Proponents are pushing for censorship because they know that if such law is imposed and implemented, these music moguls will be reluctant to produce songs for the sake of profit per se but be more careful to downplay words so as to keep their albums selling. It is not the true solution. For some opponents, music censorship is not the solution. Instead, it should be literacy. They say that controversies are sometimes helpful because they can challenge individuals. If music is censored, they believe the challenge will be depleted.
For them, the answer is to educate the people who listen to music about its message, particularly the children. Kids should be taught to understand what they are hearing, reading and seeing. This way, they will be given the chance to be critical of these things and be able to apply them in their lives.
It keeps children from the truth. For some who oppose music censorship, they say they do not agree with hiding reality from people, especially children. By censoring music, they think it keeps the children from learning the truth about life. For them, some lyrics of the songs are harsh realities which should be accepted and overcome. If these real situations mentioned in songs are kept from listeners, they will not be able to practice certain skills in life like coping with challenges in life.
It is a violation of the First Amendment. People oppose to music censorship say that this practice is a clear violation of the First Amendment which is about freedom of self-expression and speech. If censorship is made into law, it prevents artists from expressing themselves and conveying what message they want to get through to their listeners.
They also point out that if censorship is meant to protect children from exposure from derogatory lyrics, they will not be prepared for things that happen outside of their homes.
From their point of view, they regard censorship as a hindrance from doing so. They also added that children should be encouraged to express themselves and if there will be censorship in any form, be it music or poetry, these kids will not be able to learn self-expression since it is presented as something that needs to be censored. It gives an impression that people are not mature and responsible enough. By censoring the press, the government the FCC and the F.
Oboler extends this application from the way the government rules to the way the people rule:. Throughout this essay are reasons against the effectiveness of censorship and reasons why censorship should not be tolerated. They are condensed below. Art is important to us. Art lets us see the world in new ways, and gives us pleasure.
It is a unique language in which we can say things that cannot be said otherwise, regardless of quality. Music lyrics are of value because they are an artform and because they comment on reality.
The specific issues that popular music comments on are of particular value to youth, the age group whose access is most restricted. For an artist, the sharing of artwork is a matter of pride and self-worth; it is an individual's contribution to civilization. It is also one's profession, a vital mean of self-support. The labeling of music albums has had undesirable effects. In some cases it has limited access to materials not only to minors, but also to adults.
Contrary to the censor's wishes, labels have served to increase interest in controversial ideas. Record companies, whose assistance is vital to a writer of popular music, enforce artistic and market-censorship out of fear for their economic welfare.
Special-interest groups generate this fear through intimidation. The definition of what is obscene or profane is determined by the majority and is used to suppress the views of the minority. The watchdogs from the majority are often extremists, themselves a minority that may not accurately express the views of the majority. This minority consists of special-interest groups that assert their own notions of morality to confine other's right to freedom of expression.
By limiting an individual's expression, the knowledge which is necessary to overcome such oppression is not disseminated.
These groups use this method to guard their own power and to paralyze the power of others. The actions which these suppressed ideas denote may be the censor's actual target. Censorship is contrary to the political philosophy on which the United States was founded.
The Bill of Rights ensures an individual's right to free expression. The use of this freedom to criticize the ruling party agrees with the Constitutional conviction that there must be checks on government. A democracy assigns the individual the task of choosing the most appropriate manner of life. Censorship restricts these choices, and is therefore in conflict with democracy. It is now clear that censorship is unacceptable to American individuals and to America as a nation.
What should also be made clear is that censorship doesn't work, even if the intentions are noble and accepted.
The censor's effort is ultimately futile, defeated by three factors: History has shown that the desire for freedom has won, and is winning, many battles against oppressors.
Religion and government have been severely weakened in their power to censor. Even in the past when these forces were powerful they did not completely crush ideas, they just delayed their flowering. The words of Jesus, Galileo, and Darwin have escaped initial condemnation, and there is no reason why contemporary words will not do likewise, given time. The desire to hear and express these words has led to modern liberal nations such as the United States.
