Walmart Music Censorship | Opinion Editorial
There are a vast number of inconsistencies when it comes to censorship. Retailer Walmart carries ‘explicit’ books and movies, but not explicit music. Why?
So, to begin things off patriotically, I believe highly in the first amendment rights supported by the U.S. Constitution. I have the freedom of speech to write or say whatever I want and whatever the repercussions of that may be, I must face and own up to. Walmart, who is the ‘case study’ of this particular post, has the right to do whatever they want to do. They have their prescribed store policies, procedures, and freedom to carry/not carry inventory they want to carry. This article discusses censorship discrepancies I have noticed and studied for a while through music purchasing and listening experience. Specifically, it examines Walmart given their policies on music bearing the infamous parental advisory label. This post is meant to be informative, but also raise an argument about the inconsistencies that still lurk within censorship.
This post may ultimately be labeled subjective (as opinions are), but I believe the evidence for my point of view is objective and informed. I won’t deny, that I tend to lean liberal in many views, but in a world and society with many different people with differing ideology, centrism may be the most compromising approach. There are two valid arguments to censorship, and both have their pros and cons. I tend to against censorship in the artistic sense, however, a sense where I would be pro-censorship would be respective of age (younger, older) and of public forum (throwing f-bombs loosely and being disrespectful of venue, culture, etc.) Another angle that one might take is why do artist feel that the ‘shock value’ of profanity is necessary?
Walmart is a great utilitarian store in which you can purchase anything. In the small town which I reside, they possess the monopoly because they are the only chain of their kind with no competition save for a few grocery store. Anyways, I take no issue against the chain nor do I have a personal vendetta, particularly given the fact that they contribute greatly to music sales. That said, my thesis and argument is that Walmart’s stance on censorship is inconsistent with the other media that they sell.
Yesterday, as I perused the entertainment section, I noticed the Unrated edition of Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator displayed openly, with no hints of even censoring the visibility. Anyone who has viewed any of Cohen’s films knows he is one of the most unapologetic, uncensored actors/comedians out there. A store that seems quite conservative in the area of censorship you would think would not display or would consider not selling such. As I headed towards the book section, I noticed more than enough companies of the arguably ‘pornographic’ and confirmed controversial series Fifty Shades of Grey readily available. More than just a steamy affair, it is shocking that such an erotic fictional novel would grace the shelves of such a conservative, family-oriented location.
When it comes to music, there’s a gap worth mentioning. When the scandal about the parental advisory/censorship came about way-back-when (80s – 90s), Walmart stated that they would not carry the parental advisory labeled CDs. They, hence, opted for edited forms. They have held true to that policy. However, the sub-argument is how’s a CD with sexual content, violence, or explicit language more contemptible than say a movie with visual and audio?
R-Rated and Unrated Films
Academy Award nominated film The Reader was easily available upon its DVD release. The rated R film features liberal amounts of sex and nudity. The American Pie Series of films certainly do no favors for a conservative image, constantly featuring explicit language, sexual references, and stupidity. I’m not advocating for or against conservatism or liberalism, but rather, consistency. Why is an explicit CD worse than an graphic book or unrated film? Has Walmart simply adapted with the times with book and films and allowed CDs to fall by the wayside?
Here’s another argument. Okay, Walmart doesn’t support parental advisory labels – fair. However, what about all the assortment of CDs that have opted for a mainstreamed release sans the label? I’ve purchased many CDs that don’t possess the label from Walmart, but also feature references that should be regulated. And we’re not talking about ‘baby cursing,’ but more explicit means on unmarked releases. It makes you wonder, is the whole notion of Walmart and music censorship accomplishing anything? If the music released already possesses sexualized references and language without the label, what’s the point?
Ultimately, the materials that the new generation are exposed to are overt. While it may be true that they are ‘more overt’ than what their parents and grandparents were exposed to, it’s no different in the regard that each prior generation thought what kids listened to and how they acted was crazy, wild, and liberal. Yes, music is more explicit now than it has ever been. Perhaps, the question of musicians being a ‘role model’ should be something artists consider when they are unleashing filth. Ultimately, does censorship truly shield anybody is a question to ask?
What are your thoughts? Does it seem inconsistent that Walmart is liberal with movies and books and conservative with music? Isn’t that music most likely already liberalized? Certainly, it’s something to think about and debate.