Tuesday, November 05, 2002

MAKES HILARY ROSEN LOOK LIKE MARILYN MANSON: Killing a few idle moments dancing about on the RIAA website again, I've discovered A Parent's View. In a rambling piece of nonesense, John A Yahner relates how in the 60's, he played the Woodstock album at a dinner. It had sweary words on it. His parents were not amused. Now, he has kids of his own. One of his kids wanted to buy Eminem. Apparently, this guy needed to have what the big label screeching "Parental Advisory - Explicit Lyrics" actually meant to him, but then the helpful record store staff suggested similar albums that his kid might enjoy without hearing a whole heap of language. (This whole story, from Country Joe to little Kyle, is clearly made up, by the way, but that isn't the point.) Yahner states that "So who’s to decide what music is acceptable? In our house, with our kids, my wife and I. We are the censors; we set the limits. That’s our job. It is not the government’s job." But hang about a minute, in your little tale of shopping you say that you tell little Kyle that he can have any CD apart from the ones with Parental Advisory labels on them - so you're actually not making the decision at all, you're passing the buck to a third party, aren't you?
"Whatever we listen to, I don’t want the government telling me we can’t hear Miles Davis’s Bitch’s Brew because there’s a nasty word in the title." See? The whole labelling thing isn't some sort of sneaky back-door censorship program, but its a way of protecting free speech. Never mind that the vast majority of PA stickers wind up on albums by black artists, and that some of the big chains in the US won't touch an album with a label on it at all - it's guaranteeing your freedom. Wouldn't you rather have a self-selecting bunch of music industry "experts" censor your music for you rather than have the government do it?

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