Censoship Essay, Research Paper
Music is a form of expression and, like all forms of expression, is protected by first amendment rights. So, it would be unconstitutional for the government to censor it. Music censorship has tormented our generations
society since the rap groups of the early eighties. With their sexual lyrics and explicit content, they were the first to be labeled as indecent and explicit.
Censorship has always been around in some form or another, but there has been a lot of dispute over what censorship is exactly. Censorship is when a person, organization, or government that decides if something is unfit or obscene and keeps everyone else from reading, having, seeing, listening to, and buying. I believe that any form of censorship, be it labeling music or preventing such media to a particular audience, is wrong and a violation of the first amendment. For example, in January, 1998, a Texas teenager named John Schroeder was arrested for wearing his Marilyn Manson t-shirt. Evidently, another shopper complained to the store security that she found his t-shirt offensive. John was wearing the ?lipstick? t-shirt which has Manson?s face on the front. I don?t think a so-called censored shirt should be worth a two hundred and fifty dollar fine. Another example of unfair censorship is an Arizona school officials banned a musical adaptation of Mark Twain?s Tom Sawyer, at Carson Junior High in Mesa. ?The novel contains racial and sexist references, and offends law enforcement officials and churchgoers,? claimed Mesa educators.
If music is labeled indecent, censorship takes the shape of some stores not selling the music because of such labeling. The ever so popular store Wal-Mart, has refused to stock any music that has a ?Parental Advisory? or music that is not fit for Wal-Marts standards. This means a possible change in lyrics, cover design, or songs in the album that are altered to fit Wal-Mart needs. Wal-Mart sells fifty two million of the six hundred and fifteen million compact disks sold in the United States. They noted, ?it is our right as a retailer to offer the type of products we want and that we feel our customers wan to buy.?
This censorship has taken out of all of the political messages that musicians put out. Environmental protection, racism, economics and sexual exploitation, religious fundamentalism, and suppression are themes that reoccur among politicized musicians throughout the world. The musical group Rage Against the Machine, is the band most affected by this censorship because of their explicit lyrics and ?vulgar content.? If one takes off the censor, one would realize that they are fighting for our freedom of speech and the fight against racism. Rage?s lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, once stated ?Freedom isn?t a gift; it?s a right,? and it?s a right that can?t be controlled.