EDITORIAL 1995: Before the Deluge?

By: Randy Lee Payton


The future of free, creative expression in America (following the November Republican victories moving the Christian Coalition theocrats closer to the reigns of political power to decide what you and I are to be "permitted" to read, write, and indeed THINK) looks foreboding even to the most optimistic among US.

The activities over the past ten years by the sick, unholy alliance between shrill "liberals" like Tipper Gore and backwater, right-wing record-burners like the Peters Brothers, is today indeed "coming home to roost" in a new rash of state bills criminalizing sellers and young buyers of recordings carrying the infamous "Tipper Stickers." These bills threaten to usher in a chilling Winter of Censorship in Pennsylvania, Washington, New York state, Louisiana, New Mexico and South Carolina carrying fines of thousands of dollars and/or years in prison to hapless record store owners, bands, clubs and labels charged with producing, performing or distributing (SOMEone's definition of) "obscenity." Should these clearly unconstitutional bills fail to be overridden by cooler heads when they come up before their respective state senates (or vetoed by these states' governors) then the ROC graphic where the PMRC "warning" sticker "equals" A BALL AND CHAIN will become a REALITY in the months ahead. Tipper's revenge.

An extensive analysis of the above bills and how we can fight them are found elsewhere in this issue.

I suspect many reading this today feel like writer Jen Durbin in a recent California SPECTATOR who shares feeling "susceptible all of a sudden" (even living in the Bay Area) because of the November Republican victories. "This crew has always been twisted, but now they're in power, and their twisted perspective is all too rapidly becoming the law of the land," Jen writes. "My partner said that she feels like we are living in the days just before the opening scene of The Handmaid's Tale. If you haven't read that chilling book by Margaret Atwood, I suggest you do so soon. And no matter how much you already contribute to the struggle for freedom and the freedom to deviate from the norm, I recommend you start contributing a little more. Be creative. Teach, write, protest, call your representatives, make guest appearances, donate time and money to your local anti-censorship organizations, support your local independent video outlets and bookstores, vote your conscience. If you are reading this, you are vulnerable to attack. They are not going after someone else this time, they're going after you."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves, sister. Get Involved. Smash censorship.

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