Cover image for Bleep! censoring rock and rap music
Bleep! censoring rock and rap music
Winfield, Betty Houchin, 1939-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
ix, 132 pages ; 25 cm.
General Note:
An outgrowth of a 1993 international conference on rock and rap music and the mass media, "On the Beat: Rock 'n' Rap, Mass Media and Society."
"Let me count the ways": censoring rock 'n' rap music / Betty Houchin Winfield -- From Fine romance to Good rockin', and beyond: Look what they've done to my song / Michael J. Budds -- Because of the children: decades of attempted controls of rock 'n' rap music / Betty Houchin Winfield -- Two perspectives on Ice-T: "Can't touch me": musical messages and incitement law / Sandra Davidson -- The politics of aesthetic response: cultural conservatism, the NEA, and Ice-T / David Slayden -- Stern stuff: here comes the FCC / Sandra Davidson -- Music lyrics: as censored as they wanna be / Jeffrey L.L. Stein -- "Let's spend the night together, " Uhhh, "Some time together, " Making rock acceptable: "The Ed Sullivan Show" / Stephen H. Wheeler -- Rolling Stone's response to attempted censorship of rock 'n' roll / Lindsey R. Fore -- Deconstructing the hip-hop hype: a criticial analysis of the New York Times' coverage of African-American youth culture / Patrick B. Hill.
Reading Level:
1630 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML3534 .B632 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Examining the various boundaries of American artistic tolerance, chapters address the societal and legal responses to rock and rap music. Artistic expression has historically clashed with mainstream views, resulting in apprehension acted upon internally and externally, especially when expression is aimed toward children or young adults. This work studies the mass media content and programming in network television, Rolling Stone magazine, and the New York Times reviews and spot news concerning rock and rap music. The National Endowment for the Arts, the FCC, and the music industry's internal responses to parents and adults are discussed as well. Inhibitions and censoring, it is argued, stem from adult concerns for a healthy functioning society and from anxiety about the impact of sexual explicitness and uncontrolled behavioral expression on adolescents. This work attempts to explain why societal intolerance has a pattern of limiting the lyrics and sounds of rock and rap music.

Uniquely combining both societal and legal viewpoints on censorship of America's popular music culture, these essays address issues of concern to various scholars including those studying mass media, censorship, and American popular culture. Legal appendices are included as useful references, such as the National Endowments for the Arts Obscenity and Rejections Sections.

Author Notes

BETTY HOUCHIN WINFIELD is a professor of journalism and an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

SANDRA DAVIDSON is an attorney and is currently a professor with the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Winfield and Davidson have brought together nine succinct essays about attempts to control rock and rap music in a democratic society. The contributors chart the culture's reaction to the effect of minority music on US society. They compare the modern (1950s-90s) reaction to rock and rap to the US mainstream reaction to jazz, blues, and country music from the 1920s into the 1950s. The common theme of the book is that censorship is an inappropriate response to musical expressions of an oppressed minority's point of view. The essays look at various attempts to censor rock and rap music and discuss current court decrees and relevant legislation. Exceptions are duly noted for broadcasting and obscenity. Societal changes and upheavals provide the background from which most of the censorship arises. The essays present the arguments of the censors, but rarely in a favorable light. Nonetheless, the historical overview on obscenity law and cases is the most accurate and cogent summary of the issue this reviewer has read. The book's careful documentation (e.g., an eight-page essay on the FCC's struggle with Howard Stern includes 91 footnotes) and selected bibliography will be an excellent resource for those beginning a study of this issue. R. E. Sutton; American University

Table of Contents

""Let Me Count the Ways"": Censoring Rock and Rap MusicBetty Houchin
Winfield From A Fine Romance to Good Rockin' - and Beyond: Look What They've Done to My Song, MaMichael J. Budds
Because of the Children: Decades of Attempted Controls of Rock and Rap MusicBetty Houchin
Winfield Two Perspectives on Ice-T: ""Can't Touch Me"": Musical Messages and Incitement LawSandra Davidson
The Politics of Aesthetic Response: Cultural Conservatism, the NEA and Ice-TDavid Slayden
Stern Stuff: Here Comes the