Is censorship ever justified? : LUSENET : Novenotes : One Thread

Is censorship ever justified?--Al

-- Al Schroeder (, June 10, 2000



OK, here's a first. I'm going to take the opposite view point and say yes, you should censor what your son listens to and watches.

Why? Because of the principal behind it.

As a teenager, I listened to and wrote music that included references to everything you mentioned, plus a little juvenile references to Satan, hell, blah blah blah. My mom's way of dealing with it was to say "as long as it isn't loud enough that I hear it..fine."

But I just don't see that as being consistent with my own views and morals and values. As a father, I have every right AND responsiblity to censor what my children watch and listen to in our home. Do I believe for a second that this will prevent them from being exposed to this outside of the house? of course not. Do I think it will make the forbidden more appealling...perhaps. But I think it is of greater importance to take the risk and take the stand.

In the long run, if I can honestly look back and know that I based this decision on the fact that I wanted to send to my kids the message that I did not approve of these lyrics/actions, that I did not/could not justify supporting this artist by purchasing their product, and that I would hold them to the same level of accountability that I hold myself...then I don't believe that I am opening myself up to regret.

One thing, Al, and I mean this sincerely. All the above is how I believe I would respond with my kids when the time comes. I do not know your son. I do not pretend that I have the right to tell you if you are right or wrong or make judgments based on a single issue.

I respect and admire you, Mr. Al...but you did ask the question.

(you have no idea the pain my family went through to demonstrate to me the need to avoid conflict at all to even have written the above was a challenge against my nature that I wouldn't have undertaken had I not felt that this was a safe place to do me, I've become my parents....)

-- Bob (, June 11, 2000.

Oh, no offense taken, Bob. But what principle am I defending, what value am I showing? That homophobia or violence against women isn't ever condoned by me...or that freedom of speech is defended by me?

If Brian were eight, it would be different. Yet at fourteen, he knows what I believe in and what I fight offensive. I also have a fair idea of what HE finds repugnant, in real life, no matter what he listens to.

If I haven't taught him the right response by now, then in the four years before he's a legal adult, I won't change his mind. Also, he needs to know that I trust him not to let any one source overwhelm him.

If I see it making a change in his behavior towards others...THEN I might take action. Not before.

I trust him.


-- Al Schroeder (, June 11, 2000.

I am somewhere in the middle on this matter. In certain cases I think censorship is justified. Matters of military strength, movements and equipment. In World War Two mail from the military was I think, justifiably censored. There are of course attendant dangers of obfuscation and hiding of faults by classifying items as top secret. Most every country has spies and a blown cover can be fatal.

In matters of personal speech, reading, clothing and music parents have the responsbility for their children of course and each child or progeny under parental overlook is unique and their need for control are quite different at different stages of life.

I tend to agree with Al. A whiff of censorship can turn into situations as in Russia and Nazi Germany where no one could trust any one, the ability speak freely was non-existant. If a publication varied one little bit it was shut down and the responsible parties imprisoned. Censorship is a dreaded thing and I think parents can imprint good values and ethics in their children as they grow. I remember how I was as a teen ager, I was a reader. If I couldn't check a book out of the library I would return time after time until I had it read. I was reading adult books far beyond my supposed age level.

One more thing that seems pertinent to me and should be considered is that humans, regardless of censorship will think their own thoughts inside their skull. And in dreams our control is relaxed an in the dreams we do the savage things and frowned on things that our sentient mind will neither consider or even admit to self that such thoughts exist in our psyche.

Freedom of speech is essential to my mind and although I don't think I am rabid, the idea of some of the outspoken people of, "If you don't like it, don't look at it, read it or listen to it," has deep meaning to me. Many thoughts, speech, publications and ideas are repugnant to me I ignore and see no reason to censor.

The idea some groups have that if things are allowed they will cause the public to have thoughts not acceptable to the group and will cause chaos, to my way of thinking is warped. I read what I wanted to when I wanted to, formed my opinions guided by what I had been taught and will continue to find and read what I wish.

If we should have censorship - - - - think what would happen to our journals and forums. If I don't dare speak out the urge to live somewhere I can will be overpowering.

