Censorship: Hiding Reality

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Censorship: Hiding Reality Charles Bradlaugh revealed the reality of censorship beautifully when he stated, "Without free speech no search for truth is possible...no discovery of truth is useful...Better a thousandfold abuse free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race." Bradlaugh realized the importance of restraining censorship from destroying truth. Censorship continues to be increasingly present in our everyday lives. It can be found in things such as music and even art. But where is the line to be drawn between censorship and violation of the First Amendment? The answer to this problem is in high demand. Unfortunately, censorship has already crossed that line, and the rights of the American people are at risk. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." However, this right is currently in violation. As a result of he actions of the Parents' Music Resource Center (PMRC) led by Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore, wife of Vice President Albert Gore, there are now warning labels placed on compact discs that are deemed to contain "explicit lyrics". These warning labels are used to describe lyrics that may contain information about "suicide, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, sexual activity in a violent context, murder, morbid violence, or illegal use of drugs or alcohol.; Advocates of the PMRC compare this warning to the rating system used for movies, however it varies in that the rating system provided by the motion picture industry is voluntary. This is clearly a violation of our rights given to us in the First Amendment. This amendment gives us the right of freedom of speech, "not the restricted freedom of 'approved' speech" (Lindholm 459). The purpose of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to criticism (Wills 422). The boundaries between art and pornography are becoming increasingly disputed. For years the human form has been seen as a thing of beauty and a favorite subject of artists worldwide. Recently, however, it has become a sight of shame that should be kept private and not viewed by the public. Thus, the doors are closing on paintings and photography of nudes that are labeled as "vulgar" by some, but to ban these forms of art from everyone is to deprive those who love and appreciate it. Other forms of art which are considered to be "obscene" are causing a decrease in the amount of federal funding received (Fitzgerald 425). Such censorship of the arts is unsound. Nearly every piece of art could be found offensive by someone, and to censor it all would lead to a death of freedom of creativity and expression in the artistic world. Fair arguments are put up by those who support censorship of music and of art. It is true that some consumers may wish to know the content of their music before making the purchase, but it is unfair to the artist and to the record company to have the music categorized and labeled as something that it may not truly be. Also, the purchaser of the music is almost always already familiar with what the lyrics may contain. It is then the consumers' fair choice to buy or not to buy. Those who wish to reprimand the arts hold their fair argument that public funding is wrong when the art is considered offensive by the public. Not all of the public would be offended though, and the art would always be appreciated by one group or another. It is nearly impossible for an artist to produce a work that would offend no one. Placing controls of censorship on our culture is simply a way of denying and hiding the reality which already surrounf Art." The Informed Argument. Ed. Robert K. Miller, 3rd ed. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovick, 1992. 425-428. Wills, Garry. "In Praise of Cen

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