The Censorship Of Art Essay

10352 words - 41 pages

The Censorship of Art


While the censorship of art is not a new phenomenon, recent years have witnessed renewed and intensified attempts to control popular culture. In particular, rap and rock music have come under increasing attack from various sides representing the entire left and right political spectrum, purportedly for their explicit sexual and violent lyrical contents. In this paper is investigated which moral codes underlie these claims against popular music, how social movements mobilize actions around these claims, and the way in which they are manifested in mechanisms of control targeted at rap and rock music. Moreover, I explore how the performers and fans of these musical styles have in turn articulated counter-claims, and how they have mobilized social forces in defense of the free expression of their art-form. The issue is addressed through an historical examination of the actions undertaken to censor and control rap and rock music since the founding of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in 1985.

I. SETTING THE STAGE: THE PARENTS, THE SENATE, THE LABEL

Concerns over rock ‘n’ roll music have lead to public debate, political and legal actions, and law enforcement activities ever since its "invention" in 1955 (Jones 1991:75-76; McDonald 1988a:294-302). However, since the formation of the PMRC in 1985, a new, more organized and systematic attack to control popular music has been launched.

1. The Invasion of the "Washington Wives"

The Parents Music Resource Center was founded in 1985 as the result of the unusually combined efforts of a few concerned parents (Coletti 1987:421-426; Gray 1989a:151-153, 1989b:6-8; Kaufman 1986:228-231; McDonald 1988a:302-106; Roldan 1987:222-231). Tipper Gore, wife of current Vice-President and then Senator of Tennessee Albert Gore, bought the album "Purple Rain" by Prince for her then 11-year old daughter. She was shocked to find out that one of the songs on the album, "Darling Nikki", contained a reference to female masturbation. The same Prince song was also listened to by the daughter of free-lance journalist Kandy Stroud, who was shocked to discover that her daughter was exposed to "unabashedly sexual lyrics" (Stroud 1985:14). Around the same time, Susan Baker, wife of former Treasury Secretary and White House Chief of Staff James Baker, overheard her 7-year old child sing along to "Like a Virgin" by Madonna, which lead her to realize "what’s going on in pop music" (quoted in Roldan 1987:223). Also around the same time, Pam Howar, wife of a wealthy construction executive, noticed the lyrical contents of the songs she was dancing to during her aerobics classes, and discovered that her daughter was listening to the same kind of music over breakfast. In April of 1985 the concerned parents, together with Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington D.C. council chairman John Nevius, and Ethelynn Stuckley, wife of former Congressman Williamson Stuckley, joined forces: on May 13,...

Find Another Essay On The Censorship of Art

The Role of Censorship Essay

1334 words - 6 pages Censorship plays a huge role in today’s society. Censorship effects society in excellent ways by putting a blind fold on certain types of media, language, and other social values that should not be seen by all humans. Censorship is known to many as being listed under the category of moral. Censorship is moral, because it bans certain books from schools that should be banned, it helps parents keep their children from material they should not be

The Dilemma of Censorship Essay

1244 words - 5 pages The Dilemma of Censorship The issue of censorship always provides an interesting debate. There are many intelligent and very valid arguments for and against the issue. However I strongly believe that the act of censorship is wrong. I believe that all films, songs and television programs should be released uncut from any government or senior authority intervention. A film or piece of music is a work of art

Censorship of the Mind

1138 words - 5 pages objectionable by the standards applied by a censor. It has been like this for ages. As long as someone has something to tell, another will be there to try and prevent them. Schools have been doing this for quite a while now and there is a need to stop it. Censorship of books in schools should not be allowed as many students will never get to experience classic literature if not exposed to it early on. "Intellectual Freedom is the right of

The Debate of Censorship

1138 words - 5 pages The United States Bill of Rights guarantees its citizens the freedom of expression, but how far does that freedom extend? Does the right to express yourself include the right to observe the expressions of others? According to pro-censorship view holders, it does not. But to those who feel strongly against censorship, the freedom of information, or the “right to know,” should be an absolute right granted to the American public. Censoring

