Holden Caulfield, J. D. Salinger’s protagonist in the novel “Catcher in the Rye”, is a seventeen year old experiencing that period of life between childhood and adulthood, often referred to as "years of teenage angst”. Caulfield says in the novel “You had to feel a little sorry for that crazy sonuvabitch”, which is exactly how I feel towards Holden (Salinger 39). The use of vulgar language and taboo subjects has made this novel a main concern in the censorship debate for over sixty years. Thankfully we have moved past the outright banning and destruction of literary works that challenge traditional views, protecting the freedom of one’s right to express their thoughts, opinions and imaginations as well as the freedom of people to choose what they wish to read. Children and young adults however require guidance during their impressionable developmental years. Knowledge of the unsavory side of life is not appropriate for all ages and caution does need to be exercised when determining what is understandable and beneficial to a young mind.
In today’s world of multimedia it has become extremely hard to avoid the introduction of adult themes to younger children, who lack the maturity to process and question the information. Young people are bombarded continually with unsuitable and undesirable concepts that give false images of acceptable behavior. Music, movies, television, internet and video games are accredited with the moral deterioration of present day youth. Great strides have been made to establish rating guidelines, parental controls and warning labels that assist adults in making informed choices on what their children should or should not be able to access but they are not perfect.
The recent uproar over Miley Cyrus’ risqué performance on the MTV Video Music Awards televised during prime time is one example of an inappropriate, for some, moment on television. It was a raunchy display of sexual gyrations, foam-finger misuse and a barely there skin tone latex bikini on a well-lubricated teen star. The performance completely overshadowed Lady Gaga stripping down to a seashell bra and thong. Commercials are another aspect of television that parental controls have no bearing on. Prime time offerings of super sexy women eating Hardee’s hamburgers while licking their finger, Trojan’s overly suggestive sexual touching, Kia Souls jumping rails and buildings like a skateboard or the particularly violent illustration of the new Mortal Kombat video game release fill the air waves. There are not enough restrictions or controls to ever fully meet with everyone’s expectations. As Holden so elegantly points out “ If you had a million years to do it, you couldn’t rub out even half of the ‘Fuck you’ signs in the world” (Salinger 202).
The music and movie industries have established ratings, guidelines and warnings for consumers, but the routes of access to these sources of entertainment have become so immense and easily obtained through multimedia that...