Editorial: Why Is There Still Album Censorship At Walmart, Even Decades Later?

For many of you who don’t know, I work at Walmart. Though I would love to make money writing, I just haven’t really been able to do that yet and I’ll explain why in a future article. I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend amongst internet publications and throughout the blogosphere. That being said, let us get down to brass tacks.

Walmart, as you know, was founded right here in my home state of Arkansas. It has grown into a massive conglomerate over the years and is America’s number one retail outlet, despite competitors like Target and Best Buy. But what is Walmart doing that these other retailers are not? It seems to go all of the way back to Tipper Gore, The Clinton presidency and the Satanic Panic. Walmart is still at heart, a very Christian-based organization. They still couldn’t sell Deathgasm there under the same title, which was changed to Heavy Metal Apocalypse. Yet, the heavily advertised Deadpool is loaded to the brim with sexual innuendo, none of which is even prominently featured in Deathgasm. Despite the film’s R-Rating, it is also easy to track down uncensored in several formats. Though this isn’t an attack on Deadpool, as I love the wise cracking merc with a mouth just as much as many other comic fans. I went to see the sequel on opening night. It just boggles my mind, as to why films (which are placed in a lower section of the shelves, where children can easily reach them if they wanted to) that have content far worse than any curse word on these albums are sold without restraint in most cases. We have a small selection of unrated B-movies and indie movies, many of which are completely no-holds-barred in terms of content. As long as the title is inoffensive, the film can be sold.

Problem is, Christian metal act Stryper released an album called God Damn Evil which seems a bit peculiar, even though I get the sentiment behind it. The record itself is quite good and even though the title track does feature the words “God,” “damn” and “evil,” it was just too much for them to release as normal within their set of religious bands. Though I happened to see a (to my dismay) limited edition release version of Tool‘s 10,000 Days there, which I thought was a product of still being asleep and dreaming. Yes, the original version I could understand, but I purchased that special limited edition with the built-in 3D specs during the album release of 2006. How did it get there? That being said, Tool are far from a Christian act (drummer Danny Carey is a thelemist, respectively). Maiden has Christian members, Sabbath has Christian members, Metallica has (arguably) Christian members, but Tool and Five Finger Death Punch (Brian Moody is far from religious) are definitely being sold there regardless of religious differences. I’ve also bought Opeth in the past and spotted Fear Factory‘s Mechanize in another store that I head worked in prior to this one. I guess it depends on where you live as to what kind of albums they will sell. That being said, even those albums were edited. Kid Rock‘s albums get edited, Pantera‘s albums get edited, several rappers get their words bleeped out, one of which is part of that culture and used profusely in some tracks. I think I’d probably be offended to have something like that removed in hip hop music as a hip hop buyer.

Regardless of all that, the CD’s don’t really sell all that well either. Before the remodel, our store had about five or six sections of CD’s. The section took up almost and entire wall. Now, it just has one end cap and one single section. The price? A drastically lowered CD count. It is true that physical music is a dying art form, and I’m sure that even the competitors who uncensor their music are probably having a tough time moving as much as product as they would have over a decade ago. Times are changing, almost everyone has a phone and almost everyone is using an app to stream music or to listen to podcasts (me – I’m an addict). It is very likely that in the next three to four years, we might not even see CD’s for sale at Walmart or any major retail location. They just unveiled a new wall in the movie section with nothing but digital film cards. Physical media are dying a pretty hard death, and all that will be left to buy it will be collectors and those in second and third-world countries who have not yet adapted to digital technology. One reason that I buy certain media in Malaysia, is because they still use the DVD format and the presentation looks great on my shelf.

We’re going to see an end to all of this very soon. Almost everything that can be digitized will eventually only be available in a digital format, and this is going to happen much sooner than we think. So in the end, it doesn’t really matter if Walmart sold uncensored music tomorrow, because they probably won’t be selling music for very long anyway. Unless that also goes to the digital card format that I foresaw quite a while back. Hopefully though, they will not sell censored digital albums, because that sounds like one hell of a hassle. I personally think that all forms of censorship in media should be outright abolished, and art should never have been censored in the first place. If your children cannot experience the piece uncensored, than it should be up to the parents as to the age in which they are able to have this experience. As a boy, there were many things that I could not experience in the realm of media until I was older, and now I’ve been there and done that. These things were definitely worth waiting for. I am quite certain that immature youths can wait as well.

Additionally, such things may be traumatic to developing minds, so it may be best for these young minds to reach the age of maturation where they can experience these pieces without a lasting effect. The internet however, is disrupting that fragile period of development by showing young minds such displays of madness that I can completely understand why society has been molded into its current state and why Tide-Pod challenges and condom snorting became a thing among our youngest generation. I really can’t say as to what kind of outcome awaits for Generation Z, but I truly hope that they won’t have to worry about censored music, movies, games, books and other kinds of entertainment media – but perhaps I’m just being just a tad too optimistic.

What do you think? Let me know with your comments. I enjoy reading your thoughts and usually have some kind of answer in reply. As always, you are not inclined to agree with what I post. Though I would implore you to make a strong statement as to why any of my points are invalid. This is not an invitation to argue however, as I am not here for that.

Next time, I’ll be discussing the further declining state of online journalism and why the money just isn’t there. Stay tuned!

– The Grim Lord

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