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Marilyn Manson, The Beatles, NWA, Garth Brooks, and the king, Elvis, What do all these people have in common? Well, yes, they are all musical groups, but there is something more. Marilyn Manson is a heavy metal group who worships Satan, the Beatles were one of the greatest Rock N’ Roll bands of all time, and NWA was a hard-core rap group from the 80’s. Garth Brooks is a country singer and greatest selling performer of all time, and well, Elvis is the king of Rock N’ Roll. So what do they all have in common? All of these artists have or had songs with indecent or obscene lyrics.
Since the dawn of musical expression, there have been people trying to stop or hinder the constitutional right to listen and enjoy music of all forms. There were ordinary, everyday people during the infancy of Rock N’ Roll in the 1960’s who made it their mission in life to stop so-called “obscene” music like the Beatles song “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds,” from polluting our airwaves and minds. These groups succeeded in banning some songs from the radio, but most of their actions were for naught, because there was no real punishment for radio stations playing those songs labeled “obscene.” By 1985, many people wanted to cleanse the music industry of its “indecent” music, so the most prominent group in the history of music censorship was started: The Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC)-(A Brief…). This was just the first of many groups who made it their business to decide what the American Population should or should not listen to. These censorship groups have also been able to get government money in order to fight, lie, and bribe their way to censoring music. The PMRC and other organizations have also convinced government organizations like the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) to regulate what music is played on the radio. Places like Target, Disc Jockey, and other local record stores are also forced to label music that the PMRC and other censorship groups find obscene (A Brief…)
Who is to say that what is obscene to someone might not be seen as obscene to another person? This question, as well as many others, brought forth many anti-censorship organizations who fight to give the people of America the right to listen to whatever music they want to, indecent or not. The First Amendment from anyone who tries to censor it protects music, like any other form of expression in the U.S. It is a violation of our constitutional rights for groups like the PMRC to censor music, but alas, they are allowed to tell us what they think is decent music and what is not. “The use of parental advisory labels, as with any system that aim to deny an individual the right to receive a form of communication, most certainly is a free speech issue” (Crowley). Censorship should be left up to the public because it is our freedom to decide to use our better judgment in deciding what we want to listen to, regardless of other’s opinions.
The Parents Music Resource Center and other censorship groups became a thorn in the side of free speech when many parents (like Tipper Gore) were outraged and disgusted by this new music known as “rap.” Censorship organizations demand that these new performers like Ice-T and NWA become banned from the radio and their music be labeled as indecent and explicit in order to protect America’s Youth from listening to this so-called “filth.” Rap has since been the biggest target for censorship, with groups going as far as saying that, “there has been a marked increase in explicit violence and misogyny in popular music, and it stands to reason that exposure to such hate filled lyrics has had a effect on kids’ attitudes, assumptions, decisions, and behavior” (Senate subcommittee…). This is a crazy assumption with no facts to back it up. According to Vincent Shiraldi, the executive director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, “There has been a 30 percent drop in juvenile homicides between 1994 and 1996, and a 6.5 percent drop in homicides at school between 1992 and 1997” (National Campaign…). This obviously shows that music is not eh cause of juvenile crime, since crime has actually
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Censorship in the United States, Censorship of music, Censorship of broadcasting in the United States, Sexuality and society, Committees, Parents Music Resource Center, Censorship, Obscenity, Parental Advisory, Federal Communications Commission, Indecent exposure, Marilyn Manson
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