|ROCK OUT CENSORSHIP - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS|
When we encounter people at our activist booths that are reluctant to sign our petition for the RIAA to end the so-called "voluntary" practice of adding parental advisory labels to any albums with potentially offensive content, the first thing we do is to ask the person why they are for the labeling system. Invariably, the person responds by saying "Because I think there are some things that my children shouldn't listen to, so I'm for the labels," or something along those lines.
Our next question is "OK, but whose decision should it be as to what your children get to listen to, your's or the government's?" Suddenly, people that were very confident in their opposition to signing our petition start to have some doubt creep into their facial expressions. The response is nearly always "That's my job," to which we completely agree.
We then ask "Are you aware that several states have tried to pass legislation that would make it a criminal offense for a record store to sell an album to someone under 18, and that they use the parental advisory label as the criteria for what can or cannot be sold?" More often than not, the person we are questioning says no, and then realizes the pernicious nature of what is at work behind the labeling scam and they agree to sign our petition.
If they still have doubts, we then say, "Are you aware that the State of Pennsylvania even tried to take it so far as to not only make the record store owners/clerks criminally liable for the sale, but they also wanted to impose a sentence of 25-100 hours of community service for any minor caught attempting to purchase an album that the government did not think they should be listening to. How would you like it if your child was forced into doing community service simply for their taste in music?" Very few people are aware of the extent to which our government would utilize the labeling system to usher in draconian punishments for the simple "crime" of purchasing or selling music that some people take offense to.
When supplied with this knowledge, the person will almost always eagerly sign our anti-labeling petition, smile, and slip off into the crowd to enjoy the show. However, this issue goes MUCH deeper than any quick explanation we could give to someone in a moment at a concert.
Let us begin by looking at why labels are there in the first place. When Tipper Gore and her friends at the PMRC first introduced the labeling idea, it was simply to be a notice to parents to let them know that there are things on the album that might be objectionable to them. This way, if little Billy or Sally brought home an album with a label on it, Mommy and Daddy could toss that evil, wicked, nasty devil music in the garbage straight away without taking the time to listen to the music and deciding on its appropriateness for themselves. Many in the music community found the idea completely laughable, but with a gun pointed to their head in the form of threats of unconstitutional legislation to clean up the industry, the Recording Industry Association of America caved in to the demands of the self-righteous and agreed to so-called "voluntary" labeling of all potentially offensive music as a compromise solution that both sides agreed would only be used as an informational resource for consumers, NOT as a tool for further restrictions.
We at ROC knew better than that and have warned the music industry from the inception of our organization that the motivations of the people behind the labeling system are not to simply inform parents. Their goal is nothing short of the complete removal from society of any material remotely objectionable to them. Anyone that has any doubts as to that being the true motivation need only to look for objectionable material on the music shelves of their local Wal-Mart, the biggest corporate ally of the censors.
It is now several years later, and nobody is laughing any more. Musicians are being arrested and dropped from their record deals because of these "offensive" lyrics. In many cases, Billy and Sally cannot purchase these albums any more because of pressure on a music industry sorely in need of a backbone that prompted the National Association of Recording Merchandisers to implement IDing policies for the purchase of music, similar to those restricting the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes. And through it all, the people that are truly calling the shots in our society (and causing most of our problems) are sitting in their mansions laughing as everyone continues to play happy sheep herded into their daily toil with no real ability or desire to question any of the things that are going on around them.
You see, folks, it's not about protecting children from potential bad influences that the censorship crowd is interested in by labeling music. With alcohol and cigarettes, there is a quantifiable and measureable health risk involved to justify these restrictive policies. With music, it is simply ideas that are being condemned. The true agenda is about keeping tomorrow's adults from anything that might influence them to rebel against the things that are going on. It's about maintaining the status quo, so that the people and companies that are in power will remain in power. It's about filtering out anything that deviates from their prescribed norm.
By keeping these labels on our music, we are endorsing the idea that owners of record stores and music chains have the right and responsibility to be involved in the parenting process for each child in the United States. When we endorse legislation based on these labels, we endorse the idea that the government has the right and responsibility to be involved in the parenting process for each child. And we are also accepting the idea that certain pressure groups have the right to decide what is best for ALL children through their intimidation of these record stores and music chains and through their lobbying of our elected officials into proposing clearly unconstitutional legislation. We at ROC reject these ideas and feel that the power of choice in such matters rests solely with the individual to decide for themselves how they want to raise their children and that any restrictions of ideas should be done IN THE HOME by the parents according to their own beliefs, be they however conservative or liberal as they wish.
This leads us to the core of many problems in today's world. So many people are arguing that the solution to all of society's ills lies in the implementation of more restrictions and controls...that since so many parents must BOTH work to pay the bills, somebody has to keep kids from getting into bad influences. The people that want you to buy into this mode of thinking scream about how rock 'n roll music and rap music are corrupting youth of the country and creating the entire breakdown of family values, which, in turn, leads to more crime, drug abuse, despair, and all the other bad things in the world. So we must figure out a way to keep young people from hearing this terrible music that turns them into such monsters and enemies of the greater good, they indignantly cry.
They are pushing for laws that will restore family values, yet you never hear anyone mention the REAL cause for this breakdown (other than right here in the pages of Rock Out Censorship). It will never be reported in mainstream media or admitted by those running the show that they themselves are responsible for this breakdown. Instead of blaming rock and roll, these people calling for greater restrictions should be questioning WHY IS IT THAT NOBODY IS THERE TO HANDLE THEIR PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES??? The answer can be heard from their own mouths...because both parents are too busy working to pay bills.
Twenty years ago, one person could work a full-time job and support a family of four on that wage. Now, one person must work a full-time job and often must beg and grovel to their boss for overtime to simply support themselves. Many feminists will argue that a large percentage women want to work, but the problem with our society is that the choice is no longer their's to make. Now both parents, in most cases, MUST work just to make ends meet. Suddenly Billy and Sally have no Mommy and Daddy to look to for guidance, because Mommy and Daddy both work 50-70 hours a week. The reason the censorship crowd will never point this out is because they are often among those benefiting economically from the status quo and to state such a truth as this would jeopardize all that they are striving for--the COMPLETE control of each and every person on Earth. Instead of seeking policy reform to curtail the corporate greed that keeps both parents hard at work and away from their children, the censors seek to become the children's parents themselves so they can more easily keep the sheep in the pasture.
The REAL issue here is not rock music. It is a corporate elite owning everyone, forcing them to work much harder for less rewards, keeping parents away from home, and seeking more control for themselves, ensuring that more and more cash will steadily end up in their bank accounts. These labels are simply a means by which the censorship crowd can brand anyone who dares question the system, utters a dirty word, offends the church, or does anything that does not fall in line with the forced conformity we are all living in. Beware of those who seek to trash your Constitutional rights under the guise of protecting you and your children, because very soon there will be nobody to protect us from them.
Always remember that if such things as the warning label system, and IDing were in place in the 1950's as they are today ROCK AND ROLL WOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED! as it was the kids that were buying all those albums against their parents wishes. What is at stake here is no less than the ability for generations to make radical cultural change away from the status quo through their entertainment medium of choice. By systematically preventing children from obtaining things parents MAY disapprove of, they are attempting to keep the entirety of youth for each subsequent generation within the bounds of what is acceptable by the previous generation, and in the process, impose the most conservative parenting onto the entire nation whether everyone wants it or not. It is more an attempt to squash rebellion than anything else, and we find their efforts to be the most offensive thing we have seen, far moreso than the work of any artist that gets labeled.