Censorship In Music Today-Both Sides of the Argument
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Censorship in music is a topic that has brought about much controversy in the past two decades. There have been many different arguments on the topic, however the question still remains as if it should be censored or it should not be censored. Before one can form an opinion on this, one must hear both sides of the argument. Some believe that music should be censored so all audiences can hear it without it containing any controversial lyrics. Others believe it should not be censored and musical artists should be able to speak, sing, rap, or rhyme freely without anyone censoring them.
Whether a person finds a work obscene depends largely on his or her moral or religious beliefs. These views change with each generation and further complicate the censorship dilemma. Religious or moral beliefs have a great influence on how a person feels about censorship, and as generations pass on the common beliefs on it may change. Right now, America is more uncensored than ever. However, things were very different a few generations ago. Some people believe music should be censored. They believe some of the language musical artists use is vulgar, obscene, and crude. Also the fact that music is played on forms of media such as radio and television. Those are broadcasted to all audiences, and there are many parents that would not wish for their kids to hear foul language. So on radio and television any controversial language is either silenced, or edited out by a soft sound. Some artists make two versions of their songs; one that is made for the artist’s album, which is uncensored; and one for television and radio with any controversial words change to be acceptable for all audiences. This does not include cable television, which can be audited by parents since the parents must order and pay for the channel to be viewed.
When one really thinks about it, it is a violation of the First Amendment. The First Amendment guarantees the right to freedom of speech, and censorship is violating peoples’ rights to say whatever they want to say. It is sometimes difficult to understand when a child gets punished for using foul language meanwhile the child’s parents have the right to criticize and petition the government whenever they feel the need to do so. Many musical artists feel that when they are forced to change lyrics their rights are being violated. In some artists’ songs they like to express their feelings towards somebody or something, and it hurts them to be censored because the new words implemented are not from his or her heart. They feel that they are being held down.
Due to the amendment made by our founding fathers, it is hard to decide if there will ever be an answer to the question whether or not music should be censored. The way I see it, it should not be censored. Many children often hear explicit language from older siblings or parents at an early age. They believe that since someone they look up to uses those words, they should too. Eventually, everyone will be exposed to language they do not find acceptable.
Foul language is not permitted on media such as television or radio because it is an all audience media. However, on albums the artist is allowed to use any words he or she sees fit.
The troublesome question, of course, is, who should decide what one should read or. However in order to avoid violation of our Constitutional rights. The answer should be the individual himself. However it is unnecessary to censor stations generally viewed by older audiences. It is now a requirement by law for record companies to put stickers on tapes and compact discs that say: “Parental Advisory. Explicit Lyrics”. The reason that law was passed was because many angry parents sued artists and record companies for releasing albums that contained explicit lyrics. Reason for lawsuit was that their child goes and repeats their newly learned words to people such as their teachers, principals, and other friends who then spread word around to their parents. It is likely though, that many of those parents used those same bad words in front of their children at one time or another. They probably did not say it to their face, but the fact still remains that the child heard his or her parents say those words, thus the child assumes it is normal to say that word. Many parents also complain that the art on music albums’ covers and insides. They argue saying that too is vulgar and should not be allowed.
Music should not be censored due to our First Amendment right. The government is doing all they legally can to protect the children’s’ young ears from the foul language that is out there. If a parent hears their child listening to foul language, they should not complain to anyone but themselves. If they do not wish for their child to hear foul language they should have supervised their children more closely. If they take their child to a record store and buy them a new tape or CD, the parent should have listened to the music by him or herself and scan for anything questionable. If they don’t like the content, they can always return it to the store. This way parents can be positive that their child is listening to music that is acceptable in their eyes.
In conclusion, censorship in music is wrong in my opinion. Artists should be allowed to say whatever they want. That is what our founding fathers based this country upon, freedom. The government is doing an excellent job in making the First Amendment suitable for all. If parents have a problem with it, it is because they did not properly supervise their children.