The United States Bill of Rights guarantees (in theory) the rights of citizens to speak and publish freely without fear of censorship or persecution. However the arch-enemy of our freedom of speech is embodied as censorship,” the removing or withholding of information from the public by a controlling group or body”.
We have been subjugated to it all of our lives, a moral purging which encompasses all outlets of public media. Originating from the fear of desensitization of the children and the supposed riots and mass hysteria that ensues when a racial obscenity is uttered or uncultivated word is mentioned.
Being politically correct in modern times is seen as a necessity. For an apprehension of being fined, sued, labeled, or accused of ethically raping a nation. For example the Michael Richards incident where he dropped the N-bomb.
As a country we have such a distorted view of society that an offensive comment taken out of context shadows what the person is trying to get across! Often the beneficiary of censoring materials is the censor or their affiliates. Is human nature so easily influenced that auditory and visual signals can corrupt an individual’s conscience provoking them to commit a heinous act?
My interpretation of this is that by condemning something as bad will initiate rebellious tendencies, a characteristic commonly shared by juveniles. In my mind I see this process as futile and irrelevant. Everyone encounters degradation in rap videos. Take for example the Dr. Dre song “B!tches Ain’t Sh!t”, where the opening lyrics are “B!tches ain’t sh!t but hoes and tricks”, and it gets much more explicit referencing acts of prostitution. What about the 8 million selling video game Half-Life, does this mean we have millions borderline to go crazy? Of course not, the potential to do harm lies in individual mindset and reasoning capability. However the media does such a good job of scaring the general populace with extreme events: such as the shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech that we don’t look for the underlying cause for why these events took place.
The media portrays such irrational things such as Grand Theft Auto and Marilyn Manson as the principle cause. These things didn’t cause these kids to commit a spree killing, they were persuaded by societal pressures and psychological.
A compromise should be met in the management of censorship; I believe people who wish for unfiltered content should have the ability to access it. On the other hand there should be censors available for children or people who want them, such as V-chips or internet filtration programs to block vulgar content.
Part of the problem with offensive content is that with many media, like T.V or cinema we cannot run advanced personal filters, and a possible remedy to this is common sense, know what you’re accessing. I don’t sympathize with parents arguments against violent video games and suggestive lyrics.
If you don’t want that kind of thing in your house don’t buy it! You have to be eighteen to buy mature rated video games, and you have to be seventeen to get into R rated movies. Parents and guardians of children should man up and don’t buy them for your children.
In a fitting display of censorship, the epitome of propaganda lies in Nazi Germany. German propaganda set in place during World War II was set in place to reinforce Nazi Powers and suppress opposing perspectives and information. Hitler said it best, “The chief function of propaganda is to convince the masses, whose slowness of understanding needs to be given time in order that they may absorb information; and only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on their mind”.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.