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Censorship has been in many cultures of the world since anybody can remember, especially in the United States where new technological advancements have brought on many new things and made new censorships for them. But in the music, television, and film business, censorship has limited these industries abilities making it hard for them to show or broadcast what they and their viewers like.
In one recent incident, Rapper Dr. Dre sued the city of Detroit, the mayor’s spokesman and two police officials, accusing them of censorship by threatening to arrest him and organizers if he aired a questioned video during a concert.
Dr. Dre alleges his free speech and due-process rights were violated by Detroit officials who ordered the video yanked July 6 from a Joe Louis Arena concert also featuring rappers Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Ice Cube. The video was about eight minutes long, showing nudity and a bloody shootout, was not shown. Mayor David Bowens said July 14 that he had not seen the lawsuit but described it as a “baseless (one) and (a) shameless attempt to get more attention focused” on the performers’ Up in Smoke Tour.
“In a nutshell, when you can’t even fill up half of Joe Louis (Arena), this can’t be viewed as anything else but a publicity stunt to drum up more business as they go on,” Bowens said. The lawsuit alleges the video, “integral to (Dr. Dre’s) performance,” had played during tour stops in 10 U.S. cities and Toronto “without incident before coming to Detroit.”
Hours before the local concert, the suit says, Bowens, the two police officials and “a significant number” of armed law enforcers appeared at the arena and demanded the video be pulled. Police Chief Brown told organizers the concern was whether the video was appropriate for young people, and that the tour hadn’t warned the audience on the tickets or in advertisements. Even so, the suit says, an audiotape loop played over loudspeakers outside the arena advised of the performance’s “mature content,” with similar written notices on the arena’s doors.
Brown threatened to arrest whoever activated the video, Dr. Dre and the tour’s promoters, then immediately stop the show, the lawsuit says. Hours before a scheduled concert the next day at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the suit alleges, Dr. Dre and the promoters also were told by that suburb’s police not to show the video. When a Detroit federal judge ruled Auburn Hills could not block the video’s showing, it aired as scheduled. Police issued Dr. Dre a misdemeanor citation for promoting pornography. Police there also have reported the matter to the state Liquor Control Commission, believing the Palace violated its liquor license by airing the video, said Chris De Witt, a Michigan Attorney General’s Office spokesman. If the state sides with Auburn Hills police, the Palace’s liquor license could be suspended or revoked. The arena also could be fined up to $300.
This is just one of many incidents that have occurred on the music scene that just does not seem right. The people attending these concerts new what to expect from the show and paid good hard earned money for their tickets and deserve to get what they paid for. Such as in television; if someone paid for cable give him or her their moneys worth. Let him or her watch the shows being shown without any censors at all.
For months, the Parents Television Council (PTC) has been harassing WWF sponsors to pull ads from Smackdown, (a weekly wrestling show on cable television). So far, 30 huge corporations have willingly taken away huge sponsorships from the show. The Council has repeatedly attempted to hurt the WWF’s business by trying to dictate what human beings should be allowed to watch. One huge company, MCI WorldCom, bowed down to the pressure and sided with the PTC. Parents Television Council Honorary National Chairman Steve Allen congratulated MCI WorldCom on its decision to pull its ad dollars from WWF Smackdown!, one of the most offensive shows on prime time television. “Thank you for bringing to our attention your concerns regarding MCI WorldCom’s advertising on the television program WWF Smackdown!. We appreciate the information you have provided regarding this matter, and we want you to know that we share your concerns and agree whole-heartedly that advertising on WWF Smackdown! Is not appropriate,” wrote Bernard Ebbers, President and CEO of MCI WorldCom, in a letter to the PTC. “This is not the kind of programming MCI WorldCom wants to be associated with, and MCI WorldCom has suspended all advertising on this program.”
MCI WorldCom is the most recent corporation to pull its advertising dollars from WWF Smackdown!. To date, more than thirty corporations contacted by PTC have pledged to withhold advertising dollars from the show, including corporate giants like Wendy’s, Ford, General Motors, Coca-Cola, AT&T, M&M Mars, Clorox, State Farm, Office Depot, Walgreens, Saks Inc., Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Allstate Insurance, Gap, Procter & Gamble, Hershey’s, McDonald’s, SBC Enterprises, Maytag, Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg’s, Pfizer, Domino’s, Federated Department Stores, Best Foods, Wrigley’s, Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson. Once the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard learned of the content on Smackdown!, they too pulled their sponsorship, stating that the show did not reflect their core values.
Wrestling has been part of the Television world before many people were even born. The millions of viewers watching these shows understand that it is just entertainment. To them it is just like football, baseball, basketball, or hockey, just a sport to view when you feel the need for some action. If you cant watch it on television, another alternative is to just rent a movie.
Using a law rarely applied in the past decade, Jefferson Parish prosecutors have filed obscenity charges against owners of three Major Video stores for renting sexually explicit movies. Their decision to pursue a criminal case reopens a debate over the difficult issues of determining “contemporary community standards,” a key phrase from the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling by which obscenity cases are judged, and how to apply the standards in an age when Internet pornography has put X-rated material at the public’s fingertips. Moreover, while Major Video has stocked both sexually explicit and mainstream movies, other Jefferson Parish businesses specialize in adult material but have not been charged. District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. denied singling out Major Video, saying his office examines every case that law enforcement authorities send over. The Sheriff’s Office said deputies began investigating Major Video because of a customer’s complaint about objectionable material at!one of the chain’s stores.
In the process, vice squad officers visited Major Video outlets at 3020 and 6601 Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Metairie and at 400 Lapalco Blvd. in Gretna and rented “House of Anal,” “Indecent Obsession” and “Back Door Club.” “I know what these three titles contain, and to me they are obscene,” said Assistant District Attorney Bob Long, who filed the charges this week.
“It’s 2000 — not 1945. We do not believe it violates community standards,” he said. “They’re not being rented to kids. They’re not movies involving hard-core sexual acts with kids. And there’s no bestiality.”
A video store shopper said Major Video keeps its explicit movies in a separate room bearing a sign that prohibits people younger than 21 from entering. In addition, he said, the material that Major Video’s owners, Robert L. Wilson, 56, and Michael W. Jones, 47, are charged with renting is “hardly any different than going to watch some R-rated movie.” Added Phillip Wittmann, another New Orleans lawyer: “You’ve got stuff on cable TV that is much the same, and then they have censors for some movies that they might not show at the local theater. Thats how people get into trouble by buying a black market movie, just for the theaters not showing a specific movie.
People these days think that everything should be censors because it is demoralizing and does need to be viewed, and that is their opinion, but what about the others who like to watch television and films, and like to listen to the radio. It is sad to see people not able to enjoy a television program or music concert, or just renting a movie just because they say it is too violent, or too sexually explicit, or too out in the open. Just let people watch and listen to what they want to and there would not be any problems. Its up to the viewers really to watch or not to watch a program or to listen to a type of music or not to listen to a type of music, that they paid their good hard earned money for. It really is a shame.
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