Shamily Values

by Jeff Alexander & Kenny Moore

Poor America. Some still believe that family values play an important role in their lives, but only a quick glance at some facts proves that Americaís family structure is rotting. Divorce rates are skyrocketing leading to a society of where many children are being raised in single parent households. Families are working more hours now for less rewards than they did 20 years ago, and as such, financial concerns and the pressures created by our economic system are very often cited as a primary reason for these divorce cases. The increase in time on the job for parents coincides with a decrease in time available for the more important job of being parents, which is serving to escalate the breakdown of the family we see in society today. Sometimes, a little sarcasm can ease the pressure and perhaps thatís what was behind last yearís Family Values Tour, featuring Korn, Orgy and Ice Cube. The "Family Values" tour was an organized, sarcastic political statement to poke fun against those using the term in their political agenda favoring censorship.

Instead of pointing the finger of blame at themselves for their corrupt, failed policies in their position of leadership, many lawmakers across the country seek to scapegoat the entertainment industry for this breakdown of the family. We see yet another example of this as the City-Parish Council of Lafayette, Louisiana has passed legislation to outlaw "false or misleading" advertising for live events, believing they were deceived because the concertís focal point wasnít about family values. Are we expected to believe that the City-Parish Council is this ignorant? Are we to accept the deification of the term "Family Values" to where it cannot be taken in vain with such clever sarcasm as exemplified by this tour? Using ignorance such as this to restrict the content of artistís expression is absolutely pathetic. We at ROC ask who is duping who here? To claim that this bill is something to stop false advertising as opposed to its true intent of being yet another attempt an censoring "controversial" music acts is *far* more of an attempt at misleading the public than anything done by this tour. Can we thus expect similar legislation criminalizing the act of politicians sponsoring misleading bills designed to fool the public?

Ralph Goodyear organized an anti-tour boycott to inform people that the October Family Values show at the Cajundome wasnít about family values at all. Advertisements announced the lineup of bands and it was made quite clear that the Family Values Tour was a concert, not a forum for discussing the structure of family values. "We were completely duped, we were lied to, we were laughed at," said Mr. Goodyear. Evidently Mr. Goodyear feels that cultural conservatives have a corner on the market of what can constitute "Family Values" and that people that do not adhere to their definition of what that term means should not be allowed to use it. We at ROC would seriously challenge that notion as we would much sooner take our families out for a night of jamming tunes than to attend some oppressive, un-American night of ultra-conservative rhetoric designed to help usher in an unconstitutional theocracy in what used to be a free nation before people like Mr. Goodyear started having such a profound influence on public policy.

Another provision of this legislation is that promoters who donít properly inform people that a show could be found offensive could face six months in jail and a $500 fine! Whose standards are we looking at for something to be deemed offensive? It is very obvious to us that the opinions of the thousands of people happily attending these shows without taking any offense whatsoever to the material will not be taken into account in the enforcement of this law. Suddenly the intent of this bill becomes perfectly clear, proving our point that this has little to do with stopping false advertising and everything to do with censorship of music. Our government should know that obedience through legal threats isnít the correct way to resolve conflicts, yet we continue to see unconstitutional legislation such as this sponsored across the country.

Those opposed to the ordinance said it would put a heavy burden on producers to disclose the exact content of a performance, fearing repercussions after the fact. Buddy Palmer, of The Acadiana Art Council had some questions regarding who would make the "misrepresentation" call. "I have some concerns over whose values weíre looking at," said Mr. Palmer.

How will this ordinance be enforced? Will there be plain clothes officers attending every concert seeking out potential violators? What is the exact criteria that makes a concert advertisement "misleading"? This ordinance leaves a lot of unanswered questions, yet the push for enforcement is continuing. Councilman Daryl Schouest and attorney Pat Juneau have been working on the ordinance, claiming they have been working very hard not to trample on First Amendment Rights. Ha! Save it Mr. Schouest, weíve heard the standard rhetoric from would-be censors too many times to believe that you have respect for the First Amendment. Schouestís related proposal hopes to ban minors from attending shows deemed offensive. Birds of a feather flock together, Mr. Goodyear and Councilman Daryl Schouest have proved nothing but how they wish to restrict artists free expression and play a leading role in the decisions of citizens, without allowing any input from the thousands of fans that find no offense whatsoever in this so-called offensive music. Again, no specific criteria is given to determine what makes a show offensive. Just because one finds certain speech offensive doesnít mean that the speech has to be silenced by some conservative politician looking to abuse his or her power. Even if the material in question is completely offensive in nature to a majority of people, the Constitution does not allow for such legislation to be enacted into law.

Todd Carvelle, a citizen who attended the council meeting commented, "Itís a parentsí responsibility." Councilman Daryl Schouest isnít everyoneís father! He canít be given the power to enforce his personal views upon citizens, and have artists suffer from his one sided views!

"We were laughed at", said Mr. Goodyear. We at ROC certainly feel that anyone stupid enough to think that a Korn show would be a symposium on conservative cultural values deserves nothing less than to be laughed at and ridiculed mercilessly. If any of our Louisiana readers readers happen to see Mr. Goodyear out and about we suggest that you might want to point your finger at him and start laughing uncontrollably just for the hell of it. However, we are not laughing when such ignorant people have their hands in establishing clearly unconstitutional legislation to restrict artists such as Korn under the guise of protecting citizens from deceitful advertising. We are not laughing when someone can arrogantly claim a set definition for what the term "Family Values" means to the point where someone can be arrested/punished for disagreeing with that viewpoint by placing that moniker on something different from that definition.

e-mail: council@ci.lafayette.la.us

Lafayette Consolidated Government Council
P.O. Box 4017-C
Lafayette, LA 70502
phone: [318] 291-8800

Mr. Daryl Schouest
District 8 P.O. Box 60640
Lafayette, LA 70596

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