ROCK OUT CENSORSHIP - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

11. What kind of music is censored the most?


We would have to say that rap and heavy metal are by far the two most targeted forms of music under the attack of the censors. Electronica is also heavily attacked in the form of authorities attempting to shut down entire rave scenes in many communities.

But it does vary greatly. Basically it just has to be found offensive or subversive by the wrong people with the right amount of power, or access to the right amount of power and you can have an incident of censorship occur. There are those within the Christian Coalition that thought the music of John Denver should be banned because of their ludicrous claim that his song "Rocky Mountain High" promoted drug use in the mountains. An administrator at a private Christian school suspended students for attending a Backstreet Boys concert on their own time (with it being a private school, that would not be censorship, but we're just using this to show the extent to which the attacks on music will go). So there is no real rhyme or reason to the attacks on music other than the fact that it can happen any time anyone decides to have a power trip. As a rule of thumb though, you can count on seeing attacks on any music that expresses any opinion outside of mainstream societal norms, especially if that opinion happens to be of an anti-establishment/anti-religious/anti-authority nature, and even moreso if it includes so-called profane language. The examples cited above are among the tamest music we've seen get attacked, but since these did happen, we tend to think that any music that goes beyond singing church hymns is subject to attack from certain elements within the community of would-be censors.

Rap is heavily censored to a large extent due to racist tendencies among many government officials. Instead of addressing the cause of much of the violence in urban communities where many of these artists get their start, politicians instead prefer to grandstand and scapegoat the messenger in the form of rap musicians that are merely reflecting the reality of their lives. Instead of doing something to make a profound positive change for these urban communities, the agenda is often simply to stop the artists from getting their message out. The real reason for censoring rap artists is to silence their message and to ignore their rage against a system that offers them little hope of ever changing their plight, so that the status quo can be maintained. Rap is a threat to those in charge of this system because it is not symbolic of The Waltons, or of Disneyland, or of other "nice" images that they wish to force feed our society. It is symbolic of the harsh reality of urban life in America today...a reality that is easier to ignore than to fix. Instead of censoring or limiting access to these artists' works in the interest of "protecting" society, why do the censors not seek to find out what conditions cause these problems and then work to bring about positive, true change to rectify these problems in these communities?

Heavy metal music has long been the whipping boy and the big cash cow for the censors in our society. From Judas Priest to Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden to W.A.S.P., and now Marilyn Manson to Rob Zombie--it's very unlikely that you can find a metal artist that hasn't been under the microscope of the censors at some point. The reason behind the censorship of metal, is a desire on the part of those in control to silence any message that encourages people to stand up for themselves as individuals, to make their own decisions in life, and to constantly question authority. The rebellious message behind metal music is something that is a tremendous thorn in the sides of those that want to keep all the sheep herded in the pasture and as such makes the genre a prime target for attack. The attitude behind metal, more than anything, is about making those in authority earn the respect that they want blindly given by the people. This makes those in authority very uncomfortable because they often lack the substance to their policy/agenda to ever really earn that respect. The motivation for censoring heavy metal is part of an attempt to force respect for authority. We at ROC do not feel that respect is something that can ever be forced, and must always be earned. Where government officials cry out about the lack of respect kids have for authority, we at ROC cry out about why are there so few in authority that give us anything to respect?

Attempts to shut down the rave scenes rarely have anything to do with the content of the lyrics of the music, but instead are an attack on the entire sub-culture simply out of a desire to impose conformity. Government officials can't stand the idea of young people dancing until dawn, so they will do all they can in an effort to shut the parties down. Anti-rave ordinances, like teen curfew ordinances, are merely yet another method to punish the innocent for the actions of the guilty. The claim is that drugs are so rampant at the raves that government has no choice but to shut them down for public safety considerations because some people are overdosing on heroine and such. We at ROC see this as yet another short-sighted, knee-jerk, government solution that will only serve to drive the raves into a more underground setting where the drug abuse problem will likely increase, not decrease, due to the more private nature of the raves being held. At least when raves are held at popular night clubs, security is present to help anyone that may get themselves into a dangerous situation with their drug use. Government policy will again take away options of things for young people to do, will do nothing whatsoever towards addressing the stated problem they are trying to curb, and the freedom to dance until dawn at the club of our choice will be lost. Bottom line of it though, is that drug use at raves is merely used as justification for the attacks on these scenes. The real reason behind government's desire to shut down the raves is all part of wanting to condition everyone in society to a mundane, lifeless, corporate existence whereby we're all in bed at a decent hour and ready to get up in the morning to do our best work for our employer.



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