Selective Hearing

Selective Hearing

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Music is a creative outlet for emotions, expressions and personal issues. It is also a place to force ideas and opinions on a mass of thousands. People can relate to it on many levels. But the problem of who should be responsible or regulate it exists. Who should decide what is played or sold?
     Music has had both a negative and positive reactions, especially with the young. Should the parents be responsible or should the artists themselves? Should the Studios (Labels) take the heat or should the government get involved?
     In the past couple of decades, music has been in trouble. It has been said to be the cause of deaths, suicides, unwanted sexual behavior, and other forms of indecency. It has taken blame for everything no one wants to be responsible for.
     In 1985, Prince had a hit record with “Purple Rain”. On the album contained the song “Darling Nikki” about a sexual woman who was “masturbating with a magazine”. The song went on about with a sexual tone. Tipper Gore, felt that this was not proper for her daughter to have. She felt that the music needed to have ratings. She founded the PMRC – Parent Music Resource Center. They wanted a standard rating system to alert parents to the types of music that kids were listening to such ratings as “X” for sex related and “V” for violence. This was shot down. Instead, a “parental advisory explicit content” sticker was chosen. The PMRC is now made up of 19 women. Tipper Gore has since left the group now that her husband is vice president. They still are an active voice in the fight for free speech. The question raised is shouldn’t parent be monitoring children’s music anyhow? Has the family unit become that dysfunctional? What exactly can parents do? For one, parents should have some understanding of their kids and realize that times are changing and so are the kids. But in many cases the parents do not. Things are different than when most parents were kids. Relate to children on that level of “now”. Talk openly about hard subjects such as drugs, violence, and sex. As for music, parents should be with the child in the store. Sales people should not be babysitters for kids. Parents should inquire about store policies and ask why something has the advisory. Most stores will tell parents the reasons.

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Parents could involve themselves with lawmakers to make structured laws against music. But they do that and it makes it more appealing to youth as a “rebellious” stage, something they are not supposed to have.
     In 1990, the group 2live Crew released the album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” which sparked the single “Me So Horny”. This album was deemed obscene and was quick to be pulled off the shelves. Any store found selling this would be closed and the person be arrested. Such a case happened. So why was this album so bad? Some felt this was so bad, it was like selling alcohol to a minor. They feel that children should not have any availability to it. Others such as Ira Glasser, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union feels that “what strikes one person as offensive and obscene does not strike another person as such.” This would be a good example of free will, personal choices, and opinion. So who decides if something is bad for me? Children do not get to make the choice, but the parents do. So don’t buy it would be a choice for them. But don’t tell me I can’t.
     April 20, 1999 was the date of the Columbine killings. Where two misunderstood teenagers killed 13 people and themselves. Why? People asked. Was it that everyday peers picked on them? Teachers didn’t treat them like athletic kids? The media searched for answers, and found that once again music was too blame. This time shock rocker Marilyn Manson was at the center of the fury. His earlier material was dark and gothic. Such says as “Beautiful People” rejects the idea of beauty and talks about hating everyone. This says tell of a hard past and revenge. Many youth relate to this. They see him as a role model. But they (the media) picked the wrong man used as a scapegoat. In Rolling Stone, Manson wrote back in response to all the blame he was getting. In the article, he question whose fault is it? He said, “Throw a rock and you’ll hit someone who’s guilty.” He states how the media needed a figure that Middle America would recognize and he was picked. Ironically, the two boys didn’t even like his band. He also said, “America loves to find an icon to hang its guilt on”. Through the years Elvis, Ozzy, and Jim Morrison were to blame, but the once said problems they caused are now forgotten. “We live in a free country, but with that freedom, there is a burden of personal responsibility.” This was a great response because it states the truth. What about the parents of the two boys? What about the school board taking some responsibility because they allow a caste system to exist? On a personal level, I have Marilyn Manson albums, but I was raised to know right from wrong. The music is tasteful and the lyrics came from truth and experience. Others are just songs. They are all just songs.
     So what can citizens do about this? It is our job, our responsibility, not the governments. Both sides need to find leaders to fight for there cause. Parents should take a more active role in their children’s lives. Most importantly, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it.
     We as artists could take a stand and create ads on free speech and freethinking. Billboards and magazine ads could have people unshackled by government’s ideas. A free thought in big letters is the only lettering seen. People should be able to think for themselves kids need to be taught the difference between right and wrong and how to find the difference between the two.
     A great solution would be to go back to 1985, the day Tipper Gore first heard Prince, kidnap her and give her selective hearing; surgically install a microchip behind her ear that filters out the bad allowing in the good. That way, advisories and ratings never would have happened.
     Also, make Marilyn Manson President of the United States. He would open up people’s minds and the world might not be so F**ked up and so morally straight-laced.
He would force people to question everyday things.

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