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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 ©



As Marjorie Heins adds, with the communist menace gone, it was tempting to find new demons 'among any group that challenges the imagined "traditional values" utopia of our mythical past: sexual nonconformists, provocative artists, pornographers...' (p.188). It was the course followed by the Washington Wives who tried to rally a majority of Americans around the defence of the family and the race presented as threatened. Subtle mix of moral concerns and political interests on a fundamentalist backdrop, the PMRC crusade was indeed a reactionary form of censorship.

Today, April 1998, the potency of the PMRC has dramatically declined. The impetus generated by Ronald Reagan's moral struggle has begun to recede, and rap and heavy-metal music have gradually entered mainstream American tastes, making their repression harder. The PMRC is still kicking but no longer with the same conviction. Despite recent agreements with the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Parent/Teacher Association, law enforcement agencies as well as numerous churches and schools nationwide, and an aborted attempt in January 1998 at changing its name from the Parents' to the Partners with the Music Resource Center (to tone down the emphasis on the family, I assume), its days are gone. As explained in a recent personal letter, 'due to limited funding and staff', it can no longer afford to publish its Newsletter. 

It has accordingly altered its goals, claiming today to serve as a resource center to 'educate and promote public awareness of the positive (my emphasis) long term effects of music on health, analytical and creative thinking and self-esteem'.

Nevertheless, the threats of censorship are far from being removed as recent speeches, not only in France, seem to prove: in the preliminaries of the 1996 presidential campaign, former Senate majority leader Bob Dole declared 'we must hold [...] the entire entertainment industry responsible for putting profit ahead of common decency', while William Bennet addressed Time Warner officials with an 'Are you folks morally disabled?' and House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed a boycott of radio stations playing obscene music.

''s all just a little bit of history repeating' (Propellerheads).

Claude Chastagner Université Paul Valéry-Montpellier III

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° Rubrique About The World