Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Decay of the Eco-Friendly Home"

This week, Al and Tipper Gore announced the mutual disintegration of their marriage. For some reason, most likely because such a thing hasn't heard of such a thing since Jerry and Elaine broke up (Seinfeld), people just aren't buying it and have taken to mocking Al Gore. While Al Gore has certainly been dull in the past, something he's attempted to fix by becoming a stand up comedian of sorts (Futurama) and admittedly he has said some pretty stupid things, I for one am doubtful Al's love for the environment has anything to do with the divorce. That being said, I think Al's had his time fair share of roasting this past decade so I think I'll shift some heat over to Tipper.

In 1985 Tipper along with Susan Baker setup a group called Parents Music Resource Center. According to Baker, she was inspired to start the group when her seven year old daughter was caught singing singing some Madonna. While Tipper jumped on board when she came into contact with Prince's Darling Nikki. Gore's reaction to this song and ones like it: ""The images frightened my children, they frightened me! I am frightened! Way frightened! The graphic sex and the violence were too much for us to handle." (according to an unsourced Wikipedia entry). According to Gore and the rest of the PMRC the decline of the "nuclear family" and the increase of vulgarity in Rock/Hip-hop were directly correlated. They added that families were "haven[s] of moral stability" designed to shelter children from the harsh realities of world they lived in. Yet somehow the power of music proved to powerful for families and it had managed to begin "infecting the youth of the world with messages they cannot handle".

Upon hearing this, artist such as John Denver, Dee Snyder (of Twisted Sister), Frank Zappa all testified on behalf of musicians, while Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Joey Ramone assisted from the sidelines. Zappa lead the pack stating "the PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretation and enforcement problems inherent in the proposal's design." And soon after stated he believed that this was all a cover-up for a new blank-tape tax and that "a couple of blowjobs here and there and Bingo! — you get a [bogus] hearing. Synder added that it wasn't he who was perverted, but in fact the Senate, as songs they claimed to be about sadomasochism and rape (Under The Blade) was acctually about his fear of an upcoming surgery. More importantly Synder stated "The full responsibility for defending my children falls on the shoulders of my wife and I, because there is no one else capable of making these judgments for us".
Gore and company, but mainly Senator Paula Hawkins jumped on this stating that"Much has changed since Elvis' seemingly innocent times" (Besides being the King of Rock, Eminem also dubbed Elvis one of the "First Kings of Controversy" in his song Without Me) and they weren't trying to censor anyone, but rather "take the element of surprise out of buying an album" and thus only assist parents. A nice yet non-evasive thought. However it is totally untrue, as they had the additional goal of rewriting contracts of profane artists, setting industry standards which could not be exceeded under any circumstances, and pressure stores and stations to prohibit the sales of objectionable material. Stores such as Wal-mart readily agreed. Furthermore, when the PMRC finally settled on a Parental Advisory sticker, it wasn't just applied to objectionable material. No, instead Gore applied it to political opponents in order to hurt sales. Most notably she slapped the sticker Frank Zappa's Jazz From Hell, a record that had no lyrics whatsoever and thus no reason to be considered objectionable. Luckily John Denver's famous in trial speech, "That which is denied becomes that which is most desired, and that which is hidden becomes that which is most interesting" proved true, as not only did Jazz From Hell win a Grammy but other far less appealing albums managed to become best sellers in part due to the sticker.

Although I personally do not find it immoral or wrong to separate from someone, and would in fact consider it immoral to stay with someone you no longer have feelings for, some would disagree. The point is that there is no set standard for morality on most issues and thus it is impossible to regulate. But for a person to decry Rock and Hip-hop as destroyers of the modern family and more generally the moral fabric of America yet at the same time being unable to maintain her own familial relationships is utter hypocrisy. I would love Tipper to respond to this statement, I would imagine she would embarrassingly attempt to tell me that the nature of her work kept her in constant contact with unsavory music and as a result, hero moral fiber slowly broke down over the years resulting in the eventual disintegration of her marriage. I however, agree with what Ice-T had to say in his song Freedom Of Speech

If you're too busy or to easily easily offended here are the highlights of why Ice-T thinks Tipper got divorced and why he thinks the PMRC is a failure in general.

"Yo Tip, what`s the matter? You ain`t gettin` no dick?
You`re bitchin` about rock`n`roll, that`s censorship, dumb bitch
The Constitution says we all got a right to speak
Say what we want Tip, your argument is weak
Censor records, TV, school books too
And who decides what`s right to hear? You?
Hey PMRC, you stupid fuckin` assholes
The sticker on the record is what makes `em sell gold
Can`t you see, you alcoholic idiots
The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get
Yo, you gotta be high to believe that
You`re gonna change the world by a sticker on a record sleeve"

Although at the beginning I said I felt Al had taken enough criticism from the general public, I'm going to conclude with a great shot at Al's massive ego I heard yesterday.
If Tipper gets half the internet in the divorce, who gets facebook and who gets twitter?

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