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When the Aladdin staff were questioned for their action, many dismissed the
event stating that Ronstadt was hardly a victim. They noted that she had contin-
ued with her tour unabated and would hardly be impacted by the few dozen
requests for refunds.
However, this is not an acceptable excuse for looking past this action. Noting
the insignificance of the controversy on an artist of Ronstadt's popularity is moot.
Unfortunately in America, it is often times how we react to celebrity controversy
that guides how we react to similar consternation with lesser known artists.
If it is acceptable to condemn or censor Marilyn Manson, Eminem , or Linda
Ronstadt (who are rich, very well-known, and popular) then it becomes accept-
able to attempt to censor lesser-known artists who are greatly impacted by the
actions taken against them. It sets a low standard for how we treat those who have
differing views from ourselves. Left unchecked, it quickly segues into "They feel
different than me? They don't deserve to have a voice."
Other notable incidents of censorship during this period:
In Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio asks the local Tower Records
to remove a locally produced rap CD because it condones violence against
police and contains an unflattering drawing of the sheriff himself. The CD
was created by a former inmate turned rap artist names Gary Barocsi, or G
Rival . The CD contained lyrics such as "I hate the law, I would love to bash
the police in the jaw, rub their flesh til it's raw and soak `em in gas." Tower
honors the sheriff's request and removes the CD. According to spokesper-
son Wendy Powell: "We really believe in the First Amendment , but in this
case, we had to recognize responsibility to the community."
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In August of 2004, the Kansas attorney general withholds more than 1,600
CDs from distribution to libraries, saying that they promote violent or illegal
activity. The CDs were part of more than 50,000 discs given to the state as
part of an anti-trust settlement with the recording industry and were to be
distributed to libraries. The CDs pulled by the attorney general's office
include OutKast , The Notorious BIG , Rage Against The Machine , Stone
Temple Pilots , Lou Reed , and Devo. "What he's doing is enforcing his
concept of decency on libraries around the state of Kansas," said the Kansas
ACLU's Dick Kurtenbach. "That's not his business."
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