Censorship of the arts

942 words - 4 pages George Bernard Shaw once said, "All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships." It is believed that some of the key functions of art are to inspire, to provoke, and to challenge existing assumptions

Censorship of the Internet

2802 words - 11 pages Censorship of the Internet The Internet offers a huge wealth of information, both good and bad. The Internet began as a small university network in the United States and since then has blossomed into one of the biggest if not the biggest telecommunications network covering the entire world. It can be considered as one of the most valuable types of technology. During the past several years we have come to become more and more dependent on

The Affect of Censorship

1208 words - 5 pages More literature and media should be censored for the public’s eyes. Children of recent years have been subjected to crude television that isn’t properly censored and could potentially influence them to act in unacceptable manners. Censorship is the act of suppressing unacceptable parts of literature and media. It is very often that censorship is used with literature or media because many people see parts of them that are inappropriate in

The Censorship Of Television

1130 words - 5 pages television is an influence on people minds. Should there be ratings on movies and television? If so what do they really mean? Can you see the future and if so can you see a world without television, violence, and sex? Censorship has been a controversial subject since the creation of the television. In this day and age violence and sex are a part of life. The violence and sex that are seen on television have been proven to manipulate the watcher. There

Censorship of the Internet

987 words - 4 pages computers to protect their business and schools can censor what is accessed as well, so why would it not be acceptable for the government to censor what is accessed in order to protect the citizens of the United States of America. Some believe this is an infringement of free speech, while others find censorship of the internet a necessary evil in today’s cyber world. When you take an indepth look at what is readily available on the internet it should

Censorship of the Internet

1058 words - 5 pages “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” - George Washington. Freedom of speech is one of the universal declarations of human right, created on the 10th of December 1948. It is the complete opposite of what censorship of the internet entails. “This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by a public authority

Censorship of the Internet

1838 words - 7 pages do pay lip service and pretend that they do not allow children to get into their sites - but it's about as easy to get around as looking behind a curtain. Which brings us to the theme of this article? Should this material be available? And if so, should children be allowed to view it? To me the answer to the first question is obvious. Of course the material should be available. I do not believe in censorship at this level. I will concede that

Similar Essays

The Censorship Of Art Essay

2741 words - 11 pages ;Creative Chaos" are appearing in TIME and other numerous front-page materials across the country. In H.G. Hovagimyan’s TOKARTOK: The Censorship of Art, he states: "Artists are often asked to change parts of their works to conform to the publics morality. This has been going on since the Pope asked Michelangelo to paint fig leaves on Adam and Eve." Yes do not forget about the control the church has had on artistic expression since

Art And Censorship In The 20th Century

2234 words - 9 pages of literature, art, films, radio etc. that citizens were exposed to.In an attempt to justify the war and gain support for other nations; propaganda and censorship through the use of art were constantly in play, working to effectively vilify enemies, raise moral on the home front, recruit forces and encourage conscription. Both democratic and totalitarian governments used selective information and messages, carefully worded and censored through

The Road Of Censorship Essay

1724 words - 7 pages rights, even if you strongly disagree with their beliefs. All thoughts no matter how ignorant to you is still a freedom and should be protected. This is best stated by Grey and EFA Whatever its starting point and supposed intention, the end of the censors road is repression of 'dangerous ideas' - not only about sex but about moral, politics, art, and life. Opposition to censorship must inevitably involve us in defending things and people whom we

Censorship Of The Internet Essay 784 Words

784 words - 3 pages Speech.' (1 November 1996). Yahoo Search.Somerson, Paul. 'Web-lash.' PC Computing July 1995: pg. 51.Steffens, Bradley. Censorship. San Diego: Lucent Books, 1996Censorship of the InternetComputers and the Internet have become a major part of everyday life for manypeople. As the Internet grows, the amount of X-rated material increases as well. Thegovernment feels that censorship of the Internet for everyone is the answer. Censorshipof the Internet