The desire to express oneself is a deeply rooted characteristic of the human persona. The example cited from Verdi's La Traviata demonstrates that morality is not what it used to be.
Time serves to erode moral standards regardless of the censor's efforts. There have been censors since Aristotle with the power to torture and to kill, but controversial ideas have emerged anyway, along with their respective influence on our lives. The Tacitean Principle ultimately overcomes the censor because the censor unknowingly encourages it. The harder the censor works the brighter the Principle will shine, illuminating the offensive material for all to see.
A more acute censor would quietly suppress a work, but fortunately in our society it is rarely possible to quietly overcome legal constraints and artistic spirit. Allowing an artwork to fall into obscurity by itself would be more effective censorship than drawing attention to it through controversy. Independently of the censor, we must decide for ourselves whether or not music lyrics are beneficial to us.
There is no proof that they are harmful, so it would be wrong to censor them. Then again, they may be harmful and we are simply ignorant to this fact. In this case, as is shown above, censorship would not be the solution. History has shown that censors do not change the course of music, music itself does.
Great artists and their ideas influence other artists. Bob Dylan pioneered the protest song. These forms of music were successful because they prevailed upon other artists and because consumers found them interesting. Within our culture are people who want to provide for a safe, rational, and happy society and who see some music as a threat to this goal.
Changing the course of music through censorship is not a viable solution. So if these people wish to reach their goal, they must find another way to influence artists as well as the buying public. The way to do this is to become artists themselves; to enter their own music and ideas into the pool of the marketplace. If their product is not good, then, just like other artists throughout history whose work was not good, it will not be an influential force.
This would be a more probable and historically-precedented way of "protecting" society. This solution relies on the humanistic idea that people know what is best for them. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. This concept is the cornerstone of the whole democratic system.
Paramount to this system is access to a wide variety of choices. Market-censorship should be confined as much as possible to allow many different ideas into the market. Consumers can then decide for themselves what they will absorb and what they will reject. If we cannot avoid all market censorship, or if we choose to accept it as an unfortunate by-product of an otherwise good capitalist system, then we should at least let the consumers decide from what has reached the market and refrain from the censorship of influential minorities.
Baker, Susan, and Tipper Gore. Vol 1, Preliminary Studies , The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Juvenile Delinquency and Satanic Identification. Ritual Lo De Habitual Liner notes. Lawrence and Wishart, Oxford University Press, Inc. Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics. You've Got a Right to Rock: Duke and Duchess Ventures, Inc.
The Fear of the Word: Metuchen , New Jersey: More Skirmishes on the Censorship Front. Arts and Leisure p. Popular Music as a Radical Influence, The University of Texas Press, Their History, Their Meaning. A Selective Chronology of Banned Music: Music as Literature and Art Music lyrics are essentially composed as poems, ballads, monologues, and the like, and set to music.
The Importance of Art Before this author can discuss how and why music is being censored, it is vital to explain the significance of art in our lives. The responsibility of society, if it accepts poetry as a mode of knowledge, is to remain open to what poets of all genres, including the pornographic, have to say. Otherwise all mirrors will soon reflect the same imbecilic smile Michelson Sue Curry Jansen explained: And Herbert Marcuse noted: Art breaks open a dimension inaccessible to other experience, a dimension in which human beings, nature, and things no longer stand under the law of the established reality principle.
Subject and objects encounter the appearance of the autonomy which is denied them in their society. The encounter with the truth of art happens in the estranging language and images which make perceptible, visible, and audible that which is no longer or not yet, perceived, said, and heard in everyday life Marcuse Even if we accepted this view, based on the general complexity of classical music verses popular music, there is still a case to be made for simplicity: One can easily forget that things that strike the sophisticated person as trash may open new vistas for the unsophisticated; moreover, the very judgment of what is trash may be biased by one's own unsuspecting limitations, for instance, by one's class position or academic vested interest Riesman The Importance of Art to Artists The desire or need to invoke expressions unusual in everyday life is a passion for some artists.
