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Censorship Of Music In The Media

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1030 words
Social Issues

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Censorship of Music in the Media
The American society of today has buried its head in the sand. If our venerable representatives in Washington, D.C. and our respective state capitols feel the need to regulate which musical albums and concerts I should be exposed to, then I guess that means I will have to find someone to vote for who doesn't feel that way; because those Lexus' and those mansions are harder to come by without taxpayers' money for a salary. In fact, repeated attempts to censor my music selection, not to mention my movies and my books, might result in my own name appearing on the ballot someday.
The first amendment represents a profound national commitment to uninhibited, robust and wide-open discussion that may well include vehement, casuistic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp speech. In the case of Cohen v California, 403 U.S. 15(1971) is dis positive. In this case, a man was arrested for wearing a jacket emblazoned with an expletive, reflecting his opinion of the military draft. The Supreme Court threw out this conviction as a violation of the First Amendment. Surely the State has no right to cleanse public debate to the point where it is grammatically palatable to the most sensitive among us. Thus, the general rule remains that so long as the means are peaceful, the communication need not meet standards of acceptability.
Some advocates of government action to restrict access to music have called certain music obscene and suggested that this might permit federal regulation. Such suggestions cannot be reconciled with First Amendment jurisprudence. Obscenity, which the Court has said is largely outside the boundaries of First Amendment protection, it is a very narrow and circumscribed area of communication. Being that obesity is easily confused with protected sexual expression. Supreme Court has asked that lyrics be specified as to their obscenity content, or discount certain messages. In the street, the Supreme Court noted that speech that is neither obscene as to youths nor subject to some other legitimate prescription cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable them.
Music certainly promotes ideas about the society in which we live. These ideas may be antisocial, misogynist, and conceived in a desire for commercial gain, but these are not reasons to treat them of lesser First Amendment import. The First Amendment most importantly states that the government cannot regulate speech in ways that favor some view points or ideas at the expense of others. Government sponsored or assisted efforts aimed at offensive lyrics in a music strike at the heart of constitutionally protected liberty of expression. No one doubts that the Constitution forbids government from restricting access to or labeling books that are sold in the mainstream; music receives precisely the same constitutional protection. As with all classical First Amendment disputes, the controversy over musical lyrics is over what some people deem to be dangerous ideas. Yet above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.
The National Campaign for Freedom of Expression is an educational and advocacy network of artists, art organizations and concerned citizens founded to fight censorship and to protect and extend the First Amendment right of freedom of artistic expression. NCFE is the only national organization exclusively dedicated to promoting the First Amendment as applied to the support, presentation, and creation of arts in our culture. Now they are fighting against Senator Sam Brownback.

The NCFE's Petition

We oppose censorship in any form. There are those, particularly in public office, who would presume to dictate what music is good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate and what is ultimately worthy of being created; all the while claiming not to be censors. We see this for what it is and are lending our names and voices to a core American value; freedom of expression. Singling out and attacking specific artists for the lyrical content of their recordings that some people find objectionable is an attack on all artists, songwriters and musicians. It cannot be tolerated. Don't censor our creativity. Keep music free.

We need to focus on the problem not the symptom. I think that censorship is part of a larger denial of where the real violence of children's lives falls. Senator Lieberman and his political allies cry crocodile tears over violence in children's media and proceeded to vote to cut down welfare funds for young children, encourage us to try juveniles as adults so that they're thrown into adult prisons, vote in favor of taking illegal immigrants' children out of public schools, and do relatively little about the financial support that 'deadbeat' fathers owe their children. We have a whole culture of economic deprivation and domestic violence-and, and these are the real problems confronting children. But it's easy for politicians in the midst of doing all of this other damage to the lives of children to throw up a smoke screen and to make a lot of noise about 'Nightmares before Christmas' involving video games and technologies rather then confront the real material problems that affect children's lives. I believe that the real problems are best solved with conversations between parents and children without government interference. An educated and critical population of young people are less likely to be "adversely" influenced by "harmful" images and lyrics. We do not need to use censorship to attain what we want. Censorship is dangerous.
To quote Sissela Bok in her book Mayhem, "Self-censorship is today as potent as ever, underscoring the tensions that will always exist between freedom and self-protection ' whether in the commercial, political or artistic arena. These tensions cannot be adequately addressed so long as they are not freely and thoroughly debated in their own right."
The use of parental advisory labels, as with any system that aims to deny an individual the right to receive a form of communication, most certainly is a free speech issue. The principle of freedom of expression is founded on trust: that each member of society ...

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Keywords: music censorship meaning, music censorship in america, music censorship, music censorship definition, music censorship statistics

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