Censorship: How much is too much?

By Christina Williams
October 16, 2003

Toccara Buckley

Censorship in the media is nothing new. Censorship dates back to the ’50s and is continuing in to the present. Censorship in the music industry started when radio stations began to stop playing certain songs on the radio because of suggestive lyrics.

The whole censorship battle has been going on for about six decades. There have been numerous fights between artists, record labels, politicians and society. Some infamous controversial artists are Elvis Prestly, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Ozzy Osbourne, Prince, Madonna, NWA, Marilyn Manson and Eminem.

In a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Britney Spears graced the cover in scanty clothing. The pictures caused a big controversy and yet again brought up the question – is there enough censorship today?

There were so many reactions to this question. Some people said there is enough censorship, some people said there is not enough and some said it just could not be done. Sophomore Chris Friel, a religious studies major, said, “Censorship has gotten better over the past 50 years. Parents should be teaching their children how to react to what they see on television and what they hear on the radio.”

On the other hand, sophomore Lauren Walker said, “If people continue to complain about the influence music has on others then there is not enough censorship.” On the other hand, Andrew Mindrich, accounting major, said, “There is no way to censor music because music throughout history has been a form of self-expression. When self-expression is censored it is taking away a person’s first amendment rights.”

Regarding Spears, sophomor, Amber Taylor, marketing major, said “Britney should be censored because the target audience is too young to understand that it is publicity.” Then again Friel said, “If a person doesn’t like what they see then they should turn away. Britney is comfortable with herself and no one is standing over her telling her when she has pushed the envelope.”

There are artists today who have controversial CDs instead of controversial appearances. For example, there have been several groups that have been taken off store shelves because of suggestive artwork and song titles. Taylor and Friel agreed with the fact that none of the CDs should be taken off the shelf and instead have a section for controversial music. Junior Steph Mossa, social work major said, “It’s ok to take the music off the shelf because little kids shouldn’t be exposed to those types of CD and music.” Mindrich says, “It isn’t really fair but it is the stores choice, however, it is a form of discrimination.”

If record stores did decide to create a section for suggestive material wouldn’t that just boost sales for these artists? Mindrich and Taylor believe that the separation would help artist with their sales. Taylor said, “Those that rebel are going to buy the music and those that aren’t rebellious just want to know what the artist is saying that is so bad.”

On the flipside of the coin Mossa says, “Logically people would think because the artist is a rebel they may not be liked by many therefore, no CDs would be purchased. However, teenagers are buying the artists’ music for enjoyment and not necessarily the controversy.”

Posted to the Web by: Toccara Buckley

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Christina Williams

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