Parental and public mores have more to do with how someone is formed than censorship ever could, in my opinion.

-- Denver doug (, June 11, 2000.

I am in agreement with Al on the censorship issue. I think it's an abdication of parental responsibility to censor a child's listening or watching. he can't listen to it at home, but he can sneak off to his friend's house and listen. Better to use this as a teaching tool, know what your child is listening, know what his friends are enjoying and how they are reacting and talk to your kid about it...why you feel as you do, why you find the lyrics offensive, etc. If more parents did that rather than just censor, we'd have more kids growing up with a firm sense of right and wrong. Children's don't always take on our values by osmosis; we need to talk to them about how we feel and why.

As for censorship in general, Dr. Laura is a particular thorn in my side. I've listen to her tirades for a long time (before we got a CD changer, she was what kept me awake on long drives...some radio stations seem to play her all day long). Anybody who has read my journal knows how strongly I feel about homophobia. And yet, I don't think she should be censored. I think she can be her own worst enemy and her strident diatribes stand for themselves. I fear for her impressionable following, but I don't find that a good enough excuse to censor her. I am free not to listen to her (I no longer do), I will tell radio stations I used to listen to WHY I don't listen to their station any more. I will support sponsors who have withdrawn sponsorship, but I am not in favor of any sort of censorship of anything she has to say.

Likewise, I feel the odious Fred Phelps should be free to spew his hatred, such as picketing Matthew Shepard's funeral, running his GodHatesFags website, etc.

We start down a slippery slope when we selectively censor, because what I may find acceptable, you may find totally unacceptable, and who is to be the arbiter of the morals of the entire country? I certainly don't want to abdicate that responsibility to anybody. I want to be free to make my own decisions, to impart my own value system to my kids.

There is much I hate which is put out under the banner of free speech, but I am glad that we live in a country where it can be said.

-- Bev Sykes (, June 11, 2000.

Al, I think you did the right thing. If you do not usually censor Brian's music, he will not hide it from you. This will keep you aware of what he's listening to/watching, and give you a chance to express your opinions and values. Fom what you have told me he has heard you: he isn't homophobic or degrading to women. Values he has learned from you & Barb will stay with him more than offensive lyrics that he will outgrow with time. In my expreience, everyone I know who's a bigot learned it from their parents, not from music or t.v. As long as his actions do not promote bigoted behavior he should be allowed to hear different points of view.

-- AJ (, June 11, 2000.

Joijoijoi makes a statement that explains for the most part bigotry --- they learn bigotry from their parents and the stubborn mindset that goes with it.

-- Denver doug (, June 11, 2000.

You are his parent, so can raise your child as you see fit--within limits, of course. But I don't think you would be criticized as an "unfit parent" whichever way you went on this one.

I don't agree that not letting your son buy or listen to the album would constitute "censorship." The dictionary definition isn't very helpful, in my opinion, although it implies action by a government official to alter or suppress communications at the source. You are one of the first people I have ever heard use the word to apply it to parental control of what their own children are exposed to. I think this is stretching an emotionally loaded word beyond its meaning.

I also don't see why saying "no" to American Pie doesn't fall into the same category of alleged "censorship" as (potentially) saying "no" to hip-hop-hate. It seems to me that both actions are censorship, or neither one is. (I would vote for neither, but that's not the point.) I don't agree that children automatically desire whatever they are forbidden. If this were so, we could get them to do whatever we want by a simple process of reverse psychology. "I *forbid* you to clean up your room" would instill in your child a burning passion to clean up his room. I doubt that. We were forbidden to do hundreds or even thousands of things as children, and in the vast majority of cases, this did not instill a desire to do those things just because they were forbidden.

I also think your view of your son's maturity is a little puzzling. You seem to think him mature enough to listen to hate lyrics and not act out of hatred, yet not mature enough to hear the word "no" from his father and refrain from acting in a knee-jerk, reverse-psychology way in response to that.

