In my opinion, only one person has the right to control what you see and hear. You. The only exception to this rule is in the case of young children, in which case it falls upon the parents to protect them until they can do so for themselves. Other than this, there can be no exceptions.

You have the right to decide what is and is not acceptable to you, and to ignore anything that is not acceptable. You do not have the right to make that decision for someone else. If there is something that offends you on television, don't complain to the station, don't whine in newspaper editorials, and definitely don't assume that anyone else feels the same way as you do. Odds are that somebody does, but that’s none of your business. Just change the channel. One push of a button is all it takes, and the problem is gone. If enough people agree with you and do the same, the ratings will nose-dive, and the show will be cancelled. If you are one of a small minority that feels strongly about the program, you'll just have to keep on not watching the show. Doesn't sound that difficult to me.

I just don't get it when people bitch and moan about all of the sex and violence in movies these days. Why do you think Hollywood keeps making movies like this? To personally piss you off? As a way of rebelling against everyone that complains and tells them they can't do stuff like that? No, the obvious reason that they keep making movies like that is because people keep going to them. As long as people go to a certain type of movie, Hollywood will continue to profit from making that type of movie. As long as its making them a profit, they'll keep doing it. It’s just good business sense. And also, if enough people are going to movies with a lot of sex & violence in them, then wouldn't that mean that not everyone agrees with those of you who are offended? What right do you have to try and control what others see?

Back to the lone exception. It is true that children do not yet have the knowledge and the maturity to make proper decisions about what is healthy for them to see, and that some things just aren't suitable for children. Whose job is it to make sure that children are protected from such things? Their parents, and no one else. Parents have a right to decide what their children can and can not see or hear, and no one else. A parent can not watch their children at all times however, so ratings systems for movies and TV shows are the next best thing, but no replacement for proper parental controls. It is acceptable to decide that certain movies can not be seen by children without express permission of their parents, as there are some things that almost all parents would agree are unacceptable. Hence classifications like G, PG-13, R, and the others serve to aid parents in protecting their children. Television doesn't have ushers keeping children from watching certain channels, so it becomes necessary for some shows to only be shown later at night when most children have gone to bed. A better solution is the V-Chip, which allows parents to control what their kids’ watch, even when they are not home. The best solution however is to actually take the time to teach your kids what is and isn't appropriate, so that they can make their own decisions. My younger cousins are able to listen to songs with swear words in them, as they know that swearing is crude vulgar and impolite, not only do they not swear themselves, they think less of a song that resorts to swearing.

And some censorship just doesn't make sense no matter how you look at it. Whenever the local rock radio station plays the song "American Psycho" by Treble Charger, they blank out the words "'cause they don't know" (the original lyric is "Don't wanna listen to the radio/ 'cause they don't know") What on earth is wrong with the words "'cause they don't know"? There’s no swearing in it, it isn't talking about anything dirty or inappropriate, and it isn't really insulting radio stations. Are they really so touchy that the implication that they are not omniscient offends them?

Last Resort by Papa Roach is another good example. Blitzkrieg has already covered the pointlessness of removing the word “resort” as it is in the title, but my problem isn’t with the method of censorship, but the reasons for it. Also removed from the song is the word life, as in “If I took my life tonight” and the word suicide, as in “and I’m contemplating suicide”. Yep, you guessed it they’re trying to remove all references to suicide or killing oneself from the song, presumably because hearing Papa Roach sing about it will make them want to do the same. Whatever. Let’s try a little experiment.

“Cut my life into pieces! This is my last resort. Suffocation, no breathing - Don’t give a fuck if I cut my arm bleeding, do you even care if I die bleeding? would it be wrong would it be right/ if I took my life tonight, chances are that I might, mutilation out of sight, and I’m contemplating suicide”

How many of you suddenly got the urge to end your life as a result of reading that? How many had any negative or violent feelings as a result of this? Other than feelings of sympathy for the person singing it that is. Let’s try something else then.

“I'm a desperado, Underneath your window, I see your silhouette, Are you my Juliet, I feel a mad connection, With your body, Shake your bon-bon, Shake your bon-bon, Shake your bon-bon, I wanna be your lover, Your only Latin lover, We'll go around the world in a day, Don't say no, no, Shake it my way, oh Shake your bon-bon, Shake your bon-bon, Shake your bon-bon”

How was that? How many of you felt like doing something, anything to end the pain? How many of you had negative and/ or violent thoughts as a result of those lyrics? Any effect either of those had is more likely to depend on the musical tastes (or lack thereof) of the reader, not on the content. Hearing about suicide does not make someone want to commit suicide.

The next area of seriously flawed censorship is Web Filters. I personally don’t agree with their existence at all, as a parent who hasn’t taken the time to teach their kids what is and isn’t appropriate should at least be bothered to keep their kids from going online without supervision. All it takes is a password, and the kid needs to ask before he can use the computer. Web Filters aren’t reliable either, and often censor sites whose only crime is to contain words that have a slight resemblance to banned words. These examples were published in a recent computer newspaper:

- A woman named Sheryl Babcock was not allowed to enter one web site because her last name includes an unwelcome word.
- A Navy officer who was studying for an exam wanted to log on to the site, but wasn’t allowed by the corporation’s filters as the URL included the word sex.
- Merchants from Scunthorpe, England must avoid using the name of their hometown in the URL if they want everyone to have access.
- Anyone using filters who has an interest in literature should keep in mind that a lot of the filters out there consider Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, and e. e. cummings to be inappropriate.
- A reporter's stories were blocked by filters because they contained the words “who reports”. The filter read the word “whore” therein.
- Carroll High School’s filtering software included “questionable material” such as the word “high” in its list of blocked words. This included the school’s own web page.
- A woman named Hillary Anne had trouble getting a hotmail account, as contains the word “aryan

The focus of my rant against censorship comes from a radio DJ in the U.S. who refused to play the new Ricky Martin single “She Bangs” because he didn’t want his kids to hear a song like that. Fine, that’s his call. But how does that give him the right to decide what other people's kids can listen to? He would be fully within his rights to tell his children that they are not allowed to listen to the song, and to make them change the station when it is played, but why is he making the same decision for everybody else? I’ve got a feeling that he’s probably the minority in this case, and that most people have no problem with the song. People in positions of power feel that they have the right to decide what is and isn’t appropriate for others, and that isn’t right.