From March 5 thru the 18th R.O.C.'s Florida representative Kenny Moore and myself were out on the road with the GUNS 'N ROSES/BRIAN MAY tour, We had our R.O.C. Information Booth set up at shows in New Haven, CT, Hartford, CT, Portland, ME, Augusta, ME, Amherst, MA and Boston. Since most of our time was spent on the road and fighting the "BLIZZARD OF '93" we had little time to keep updated on all of the latest breaking news stories.
We began hearing the rumors in Hartford, CT. Then more at the show in Augusta, ME, and by the time the show at the Boston Garden came around, we were really hearing stories. Person after person made their way to the R.O.C. table to let us know that Tipper Gore had "supposedly" resigned from the PMRC. Some claimed to have read it in newspapers such as USA TODAY. Others said it was announced on an episode of MTV-NEWS. One thing was for sure, they all were sure that it was true. Some were in festive, joyous and excited moods. They reminded me of the little characters in the Wizard of Oz dancing around and singing "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, The Wicked Old Witch Is Dead," Others were somewhat hostile to us, wanting to know why we were still out here talking about "Mrs, Gore" after it's been reported that she has quit the PMRC? Kenny and I were like, "Wow! some people will swallow anything just because they read it in a newspaper or hear it on, not-just-TV, but MTV." Upon returning to R.O.C. HQ on a break between going back out with G 'N R, I immediately began to investigate this story. I called a number of other folks in the anti-censorship movement around the country to see what they heard. I researched back issues of USA TODAY looking for the alleged article making the announcement. Then I received a call from Eric Peterson, ROC's rep from Vermont, informing me that a small article about the resignation was tucked away in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. Penned by Anne Gowen, it was headlined: "TIPPER GORE QUITS PMRC." The most important question of the whole article, at least to me, was contained in the sub-headline which read: "But has the First Lady of Parental Advisory really given up the fight?" From all of the information we have since gathered, and from talking with others in the anti-censorship movement around the country, the ONLY answer to that question that we at R.O.C. can arrive at is NO! We go on record with this issue of THE ROC urging and warning musicians, music fans and others to stand firm, keep the heat on and despite all the misinformation being put out by certain D.C. press hacks, and even some hacks within our own ranks, do not believe the hype. Despite Ms. Gore's resignation from the PMRC, we are quite confident in predicting that as a result of her new position Rock, Metal, and especially Rap are in for an even more intensified attack that will be instigated by the likes of Tipper Gore.
According to Tipper's press hack, Sally Aman, "Tipper Gore has quietly tendered her resignation from all boards on which she had served prior to her husband's swearing in as Vice President in January." Aman's reasoning for this is, "That's due to her husband's position. She wanted to avoid any conflicts of interest." Gee, how come a sudden concern over conflict of interest? There was no concern of conflict back when she was able to convene a full Senate Committee hearing on rock lyrics just because she and some other members, oops, I forgot, the PMRC claimed they had members, so let's say other PMRC associates were the wives of some of the Senators who sat on the Committee. Was this a conflict of interest or a blatant misuse of power and position?
Aman goes on to claim that "Mrs. Gore will be turning to other things, and that the PMRC has accomplished what it set out to do." According to the Gowen article that's news to Tom Davis, the new executive director of the PMRC who said, "The PMRC will continue to be an active and vital resource for concerned parents, church and community groups." He goes on to explain how Tipper just recently assisted in the editing of a PMRC letter that he drafted to be sent to the National Association of Record Merchandisers (NARM) demanding that a nationwide plan be initiated to have lyrics for all recordings available at record store check-outs. So, in other words, with or without Tipper, the PMRC will go on.