Finally, you mentioned your son's maturity in a context that implied--but did not state explicitly--that if he faced a situation of acting (or not acting) on the basis of these lyrics, he would be acting as an individual. Yet the lead-in of your entry talked about this E-whatever person selling millions of these albums. So, you are really dealing with a mass phenomenon. Even if Brian is mature enough to deal with the lyrics as an individual, is he really mature enough and strong enough to deal with whatever peer pressure he might face from a peer group that coalesces around hip-hop-hate? My sense is that "fag bashing" incidents usually occur when a group of people decide to pick on a usually single/isolated gay or perceived-as-gay person, and the leader of the group is often the person with the most hatred and the fewest scruples about expressing that hatred.

I don't have any children, but if I had a teen age son, I think I might be trying to nip this potential problem in the bud by forbidding him the cd and thus making him too "uncool" to fit into such peer groups.

Just my opinion.




-- Joe Shedlock (, June 11, 2000.

Well, being younger.. young enough to have parents that could probably try and censor the things I see/listen to, I'm not really a pro-censorship. But, however, my parents have never tried to censor anything I listen to or see.

If I were a parent, I wouldn't see the point. If you hold back your kid too much, he's going to want whatever it is your keeping him from even more. And that is a fact.

-- Jen (, June 11, 2000.

Let's just say, Joe, that my worries about Brian acting with a mob mentality to beat up someone for their sexual orientation is only slightly higher than my worry about him flunking out of school.(And he makes high grades.) Of course, I know him, you all don't, and I know the crowd he runs with--- and that makes a difference. But I'm as sure as it's possible to be that he wouldn't go with the crowd on THAT one.

Yes, it is contradictory, but I come from contradictory genes...and remember how much I would react AGAINST something my father laid down as fiat from on high. If it's odd that he might react to a flat "no" that way...I just remember that I would do the same.

Besides, I don't want Brian to just not listen to something unpleasant. I want him to think through WHY he shouldn't do something. To do that, he has to hear it.

At age thirteen, I read the SATANIC BIBLE. At age fifteen, I read MEIN KAMPF and the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO. Alice Cooper, considered tame by today's standards, used to scream about "dead babies" and "you drive me nervous"---which is about hating one's parents. Yet I daresay very few who listened to Cooper grew up with a fixation on dead babies or hating one's parents.

Performers, by their very nature, sometimes go over the top. I like Wagner, and his political views were reprehensible. Should I censor RING OF THE NIBELUNG because of it?

Anyway...appreciate the very interesting feedback. From EVERYBODY.--- Al

-- Al Schroeder (, June 11, 2000.

Denver Doug: I am puzzled by the lack of congruity between what you wrote above, and your continued calls that I be silenced on Xeney's forum. Hmph.

-- Dave Van (, June 12, 2000.

This will be no flame war. I expressed my opinions on Beth because you were so insistently claiming to be the expert on most everything sexual or pertaining to most anything else. I felt that in these instances you were becoming as obnoxious as a drunk at a ladies tea party. My opinion - - and I will state that I still feel the same way. Guess you have been pouting this long, huh ?

I have been known to change my mind before and will probably change it in the future, but in this case will make an exception - - - - and stay firm.

You certainly have every right to express your opinions anywhere any time, but there are times when doing so will get one arrested for disturbing the peace.

My opinions, stated here, I will engage in no further conversations with you as I feel that this thing on Al's forum is just another effort on your part to stir up controversy. AMEN

-- Denver doug (, June 12, 2000.


I don't think we are ever going to agree on this one, so I think we probably need to agree to disagree.

I think there is one factor in this that perhaps we have glossed over. Maybe it wouldn't/doesn't matter to you, but it does matter to me. You said that Brian "got" the Eminem cd. This implied to me that he either purchased the cd or someone purchased it for him. This implies a monetary contribution rewarding hate-spewer Eminem. So, it is not the same as checking "Mein Kampf" out of your local library. In my opinion, it is more like purchasing "Mein Kampf" from your local American Nazi party affiliate, and thus helping to subsidize their activities.

In this regard, I would just quote to you some of the lyrics from the Beatles "Revolution," which reflect my views: But when you talk about destruction Don't you know that you can count me out. ...

If you want money for people with minds that hate All I can tell you is brother you'll have to wait.

