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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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With a few friends, all married to heavy weight politicians (Peatsy Hollings, wife of Sen. Ernest Hollings, Ethelann Stuckey, married to William Stuckey, a former Georgia congressman, Sally Nevius, whose husband, John Nevius was a member of the Washington City Council, Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore Jr., at the time senator of Tennessee, now vice-president and Pam Howar, spouse of the CEO of a major Washington construction firm) she decided to create an organisation in order to inform parents about the pornographic contents of some rock records.

In May 1985, the Parents' Music Resource Center was born. Its board of directors was constituted of another 17 "Washington Wives", married to senators, congressmen and Cabinet officials along with a couple of businessmen's spouses and an advisory board where one could find Joseph Stuessy, a Professor of Music at the University of Texas, the Honorable Andrew Young, the Mayor of Atlanta, or TV host Sheila Walsh. The PMRC was founded with the financial help of Mike Love, from the Beach Boys, and of Joseph Coors, the owner of Coors beers. Both had actively supported Reagan's candidacy, and Coors offered offices to the PMRC.

A minister from Virginia, Rev. Jeff Ling, famous for his 'slide-shows' denouncing sex and violence in rock music, was enrolled to write the abundant literature the PMRC intended to publish. Several religious organisations offered their logistical support: Teen Vision, from Pittsburgh, Pat Robertson's 700 Club, and the Religious Booksellers Convention (which distributed Tipper Gore's book, Raising PG Kids in an X-rated Society), though the PMRC denied any ideological connection with these groups.

The PMRC's goals were clearly defined: 'to educate and inform parents of this alarming new trend...towards lyrics that are sexually explicit' (PMRC, 1985, p.1). Such information and education relied on a stricter enforcement of obscenity laws (see infra) and on a less permissive attitude (Susan Baker called it 'self-restraint') from record companies. The PMRC thus rejected the accusation of censorship: 'Pornography sold to children is illegal, enforcing that is not censorship. It is simply the act of a responsible society that recognizes that some material made available to adults is not appropriate for children' (Baker, 1987, p.1).

Its purpose was to show the causal link between rock music and social problems such as the increase in rape, teen-age suicide or teen pregnancies: 'It is our contention that pervasive messages aimed at children which promote and glorify suicide, rape and sadomasochism have to be numbered among the contributing factors' (Baker, 1985, p.20). 
As Lawrence Grossberg put it, the PMRC aimed at re-asserting control over the cultural environment of children; the moral fabric of the United States, its personal and family values had to be rescued through the regulation of youth's cultural consumption (p.193). 

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° Rubrique About The World