Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

19 January 2007

Group Calls for Restrictions on Music Sales With Violent or Sexual Content


My response?
Go ₤µ¢λ yourself with a barbed-wire dildo.

We already have the little "Parental Advisory, Explicit Lyrics" stickers. They are, presumably, meant to um, advise parents, yah? Video games already have an appropriateness rating ('rated "T" for teen' etc.).

But this group wants music sold the way cigarettes and liquor are (and let's not get into that one either).

The problem is, as usual, defining "hazardous to kids". Let's just consider the tunes you grew up with: Queen made great music--but a lot of it was gay code. Should we ban it? How about "Purple Haze"? What about films that degrade women? How about books that include fratricide, parenticide, adultery and incest? Trick question--the Bible's a religious text and unfortunately can't be banned. Same goes for the Koran and the Baghadvita--even though some passages from each discuss practices that are forbidden is such moral economic engines as the porn industry.

My parents, who grew up at the same time the Beatles were getting big, probably did not approve of the Van Halen tunes I loved. Yet today you can catch VH, which I had to look for in the heavy metal section as often as not, on your "easy listening" or "lite rock" station. Still, somehow, many of my peer group grew up to be responsible and productive members of society.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that music, particularly rap, which demonstrates a clear culture of misogyny, paranoia, violence and sexual and drug abuse, contributes to a desensitising effect. I believe that video games that follow a character who must pursue a career of violent crime to "win" don't help.

But--and this is important--there seem to be no impartial studies confirming my personal prejudice. Moreover, if you'll look up at that second paragraph for a second you'll notice: The ratings systems are already in place!

If parents allow their kids to play these games and check these tunes out, then presumably they're assuming their kid can handle the content? Putting this stuff on the high shelf simply adds the thrill of the forbidden.

Oh, and there's another little problem. Let me give you a clue: you're reading on it. Yup, the internet. From these idiots' attitude it would seem they've never heard of it. As soon as a tune gets banned, off to Limewire or Bittorrent the kids'll go.

Every so often a gang of well-intentioned fools like this makes noise about kids and violence (thanks, Tipper Gore).
"We've been exposed to more and more (violence) so that we've gotten desensitized. We no longer get outraged because we've seen it all."
says one Professor Peter Jaffe.

Good point. Of course you do beg a couple of questions, perfesser.

1) Who's "we"? I don't hear any young people in your "coalition of parents and teachers".

2) Does this mean you're gonna stop the war in Iraq? The six o'clock news? High school bullying? How about torture at Gitmo?

3) What action do you intend to take against parents who are right now letting their kids play 50 Cent or Grand Theft Auto?

4) How are you going to restrict violence on television? The V-chip is a failure for a number of reasons.

Bullshit. You just need a lever to pull because you no longer feel like you're in control of your children. And you know what?

You're right.

Art imitates life. Before whining about what our culture is doing to our kids, let's examine the roots of that culture, and the disconnect between what western society says and what it does. Because kids are especially about "monkey see, monkey do".

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