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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 ©



For others, however, accepting what the PMRC wanted was a serious mistake. During the hearings, Frank Zappa stated his position in no equivocal terms:

The PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretational and enforcemental problems inherent in the proposal's design. He did not hesitate to allude to the less respectable reasons that may have led the RIAA to sign the deal:
The ladies' shame must be shared by the bosses at the major labels who, through the RIAA, chose to bargain away the rights of composers, performers and retailers in order to pass H.R. 2911; the Blank Tape Tax, a private tax levied by an industry on consumers for the benefit of a select group within that indutry ...
Is it proper that the husband of a PMRC founder sits on any committee considering business pertaining to the blank tape tax or his wife's lobbying organisation? Can any committee thus constituted find facts in a fair and unbiased manner?

Above all, he set the issue in a broader context: The establishment of a rating system ... opens the door to an endless parade of moral quality control programs... What if the next bunch of Washington wives demands a large yellow 'J' on all material written or performed by Jews, in order to save helpless children from exposure to concealed Zionist doctrine? The way the situation evolved could only strengthen his conviction. In 1990, he declared:
They should have fought tooth and nail from the day they first got the PMRC letter, they should have told those people 'Go stuff it, you got no business meddling in my affairs, you're not a government agency... it's just another piece of fundamentalist frogwash, get outa my face!' (interview with J.B.Peterson, Pacifica Radio, June 21, 1990)

From information to censorship: the process The most disastrous consequence of the Senate hearings and the resulting labeling agreement was that what may have originally been a genuine desire to inform gave way to downright censorship. Even Tipper Gore recognized that the hearings were a mistake in the sense that 'they gave the misperception that there was censorship involved' (Gore, 1988, p.C18). 

For the PMRC held fast to the fiction that labeling was in no way a form of censorship and steadily refused to endorse any legislation aiming at censoring specific records. Grossberg suggests that the regulations implied by enforcing censorship incarnate 'systems of bureaucratic within the space of daily life' (p.167), a situation the members of the PMRC, all staunch advocates of liberal principles, could not accept. This did not prevent the
PMRC, adds Grossberg, from sacrificing the space of individual rights in the name of the family 'though it apparently violates America's supposed ideological commitment to individualism' (p.287). The family thus becomes a tool for social discipline, controlling the possibilities of childhood. But whatever ambiguities may exist between public and private control, the PMRC never admitted that its action could amount to censorship.


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° Rubrique About The World