The Censorship of Art

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The Censorship of Art While the censorship of art is not a new phenomenon, recent years have witnessed renewed and intensified attempts to control popular culture. In particular, rap and rock music have come under increasing attack from various sides representing the entire left and right political spectrum, purportedly for their explicit sexual and violent lyrical contents. In this paper is investigated which moral codes underlie these claims against popular music, how social movements mobilize actions around these claims, and the way in which they are manifested in mechanisms of control targeted at rap and rock music. Moreover, I explore how the performers and fans of these musical styles have in turn articulated counter-claims, and how they have mobilized social forces in defense of the free expression of their art-form. The issue is addressed through an historical examination of the actions undertaken to censor and control rap and rock music since the founding of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in 1985. I. SETTING THE STAGE: THE PARENTS, THE SENATE, THE LABEL Concerns over rock ‘n’ roll music have lead to public debate, political and legal actions, and law enforcement activities ever since its "invention" in 1955 (Jones 1991:75-76; McDonald 1988a:294-302). However, since the formation of the PMRC in 1985, a new, more organized and systematic attack to control popular music has been launched. 1. The Invasion of the "Washington Wives" The Parents Music Resource Center was founded in 1985 as the result of the unusually combined efforts of a few concerned parents (Coletti 1987:421-426; Gray 1989a:151-153, 1989b:6-8; Kaufman 1986:228-231; McDonald 1988a:302-106; Roldan 1987:222-231). Tipper Gore, ... ... middle of paper ... ...C. (1993) "Sex, violence, and profanity: Rap music and the First Amendment." Mercer Law Review 44:667-686. Zappa, Frank (1989) The Real Frank Zappa Book. New York: Simon and Schuster. X. (1983) Music is dangerous (special issue). Index on Censorship 12(1):1-37. X. (1991) You’ve Got a Right to Rock (third edition). Duke & Duchess Ventures. Cases Cited Judas Priest v. Second Judicial District Court of Nevada, 760 P.2d. 137 (1988). McCollum v. CBS, Inc., 249 Cal. Rptr. 187 (Cal. App. 2 Dist. 1988). Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 109 S. Ct. 2746 (1989). Atlantic Beach Casino, Inc. v. Morenzoni, 749 F.Supp. 38 (D.R.I. 1990). Skywalker Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 739 F.Supp. 578 (S.D.Fla. 1990a). Skywalker Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 742 F.Supp. 638 (S.D.Fla. 1990b). Luke Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 960 F.2d. 134 (11th Cir. 1992).

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