Nearly 27 years ago, a mother listened to her daughter’s copy Prince’s Purple Rain and came across the song Darling Nikki and heard the lyrics which talk about sex. This mother, Tipper Gore, was upset at what she heard. So, being the wife of US Senator and future Vice President Al Gore (D-TN), she teamed up with the other politicians wives to form the Parental Music Resource Center.

The PMRC is essentially a censorship watchdog group hopped up on a great deal of power that seeks to censor music.

However, one must wonder if it is a violation of our 1st Amendment Rights? It is because it is a double-edged sword. What maybe objectionable to one person may not be objectionable to another. Take for example the song 666 by Christian rockers DeGarmo and Key.It was banned due to violent content, even though Mtv has aired equally violent or more violent videos at the time that the song came out. Actually, it’s not that violent when say, compared to other music videos such as Be Chrool To Your Scuel by Twisted Sister or even the Michael Jackson classic epic Thriller. But perhaps it could be because of DeGarmo and Key’s strong Christian lyrics. We will never know.

Additionally, lyrical meaning can be misinterpreted. This always seemed to plague early rockers such as the Beatles – whose song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. The song was about a painting John Lennon’s son brought home from school. Everyone else thought it was about drugs because the song spells out the acronym “LSD.”

Also, is it needed nowadays with digital downloading and youtube? Instead of your parents putting down the gauntlet saying “you can’t listen to country music or other nonchristian music” when they themselves have a sizable record collection consisting of nothing but the Who, Pink Floyd, Heart, the Doors, Bad Company, etc. Now, if a child wants to listen to something the parent considers objectionable, they can always do one of these things:

  • Go to YouTube and watch a performance of the objectionable song. This is perhaps the easiest way for them to do this. If you have internet filters at your house, who is to say they don’t watch it at school, their smartphone (if it doesn’t have filters), a friend’s smartphone?
  • Internet radio. They can look up the objectionable song or artist by getting an account with Grooveshark, Last.fm, or even Pandora.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

With that said, I think that it should be up to the parent, not the government, to allow the child to listen to whatever music. Because free speech is subjective. Now for me, if stuff like Katy Perry and Lady GaGa are still popular when I have children, I won’t let my children listen to them. But I will train them in right and wrong.

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