There is an interesting on-line article on Eminem in Slate:

Eminem The rapper is sadistic, misogynistic, and fantastic. By David Plotz

Eminem's raves are bizarre, given the vileness of his lyrics. He is an acolyte of the gangsta rap tradition, which means his songs honor the socially unacceptable (but beloved by 14-year-old boys) principles of violence, rape, misogyny, homophobia, more violence. Every woman is a "bitch," and there's no problem that can't be solved with the right gun. Even by the dismal standards of the genre, Eminem is foul, out-bitching and out-killing all of his rap colleagues. On his new album he describes raping his mother, arranging the gang rape of his sister, murdering his wife, and lurking in your backseat to kill you. The album opens with the song whose chorus is "Bitch, I'm gonna kill you." Sample line: "I got the machete from O.J./ I'm ready to make everyone's throats ache." (Eminem is living his own gangbanging life. He was arrested this week on weapons and assault charges stemming from a nightclub fight. According to prosecutors, Eminem pointed a gun at and threatened to kill a man he saw kissing his wife. On Wednesday, Eminem pleaded not guilty to the charges.) A decade ago, right-thinking Americans ostracized N.W.A. and Ice-T for much milder lyrics, and Marilyn Manson's anti-social songs have turned him into a national pariah. So why the swoon for Eminem? Technique explains part of it: Everyone who listens to Eminem is stunned by his mike skills. Freestyle competitions gave Eminem a lizard-quick tongue. His songs spark with wordplay and puns and tongue twisters. This does not mean he is a great poet. His lyrics, in fact, look silly on the page: "Serial killer hiding murder material in a cereal box on top of your stereo." But when he delivers them at warp speed, in his weird nasal voice, they crackle. Eminem has the greatest and rarest skill in hip-hop: "flow." His words and his beats work together.

-- Joe Shedlock (, June 12, 2000.

That's fair, Joe. And yes, he indeed did purchase the CD---with his own money--because he thinks some of the songs have merit --- musically. Not necessarily ethically. Musically.

No offense meant, of course, on my part--- and none taken, I hope.

You can similarly find some articles in SALON (two, to my knowledge that I've read) critidizing Eminem if you'd care to read further. -- Al.

-- Al Schroeder (, June 12, 2000.

Denver Doug is a liar. Denver Doug is a hypocrite. But most of all Denver Doug just has an empty head...

-- Dave Van (, June 12, 2000.

Dave--did you have something intelligent to offer to the conversation here? If so, that part of your message must not have posted properly.

-- Bev Sykes (, June 12, 2000.

Bev, go to hell.

-- Dave Van (, June 12, 2000.

*Sigh* Dave, I, as you know--- really LIKE you. I think you have been given, to a certain extent, a bum rap. I was hoping to have the only forum around that didn't eventually ban you or kick you out. And I'm not kicking you now, either.

I just wish---because it WAS an interesting discussion---we could keep it on that level. You have nothing to prove here, Dave. You're not in hostile territory.

I'd like to hear what you have to say about the censorship/child rearing issue---not how much you dislike one of the posters here, or carry on another fight from another forum.

Up to you, Dave. I'm just going to ask, not force. As a friend.--Al

-- Al Schroeder (, June 12, 2000.

Al: I suggest you review the above posts and note who first resorted to ad hominem in each case. The results may surprise you.

As for your question, it brings to mind one of my favorite little stories.

Corrie was a small child when she read a poem in a book that included the word "sexsin." While traveling with her father on a train, she took the opportunity to ask him what "sexsin" meant. Her father always had a ready answer for his children's questions about life, but this time, he said nothing.

Instead, he pulled down his heavy traveling case from the rack above their heads and asked little Corrie to carry it off the train for him. Of course she tried, but it was far too heavy for her to handle and she told her father so.

"Yes," he said. "And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you."

Of course censorship is justified when it comes to young children. It's up to you to know when they're ready, and when they are ready, it's up to you to guide them. Once they reach their mid teens I'd say there's nothing they can't handle with a little guidance.

-- Dave Van (, June 12, 2000.

