Music Censorship and the Taking Away of Our Rights
Throughout the history of our great nation, we have fought to keep our society as clean as possible. Yet, we have also made strong efforts to make our lives as fair and just as possible by giving ourselves freedom. Such freedoms are brought to us through laws and amendments made by our early leaders in hopes that our rights will not be infringed upon. Music censorship is a topic that has found itself conflicting with these two facts. While the censorship of music is an attempt to rid the world of "the bad", it is also an area that violates the first amendment right of freedom of speech. Some say the fight for music censorship is a valid battle, while others would argue that it is merely a scapegoat for the problems in America today. This review on the topic of music censorship focuses on defining this complex idea.
The censorship of music has been present for as long as music has been around. Even before there were any CD's to be edited and taken off of shelves there was censoring of music occurring. In the mid nineteenth century the libretto of Giuseppe Verde's opera La Traviata was either removed or censored in performances throughout Italy (Woods, "PMRC Launches New Offensive Against Rock and Rap"). Even since the first days of rock and roll there has been censorship around us. Elvis Presley was censored on
television because of his hip movements that some people found to be too offensive and perhaps too sexually suggestive. Music censorship has affected our generation's society since the rap groups of the early eighties, when they brought their sexual lyrics and explicit content to
the music scene, were first labeled as indecent and explicit. In the nineties, censorship has now reached out to other types of contemporary music, such as heavy metal and cult music (Mass. M.I.C., "Attacks on Music").
Yet it was not until the creation and the rise of the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center), that the controversy began to surround the censorship of music. The PMRC is a group devoted to censoring such things as
music, books, television and video games. The group was formed in 1985 by a group of Washington politician's wives, which included Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore, and Susan Baker, wife of then Secretary of State James Baker. The PMRC was the group that brought the music industry to its knees and got the Parental Advisory stickers on albums in 1990 (Woods, "PMRC Launches New Offensive Against Rock and Rap"). The parental advisory sticker on albums is simply that. They are little two-centimeter rectangular stickers found on CD cases warning
parents that the CD contains explicit lyrics. Some
retailers refuse to carry CDs with "Parental Advisory Stickers", some even go as far as to make it known to labels and artists that if the CD comes to their shelves with a "dirty" word, a "controversial" cover, or an "explicit" lyric it will not be allowed on the...