A View on Censorship and the Government

Daniel Bagwell
Ms. Waggoner
English 111
15 November 2000
A View on Music and the Government
The censorship of music and other forms of entertainment by the government have long been the topic of discussion among social and political circles. Some forms of censorship such as warning labels for parents can be helpful. However the censorship of music is just not right, and the government has no right to do so. All too often the government gets on a self righteous feeling and thinks that it is it’s right to control what goes in or out of this so called “free nation’s” minds.
Censorship in music falls into one of those categories in which the American people and the American government, which is supposed to be a representation of the people, have extremely conflicting ideas on the subject. Some say that the government should regulate the music industry. They say that the American people don’t know what is best for them as a whole. Their proof is in the increase in violence, crime,
Unadulterated sex and other “taboos” that have been on the rise in recent years.
There are those that say that the government should only slightly be involved. These are the proponents of warning labels and the like, and that is about the extent of what they want the government to interfere with. The remainder generally says that the government has no right infringing on entertainment at all. They say that the government does not have the right to decide what the people can or cannot see, read, or listen to.

Most of those who are of the opinion to let government help regulate the entertainment industries take the all too familiar tragic occurrence at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado as proof of their position. On April 20, 1999, two students interred the school and killed twelve other students, a teacher, and then themselves, and set the media and the entertainment worlds ablaze. The two killers were said by their peers to be avid fans of Marilyn Manson, and were even said to almost idolize him. Marilyn Manson is the all to accused shock-rocker who has been described by the music press as an “ultra-violent satanic rock monstrosity” (Jipping).
There have also been several other reports of teenage killers who have been big fans of rocker. Thurston High School student Kip Kinkell, who murdered his parents and two students in Springfield, Ohio, was said to be a listener of Marilyn Manson. In Edinboro, Pennsylvania, Andrew Wurst killed a teacher at his eighth-grade dance. In Pearl, Mississippi, Luke Woodham murdered his parents and a classmate. Both of these kids were heavy listeners of Marilyn Manson (Jipping).
People are using the increase in violence among children as proof that violent-themed music is causing a change for the worse in kids and young adults today. It appears to me that this is a case in which people want to blame someone or something, and his is the easiest and most obvious choice. An easy assumption, but it is just that, an assumption. When asked for proof, as has occurred in recent years, various reports are mentioned that supposedly has scientific proof of the correlation between increase in violence and violence in music. A recent article in The World & I quoted the American Medical Association in September of 1996 as saying “the link between media violence and real life violence has been proven by science time and again.” How can the American Medical Association have jurisdiction over the music industry to say what its product effect? Music has nothing to do with medicine. Psychology, maybe, but definitely not medicine.
A vast majority of media publications refer to these reports, but never give the information to find the report oneself. This to me is no coincidence. Every article that I have read in my research has quoted lines out of context in an effort to emotionally sway the reader.
Out of context of the feeling of the songwriter, not of the lyric. First of all, songwriters write for themselves. Even with more songwriters today openly saying that they like being rock stars for the money, they began writing for themselves. Even if they didn’t get paid to write, they would still write.