Movies and Tele Vision : censorshipJoseph Graham
“The song Cop Killer is fiction, not fact. At no point did I go out and say
‘Let’s do it.’ I am singing in the first person as a character who is fed up
I ain’t never killed no cop. I felt like it a lot of times. But I
-Rapper Ice-T, National Review, July 20, 1992.
Statements such as that has started an on going debate about censorship in the
television and music industry.
What exactly is censorship? Some feel censorship
violation of the first amendment right. Others say censorship is a must in the
abusive world we call “society”. Who has the right to censor? Who doesn’t? What
to be censored, and what doesn’t? The fact of the matter is that their are the
con’s in the music and entertainment industry about censorship.
Since its invention earlier this century, television has become the most popular
format for entertainment.
We can be entertained, informed, and inspired by
TV. In fact, Americans love TV so much that we probably watch far too much of
stations are becoming less restrictive about content in their programs. More
profanity, and nudity than ever before now graces our TV screens every night.
there are things that children should not be seeing on TV. The new V-chip
passed be Congress requires all TV manufactures to install an electronic device
parents to set the tolerance levels for violence, profanity, and nudity.
children’s viewing habits the responsibility of the government or the parents?
There are several arguments that can be made on censorship on TV. One for
example, what the pro’s for censorship? What are the con’s? The are a lot of
and bad points about censorship on TV.
A good point that can be made is that
there are a
lot of violence and profanity on the “tube”. This can be clearly stopped by the
legislation just passed. But would the V-chip automatic censor block out such
dramas a “Schindler’s List,” “Root.” or “Gone With the Wind?” Would producers
television mini-series about the bloody Civil War, which very likely would be
too violent, or pass on such a project for fear of censorship? Another good
censor certain TV shows is the theme of the show or movie.
For example, “The
and Married…With Children” encourage children to disrespect their parents.
families that watch TV together and discuss the good, bad and the ugly don’t
stinking v-chip. The lines of communication are open, and children are taught
acceptable and what is not. By relying on a transistor to do their parenting for
adults will fall even more out of touch with their children, who will spend more
to get around technology to watch shows they’re not supposed to watch. Those are
few minor points about censorship in TV, but the same points can be made about
censorship in music as well.
To many, music is the language of the soul. In the past, the musician’s right to
control his work was not in question. This has begun to change in recent years,
as the lyrics to popular music have become more explicit. Is a rap group
life in the ghetto, or a heavy-metal band singing about suicide, protected as
expression? Or do these songs really influence society, becoming a cause of
hate instead of merely an expression of them?
Is government censorship of offensive and violent lyrics a way to improve
or simply controlling who offend the wrong people.
Many artist claim they are
the freedom of speech amendment and singing and writing about whatever they
But to others, the real intentions of the would-be music censors is to impose on
Americans the tastes and values of political power brokers who don’t connect
experiences and concerns of the young and alienated. According to the “would-be”
censors free speech does not include the right to yell “fire!” in a crowded
lyrics go a lot further than that.
The artist need to acknowledge that there are
some correlation between the negative and violent messages that are being put
many tapes and the violence that exists out there in the real world, is a major
People can go on and on why music and TV should be censored and why is should
not. This is an debate that will go well into the 21st century. But the real
question is will
the music get more explicit and TV get more and more violent. Only the test of
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