Dear R.O.C.,

Well, this is a great start! I hope your newsletter takes off and gets the support it's going to need. I'm writing from CENSORNATI, OH, where I work, to re-emphasize the point that First Amendment rights are being threatened on several fronts.

Government attempts to censor the Mapplethorpe exhibit down here have mobilized the art community like never before, and yet it is still a fierce struggle, which could still end up in a museum director doing time for showing an acclaimed photo exhibit.

Public Access TV is under siege as community standards in many cities are not tolerating divergent points of view or off-the-wall programming. (And, at the same time, cable companies are trying to wriggle out of having to pay for the unprofitable access video channels, equipment and staff).

Music has, more than any form of expression I can think of, the ability to unite people, to move people and to spread a message. So it is natural that music be threatened by those made uncomfortable with individualism, with originality, with free expression.

The people behind the efforts to ban music, to suppress art, to kill community video are VERY WELL ORGANIZED. They have mailing lists and computer networks with the ability to mobilize thousands of people in a matter of hours into writing letters, sending money or going to rallies.

And they would like nothing better than to see us, music fans of different cultures and races, stay divided and confused. They would like nothing better than to see artists, music fans, writers, the public access community, and any other group that they don't approve of, stay in their own worlds.

But Robert Mapplethorpe, a white, gay photographer, and NWA, an African-American, straight, street-fightin' group have the exact same enemy in the Cincinnati City Government, for the exact same reasons. We gotta be aware of this, got to talk to each other, go to organize.

Steve B.

Dear John

Thanks for starting the R.O.C. Keep the newsletter coming. Enclosed is $6.00. I found your first issue informative and readable. I hope everyone who reads it not only learns, but shares it (or the information in it) with friends and takes action on the censorship issue. As you rightly point out, the prospective censors will start with stickers on album covers and go as far as we will let them, to the point of banning certain types of music, political lyrics (which they don't agree with) and even move from music to banning other types of political expression as rallies and speeches. In Cincinnati, they are trying to stop people from seeing the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whose work has been shown all over the world, and the U.S. congress has passed legislation to limit the use of the U.S. flag for political expression (they have only limited it for certain political expression though); It's still OK for a lying fat old man "Republicrat" to surround himself with, or wrap himself in a flag while he starts wars around the world, pollutes the earth, and otherwise fucks up our world. Please all readers, get active! As Public Enemy says, "FIGHT THE POWER!"

Klaus T.

Dear John,

Let me say thanks for your very encouraging report about how things are going in Ohio. It gives inspiration to us all and will be reported on in the next ROCK & ROLL CONFIDENTIAL.

You have no idea how good it makes me feel to see people back home take care of business. Fuck the PMRC!

Lee Ballinger
Long Beach, CA

(Lee is originally from Warren, Ohio)

Dose of Reality #1

Censorship, it can't happen here.
Censorship, it can't happen here.
Censorship, it can't happen here.
Censorship, it can't happen here.
Censorship, it ***'* ****** ****.
--Warren Oster
July 1986

Dear R.O.C.,

I just got your issue and I loved it. I've gotten the ROCK & ROLL CONFIDENTIAL from California, so it's good to see something happening here.

Watching the news, it seems pretty ironic that at the same time these communist countries are finding their freedom, people are trying to take ours away. A normal person who would not ordinarily do something will not do it just because of a song. I have a 4 year old and we raised her to know right from wrong. We don't need or want Tipper Gore or the PMRC to do it for us. I find it pretty scary that these people are being taken so seriously. By blaming music for all their problems, the real ones go unsolved. Just think what might happen if the PMRC's clout and money was used to battle homelessness, AIDS, and illiteracy. I mean really these are more constructive things they could be doing.

I like that you named sponsors of the PMRC. No more COORS or 7-UP in our house. I stay at home with my 4 year old, but if there is anything I can do to help, I will.

Rita L.
Hilliard, Ohio

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