In the present day age, censorship has become part of life. People experience it daily such as blurred images from video clips and bleeping from radios. It is being experienced though most of the media platforms and people have learned how to embrace. Censorship of music started way back, even before the 20th Century. Though the methods of censoring music back then were different from those employed in the present age, it was still censored. Apart from the given tactics, one of the other methods that have emerged on censoring musical contents is by sticking parental advisory warning labels on musical albums. Explicit music videos have these labels to warn people of the ‘dirty’ lyrical content. Most of these words are said on a daily basis by people, and it leaves a lot to be desired. For examples things like why censor words that people already know and they are using them a daily basis, and for them to be censored leaves people with the imagination that these words were used in the song. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was created in 1934 by the congress to monitor international communications through radio, television among many others. This commission has been controlling music play till the present day and it is governed by five commissioners who are appointed by the government (Storr, 1991). The censorship, therefore, stirs many questions if artists are responsible for their works.
One of the disturbing questions that have been posed is whether artists should be allowed to produce and display works that are offensive, objectionable, or disparaging of certain people’s beliefs and values. As much as there is freedom of speech and expression, artists have been known to include words that are ‘offensive’ to others, in terms of words, religion and other beliefs. Even if some of these words are censored, words like fuck, shit, motherfucker among many others, still there is no much impact. People use these words every day in their conversations, and censoring them just enlightens that the words were used somewhere in the song. People will still think about them whether they are used in songs or not. Although the argument is that children will pick up these words from songs and use them, it still does not make sense why they should be censored. When artists touch on other people’s beliefs and religion, it stirs controversy and even hatred among peers and certain groups. Questions have been raised whether artists should be allowed to do it or not. Whether they touch on these subjects or not, other people who aren’t singers will always critique other people beliefs and religion. It shows that there is no much difference whether artists are given a free pass on these subjects.
Responsibilities of artists to their society
The art world has become rapidly aware of the ambiguity of its place within the bourgeois society since the 19th century. In their book, Balkema and Slager describe art as a representation of truth, height and the (soothing or terrible) depths (Balkema & Slager, 1996). Art has been said to ride high on the scales of values and is, therefore, expected to hold certain values that a society holds, no matter how difficult it usually is. The responsibility that artists have to the society is the weight and the importance of what they create. When musicians write their songs or perform them, they should bear in mind that these songs should have an important meaning and message to the listeners and the society in general.
Responsibilities of society to its artists
Seidel states that the autonomy of the artists and his/her must always be respected (Seidel, 2000). Mostly, as the debate on the complete autonomy of the artists and their work persists, artist’s ends up alienating themselves from the society. Society should respect the autonomy of artists and their works.
Balkema, A. W., & Slager, H. (1996). The intellectual conscience of art. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Seidel, G. J. (2000). Toward a hermeneutics of spirit. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.
Storr, R. (1991). “Art, Censors The intellectual conscience of art hip, and the first amendment.”
Art Journal, 50(3), 12-28.