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Satisfactory Essays
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.” Censorship is the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts. Therefor, someone decides what is offensive and what is not. Nevertheless, what is offensive? Offensive to whom? When are lines drawn on what is deemed “dirty”? The history of musical censorship dates back to Plato’s vision of an ideal society in the Republic.
In Book 10 of The Republic, Plato presents a logical argument of the arts, specifically pertaining to painting and poetry, and concludes that art should be censored. Plato's reasoning for censoring the arts starts with him explaining that art is imitation and thus twice removed from the truth. Because art is twice removed from the truth, it appeals to the irrational part of our brain. Therefore, art can corrupt a character by influencing undesirable emotions and should indeed be censored. For example, Plato said “Courageous men are willing to die in battle — but the poets tell scary stories about the afterlife and make us fear death” (Republic 386b-d). Plato also discusses other ways a state should censor its people. He wrote, “A moral citizen’s soul will be composed and dignified — but many musical modes stir us up inside and make us jangled and unsettled” (398e-400d.). He explains how some musical notes; melodies, rhythms and lyrics are unsettling and dark. He believes the only music that should be aloud is happy and uplifting music. Lyrics must be changed in order to conform to this ideal. For example, he believes we should quell such speech as "abhorred Styx" and "the people of the infernal pit," repla...

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...tist or arousal properties of the songs. Even the humorous violent songs increased aggressive thoughts. The study also concluded that violent songs have implications for real world violence. "Aggressive thoughts can influence perceptions of ongoing social interactions, coloring them with an aggressive tint. Such aggression-biased interpretations can, in turn, instigate a more aggressive response -verbal or physical - than would have been emitted in a nonbiased state, thus provoking an aggressive escalatory spiral of antisocial exchanges," said lead researcher Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D. of Iowa State University.
The study investigated what causes the aggression rather than aggressive behavior itself. More research is needed, say the scientists, to identify the short-term and long-term effects of violent song lyrics. The world may never know if censorship is necessary.
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