Music And Sensorship Essay, Research Paper
Throughout history, the emotions of people have shown themselves in a variety of forms. Some of the people chose the medium of music to express their emotions and ideas. Music somehow became useless for some people, while music was still spreading across the world. But this work offended some people who were in the need of authority; these people tried to control the music created by the artists. This control of the music is in the form of censorship, and censurers used their political, economical power to control the musicians who earn their life by means of music. This censorship is an attack on a person s freedom; this is a direct attack on emotions and freethinking. In addition, this also limits the freedom of people to listen to what they want to listen to.
Censorship of the music is as old as the history of the music. Until the last hundred years, western culture music s principal aim was appeasing royalty and the wealthy, if these groups do not like the music it is simply altered. As an example, Giuseppe Verdi s opera La Traviata was changed numerous times because some of the lyrics were considered too passionate by citizens of Rome. But the real rise of censorship in music was with the rise of rock and roll. Some people found the dance of Elvis Presley as crude and offensive. Also the songs by the Rolling stones named I cant get no satisfaction , Sympathy for the Devil , Louie, Louie by the Kingsmen were banned from many radio stations because they were considered as pornographic, satanic or sexual in nature. One of the famous bands in the field of censorship is the Beatles. John Lennon proposed that his band was more popular than Jesus Christ, as a response their records were burned and music markets refused to sell their records. In 1969, John Lennon s new album was taken off the shelf because of the naked picture on the cover, also in Chicago a music store selling that album was closed by the Police.
In 1970s, President Richard Nixon stated that lyrics should be clearly examined for content and that drug references should be deleted. By 1985, censorship groups began to form and they took the record industry by storm, record warning labels were also formed at this time. The Record Industry Association of America was formed to rate music content and develop warning labels for music considered to be explicit. Many record stores refused to sell items that carried items marked with warnings.
In the 1990s the case got more interesting by the introduction of the rap group called 2 Live Crew. This group s sales were restricted and police began arresting children under 18 buying this album. The band also got arrested in a concert performing the song Me So Horny which led to nudity and sexual acts on stage. It was only after a long debate that they were freed and their album was free to be sold. By the end of the 1990s, retail stores tried to limit and prohibit the sales of offensive albums while the album covers were being taken into account also. But the music industry tried to fight back by giving money to the music stores to sell albums with explicit lyrics in order to prevent them from low profit problems. The above paragraphs show a brief history of the censorship in music.
Some people to convey their ideas, to explain their problems also used music. Such as rappers, whom are mostly also black people, using this genre to explain there suffering from white people. They claim that white people subordinated them, the cops are against them and they are classified as second class. This music is used by the Rappers to explain their problems to the public. Some people want to prevent their music and censor the lyrics, especially the white people, because they claim that they do not pressure the black communities. The politicians try to censor Rap music because they want to show their countrymen that what they consider to be bad can be eradicated. The censorship in this case is not good, because these people find audiences as do all types of music that is a release for some. If people do not approve of the music, they can show their dislike by not buying the album and protesting it. The justification of this cannot be done by a minority who only think themselves in censorship, but as a part of the whole to come together. This is explained by Governor Frank Keating about Marilyn Manson, the Governor said “If no one comes to listen to their trash, this group will go elsewhere and not come back.”. This type of thinking is nothing but leaving the justification of the work to the people, which is the right thing to do.
Some of the music markets put pressure on the musicians to clean up their work, in other words to self-censor themselves otherwise the musicians wouldn t be able to put their albums on their market. One example market using this policy is Wal-Mart. This market asked their musicians to censor their work, or they claimed that they would not sell their products. Some of the musicians facing this threat were Nirvana, Da Brat, Butthole Surfers, Busta Rhymes etc. These groups especially use heavy swearing in their songs but this does not mean that they should clean up their work. This was a clear shot at trying to make them change their style, people had accepted their work as this and if they changed their styles they could face an opposition from their fans. An opposition from the fans came as it was stated by a Wal-Mart customer named Todd; I was shocked when I went to buy an album at Wal-Mart. I had ruined my copy of Nirvana s In Utero and I went to Wal-Mart to replace it. I picked up the album and looked at the back just out of habit. It was then I noticed that the track Rape Me had been replaced by Waif Me. I was outraged and I vowed then to never buy an album from there again. It is out of only plain ignorance that a store would force a change in expression. In my opinion, the music markets are not right in this subject because the customer has the right to choose and the customer would define right and wrong. Also supporters of these groups like the style that raised the need for the censorship, when you changed this style, supporters will be unhappy with the music. The right thing should be the selling of these albums while putting warnings on the album for prevention of the wrong people purchasing them.
Another example of censorship occurred at a Marilyn Manson concert, as you know Marilyn Manson is not a stereotypical singer, some people can find him disgusting, while some people simply like his music. The case that I refer to occurred in Oklahoma City, the governor of Oklahoma City explained his ideas about Marilyn Manson as follows bent on degrading women, religion, and decency, while promoting satanic worship, child abuse and drug use. , he made this claim although he had never listened to Marilyn Manson s music. A group called Oklahomans for Children and Families urged the city council to cancel the concert. The City council decided that the lyrics could be counted as obscene and allowing the concert to go on would have meant that a violation of law had occurred. On the other hand a promoter of the Manson show, Scott Adams said that this was a more family values issue than a censorship issue , according to him it is the job of the family to teach their children right and wrong, not the issue of government. As a result, the show was not canceled. But this was not the case at Mexico State University and the show was canceled there by the reason of not finding enough security officers. This is an interesting case because the university could not find a reasonable issue for their canceling of the concert.
