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Music Censorship Essay, Research Paper

Healthy debates have been caused by today’s music. Generally, foul language has rapidly increased within modern popular song lyrics, especially among rap and heavy metal artists’ songs. An increase in explicit violence and misogyny in popular music lyrics has been recorded. These lyrics have been judged to be inspirations for violent, suicidal, and criminal acts. For example, Mr. Raymond Kuntz referred to his son’s incident. ”When his wife went to wake their son for school, they found him dead of a gunshot wound, still wearing his headphones with Marilyn Manson’s Anti-Christ Superstar CD still in the player. The boy’s favorite song was ”The Reflecting God (Nina Crowley, ”Senate Hearings on Music, Newsgroup at page 2, November 15, 1997).” However, the artists and producers defend the musical lyrics, and claim that these acts come purely from self-inspiration, not extrinsic influence such as their music. If this were true, then why would 59!

% of substance abusers name heavy metal as their favorite type of music? ( Javier Martin, ”Separating Fact from Fiction: Rock Music and Violence” November 28, 1997, page 2). Most teenagers listen to popular music, and learn from the words of the artists. Therefore, if an artist sets an example of being ”cool” and performing harmful acts, a listener may reproduce his learned actions. ”Rappers call on their fans to kill, dismember, and smash the heads of teachers, and dumb cops (Peter Viles, ”Bulgaria’s racist rap.” World Press Review June 1996: Page 41).” The entire world is affected by this reoccurring theme, since adolescents are influenced by music on a daily basis. Although almost everyone is directly affected, some people do not admit to profane music having a personal influence. ”People perceive media content to have greater impact on others than on themselves.” (Douglas M. McLeod, ”Support for Censorship of Violent and Misogynic Rap Lyrics.” Communica!

tion Research, April 1997: page 153). Naturally, the majority of youth is heavily influenced by music, and needs to be protected from the harm of obscene artists. Due to its negative affects upon society, I believe the government should further restrict music that has been specified as dangerous to the well being of the listeners.

Contrary to many assumptions, modern youth is not protected enough from harmful music, even though there are many laws stating rules of legal ages. Most laws are ignored in many situations. For example, ”Charles Freeman was the owner of E. C. Records in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. On June 8, 1990 he sold the ‘2 Live Crew’ album, ‘As Nasty as They Wanna Be’, to an undercover police officer and was arrested (Baris 4).” The youth is obviously not fully protected if storeowners do not follow the restrictions. The most popular music of children under the age of twenty-one is rap and heavy metal, which are the two leading participants in the foul language controversy (Volz 18). Knowing this, storeowners should heavily enforce the underage laws. However, One American boy noted the ease of buying profane music albums in spite of his age of fifteen years (Crowley). If storeowners continue to sell obscene heavy metal and rap music to under aged children, then the society will on!

ly worsen.

I believe this foul music should be much further restricted from people that it could harm. The younger citizens of America are most influenced by today’s music; therefore the restriction levels that have been placed upon it should be enforced. Obviously the laws are not yet strong enough to deny young people of the possession of profane music. Children still obtain ‘’stickered” CD’s, despite the child’s age. If this awful music is available to minors, society will not improve its youth’s attitude. ”During the last decade or so in the United States, many people have expressed concern that rap music – especially rap with violent or misogynic lyrics – - is harmful to not only the youth of society but also to society itself ( McLeod 1).”

Some of this harm is caused by the actions of the performers. Modern rock artists such as Marilyn Manson are demonstrating some extremely unethical performances (Crowley 2). ”…MM, during his shows has exposed his genitalia, sodomized himself with a stick which he then threw into the crowd, and asks fans to spit on him (Crowley 2).” These types of models that common people replicate are sometimes hideously horrifying, and cause many innocent people to perform violent and mischievous acts. ”…The Young man described the satanic fans who had invaded his neighborhood before an MM concert ‘doing violent stuff’ like ’smashing windshields’ (Crowley 5).” Smashing windows is merely a minor act compared to deaths that have had the blame put on music. ”He tearfully related the story of his son’s suicide. When his wife went to wake their son for school they found him dead of a gunshot wound, still wearing his headphones with Marilyn Manson’s Anti-Christ Superstar CD sti!

ll in the player (Crowley 2).” If role models similar to Marilyn Manson are not restricted from performing their hideous shows and writing their unnecessary songs, then their negative influence upon society may grow. ”It stands to reason that prolonged exposure to such hate-filled lyrics could have an effect on one’s attitudes, assumptions, decisions, and behavior. Understanding the nature and extent of the inluence of music violence may well be the first step for ensuring a more civil society (Crowley 2).”

Generally, these negative demonstrations, shows, and songs presented by obscene musicians have increased, yet little actions have been taken to achieve the goal of having a civil society. One common example is the ”Explicit Lyrics” label on albums with excessive profanity. Originally, this sticker was intended to indicate that anyone under the age of seventeen could not purchase the labeled album. However, this law has been ignored repeatedly, and has lost its affect upon consumers. Another form of influence of artists upon listeners and viewers is music videos. ”…He stated that music videos may have a significant behavioral impact by desensitizing violence and reported that music videos by Guns-N-Roses and Beastie Boys videos each had 36 violent episodes in performing just one song (Crowley 3).” Censorship programs intended to prevent music videos, such as those created by ”Guns-N-Roses” and ”Beastie Boys”, to be prevented from viewing until edited. The m!

usic video industry has only worsened in terms of strict censorship. The many previously set laws are now rarely enforced.

Many obscene songs and videos are still being publicly presented, and new and stronger laws would decrease the exposure of explicit media to young viewers. It is necessary to create and enforce new laws to help harmful media reach younger listeners and viewers. New laws would essentially create a better future for society’s youth. They would help prevent children from learning violent acts through example, and keep innocent people from being offended by foul language.

The lyrical content of modern music has had a noticeable affect on the actions of all society. Few limitations have been applied to the availability of these horrid songs, so the ears of young children are still exposed to them. These children do not realize the affect it has upon them. ”People perceive media content to have a greater impact on others than on themselves (McLeod 1).” Because the nation’s youth is being subjected to these types of songs, children and teenagers are committing crimes, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and forming racist or sexist opinions. These actions are learned actions, and are based upon the words written for obscene music. Our country needs to evaluate this music carefully, which can protect our youth from further harm. ”Understanding the nature and extent of the influence of music violence may well be the first step for ensuring a more civil society (Crowley 2).”


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