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Rock News: Kmart Bans another CD
"Attention Kmart shoppers there is a Blue Light Special in our censored  music department.  You can't think for yourself so we have asked some morons in our corporate office to decide what you should and shouldn't listen to."

In yet another move to make music shoppers look elsewhere for CD's, Kmart has taken offense of the cover art of Ministry's new album, " Dark Side of the Spoon ". The retail chain has decided not to stock the album which was released last week.  Walmart has surprisingly not followed in Kmart's footsteps at least publicly. They have yet to stock the album, but according to the company, they plan to in the future.

Ok, some people may find the CD cover offensive.  One can understand why they wouldn't want to have the artwork on a floor display, but why refuse to carry the album al together? Rock Censorship has a long history, from Elvis's pelvis, to Blackie Lawless sporting a larger saw blade sticking out from his codpiece. Even the christian rockers Stryper were victims of rock censorship when some people found the artwork depicting the band sending Satan down from the clouds into Hell, on their album "To Hell With the Devil", offensive. Not to mention, Poison's "Open up and Say ahh" artwork which was quickly changed. Seems Gene Simmons can stick his tongue out all he want's on got Milk ads, but the character on the Poison cover together with the album title was simply to much for some people. 

This kind of treatment of Rock is not new by any means, some people like to waste their energy deciding what other people should do and think. It goes back to the Dark Ages when the Church only let the Bible be written in Latin instead of the peoples language. The Church thought it better that the Church decides what people should know from the scriptures.  Was it wrong to keep the Word of God from the Believers? You decide. Then decide if some retail store should rob you of your right to purchase any music you want? If you believe in the scriptures, then isn't free will one of the greatest gifts man received from God? Ok if you agree then the solution is real easy, if you do not agree with the policies of Kmart shop elsewhere. Martin Luther didn't like the policies of the Catholic Church so he left it.  Is society worst off for it? Some will say this analogy is ludicrous, comparing religion to music censorship. It is not, because at the core this is a religious issue. Doesn't religion tell us right from wrong? Don't our morals come from the Judeo-Christian beliefs? So are we all now expected to be practitioners of the Kmart religion?

Kmart has every right to decide which products they carry. They should exercise those rights. We wouldn't want them to stock items they could not sell. But where Kmart crossed the line is in publicly making the moral judgement that the artwork offensive. They should have simply said "We do not think that this is an album the average Kmart customer will buy." Which is fine. If Kmart does not want that kind of music in their stores, then it is logical to conclude they do not want the kind of customers who would listen to that music shopping their either. Spend your hard earned cash elsewhere. 

Rock n Roll has always been about rebellion, the Beatles in the Mop tops, the Rolling Stones satanic lyrics, Ozzy Osbourne biting the heads off of things and lifting his leg to the Alamo. Maybe Kmart knows something we don't? Maybe if you want music that is true to itself and not some contrived garbage created in record company board rooms by suits and record producers, you shouldn't shop at Kmart.  It's not like they carry the latest fashions.  Record companies love these large retail stores because they provide a large market of customers. Many people go in for some God awful clothing item and buy a CD on impulse. So when a Retailer decides to ban a record, it is the Band and the customer that get the short end of the stick . I say the retailer should lose the customer. By the way, ask the clerk if the shampoo was tested on animals the next time you are Kmart. Then go over and see how many rap albums they carry.  The bottom line these people are in business to sell, not to push selective morals.  The proper place for that is in the home and in the church. 

In the age where we can have a sex scandal in the White House and no one seems to care (If you believe the polls on CNN), and homosexuality glorified on prime time TV with the now infamous coming out episode of Ellen, it is a mystery that anyone would find a simple album cover offensive. 

On the other hand, maybe Ministry is on to something. The record is for their fans, and not retail executives. So this ban may be a blessing in disguise, it seems if this band is rejected as unacceptable by the suits at Kmart, Ministry is living up to Rock n Roll's history, keeping the rebellious nature of rock alive, in an age of bubble gum pop and corporate rock. 

The band refuses to change the artwork. To that end they are doing the public a service, God knows the day bands like Ministry are accepted by the Ozzie and Harriot crowd, that day rock will indeed be dead. 

"if it is too loud, you are too old!"  - Gene Simmons

"Judge not, that ye be not judged" Matt. 7:1

Keavin Wiggins Managing Editor



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