There was an interesting news item a couple of weeks back about Dan McTeague, the Toronto Member of Parliament (MP) who wants to keep “bad boy” rapper 50 Cent (also known as “Fiddy”) out of Canada (Pedwell, 2005). As his reasoning, McTeague cites the fact that Fiddy has a criminal record. There is concern that Fiddy’s music, which allegedly promotes gunplay and misogyny, will have a negative influence on the minds of impressionable youth. McTeague and others worry that this influence could lead to an increase of gang-related violence and crime on the already-troubled streets of Toronto.
I can see the point of these pro-censorship critics. Our innocent youth really should be protected from messages that might send them all haywire and psycho. After all, this “see-no-evil” approach has worked so well in the past with respect to the likes of Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson. Who knows what might happen if we let our kids listen to this vile stuff? It would be like leaving a seventeen-year-old virgin in a locked room with the demented evil brother of Reveen the Hypnotist. One minute, your teenage son or daughter is gluing stamps in an album or carving cedar bird feeders. Then they hear that 50 Cent is coming to town, and the next thing you know, they’re threatening to “put a cap in yo’ ass,” or submitting employment applications to the U.S. Postal Service. And it’s not as though they’ve been exposed to tens of thousands of violent messages by means of t.v. shows, newscasts, Hollywood films, video games, and hockey broadcasts already by the time they’re six years old.
Please don’t misunderstand my sarcasm. I’m all for the sort of arbitrary censorship that McTeague is calling for. I just think that the politician is fighting the right battle for the wrong reasons. By all means, let’s keep Fiddy out of the country, but let’s do it because he, along with most mainstream rappers, creates mediocre crap filled with secondhand beats and self-aggrandizing clichés. I say, extend the ban to include the likes of Snoop Dogg and Kanye West, too. Hell, just about every rapper, in fact, except the very few (like De La Soul, Eminem, and Canada’s own Buck 65) who actually know what it means to create memorable and lasting music and words.
While we’re at it, we should also impose heavy penalties for radio stations that play Foreigner and Loverboy songs. And let’s form a parliamentary committee to study what can be done about Nickelback. Then, we would be making the streets, airways and concert halls safer for all of us.
Pedwell, T (2005, November 22). Liberal MP wants 50 Cent Banned. Canadian Press. Retrieved from http://www.canada.com/entertainment/story.html?id=2156e5ea-4fb8-45df-b8cd-08b567729e68