and nudity. However, arechildren’s viewing habits the responsibility of the government or the parents?There are several arguments that can be made on censorship on TV. One forexample, what the pro’s for censorship? What are the con’s? The are a lot of good pointsand bad points about censorship on TV. A good point that can be made is that there are alot of violence and profanity on the “tube”. This can be clearly stopped by the new V-chiplegislation just passed. But would the V-chip automatic censor block out such violentdramas a “Schindler’s List,” “Root.” or “Gone With the Wind?” Would producers make atelevision mini-series about the bloody Civil War, which very likely would be blocked astoo violent, or pass on such a project for fear of censorship? Another good point to
censor certain TV shows is the theme of the show or movie. For example, “The Simpson”and Married…With Children” encourage children to disrespect their parents. But forfamilies that watch TV together and discuss the good, bad and the ugly don’t need notstinking v-chip. The lines of communication are open, and children are taught what isacceptable and what is not. By relying on a transistor to do their parenting for them, manyadults will fall even more out of touch with their children, who will spend more time tryingto get around technology to watch shows they’re not supposed to watch. Those are just afew minor points about censorship in TV, but the same points can be made about thecensorship in music as well. To many, music is the language of the soul. In the past, the musician’s right tocontrol his work was not in question. This has begun to change in recent years, however,as the lyrics to popular music have become more explicit. Is a rap group portraying reallife in the ghetto, or a heavy-metal band singing about suicide, protected as artisticexpression? Or do these songs really influence society, becoming a cause of violence andhate instead of merely an expression of them? Is government censorship of offensive and violent lyrics a way to improve society,or simply controlling who offend the wrong people. Many artist claim they are just usingthe freedom of speech amendment and singing and writing about whatever they please.But to others, the real intentions of the would-be music censors is to impose on allAmericans the tastes and values of political power brokers who don’t connect withexperiences and concerns of the young and alienated. According to the “would-be”censors free speech does not include the right to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. Mostlyrics go a lot further than that. The artist need to acknowledge that there are obviouslysome correlation between the negative and violent messages that are being put out inmany tapes and the violence that exists out there in the real world, is a major reason touphold censorship,People can go on and on why music and TV should be censored and why is shouldnot. This is an debate that will go well into the 21st century. But the real question is willthe music get more explicit and TV get more and more violent. Only the test of time willfind out.