Strong feelings about censoring misogyny in music

Regarding the Aug. 8 article "Misogyny – set to music – may alter teen behavior": This otherwise insightful and enlightening article includes the statement, "Still, Dr. [Michael] Rich and others agree that censorship – whether at home or on a social level – is a losing game. Rather than ban music, they say, parents should be aware of what their kids are listening to and willing to have conversations that put it in context."

I think "Dr. Rich and others" are plain wrong. We are living in a hyperbusy society where parents – and in many households, just one parent – do not have the time to spend with their children and monitor every one of their moves. Busy, tired, stressed, overworked parents, facing a tsunami of crude popular culture that is the norm just give in helplessly. If all my daughter's friends are listening, then it can't be that bad, can it? And so, unbelievably misogynistic and crude songs are unleashed on children.

And here we have ivory-tower academics wringing their hands about the propriety of censorship. We are not talking about choices made by reasoned, experienced adults, but susceptible, innocent children who are being shaped by the worst rap music.
Satya Prabhakar
Austin, Texas

Regarding the Aug. 8 article on music's effect on teens: Why shouldn't a civilized nation stand up and censor lewd lyrics in music that our youth enjoy on public airwaves, TV, and in video games and movies?

There should be limits to violence shrouded in public entertainment, just as we have laws for the protection and security of the public in other facets of our daily lives. Even the ancient Greeks recognized this danger as found in their Doctrine of Ethos, which stated that music has an effect on the person who hears it.

Couple that with the raw visuals that go with this music and it doesn't take a genius to figure out what has been influencing a generation of our youth and creating the problems and violence we are dealing with today all over this country.
Judy Smith
Fort Worth, Texas

Regarding the Aug. 8 article on music's effect on teens: I was disappointed when I ran across this story. Correlation (what the study's authors showed) is not causation; the study does not and cannot prove that listening to this music causes early sexual activity. Also, the article presents a false dichotomy; perhaps there is an underlying factor that predisposes teens to listen to the music and to become sexually active earlier. Changing music listening habits wouldn't affect this factor!

Thank you for the article. It's still an interesting study, but it needs to be presented correctly to do it justice.
Eric Johnson

Environment is a war casualty

Regarding the Aug. 9 article, "In Mideast war, stakes keep rising": I have appreciated the Monitor's wide-ranging coverage of the escalating crisis in Lebanon. However, I have seen no mention of what is being described as the worst environmental disaster ever to hit the region. Following an Israeli attack on a power station last month, 15,000 tons of oil spilled into the Mediterranean Sea, endangering the environment as well as the health and livelihood of citizens in an area that continues to expand as the spill goes untreated and fires continue to burn. I hope you will give this disaster the coverage required to bring about international pressure for immediate remedial action.
Susan Wilson
Eureka, Calif.

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