-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Sat, 16 Sep 2000 14:58:51 -0700


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-gundam@1u.aeug.org [mailto:owner-gundam@1u.aeug.org]On
> Behalf Of Richard Holman
> Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2000 09:51
> To: gundam@aeug.org
> Subject: RE: [gundam] (Slightly-0T)Government crackdown on violent
> entertainment
>
> > Ah, but you forget that this particular Presidential candidate is married to
> > Tipper Gore, who became famous long before her husband became Vice
President for
> > her nationwide media campaign to ban explicit song lyrics.
>
> Not exactly accurate, the goal was not to BAN explicit lyrics, whch would
> have required the repeal of the first amendment. It was to establish a
> rating system similar to movies, so parents would have an idea of the level
> of maturity expected of the target audience. Thus, it would help parents who
> didn't want a six year old to have Eminem, but a seventeen year old might be
> more suited.

In 1985, Tipper Gore and Susan Baker formed the Parents Music Resource Center
and, along with a number of other Senator's wive, conducted a series of informal
hearings about violent and sexually explicit song lyrics whose main purpose was
to build support for proposed legislation to restrict the sale of said material
to minors. The specific target was the up and coming rap music, but the PMRC
and Senator's Wives Club cast a wide net. These hearings, of course, were not
conducted by lawmakers, and could not influence actual policy, but the Senate
wives did have the right to make suggestions, and, at their request (and largely
because of the publicity the hearings generated), the record industry agreed to
a voluntary system of labeling offensive materials with what came to be known as
"Tipper Stickers"—PARENTAL ADVISORY Explicit Content or Must Be 18 To Buy.

On 19 September 1985, Frank Zappa appeared before one of Tipper Gore's
Congressional hearings on explicit lyrics in popular music. "If the goal here
is total verbal/moral safety, there is only one way to achieve it: watch no TV,
read no books, see no movies, listen to only instrumental music or buy no music
at all." (Ironically, one of Zappa's instrumental albums was later stickered by
a retail chain with a warning against explicit lyrics, based solely on the fact
that it was a Zappa album.) Zappa further ridiculed Gore's assertion that
certain types of music could promote deviant behavior saying, "I wrote a song
about dental floss but did anyone's teeth get cleaner?"

> The industry VOLUNTARILY placed the Explicit Lyrics tags on the albums, and
> made radio edits available to big chain stores, thus ending the concern.

Voluntarily, perhaps, but under duress, like the "Hayes Office" in Hollywood
half a century before. That gave way to the current movie rating system, but
all three were forms of self regulation intended to forestall outright
censorship. And, like the movie rating system, the music labels are woefully
inadequate and seldom enforced. I object to them in principle, because they
warn me about what someone else thinks might offend me while giving me no
warning whatsoever about things that actually do.

Now, in theory, there is nothing wrong with warning people that something that
they are going to purchase might offend them; however, the record labels
advocated by the PMRC cover only sex, violence, profanity, and drug use—just a
very small percentage of things that people might find offensive. If we are
ever to achieve the benefits now being claimed by advocates of "Parental
Advisory" labels, we must get down to work and label everything that parents
might not want their children to be exposed to. Why should parents opposed to
sex and violence be the only ones eligible for assistance? What about parents
who don't want their children exposed to racism, war, or commercial greed. Why
should a song about using drugs be forced to carry a label while a song that
celebrates mindless, superficial, conspicuous consumption carry no warning at
all? What we would very possibly find if we went through a record store is that
everything in it had the potential to offend someone, and many popular CDs might
be offensive to nine or ten different groups at once. If we want to "give
parents the tools they need to monitor their children's entertainment," we must,
in good conscience, label everything to which anyone might not want a child to
listen.

And if we aren't going to label everything, then we shouldn't label anything.

> The music issue is dead, and is not an issue anymore. The new stink, which I
> marginally disapprove of is targeting audiences too young for certain items.

The music issue isn't dead, just sleeping. Sooner or later, it'll be revisited
as part of one political campaign or another. Now it happens that I agree, in
principle, that young children shouldn't be fair game for advertisers,
especially when they're promoting products that are nominally for adults. I'd
like to see film makers stop adding scenes to force the rating up to PG and
beyond, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that a G rating means limited box
office.

> I agree that I don't want my six year old nephew to see appealing ads for
> Eminiem during Pokeman. But I don't care if my older nephew sees ads for
> resident evil in EGM.

Funny you should mention Pokémon, because I consider that one of the worst
offenders in the entire "targeted at kids" milieu. Computer games, collectible
card games, Tv series, movies, toys, lunch boxes, clothes, all to the tune of
"Gotta catch 'em all!" And 150 Pokémon weren't enough, now they're bringing
over 100 more? OK, merchandizing is where the money is, but what happened to
the supposed regulation against advertising something within the body of a TV
show that's essentially an advertisement in and of itself?

-Z-

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