Perhaps the most disturbing, and in fact, down-right scary piece of information by Tipper Gore's press hack was that Tipper Gore has been appointed to serve as the National Health Advisor to Hillary Clinton's task force on health care reform. Tipper, who holds both a bachelor's and masters degree in psychology, will focus on the issues of homeless people (heaven help the homeless of the country) and the welfare of children. BINGO!!!! There's the watchword, the catch phrase, and the tip-off. We wonder how much the new "White House Mental Health Advisor" will use and abuse her new founded position of "saving the children" to launch a whole new wave of vicious and unfounded attacks on music? The PMRC has always claimed that just listening to certain music was a hazard to the physical and mental health of American youth. In fact, not long ago they published a little pamphlet (paid for with money from Dow Corning Corp.) titled: MUSIC--A HEALTH ISSUE, in which they claimed that certain forms of popular music "poses unprecedented threats to the health and well being of adolescents." Other PMRC propaganda has gone as far as to condemn certain forms of music as being "secondary forms of child abuse."
Will Tipper Gore change or abandon any of these positions as she moves from the PMRC to become the nation's #1 shrink? We think not! In fact, it's R.O.C.'s position that her resignation was a very slick and calculated move on her behalf. It's obvious that the nickname "Slick" applies to a host of characters in the Clinton White House. First we had "Slick Willie," Gee, what have we now, "Slicker Tipper?"
As the nation's top mental health advisor," Tipper now finds herself in a much better, more powerful and a better institutionalized position to attack our music than she could have ever dreamed of having in a group like the PMRC. Think about it! The question of the day that all of this raises is, are we going to keep the fight on, or are we going to believe that it's all over, sit back, chill out, and look the other way like most of us back in 1985? I'm sure I need not say that R.O.C. will not be chillin. Those kids at the Guns 'N Roses show who I mentioned at the beginning, who came up to our booth saying, "Why are you here, it's over, she's quit the PMRC," reflect an all too prevalent attitude that far too many of us, especially in the music industry have. Same may say that I sound like an alarmist, and I hope that's exactly what I sound like. Nothing is over, in fact, it's R.O.C.'s position that in some respects it hasn't yet fuckin' began. Turn on the TV and in any of the religious right broadcasts like Pat Robertson's 700 club, John Ankerberg, or Paul Crouch. Tune in for a week to Bob Larson on the radio. Listen to what these guys are saying about everything from school books, to Gay Rights, to Rock 'N Roll music. They're talking about open warfare in order to "take back the country." They're planning public executions (by stoning) of people like you and me. They make no efforts to conceal the fact that the religious right is mounting a massive offensive, and their fascist agendas are very clear. Pat Robertson has even gone as far as to mention "fighting and bloodshed in the streets--between Christian fundamentalists and us. These people don't play! If this don't convince you that our struggle is far from being over, write to Don Wildmon's American Family Association, or James Dobson's Focus On The Family and ask to be put on their mailing list. Check out some of their propaganda. They make the group in Waco, Texas look like a bunch of Eagle Scouts. Pick up a copy of Tipper Gore's book, RAISING PG KIDS IN AN X-RATED SOCIETY (which has just gone into its second publication), and after you've pondered over all this information, you write me a letter and explain, in your best terms how you can believe any of this is over just because one fascist bitch from a two-bit group like the PMRC to become the National Health Advisor for the White House. I await your letters.
So, just because people like Sally Aman, Danny Goldberg at Atlantic Records, or Tabitha Soren at MTV have raised the white flag, and sounded the "all-clear," doesn't make it so. We must keep organizing, keep getting information out to people, keep networking with other groups, keep working with bands and keep building the anti-censorship movement. Those who want to throw in the towel, cheer and celebrate over Tipper Gore's moving-on-up from the PMRC had better wake up and smell the fucking coffee before it's too late.
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THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM!!
"I think what we see Tipper Gore doing now will be more covert. In other words, you won't hear her speak, you'll just see more actions coming out of the White House. I don't think she'll be out rabble-rousing and doing her PMRC thing anymore, we'll just see more actions." Ice-T in an exclusive interview which appeared in THE ROC #11. Boy, did Ice hit the nail on the head with this prediction.