I think we need to revisit a recent blog. "A Town Called Hypocrisy" sparked more conversation - and traffic- than any other entry in the history of Bring Back Glam.
So far, every comment agrees that censoring musicians is completely wrong. One person even noted that it is illegal for performers to swear while performing on stage in Cincinnati. This sounded like a ludicrous law to me so I did a little research.
According to Ohio Revised Code - Municipal code of Cincinnati, Chapter 819 defines the rules pertaining to a cabaret. It reads as follows:
Chapter 819 CABARET
Sec. 819-11. Revocation of License.
"If the city manager or designee finds that the further maintenance of any cabaret is injurious to the public welfare and morals, or is a disturbance to the peace and quiet of a neighborhood within 300 feet of the cabaret property, the city manager shall revoke the license of such cabaret without refunder."
(C.O. 716-10; renumbered to C.M.C. 819-11, eff. Jan. 1, 1972; a. Ord. No. 92-1977, eff. March 23, 1977).
As you can see, the law is open to interpretation. Last night, I spent nearly two hours reading Cincinnati laws pertaining to cabarets, hotels, entertainment districts, adult venues, movie houses and bowling alleys. I figure a nightclub, such as Rhinos, falls under the distinction of cabaret which is defined as "a place regularly and habitually operated for profit, where food and beverages are served for consumption on the premises, and where one or more forms of entertainment are provided by others for the patrons thereof after 9 p.m."
You'll also notice that the law was last revised in 1977, a full 30 years ago. As time goes by, a person's perception of vulgarity changes. To most young children, saying a swear word is just about as bad as killing someone. As children become teenagers, and those teens grow into adults we learn the boundaries between right and wrong are more gray. Adults know they won't be condemned for swearing during a fit of rage, panic or normal conversation. Still, there are places where swearing just isn't allowed, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). If a journalist drops the "F" bomb while filing a report, that's the end of a career. A celebrity has to watch their words, too. Consider all the hate speech that got comedian Michael Richards in trouble a few weeks ago. His words were harsh and painful...but they were still just words. Nikki Sixx got in trouble for hate speech during a concert a few years ago. He was defending a woman in the front row who was being beaten-up by a man twice her size. The man happened to be black, the woman white. Nikki said words he shouldn't have. He was trying to save the woman, instead he ended up having to explain himself to an angry media mob.
So, how is it that words, certain words...become banned vocabulary, especially for rock stars? Who defines good words versus bad? In graduate school, I took a class on the history of rhetoric. The entire semester we did nothing but try to answer this question. Not surprisingly, we never found a concrete solution to this problem of literary evil.
So, where does this leave rock stars and fans alike? I know that when I pay good money to see a show, I expect to hear lyrics as they were originally intended. There's a reason I refuse to buy albums edited by record companies just so the artist can sell in more conservative stores.
This is an open forum for discussion on music. Please leave your thoughts, concerns and suggestions.