Green Day Refuses to Bow to Wal-Mart Censorship


Yet another reason I refuse to step foot in a Wal-Mart. It’s policy of demanding that CDs that might otherwise require a parental warning sticker be edited or cleaned up for sale in their stores. Wal-Mart is the 800 pound gorilla of retailing and I suppose if they could outsource music and video production to third-world sweat shops like the rest of their goods – they would. However, since this seems to be one of the last areas of American commerce they can’t outsource, they merely settle for censorship. Green Day claims the bits weren’t even that bad, but I suppose it’s totally up to Wal-Mart to decide what creative content their buyers should have access to.

It’s an old argument. If buyers don’t like the cleaned up version they can go down to another record store to buy the real thing. They apparently have, since even without Wal-Mart, Green Day’s newest “21-st Century Breakdown” is now the most popular CD in the country. However, just consider the power that is Wal-Mart. In many small communities where Wal-Mart has closed any and all competitors, they may actually be the only source for CDs. The mom-and-pop that appreciates creativity and artist’s rights, has probably long gone out of business.

Plus think of the chilling effect on the music industry, if faced with the expensive task of creating two versions of a CD, one that the artist wants and one that can sell at Wal-Mart; how many record execs will just push for the one version that can sell at Wal-Mart? In some ways it’s irrelevant, most music fans will download the music right to their players. However, it’s another troubling aspect of what we’ve allowed Wal-Mart to become in this country.

If you’re all about “guaranteed lowest prices” above any and all other considerations – then by all means continue to shop at Wal-Mart. If you care about small businesses, competition, free markets, American jobs, living wage jobs, quality products, and in this case artistic expression — please take a cue from Green Day and tell Wal-Mart where they can stick it.

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3 Responses to Green Day Refuses to Bow to Wal-Mart Censorship

  1. rdsmith says:

    Apparently you don’t care about free markets yourself. Wal-Mart is NOT the government. They are a business operating in a free society. So is Green Day. Each business is free to make the choices they want, without any interference from anyone. They are also free to reap the consequences from those business decisions.

    Problem with calling something a old argument is that the old argument is still valid.

    Maybe I’ve missed something, but in this context, where Green Day is a commercial enterprise choosing to develop and market whatever musical product they desire, their conceit (protesting another businesses right to operate as they so choose) is a little hard to digest.

    And finally your last paragraph is a classic bait and switch tactic; Green Day’s gripe against Wal-Mat (their contempt, really) has absolutely nothing to do with American jobs, living way (don’t you mean wages?), quality products, and even artistic expression.

    Get pissed-off if things don’t go your way. In your world freedom only exists if you get your way. That’s not freedom that’s fascism

  2. admin says:

    Wal-Mart’s unethical and often illegal business practices are well documented. Wal-Mart operates with gross advantages that in any other industry would be regulated as a monopoly. They routinely violate labor and other laws. They heavy-hand local governments into concessions, often to the detriment of the community. Their behavior is often heavy handed and unethical.

    I’m not saying Wal-Mart doesn’t have the right to be in business or conduct business how they see fit – they should realize though that their actions have consequences – that a growing number of consumers, see their business practices, what they done to countless American companies and what they’ve done to the work force in this country as downright criminal.

    Yes they do have the right to choose what they sell; however, when they exert undue influence over a creative medium, whether it’s CDs, books, magazines, to the point where an entire national is forced to be dumbed down to meet their standards – then yes that’s a problem.

    Green Day didn’t “protest” they just refused to bow to the pressure from Wal-Mart, they were exercising their free market rights as well. The only call to action I was making here to for people to see the damage Wal-Marts done to this country – and not support them with their patronage.

  3. I haven’t shopped in a Wal-Mart in years and have no plans to do so. Beyond the censorship issue, as Cleo has stated, Wal-Mart’s unethical and illegal business practices are widely know. Perhaps you should check out the documentary, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of LIving, which documents just what the company has done to small towns, small businesses and how it treats workers in its factories and employees. They won’t get a single cent of my money. Ever.

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