Censorship in Music Essays
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Censorship in Music
Censorship in music has been a major problem plaguing America since the early nineteen forties. It came to a head during the nineteen sixties with the Vietnam War and the hippie movement. During the nineteen seventies and eighties heavy metal and hard rock were getting the brunt of the censorship heat. Now in the nineteen nineties the major focus of censorship is rap; primarily gangster rap. Some of the main factors of music in general that cause legal ramifications are sexual content, suggestive violence and obscene language. Censorship is an attack against our first amendment right guaranteeing the freedom of speech. However if a song or album is deemed obscene the first amendment does not protect this. The mass…show more content…
It began by the Recording Industry association of America agreeing to voluntarily place-warning labels on albums that were deemed obscene. This came after a congressional hearing before the Senate commece, science and transportation committee. Frank Zappa a controversial musician attended the conference and called Tipper Gore who is co founder of the Parent's Music Resource Center a "Cultural Terrorist."(Winfield pg. 25) Record labeling made many angry and at the same time pacified others. It was seen as a step forward in attempting to control the one mass media aimed directly at teenagers. Musicians such as Axle Rose have spoken out against labeling claiming their right to express themselves musically no matter what the response. One artist, Luther Campbell, of the rap group 2 Live crew released a single titled "Banned in the USA" in response to the labeling (Winfield pg. 14). This labeling of albums is not the first attempt and success at censoring music. For 50 years radio stations have been censoring songs deemed inappropriate. In 1940 NBC banned 147 songs. The Supreme Court upheld the FCC's authority to regulate music in 1978 (Winfield pg. 14). The rock and roll community could only expect some sort of limited censorship. Initially the ban was only in effect from 6 am until midnight but in 1988 president Reagan made the ban all day. The FCC in an attempt to let radio stations know what types of songs were unacceptable sent a list of 22
Why are there so many outcries to ban rock and gangsta rap? Why does our government want to censor music? Is it really the violence that comes from the lyrics of the songs, and the attitudes that it creates, both positive and negative?
People say that the things they want to censor are bad, but are those materials really bad? Could these music types be referred to as bad things just because they are new, strange, and daring.
Some people, such as Tipper Gore, the Vice President's wife, support censoring music . On the other hand, Frank Zappa, who has opposed censoring music, ridiculed Gore's assertion that certain types of music could promote deviant behavior saying, "I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone's teeth get cleaner?"
Today's music has advanced greatly since Generation X's parents' time. The variety of music comes from a wide range of artists with many different ways of expression.
It seems as though Generation X understands and accepts this type of artistic music. However, there are many that will not even listen to this music to give it a fair chance. One particular person like this is Bob Dole. One of our sources states that he is very one sided and hasn't even listened to the point of the music, but he still condemns it because of the word choice of the artist. While advocating censorship on one hand, Bob Dole is quoted as saying: "People are responsible for their actions. Movies and music do not make people into murderers."
We can also tell that Bob Dole is out of touch with music. He still refers to banning music such as Two Live Crew, which is hardly played anymore.
Many musicians have jumped in on the fight against censorship. They...