Oh Al, my adoptive Dad, I have to disagree with you on this one, I think. :-)

While I do not have children of my own, (but did have step kids for a while), I really think that I would censor my children, as my parents censored me to an extent.

My parents went so far as to forbade me to buy "rock and roll" tapes and the like, yet they gave me their reasons... because they did not agree with their morals or what they were singing about.

I remember about 6 years ago when my step-kids were listening to a rap song that made references to "doing it with *itches" and the like. While they were 12 and 10 at the time and not 14, I felt that the music was inappropriate. I asked them if they knew what they were singing about. They didn't. I explained it. They grossed out, and never played that music again, (until they found something else they liked). Hehe.. Kids will be kids.

As for older kids. I kind of think it's like the parents who say, "better to wait to have sex until you're engaged or married" and then say, "oh, but if you do, be sure to wear a condom". That's a double message I think.

Just because you think your kids will "do it" (whether it be listen to music, have sex, etc) somewhere else, I don't think that means we should condone it or say, "Oh, I don't agree with it, but you can do it anyway."

So when it comes to censoring kids.. I think there needs to be some, and yes, even for teenagers. There just are certain things that aren't appropiate for kids of any age. It's like the adage, "garbage in, garbage out".

My dad, while strict, would quote the scripture, "Train up a child in the way they should go, so when they are old, they will not depart from it." If he had allowed me to listen to lyrics that were in direct opposition of what he believed, he'd be going against his standards.

While I "hated" my dad for this then, as I got older I understood his convictions and respected him for his position.

Even though I don't completely agree with you, I love ya, Al! :-)

-- Katie (, June 13, 2000.

Appreciate your comments, Katie, and I'm proud to be your adoptive "Dad". Question though---there was a song from Sting/The Police called "Watching You (Every Breath You Take)". It's a good song, a strong song.

It's also a creep-you-out song. Listen to the words. "Every move you make, every breath you take, I'll be watching you..." It's a STALKER's song. Should we have been kept from hearing that song for fear of breeding potential stalkers?

I don't think so. But I could be wrong.


-- Al Schroeder (, June 13, 2000.

Pops!. Uh.. I mean, Al, and devil's advocate. :-)

Oh come on now... let's not split hairs now.... :-)

Not all music is bad. There are some that are evidently not good. Period. I don't think kids should be listening to caca, and stuff that is just pure garbage that you KNOW is just yucky. Just like I don't think kids should be looking at Playboy or Penthouse.

As for the Police song, I heard Sting say it was NOT a love song, but actually a very possessive bitter song. I still like it, and I don't think it's bad.. It's certainly not going to cause me to stalk someone or kill someone or rape someone.

If censorship (in some extent) is wrong, then why do we not allow kids into Pornos? You see?

Yes, there is a limit... and everyone should have freedom of speech. I'm not against that.. but I kind of agree with Bob in that I'm going to be selective of what my child listens to or reads... whether or not they want to obey me is another story. Hehe... :-) I will raise them and let them know what my beliefs are.. whether or not they want to have the same ones is their choice. However if they live in my house, they will have to respect my opinions, and not partake in any action that I feel is questionable. For I believe we will be judged someday by God on how we raise our children. If you believe you're doing right, then that's all that matters. It's between you (meaning other people) and God.

Then again, I wouldn't want kids to be reading some parts of my journal and they probably are, so heck, I'm probably a hypocrite anyway!

Hugs and kisses!

-- Katie (, June 13, 2000.

Katie says: "but I kind of agree with Bob in that I'm going to be selective of what my child listens to or reads... whether or not they want to obey me is another story. Hehe... :-) I will raise them and let them know what my beliefs are.. whether or not they want to have the same ones is their choice. However if they live in my house, they will have to respect my opinions, and not partake in any action that I feel is questionable."

As someone who grew up censored and who tried it both ways in raising our kids, perhaps I have a unique perspective here. I was strictly censored as a kid. We were catholic and our movie choices were determined by The Index, that catholic rating system. I was told what I could and couldn't read. For the most part, I obeyed the family rules, but I also bent to peer pressure. When I wanted to read a forbidden book, I did it at a friend's house. When I want to see a forbidden movie, I lied to my parents (and then went to confession). So just strictly censoring doesn't really work.

