"Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are to be cut or stretched?" Thomas Jefferson said this over 200 years ago. I think that this statement still holds true in todays world. There has been a lot of controversy in the music business on whether or not to ban certain artist songs or albums altogether. Rap group 2 Live Crew has undergone a lot of scrutiny over their album "As Nasty as They Wanna be." Or how about their song that got activist attention, entitled "Me so horny." which is a take off of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman". A federal district judge in south Florida ruled that the lyrics were obscene and ordered the album to be taken out of stores. This led to the arrest of two band members after a performance in an adult only club. Two days earlier a local music storeowner was arrested for refusing to remove the album from the shelf.
I believe that this was a violation of the groups' first amendment rights. The record was banned for being obscene. It has the Parents Music Resource Centers (PMRC) Parental Advisory label warning of obscene lyrics in plain view on the cover of the album. The group responsible was none other than the PMRC itself. Tipper Gore founder and president of the organization said the lyrics were quote on quote "Naughty, filthy vulgar, awful, loathsome, odious, vile and disgusting…" I have to agree with her the lyrics on the album are putrid and disgusting but, if I don't like it I have two options one is to buy and listen to it relentlessly, or I can not buy it and when it comes on the radio I can change the station. The lyrics on the album describe in detail anal and oral sex. Women are treated as sexual toys. As they are in the song "Dirty Nursery Rhymes" "…. Mamma bear and Pappa bear were out for a walk when Mamma bear asked Pappa bear could he eat her porridge pappa bear said shit bitch, you must think I am sick just get down here and suck this badass dick…" The band was not distributing the music to children when the arrest occurred they were performing in an adults only club. Jack Thompson was the prosecutor in this case, he has defended a number of rape and abuse in the past has convinced himself that dirty lyrics do hurt someone, it might fall into the hands of children. He wants "dirty music" to be banned because it glorifies the brutalization of women. Thompson has the right to call it sexist. But if that makes the album obscene well then there would be a lot of television shows movies and videos that would be banned as well, regardless of the artistic merit.
Other artists have endured the wrath of Tipper Gore and her "groupies. Political rockers Rage Against the Machine who rally for the rights of the innocent proven guilty such as convicted cop killer Mumia, the journalist who in the early nineties was convicted of killing a police officer. The groups' song "No Shelter" was banned because the lyrics were a threat to the political standing of some of our elected officials. Although no names were mentioned it was still banned for a short time. Now radio stations have been playing it. The song talks about how other counties "Bury the past, rob us blind, view the world from American eyes." This is one of my favorite songs! A lot of groups have been banned due to their drug references. Peter, Paul and Mary' s hit "Puff the Magic Dragon" which the BBC thought was talking about drug abuse. Some songs have been banned because of the sheer violence in the lyrics. Ice T's Cop Killer. Bob Dole gave a speech about violence in music and movies. One day after that speech a Dole aide admitted that the senator had not seen nor heard most of the content in question.
I believe that what Dole and Gore are doing to Americana is a nineties form of McCarthyism. He is going around accusing everyone of being obscene and he has no first hand proof! The hardships endured by musicians today are from the "boomers" who were