Censorship and Morality in Music
Music Censorship and Preserving Morality in Music
For thousands of years, music has been a medium in which people have been able to communicate and express emotion amongst each other, and to the rest of the world. Music is one of the major ways in which cultures are able to distinguish themselves from others, and help allow people of this world to socially accept what they may not be so familiar with. With that said, many people differ on the extent to which musical content should be regulated. Just as most political views take on a “liberal” or “conservative” display tag, music censorship does too in a way. One can choose whether or not he or she would like more or less regulation of musical content. Intuitively, one would think that someone who preferred more regulation of musical content to be liberal, and someone who preferred less regulation to be conservative. However, if musical censorship did have to have a political ideology tag pinned to it, it would be just the opposite. Given that it is just an innocent generalization, different people have different opinions, and none of this is 100% concrete, the liberal ideology would tend to coincide with less censorship with more promotion of freedom of speech. This would make the conservative ideology favor more musical censorship, still concurring with freedom of speech to an extent, but with the preservation of morality in mind. Anti-Censorship
What exactly is censorship? Some would define music censorship as any discriminatory act that advocates or allows the suppression, control, or banning of music or music-related works against the wishes of its creator or intended audience (Nuzum, 4). According to Merriam-Webster, censorship is the act of changing or suppressing speech or writing that is considered subversive of the common good. Given that music is another form of speech or writing, this definition seems fairly clear cut. However, what exactly classifies something to be subversive, and precisely what is a common good? Although something subversive refers to something with intent to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within (Merriam-Webster), the word is still very vague. It is still very hard to distinguish which words of which songs were written with subversive intent. The protocol in proving something is subversive just cannot be very reliable, and it is the same issue with the concept of the common good. What may be considered a common between person A and person B may not be considered a common good for person A and person C. It is a very subjective concept.
Music censorship in today’s world consists of a very wide and complex range of regulations, and they vary across different countries. In the United States, current censorship policies are fairly lenient compared to many other countries. Our constitution’s first amendment, freedom of speech, allows our citizens to express themselves freely, even if it is against the government. U.S. censorship laws are fairly open in regards to what can be censored. The first amendment states as follows: “Congress shall make no law representing an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This amendment is in place to keep the government from guiding the media. Because record companies are not federally owned, their censorship is legal and constitutional. The censorship of music only infringes on our constitutional rights when the government, its laws, or its agencies conduct the restraint themselves. Therefore, when we speak of music censorship, we are usually referring to community or corporate attempts to regulate society according to what they deem appropriate based on their standards and beliefs...
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