If we look at censorship of music in Turkey, we see a lot of examples. Ten years before, all the radio and TV stations were under the control of government; they could censor every kind of media using their power. As a result, for a long period some of the musicians were banned from the media. Also there was a council whose job it was to examine the lyrics of the songs and ban all songs when a part of the lyrics are found to be offensive. The most heavily censored music type was arabesque music, which was seen as offensive. Some of the leading singers were Orhan Gencebay, Muslum Gurses, and Ferdi Tayfur; they were banned from the radios and TVs of the government. Then, time passed and a few rules changed, these singers were then allowed to appear on the channels of the government. As a result of the effect of government on these subjects, some 10 or 20 years of Turkish music was under darkness and the new types of music were prevented from the scene as well. The examples and reasons for censoring lyrics were so ridiculous that mentioning them here would not be suitable. By the breaking down of some of the taboos, the rules changed enough to loosen the then set sanctions but the censorship had not yet finished. Today we see RTUK, which controls the ongoing programs on TV, some of the music clips and singers were banned from TV by this council.
Some music genres are indicators of some ideas such as heavy metal music. Last year Turkey witnessed another problem that was blamed on music because of a Satanist event. A girl was killed during a Satanist black mass and all the media declared a war against heavy metal music. Longhaired young people had been attacked in the streets due to the music they listened to. Some groups were shown in the media as the initiators of murders and killings, even the softest Metallica was portrayed as a Satanist group. This was a censorship action against the heavy metal music industry, some people cut their hair, some gave up listening to metal music and some music markets just didn t sell the albums any more. In this event, the media provoked people against a musical stereotype and society tried to censor heavy metal music in Turkey because people saw this music as leading to murder.
In A Brief History of Banned Music , we can see that music has been under a constant attack by the censorship. Since music was first created, censorship had also been born. Some of the musicians were killed; some of them were exiled as a result of their music. The following excerpt is from a newsgroup sent by a user that explains the concept very well. I believe that music is the purest and most important form of expression that we have today. Whether it is about political, social or religious beliefs, I think that music is the most effective way to voice those beliefs. And while I may not agree with what Marilyn Manson say s or does, I by no means believe that they should be censored. This explains the concept very well; everybody is free to choose their musical tastes. Music is a kind of art, and people express their ideas by means of music. The censoring of a musical style is a direct attack to the human freedoms and this is done only in the less developed countries.
Music is a part of people’s every day life. From the moment the alarm clock goes of in the morning to the note of lullaby sung at night. Music is believed to affect ones emotions, if you notice people tend to feel music, depending on the rhythm and lyrics or the song. Have you ever listened to a song with a fast beat or catchy lyrics and just felt in a dancing joyful mood? How about listening to a slow romantic song and felt like crying. Well, just like music effects ones emotions momentarily who’s to say the lyrics we hear don’t affect our life permanently?
As we know music has changed over the years. Some styles as well as rhythms. We hear today’s music is not pleasing to older people. You might even hear them call our music evil and a temptation to wrong doing. I believe music influences everyone but especially the youth. During adolescence teenagers begin organizing their life trying to fit in, and plan for the future. Since they are in this stage were they are trying to discover themselves. If they don’t have a firm foundation, they are more likely to be influenced by the music as well as other things.
Music has been used as a tool to communicate. Today we find that many songs are sending negative messages. Some of these negative messages contain content of violent acts to smoking marijuana. These messages have brought concerns to even our government. On June 14, 1999 Rep. Henry Hyde proposed legislation that was to prohibit minors from buying cd’s with explicit content. But unfortunately the
Bill was turn down.
A report made by the government shows a great percentage of today s songs played over our airwaves mention drugs, alcohol and violence all too often. By far Rap music was found to have the highest percentage of drugs mentioned in their songs with 63% and 50% for alcohol. The type of music that followed after was Alternative Rock with a far less percentage of 11% on drugs mention and a 10% of alcohol mention.
On the other hand there’s the people that produce the music whose major concern is making the bottom line, not whats good for society. As long as they can make profit off of people, it doesn’t matter where they came from and what they are singing if it can become a hit. That is why criminals today are glorified through t.v., and cd’s and are sold to our youth. What types of role models are those, certainly not the ones you would like your kids to follow.
So without question Rap music is the type of music that either mentions alcohol or drugs the most. It also mentions shootings, killings, and sex. But what is worst yet is the disrespect that this type of music has for females. These videos use almost naked females in their videos and just can t seem to get over calling them their bitches or hoes.
When Rap first came out, everyone liked it because of its different rhythm and fresh style. Then in the early 90’s it started to change. More of the gang-members and criminal element starting getting into the music business. It brought in this different view of rap. The majors content of their lyrics are always about the women being treated like prostitutes and the drugs and the death. This problem grew when Death Row Records were introduced to the world. Death Row Records were created by Marion “Suge” Knight a former gang member of the California bloods.
Music is not usually a danger to anyone whose life is healthy and has the element of a stable family life. But if anyone, especially an impressionably youth is having a bad life, and is constantly pre-occupied with music that has seriously destructive themes then it is very possible that this is the type of person that may snap. With these types of people you have to be aware of changes in behavior such as isolation, mood swings and these types of changes.
So in closing I ll just say that I enjoy most types of music but I am a member of the human race therefore I own a brain and I make my own decisions in life. But this brain also tells me that there are those people out there that rationalize walking into a McDonalds at 8:00am in the morning and open firing on innocent people. So lead your own life, don t make excuses when you make mistakes and always strive to be a good person while listening to your thug rap or metal-mania . And in the Immortal words of one of my hero s, James Hetfield (Lead Singer for Metallica) be careful what you ask for .You just might get it! Do we really want anyone else making any choices for us? I Don t.
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