Fast forward to raising five kids. I had strong feelings about some things. Guns were a biggie. My sister had been murdered with a gun and by golly, no kid of mine was going to play with guns. Period. Guns were banned and kids who brought cap pistols checked them at the door when they arrived. We made a game of it, but I absolutely did not permit anything that looked like a gun in my house. But I noticed that my son had an obsession with guns. It's all he wanted, it's all he played with at other kids' houses, it's all he talked about. I realized I was actually creating a monster by censoring him. So we did a round about. We bought him a cap pistol for Christmas. But we also talked to him about why we were so set against guns. His fascination with guns disappeared instantly. I don't think he ever used the cap pistol--but just having that choice and knowing how we felt about was much better than simply banning them altogether.

In the years when our kids were at home (and members of a rock group), we heard a lot of really awful music. But rather than ban the music, the kids and I talked about it. We listened to the lyrics, I listened to what they meant to the kids, I discovered that while there was some awful stuff out there, there was some stuff that wasn't as bad as it seemed on the surface.

I think the whole point is not censorship or non-censorship, it's communication. If your communication with your kids is good, whatever decision you make about what is and is not proper will be respected because the kids love you and trust your judgement. Especially if you are willing to actually sit down and listen non-judgementally and discuss things calmly and rationally before making any decions at all.

-- Bev Sykes (, June 13, 2000.

Bev, I agree. Communication is key.

-- Katie (, June 13, 2000.

I originally attacked the question from a very broad perspective and tried to solve the puzzles of the world.

I think every intelligent parent cognizant of the stage of life each of their children has a better grasp on what each of their children needs.

I also think that some parents feel they are too damn busy to care for children and expect the schools to raise the kids from the ground up.............and that isn't working.

With our children, of course there were no Playboys or other adult stuff laying around for them to see and the wife and we tried very hard to lead and teach by example. As each of our children grew we moved the boundaries further out relying on the degree of responsibility they demonstrated, still we did keep track of them as members of our household. We tried to teach them reasoning and common sense, ethics, morals and above all how to be responsible and sensible adults. I do not think that can be done by censorship or restriction.

The last thing I saw from Dave Van was very good and to the point.

The last thing I saw from Bev Sykes was also a wonderful insight on her experience on both sides of the fence.

I guess that semantics along with the loaded word - - Censorship - - confused the issue, however in that mass of words I said that I think that parents have the control - - or words to that effect. I think a parent is censorious only when they overstep the bounds of common sense.

I think in a way I can at least partially agree with just about every entry on the subject I have seen so far.

Thanks Al Schroeder. A bombshell free world !

-- Denver doug (, June 13, 2000.

im at university, having to do a group presentation on censorship. However i got the task of trying to prove pro-censorship, not that hard, i thought. But, all the books in our library are anti- censorship. I have been following ur discussion with much int erest and am enjoying the views of parents, is there any support materials u could suggest? cheers - ahekp (im not even sure u r all carrying this discussion on)

-- a h e kb53 poland (, February 27, 2002.

