Music Information

Dont Censor the Music and Artistic Expression


Ann Powers said:

"Don't censor the music and artistic expression.

Eminem's music, in particular the songs "Kim" and "Stan," is a continuation of a tradition in music and American art in general: the Gothic murder ballad, which has been with us ever since the blues or Appalachian folk music. "Stan" is just like an Edgar Allan Poe tale, if you think about it. Johnny Cash shot a man just to watch him die. This is something that's had a very solid, longstanding role in culture.
Self-styled moralists are getting up in arms about something that has always been part of the literature of development. If you're a kid, you have to learn about violence, about hate, about death, about fear. That's part of becoming an adult. And if it's not fed to you by Eminem, you're going to get it from your own nightmares. The illusion that kids need to be protected from that is connected to a kind of fetishizing of innocence, which is unrealistic."
Ann Powers

Music critic, the New York Times

We live in a society where we are taught to hide our true feelings and emotions. When I look back at the way I have been educated at school and and home, I now know how hypocritical it was. Teachers and parents tried to hide some reality.We were pictured a safe world with nice people. Religion ( particularly the way it was taught) increased that wrong impression.
Eminem's work appears to be progressive for conservative people. But the same conservative people would also have rejected Baudelaire or any other controversial poet or writer centuries before. Conservatism is a form of intolerance in general.

I have felt insecure a great part of my life and I didn't know how to act the right way with people, being too much afraid to speak my mind.
There is something I will probably never get: why are references to suicide so taboo in people's mind? Many people also blamed Goethe for his work "Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers" ("The Sorrows of Young Werther") because a lot of young people committed suicide after reading his book. Not Goethe is to blame, but rather those young people's decision...but do we really need somebody to blame? Anybody has the right to end his life if he feels like his pain is unbearable. My cousin committed suicicide when I was 15. I was shocked, but I don't judge her for that. It was her decision to stop her immense sorrow.

MTV also censors notions that have to do with suicide.

The "Tatu" video "Not Gonna Get Us" was considered as shocking and would be censored not because it pictured two lesbian girls, but because they seem to commit suicide at the end of the video.
I was very surprised to discover that the word "die" in the sentence
"I'm so sick and tired of bein admired/
that I wish that I would just die or get fired from Eminem's song The Way I Am . How is that possible ? How could MTV censor a word like die as if death didn't belong to our every day reality ?

They allow sentences such as People killin', people dyin'/Children hurt and you hear them cryin' from sugar sweet songs such as Where is the love ? from Black Eyed Peas and they dare censoring die in The Way I Am video ?
How far should we push hypocrisy ?

So many writers and poets such as Franois Villon in the 15th century in France have been considered as shocking for their use of vulgar language. Many people want to do as if vulgar and popular language didn't exist (I'm sure the same people use it in their privacy as well). Popular and vulgar words are part of our culture too, there is no reason to ignore it.

Why should we censor notions such as suicide, murder and death that are present in the music when our kids already play violent games on their playstation and watch "Hannibal" and "Scary Movie" on Tv? A little bit of violence helps kids to get rid of their own agressivity and shouldn't be viewed as necessarly dangerous and negative.

The best way to protect our kids is not to hide reality. The closer they are to reality, the better they are armed to face real battles in life.

I do teach English and German at public schools. I am an Eminem biographer and a freelance music journalist.


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