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Everyone has the first amendment right to freedom of speech... sort of.

Oh, our government's legislature, it's such a beautiful thing! So many common rights here, in America, aren't even thoughts in the minds of the leaders or citizens of some countries. For example, the people of China aren’t even able to turn on their televisions and get unbiased, uncensored news. But how much of this freedom do Americans really receive? Compared to other countries we get a lot. But based on our documents, and depending on how one interprets them, it's definitely fair to say that we get cheated. Every day, people here encounter situations that may violate the rights given to them by the founders of this amazing country and the amendments of the constitution. The one that bothers me most and is easily the most obviously demolished: Freedom of Speech.

One of the thousands of classic examples of the great limitations on our freedom can be found in nearly any of this land's high school or pre-high school learning facilities. Almost every school here has a low or nonexistent tolerance for the use of "inappropriate" language. But... who is to say what is or isn't appropriate? Who was it in the first place who decided these words were offensive? Most of the time, "curse words" have the same exact meaning as other words we use daily that are considered perfectly acceptable. If you heard someone say “What the heck?” in the middle of class there wouldn’t be a response. Then, changed “heck” to “Hell” and there would be pink slips flying all over the room. It’s unfair that we are limited on the messages we want to send. Teachers and text books send us messages that could often be considered "inappropriate." But, that’s okay, because these messages are approved by the adult world. Just because high school kids aren't yet considered adults by age, doesn't mean we don't have the intelligence levels of adults. Nor does it mean that we don’t have adult opinions that we have a right to express.

Another example of censorship, that which occours on the radio and television, doesn't even necessarily deal with children being limited by their elders, but fighting amongst the adults themselves. It's been obvious at one time or another that radio and television all over America cut words, or clearly avoid saying the word at all. Reality shows and live radio is censored with a beep, and written sitcoms leave open ended jokes where vulgarities are implied but never stated. Depending on the sources, it would be realistic to say that there are somewhere near 100 words that most radio and television stations wouldn't allow in their contents. Even on late night television, where protecting children is less of a concern, there is still some form of censorship.

Unfortunately, the censorship in the lyrical world doesn't stop at radio stations. It's taken on the entire music industry, and, in most cases, it's won. Most people old enough to buy their own music are probably familiar with the "explicit content" sticker. It brands the musical universe like the bloody “A” for Adultery in the Scarlett Letter. When Tipper Gore first got her posse of Washington wives together, going after Gods like Frank Zappa, John Denver, and the lead singer from Twisted Sister (Dee Snider), true music fans everywhere sensed a freedom of speech holocaust. She wanted these artists and a long list of others to be marked and separated from the "good" music. To me, it's unfair to brand people's music or to degrade them by demanding they produce clean versions of their works. Music is an art form just like painting, drawing, sculpting, filming, or acting. Changing or censoring music is like covering Mona Lisa's smile or putting clothes on The David. It's like stamping a big "EXPLICIT" sticker on the cover of Schindler's List. It's just not right.

Sadly, America, our rights have been violated. Our country has censored us once and for all. In the ideology of the famous Voltaire, "Though I disagree with everything you say I will defend to the death your right to say it." Allow me to paint you a new statue of liberty. One where the words read “Give me your harsh, your foul, your vulgar words yearning to breath free.” Let them breath. Because, in the end, one who refuses to listen to, or persists in changing the words of any man is truly the one who will miss out… on the brilliance.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Kaitlyn717 said...
May 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm
This article really opens your mind to the rights we have and how other people like to munipliate them and have restrictions. Im writing an essay on music censorship and this helped me alot with ideas (:
Paigeb7277 replied...
Jun. 7, 2011 at 11:22 pm
right on! I'm super glad i could help
Paigeb7277 said...
May 4, 2011 at 8:55 pm
Keep writing! That's what this is all about: fighting the injustice.
HannahsEvolving said...
May 4, 2011 at 8:49 pm
Ahah I love this, I wrote an article about this for school and they said Its not alllowed and they basically sent me to the office for writing my opinion.
Alyssa F. said...
Apr. 28, 2011 at 10:00 am
excellent work, I am so looking forward to more posts... gosh I wish I could meet such an excellent author ;)
Paigeb7277 replied...
Apr. 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm
Aw what a lovely fan ;) <3
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