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In my opinion, censorship is the control of the information and ideas within the society because it’s usually indispensable to avoid what it’s could be a big issue, though it can be abused in some cases. It involves dictating what kind of information and the way through which it should be passed. Such terms like “under 18” indicate the dictatorship of the audience of such information. Such restrictions can be experienced at different levels of information flow, for instance at the level of production, distribution or performance as in the case of music. However, many forms of censorships I have witnessed, take the form of the books’ examination, play films, TV, radio programs, news reports and other different forms of communication. All these forms of censorships aim at achieving a certain objective.

There are those which aim at altering or suppressing ideas which are perceived to be objectionable or offensive. However, the rationale used varies. Some censorships target the materials that are perceived to be indecent or obscene, heretic or blasphemous, treasonous or treasonous. My question is how this should be determined? This is based on the fact that, there is no standard measure for the nature of any given material. Various ideas have therefore been suppressed with an ultimate reason of protecting the family.

As much as I agree to an extent with the attempt of protecting these three basic institutions, I must express my concern of the need of more rational position. Such position as regarding censorship should be reached after a consultative agreement involving all the stake holders. I agree with the artist called Ben Shahn’s argument that, silencing a man doesn’t mean that you have converted him. Silence can indicate a force assent, or contemplative and thus dialogue is necessary before any of such actions. In our society today, censorship has taken the form of customs, taboos, or laws by which speech, dress and religious observance, and sexual expression are regulated. There is thus a need to re-evaluate such practices within the society to establish their intension.

Discussion from “The Ed Sullivan Show”

Ian Inglis’s article, “The Ed Sullivan Show and the (Censored) Sounds of the Sixties”, describes the debate among different scholars on the issue of Censorship. These include the banning of through radio broadcasting of songs and continuous criticisms of various forms of celebrations. The article also identified restriction of airplay time faced by various performances. It then proceeds to discuss the on going debate on the subject considering both the justification for and argument against censorship.

The article noted that, censorship may either result from the actions of the state or from other sources. It holds that the best approach to censorship is not a singular action or policy, but a process in which restrictions are placed on the collection, dissemination and exchange of information, opinions and ideas. The article identified various restrictions that may face a popular music.

An example of the decision made by the television targeted the performance of the Ed Sullivan Show. This was the most important and influential TV entertainment show in the US. It was broadcasted nationally on Sunday evenings by CBS. The show included and coincided with the first two decades of rock’n’rolls “unruly history”. Scholars have noted that, Sullivan being a former newspaper Gossip Columnist and vaudeville performer was well knowledgeable of the practices of the show business (Inglis, p.561). They have therefore argued that the longevity of the show could have been to affirm and exercise his own authority and to adhere to successful formula as per the policies of “Open big. Keep it clean. Always have something for the kids”. His overwhelming recognition even led to remaining of the Toast of the Town show to the Ed Sullivan Show in 1955.

His objection was witnessed in 1960 when the three most celebrated composers were objected because of the lyrical content of particular songs. The trend continued with other performances also targeted. On May 1963, Bob Dylan was instructed to substitute his song the "Talkin" with another song (Inglis, p.559). Four years later, the Rolling Stones were told to change the lyrics of "Let's Spend the Night Together". During the same year the Doors were asked to amend the lyrics of "Light My Fire"; they ignored the request and performed the song unchanged. These cases portray a situation where strict instructions are given to performers. To some scholars, these cases present convincing evidences that the American Traditions of free expression is often at war with its cultural biases in favor of repression (Tolotte, 2007).

Examples from Inglis article

The Rolling Stones “Let’s Spend The Night Together”. The experience of performers during their first appearance dictated what happened thereafter to their song.  This was October 25, 1964 during which they met hostility of the audience. Even though they were initially pleased with their song, they later announced that they will never going to reappear in the show. This was against his wish as their wish as they are quoted saying that they are net going to destroy the song (Tolotte, 2007).

This is a perfect example of a public that has internalized various norms of the society. It is revealed that their “Let’s Spend the Night Together” had been removed from the play lists of several US radio stations. Later, during their rehearsal to perform the song, they were turned away by Sullivan. This was on the basis that the song was a sexual one and couldn’t be sung to a family audience. The group introduced some changes to the song before they were allowed to perform it (Laurent, 2010). This is just an example of how censorship is necessary as I defined it in my introduction.

My Example

According to me, the most pervasive censorship around the world is the restriction on pornographic material online. What attracts my interest in this debate is whether the behavior can be limited. The behavior is private and personal in the most fundamental way. This is because one can only know it whenever he/ she see it. Different nations across the world have therefore had different thresholds on what they consider to be a pornographic material. This has even brought more confusion of the issue as it is global in nature. Some nations only permit any activity between consenting adults while others define it by depiction of human hair. For example, in Saudi Arabia you can’t access any site that has pornographic contents, which I think (in my opinion) it’s a good way to prevent children from watching it.

General Example

A general example of censorship can be the place of parental claims in certain dialogue. Despite the spread of a widespread and deadly world wide epidemic (AIDS), various parents still object to teachings of safe sex models in public schools. The question for debate is therefore whether their rights as parents of their own children supersede the right of all children in a classroom. Such actions can deny other children a chance to have access to the information which could save their lives. In most cases the legal precedents are not clear on the issue and can not offer it a permanent solution. This is because of no clear boundary as to where religion should reach.

Conclusion

In short, censorship is managing information and ideas in public. In “The Ed Sullivan Show”, Inglis discusses different forms of censorship either positive or negative use of it. My experience of censorship shows that it could be useful to protect the community from some bad influences. However, the last example I argued in my paper claims safe sex should be taught and not be prohibited in some situations.  

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