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° Rubrique About The World

ABOUT The World ...  

Par Claude Chastagner, professeur d'anglais à l'Université Paul Valéry à Montpellier.

  The Parent's Music Resource Center from information to censorship. 

Site Philagora, tous droits réservés ©



To make sure the decision would be enforced, cashiers were compelled to enter the customer's ID and their own into a computer system for each purchase. Those policies were very often adopted under direct pressure from mall developers whose leases frequently stipulate that no obscene material can be sold within the malls. 

The need to maintain good relations with local authorities has also to be taken into consideration. Thus the owner and operator of two Hoguild Records stores in San Antonio declared that his official line, when interviewed by local papers, was to say he did not carry any of the labeled albums as he expected police forces to keep on helping him in case of a burglary.

Though admittedly the PMRC did not officially endorse these practises, it nevertheless stated in its Spring/Summer 1991 Newsletter that it supported 'the individual policies of retailers relating to "18-to-purchase"' (p.2).


As a consequence, an increasing number of record companies became extremely wary in their artistic choices and tried to reduce to a minimum the production of records which would logically have had to carry the advisory tag. Alternatively, they tried to persuade artists on their roster to sanitize their lyrics and render them more acceptable commercially, using as standards records that had already passed the test of the censors. 

The only exceptions were for chart-toppers like Prince or independent record companies, in rap mostly, for whom the advisory label may have served as a kind of advertisement, mostly in an ironic or sarcastic tone. But this remained exceptional (for instance 'Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics' by George Carlin, on Eardrum / Atlantic or "Parental Advisory: Explicit Rap", on Priority Records).

All things considered, then, labeling can hardly be considered as anything but censorship, although an elegant one, disguised as consumer information. And as Charles Krauthammer wrote, 'Who's against consumer information?' (1985, p. A27) The PMRC's insistance on labeling triggered unofficial though effective forms of censorship, from refusing to sell to refusing to record or produce artists whose lyrics were considered scandalous or licentious, whatever their artistic or social value.

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° Rubrique About The World