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Controversial Music

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Jonathan Slater

English Comp


Persuasive Essay Draft

"Controversial music, is it truly safe for families?"

When you read or hear the words controversial music, you tend to think about censorship, extreme or lude lyrics, band presence, and music videos. The Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus defines the word controversial as "debatable, contentious, disputable, questionable, litigious, polemic (al), provocative (The Oxford New, 2009)." We can certainly link a lot of bands today to those words, but is the music they produce the cause for such controversy, or the image the band represents? Controversial music is often blamed for initiating violent acts or corrupting the morals of young people, but it is not the music itself that is the cause for such controversy. Music is what it is.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida 1989. Brian Werner and his guitarist Scott Putesky form the Heavy Metal band Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids. The name was later shortened to the now known band Marilyn Manson ("Marilyn manson," 2013). Brian, who goes by alias Manson, has been known to push the limits when it comes to his bands presence and the lyrics they use. Dressed in all black, wearing makeup, and oddly designed contact lenses, his band strikes fear in the hearts and minds of conservative and religious families. Associated with former satanic church leader Anton Lavey, Manson doesn't hide his satanic association when it comes to his performances, and the lyrics of his songs. Songs like Antichrist Superstar, Angel with the scabbed wings, and Lamb of God, are lyrically radical in terms of singing about religion.

In a sit down interview with Michael Moore for the film Bowling for Columbine, Manson made it clear "I represent what everyone is afraid of, because I say and do what I want. (Moore)." On April twentieth, nineteen ninety nine, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold committed one of the most heinous acts against human kind, a massacre at Columbine High School. Using homemade pipe bombs, automatic assault rifles, as well as wearing Marilyn Manson t-shirts, they shot and killed a total of fifteen people that day. Social media was in an uproar, looking for a scapegoat to take the blame for the shooting, and many newscasters that day were quick to point towards Marilyn Manson. In a letter to Rolling Stone Magazine about whose fault it is, he asks us "...Did we look for James Huberty's inspiration when he gunned down people at McDonald's? What did Timothy McVeigh like to watch? What about David Koresh, Jim Jones? Do you think entertainment inspired Kip Kinkel, or should we blame the fact that his father bought him the guns he used in the Springfield, Oregon, murders? What inspires Bill Clinton to blow people up in Kosovo? Was it something that Monica Lewinsky said to him? Isn't killing just killing, regardless if it's in Vietnam or Jonesboro, Arkansas? (Manson, 1999)." If music causes murder and suicides, than all forms of music would be banned, not just one particular genre.

What about bands that aren't using extreme lyrics in their songs? The Beatles, an English rock band from Liverpool, England had one of the most controversial episodes of nineteen sixty six. In an interview with Maureen Cleave of the London Evening Standard who was writing a series of weekly articles titled "How Does a Beatle Live?," Guitarist and singer John Lennon said "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved



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