What's this morality play about? I'm an artist because it's one of the few things you can do in this country that has no rules, and the idea of someone writing rules for that makes me crazy. Ideas can be crushed, artists can be crushed, and I think this is an emergency Flanagan On Censorship My ideas on the necessity of free expression are guided in part by the ideas of George Bernard Shaw found in his essay, "On Censorship.
He pointed out that morality is a phenomenon dependent on the majority: Whatever is contrary to established manners and customs is immoral. An immoral act or doctrine is not necessarily a sinful one: For this reason it is of the most enormous importance that immorality should be protected jealously against the attacks of those who have no standard except the standard of custom, and who regard any attack on custom - that is, on morals - as an attack on society, on religion, and on virtue. Henry Miller, whose novel, Tropic of Cancer , was banned in the United States for some time, cited the difficulty an artist faces when dealing with the morality of the majority: The artist must conform to the current, and usually hypocritical, attitude of the majority.
He must be original, courageous, inspiring, and all that - but never too disturbing. He must say Yes while saying No Miller But for the rest of us, It is immorality, not morality, that needs protection: To those who said that some ideas may harm society in the same manner as other crimes, Shaw said there is even more harm done by the censor: Shaw rejected these views as hopelessly relative and bias: Lyrics Where music is subject to vague interpretations and may alienate people according to subculture, lyrics are a more concrete form of expression.
Realism Musicians are often cited for using obscene language, ideas, and imagery in their lyrics. Frank Zappa, a musician of strong influence on early rock music, noted that This is not a noble, delicate, sublime country Zappa Regarding the censorship of the symbols, this author agrees with Goethe's view: It would be a bad state of affairs if reading had a more immoral effect than life itself, which daily develops scandalous scenes in abundance, if not before our eyes than before our ears.
Even with children we need not by any means be too anxious about the effects of a book or a play. As I have said, daily life is more effective than the most effective book Goethe Gorky summed up the association of art and reality: To invent means to extract from the sum of a given reality its cardinal idea and embody it in imagery - that is how we got realism.
But if to the idea extracted from the given reality we add - completing the idea, by the logic of hypothesis - desired, the possible, and thus supplement the image, we obtain that romanticism which is at the basis of myth and is highly beneficial in that it tends to provoke a revolutionary attitude to reality, an attitude that changes the world in a practical way Gorky In a court case involving censorship of the band Dead Kennedys, Barry Lynn, the Legislative counsel to the national American Civil Liberties Union, revealed the symbiotic relationship of controversy and censorship: Dead Kennedy material and visual art in general lampoons the conformism of American society.
That is preeminently political speech. We know it works because it annoyed the authorities enough to try to intimidate their critics into submission by calling them obscene Kennedy Importance of Lyrics as a Medium of Information The same segment of the population that censorship usually aims to protect is the same segment controversial music is intended for: David Riesman sees the cause of this as a lack of structure: Such a "youth movement" differs from the youth movement of other countries in having no awareness of itself, as such, no direct political consciousness, and, on the whole, no specialized media of communication Riesman After their original album cover was censored, the rock group Jane's Addiction released another cover with only Article 1 of the Bill of Rights on it, and inside was a message addressed to "the Mosquitoes": We have more influence over your children than you do, but we love your children.
Most of you love them too, very much. You want what's best for them. Consider them when planning the future. Oh, mother, father, your blindness to our most blessed gift, NATURE, leaves us with the overwhelming task of correcting your utter mess I understand why they want to protect their children, but for their own good, let me point out that though you may have to explain subjects to your children that you perceive as wrong, it is better to have the freedom to explain it in your own words than be silenced under a government that has the power to squash anyone who opposes their views Try to restrict our freedoms and we will fight even harder to preserve them Farrell The question that remains, however, is who gets to decide this?
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