The ‘Middle Ground’ Of Censorship In Music


Parental Advisory Explicit Content

For many on the youthful side of the fence called life, we consider censorship to be complete and total f**king bulls**t – hey that’s the explicit ‘speak’ of new generation. That viewpoint, hence, characterizes the younger generation as a group of liberal rebels – nothing but heathens to the ‘old guard.’ Maybe unfairly the young generation is too often characterized by a lack of morals, but honestly, the language that drives censorship has become commonplace and isn’t the least bit taboo. Curse words in music don’t faze in the least – they are expected.

For the older generation, they have strong objections to current music trends, specifically its heightened explicit nature. Sure, if they’d look back to their own pasts, their parents likely scolded them poor tastes (and choices), as their own generation of music was a ‘far cry’ from that of their parents. The difference is, truthfully, music has become bolder, even more so than Donna Summer’s orgasmic vocals on “Love To Love You Baby” or The Doors front man Jim Morrison’s gritty yelps on the implicit “Back Door Man.” If implicit was scandalous back when, then explicit is the natural progression and reaction to such. At this point, the shock value of Alice Cooper, Prince, and Madonna is being matched and outdone.

So is censorship really dumb at this point? Should those anachronistic old folks give way to the senseless youth and let censorship die the death it deserves? The answer is actually yes and no. Even being a staunch progressive personally, there are still reasons that censorship is necessary. Yes, Christian perspectives on morality can play a role in the reasons for censorship, but making a secular argument, the best way that censorship should be approached is the middle ground – the balance between two sides.

Arguing for censorship is not an argument in favor of the older generation. The reason for censorship is actually to help protect and preserve the youngest generation, at least for a while. Sure many older folks are offended by f-bombs in every other line of a song, but censorship’s purpose should be to help establish and protect morality for our future – the kids. If censorship is considered in that light, it shows the ‘maturity’ that many older folks don’t consider younger folks to have. Oh the mind games!

Eventually those same children will join the vicious circle of rebelliousness, screaming the obscenities we try to protect them from, but there’s no reason young kids should be exposed to sex, drugs, and the profane before they ‘come of age.’ That’s a moral mantra many Christians and atheists alike would agree on. We don’t want babies saying the f-word, right? That notion is as much BS as so many aspects of censorship to young adults.

On the other side of the coin, those against censorship question its priorities – aka what should be censored and what shouldn’t. It’s understandable that the f-word isn’t acceptable outsides the confines of certain conversations – it’s not endearing or pleasant even if it’s part of the vocabulary. Who will question the reason why it is censored? Few, even if it makes you feel ‘cool’ rather than foul-mouthed. Also certain references such as the n-word aren’t appropriate either, even with many using the controversial word.

The real questions arise as to why a word like b*tch can often go uncensored regardless of its context, yet arguably a less offensive word like sh*t can’t fly? Sure, sh*t is ugly, but isn’t b*tch harsher, particularly since most of the time it’s rarely used to describe female dog anymore? Who doesn’t take a sh– you get the idea! Moving on!

The question of censor returns with the ‘baby-curse’ word ass. Sometimes it flies, other times not. What’s most interesting is that when it comes to asshole, the ‘hole’ portion is what’s censored and not front part of the word, which characterizes it. That’s one of those inconsistencies that make those of us immune to the newfound explicitness that is life question censorship.

So what’s the best way to approach censorship? Again it’s the middle ground. Regardless of your stance on the profane in music, it’s important that it’s treated with balance. The youngest must be sheltered for a spell from the imminent adult themes that will change their lives, while the overall way that we censor things should be reevaluated.

Then the other argument more reserved for more poetic songwriters – try new, cleverer words that still allow you to flip the bird. There’s nothing wrong with aggression in music, but that aggression doesn’t have to be synonymous with profanity. Hey, if Shakespeare could “bite my thumb at you” to say FU, can’t we do the same in 2015? What are your thoughts on the tricky matter of censorship?

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One comment

  1. some have nothing to say, some truly are what they put out, some are forced into doing what they gotta do and act, others are a a bit of all of that and a hired salesperson. believe me if the industry wanted acts to not swear,etc.. then it would be as such.. like i give Chamillionaire pros because he refused to allow himself to be Pimped out and rap how it wasn’t him. to me its over done in music as it is done in movies and its fake as all get out to appear chic and happening when it really is overblown. you can be cool without beng tacky and loud. funk music was a great example of being heavy freaky without being tacky and trashy. folks use to write and no matter what the subject it was done with passion.

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