PRO: Music evoking sex, violence is 'toxic' and has no place on air
The Federal Communications Commission needs to step up to protect America's youth in a society where parents now, more than ever, can't police their activity 24/7.
That's one of the unwavering convictions held by Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis at the American Family Association, a Mississippi-based nonprofit that crusades in Washington, D.C., for the restoration of faith.
"Lyrics in a lot of these songs are toxic to our culture and to our values," said Fischer, who believes the First Amendment was designed to protect only political speech, not profanity, vulgarity and pornography. "They ought to be as regulated as arsenic."
And, while there's been no concrete evidence to suggest that those responsible for the shootings in Newtown, Conn., or Aurora, Colo., were influenced by the media they consumed, he said its negativity could produce such actions, a belief some in the Crossroads share in part.
Specifically, Fischer pointed to how advertisements can affect consumers purchasing habits.
"They wouldn't pay good money if it didn't," he said.
Mary Schroeder was thumbing through sheet music last week at Collins Music Center on North Navarro Street when she paused to consider the question.
The mother of five and longtime employee of the store agreed with a Victoria radio station's decision to temporarily take Ke$ha off the air.
"There's enough crazy in the world. We don't need to make our children crazy, too," she said.
She recalled a simpler time and said she often has frank discussions with her children about the ramifications of listening to violent lyrics.
"Things that are PG now were X when I was growing up," Schroeder said.
Temple Northup, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Houston, said teens are more impressionable.
"You see pretty dramatic differences based on age, so generally speaking, the older you are, the better defined your character, good or bad, is," Northup said of the time someone reaches 30.
He issued a questionnaire to his own students, the youngest of whom are 18, asking about their media use growing up. He said the results showed that people who viewed porn at an early age now had a sexually permissive attitude.
"But it's important to note that that's just one piece of the puzzle," Northup said.
He said people can act aggressively, whatever your definition of the word, because of other variables, such as where they grew up, their mental state and whether their parent or guardian was active in their life.
Joe Friar, 95.1 KVIC morning show host, meanwhile, said that, if B.O.B's song "Airplanes" featuring Hayley Williams had debuted around the time of 9/11, he would've pulled the song just like he did with Ke$ha.
Friar said it would be the same story for other controversial songs, such as Ke$ha's "Tik Tok," where the pop star croons about brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels.
"Young kids don't even know what that means," he said, chuckling. "If they're old enough to know what that means, they know it's just a silly lyric. That's kind of different. Now, if someone got killed by brushing their teeth with a bottle of Jack, we'd probably have to stop playing that song for a small amount of time."
Ke$ha's "Die Young" song is running on medium rotation at KVIC, which means it's played once every four to five hours.
Caleb Martinez, a youth minister at Our Lady of Sorrows, said he used to cringe whenever his college roommate blasted Marilyn Manson, an artist he said had next to no talent mostly because he was speaking rather than singing.
He also said children can catch on to what's bleeped out of a song pretty quickly.
"I don't think that's censorship because even though they don't say it, even though it can't be heard, it's still implied," he said.
Lynda Bradley, 66, of Victoria, said she wishes she could just cover her 9-year-old grandson's ears sometimes.
"No. 1, you can't understand what any of them are saying," she said while eating at Ramsey's. "No. 2, what little you can understand is just bad news. ... There's too much positive stuff out there to listen to and do to mess with that."