Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Students discuss their work in class at the MESA center at American River College on April 25, 2024. (Photo: Cristian Gonzalez/CalMatters)
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    Opposing Viewpoints: Censorship

    Silencing songs is un-American

    In a small club in downtown San Francisco there’s a mural of a guy with Uncle Sam’s hand over his mouth painted on the wall. Below them it states, “Censorship is UnAmerican.”

    And with blurred out rap music dominating nearly all the radio stations and live TV becoming rarer and rarer, censorship is more alive than ever. And maybe it should be. But in America, where speech should be free, is censorship fair and should it exist?

    While there is a lot of trash talking and degrading garbage that the censors keep hidden, there’s also a lot of wise voices that get buried beneath the censors. For example, when I hear the “clean” version of a song, I feel like I’m not hearing the song in its whole, as if there are missing pieces from it. The artist intends it to sound a certain way for a reason, and I believe we should let the song in its original form flow through.

    Often, political rock bands like Rage Against the Machine run into trouble with censorship when their radical songs about the government are blurred, bleeped, or just cut out all together.

    Possibly the most powerful political song of the 1990’s, “Killing In the Name Of,” contains the word “fuck” 17 times, but the song is so powerful with the word in it, it simply is not the same without it.

    You can feel the passion, the excitement, the rebellion in the voice as singer Zack de la Rocha repeats it over and over until it builds up and the song ends with him a jarring crescendo.

    He’s angry and he’s taking a stand and he’s getting his point across and I believe that is the sole purpose of art and what music should stand for. So it saddens me each time a radio station cuts the song a minute early, leaving out the most important part.

    “Killing in the Name Of” just isn’t finished without that glorious ending. The same is true of other songs.

    The tricky thing about censorship is that you either censor everything, or nothing. So while you can censor a sexist rap, you must censor the word “fuck.” But if nothing was censored, would it better or worse?

    If you don’t like what the artist is saying, that’s your opinion. We should all be entitled to one and if it is, then just don’t listen. Turn it off. No one is forcing you to listen. That’s the beauty of living “free,” we don’t have to listen.

    But what about the people that do want to listen to what artists have to say? Isn’t it “UnAmerican” of us to use censorship to keep the listeners from what they really want to hear? I believe it is unconstitutional and wrong to both quiet the artist down, as well as dull the art for listeners.

    Whether it’s rap, punk rock, or any type of art, censorship is not a good thing.

    We need music censorship

    As a mother and her young daughter listen to a CD in the car on a lovely day out, it comes to an abrupt end when the words “fuck” and “hoe” starts coming through the speakers. A mother and daughter can’t even listen to a CD together because of the blasphemy words that comes with it.

    It needs to be censored !

    Living in a ‘free speech’ America, people feel that they can say ANYTHING that comes to mind and out their lips and sadly they can without any regards to the audience that want to listen to it.

    From reality TV to radio to 106 & Park, we see sex and hear ‘thugs’ cursing until they’re out of breathe. An artist should be able to capture its audience without cursing in majority of their song. Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne, one after another their lyrics are bleeped or censored out because its inappropriate for most of the audience watching or listening and it downright should be.

    Have you ever wondered why more than half of our adolescent generation are walking around cursing like sailors? Have you assumed that it must be from the home they live in? Unfortunately, there is a higher chance that they are learning that from uncensored music than from their mother or father.

    Initially, uncensored music is getting to the younger generation and they are mimicking it the same way a baby mimics new words it learns from its parents. The child may not be four or five but their brain its still absorbing the profanity. It’s sending a message that if he or she, a celebrity, can say it than its okay but its not!

    The example that is being set by the music of this generation is appalling and horrifying because no one is going to stop it and it’s not going to get better; instead it just will get worse. Captivating more impressionable minds of all ages.

    Yes, we live in a country of free speech where everyone has the right to say as they please but why should someone give up their rights to listen to music because of the profanity that comes with it?

    On that note, censorship is and will forever be the best route to go because it allows everyone to be able to listen to the music they like without having to listen to the words they don’t.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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