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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. 

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Behind the mask

What were the real goals of the PMRC's founders? Should we question their sincerity? Are they simply hypocrites? Can we believe their alibi? Were they really only trying to protect and inform? Who were their real targets?
For one thing, one has to stress their links with religious organisations, though they repeatedly denied them. I have already mentioned the support the PMRC received at the outset from various churches. Some went further; Parental Guidance or Christ Disciples, among others, regularly carried information related to the PMRC in their brochures, and encouraged their members to support it financially. The PMRC even asked Bob DeMoss, from fundamentalist organisation Focus on the Family, to produce their promotional video Rising to the Challenge. It is also striking that among the legislators who promoted the censorship bills, several (Rep. Jean Dixon from Missouri for instance) had long been supporting causes (the anti-abortion movement or the right to teach Creation Science) that were on the agenda of the Religious Right. For religious motives are difficult to disentangle from political intentions. This appeared extremely clearly in Jerry Falwell's book Listen, America!. 

One can find in it the thesis, taken up by the leaders of the PMRC, that the liberals are responsible for the loosening of moral standards and that they are on the same footing as pornographers '[The liberals] are not going to call our nation back to righteousness and neither are the pornographers and smut peddlers and those who are corrupting our youth' (1980, p.21). For Falwell, the deterioration of the country's morality was a deliberate action by the liberals and part of the communist plot aiming at unsettling America. As a result, writes Yves Lemeunier, 'morality has become the instrument of a kind of political racism in whose name part of the population is irretrievably condemned' (1988, p.115). Certainly, the PMRC did not go so far but its links with fundamentalist groups cast suspicion on its professed political neutrality. All the more so as Jerry Falwell and President Reagan officially endorsed its action.

Deeper motives for the PMRC's action are suggested by the fact that its most frequent targets were heavy-metal and rap music, two genres traditionally (though erroneously) associated to minority groups, working class youth and the black community. In the heyday of the PMRC, rap's success had dramatically increased. An RIAA CEO quoted in the L.A. 

Times of July 19, 1992 claimed that 'rap has empowered an entire new generation of successful young black entrepreneurs', too disquieting a fact for some, perhaps. Besides, a Sound Data survey published in the same issue revealed that 74% of all rap albums where sold to whites, which made it all the more threatening. 


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° Rubrique About The World