Censorship Essay, Research Paper
Censorship should be Censored by our Society
In today?s society there is an issue of whether or not certain topics that aren?t fully accepted by our culture should have set restrictions on them to prevent any individuals from being offended. This ideal concept of conforming everyone in a given group to accept and hold the same views has come about as a process known as censorship. Censorship is defined as ?The change in the access status of material, made by a governing authority or its representatives. Such changes include: exclusion, restriction, removal or age/grade level changes?(Nichols). This is interpreted by the majority of those in our society as censorship being the ability of someone else to determine what he or she feels is acceptable for a typical American citizen to view. The federal government is currently addressing the need to censor violence, explicit language, and especially pornography. They are only concerned with these issues because a few individuals are disappointed in the actions of their fellow human beings and they are blaming it upon all of these social movements. The American public must stand up and speak their opinion in order to preserve our right to the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Privacy and censorship go hand in hand. If our government is regulating what a person can say, then they are also censoring what we can hear, thus should we have censorship we will no longer have privacy (Laird 35). When an individual or a group finds themselves offended by an issue there is no need to ask the government to censor something an other group has interest
in, they should simply find an alternative to avoid that issue. Everything that has been claimed to need censoring is simply some type of expression in one form or another, and our society claims to acknowlege all other beliefs.
The issue of censoring violence on television and in electronic video games is strongly being considered due to the notion that it may decrease the number of violent acts taking place in our society. This would be rather beneficial to our society should violence in the media be the actual cause of violent acts in America. Perhaps parenting methods contributing to an individual?s poor up bringing and sense of values resulting in violent retaliations is more to blame than the apparent violence in the media. In addition, maybe it is the parents of these delinquent individuals that are boasting the need for the censorship of violence in the media to somehow justify their own offspring?s behavior. For violence in the media is not that bad in my true opinion, one can easily tell that it is all staged for if it had happened to anyone real it would most certainly be painful and horrible. In order for violence to really be censored statistical evidence would have to support the fact that violence seen in the media directly influences one to commit a violent act, this data would be nearly impossible to obtain.
The desire to censor explicit language has also been made clear by many activist groups alike. This form of censorship has gotten a lot of attention in the media, the biggest case being Wal-Mart?s censorship of musical groups which they are refusing to carry because they are found to be offensive. Wal-Mart will refrain from carrying a certain record because it has obscene language or the cover art is distasteful. Last year Wal-Mart would not carry the artist Sheryl Crow because her album included a line about children buying guns at Wal-Mart. The
chain denies too sell guns to minors. Crow refused to change the lyrics, and her label A&M stood by her (Boehlert 30). One of the problems with Wal-Mart?s censoring is that they don?t have any clear guidelines for censorship. The Wal-Mart executives call it ?common sense? standards. Only Wal-Mart decides what is seen as offensive or exploitive material. Albums are judged on a case by case basis (Boehlert 30). The entire concept of censoring a perspective of language is rather pointless to begin with, sure it may seem that it will make certain individuals more verbally appropriate but it may also lead to a negative effect. For example when a child?s parents tell their child not to do something, what will that child automatically want to do ten times more? Exactly what they were told not to do. The same is true with censoring. BK Simmons, an expert on censorship, claims ?Censoring objectionable popular music will only make the targeted audience want that music even more? (64). Thus this form of censorship will have an adverse effect should it be instilled in our society.
Pornography is also a very big social issue at the moment and is strongly being considered for censoring due to the growing number of individuals who are objecting to its growing pressence in media. All pornography probably expresses something, whether it is a fantasy or an attitude. For instance, certain novels that once were generally found obscene, such as Lady Chatterley?s Lover or Ulysses, are probably less widely considered so today. One person?s ?pornographic passage? maybe another person?s ?realistic depiction of an important part of life.? The more current aspects of this social issue address properness of allowing a country to read a magazine with nudity, watch television with sexual gestures, or read a book with obscene materials. This entire issue is merely concerned with letting the adult public be able to choose what is proper for them to read, watch and be associated with. If this is what
makes and adult and adult, the power to choose, then why are some of us contradicting what we stand for? Perhaps it is because those outspoken individuals which are preaching against this form of social expression are doing so to censor their children from something they do not think they are ready for. Realistically a large part of the economy is movies, Internet, magazines and private stores, which by censoring these things would only lead to unemployment among other social issues.
For all of these reasons the First Amendment in the United States exists to protect speech and activities that are unpopular, if only those ideas which were popular were protected it would not be needed. The idea of limiting the freedom of speech, writing, and the press, has been the root of so much evil in world history. For example, the Nazis in Germany, did not come to power by free debate, they slowly drained the people of their rights until they could not legally defend themselves. The freedom of speech, writing, press, and all other types of information must be protected; it is the foundation of a free society (Crane 11). Our nation also has a thing called ?equality.? Assuming that we all are equal, who is to say what needs to be censored?
This society works on a basis of equality, if someone feels as though they are unequal to another our society would take a drastic turn for the worst. Many people have different opinions, however, it is clear that for economic, legal, and social reasons we do not need censorship.
There are many solutions to the problems with obscene materials such as more monitoring and deciding just how much of an impact these things have on people, children or adults. Legally it is without a doubt our right to full access to the materials considered for censoring. Clearly it is our right to censor censorship.