I do not pretend to have all of the answers, but I am the mother of 5 boys. I have first read the bible. I have started to study some of Manson's lyrics and beliefs. He is making money on our youth by the way he looks and shock lyrics. Satanists believe in him, but I think that he is a world critic and tries to look world sensitive by saying all of life is gloom and doom. That is his key selling point. It opened up the door to discussion with my eldest son as to why kids buy into this crap. I finally fingered it (no pun intended - see I do have a sense of humor!) It is because it has shock value. Our society is becoming more and more demoralized that increasing shock is needed for our youth - gee where will it all end? They think it is cool just the way we think the beatles were cool. Now we hear the beatles in elevators in doctors office. The problem is with society. Manson was abused and is sick and reflects it in his music - notice how nothing good is ever mentioned in his songs? Well, at least the beatles did talk about love!!! It was their hair and how they looked - Somehow I can not see a dead zombie transvestite singing about real love or even puppy love (dead puppy love maybe). Ok there goes that humor again. I hope that he will outgrow it, I will use it as a tool to appeal to his intellect. I will especially stress that this man is using you kids to make money. Scarey movies and sex sells even with adults so why not kids. Manson is making money - our kids are stupid because they are buying it. I needed to read the words as I could not understand them between the moans, groans and screams. S&M, piercing, tatoos are dangerous things for our youths. So is depression, it can kill a young person. Yes, the bible has the same thing as Manson sings about - but the difference is that that bible tells what to do about those things and how bad they are for your health. Manson turns it all into one big joke. It is a sign of our troubled times. The focus of our youth should be on saving the environment - air, soil, and water. We should try to love, though with some it is near impossible because they will not listen so we love from afar instead. The youth should focus on children, the elderly, the widows, and on using our precious gifts to better the world. We should take care of our plants and animals here on earth. Freedom of speech is great - do you want to be like Hitler or Jesus, one person indeed can change the world! Never forget that ok? I'm sorry if this is all so idealistic, I am merely an alien who is forced to live on Earth until the perfect world comes. I do not belong to this world, I am only here to experience it so that I truly enjoy my next life when I am transformed. Until then, I will also try to drag as many as I can to be transformed into the light and love and joy and peace.

-- Joyce Mascio (, October 06, 2003.

the first thing to start with is that the state decides what is right or wrong. That is to say the nation state makes the rules on cenorship. So in the USA you have the most relaxed cenorship so to speak but self censorship is big business favourite in making sure censorship of ideas are suppressed. However the Ku Klux Klan still has its rallies in the name of freedom of speech.

In the UK, where censorship is quite strict but self censorship of expression is not and the working class does not always give into the bosses. Therefore the Neo Nazi British National Party finds it hard to organise as the anti racists chase them off the streets. A great British tradition.

So we must first not confuse censorship with freedom of speech. They are interlinked but also seperate. Freedom of speech is a silly notion, for example what has a Neo Nazi can say kill all jews/blacks/homosexuals et al and those who are the victim of this 'hate' crime can plead no don't hurt us. This is a rather idiotic idea because the neo nazi would be pouring petrol or beating them up to the cries of no don't hurt us. Simply silence the nazis/racists by wiping them off the streets through mass action. They can not be banned. If you read any good hisories of Hitler and Mussolini's rise to power it comes from stopping mass action and to rely on 'constitutional' means.

Censorship on the other hand is the control of idea. Again the USA demonstrates that McCarthyism was the best way to destroy working class militants and the ideas of Karl Marx. In return the unconstitutional HUAC bulldozed its way to making Americans something else. The first things to go was 1st May or International Labour day, which was in the memory of the Chicago martyrs. Just cross it off the calender and celebrate 'American labor day' on the 1st of September! The whole western world celebrates its Labour day on 1st May! What did you get in return? The bible, anti progressive theories such anti darwinism, anti abortionisn. So in my mind Marlyn Manson is pretty much a reaction to a crummy world especially in the USA.

Well for me, I had the Sex pistols and better still was the American the Dead Kennedys, as a young 'white' boy in the early eighties I even related to the hip hop and rap that came out of the Bronx and Queens! The bible was not going to show me the way because the idea of nuclear war kinda made God redundant. We don't need judgement we've got our own crazy leaders to flame the planet. Therefore it was the Beatles who were sick, sing about life being great and it was far from it (maybe it was back in the 60s if you ignored Vietnam).

So the censorship comes from the state. The freedom of speech mantra sucks, I personally believe in the freedom to live in peace! Some music is fun but a product of our history. And I thought Frank Zappa was the best. Furthermore stop reading the bible it has not been much good for the last 2000 years no matter how many times it was re- written and try reading Howard Zinn, Michael Moore (he's an American who is one of the UK's best sellers) and Noam Chomsky, if you wish to come to terms with why your kids seem so pale and white/goths. Also trying reading the Karl Marx's the Communist Manifesto and ask yourself why was it banned in the USA (be censorship or selfcenorship by book sellers)

Cheers, Rich

-- Richard Stephens (, October 07, 2003.

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