Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Some 80s Nostalgia

A friend of the Objector - the land-use policy guy - sent this link in.

I hadn't seen anything about this is years, but it was a really big deal when I was in high-school. Congress, led in this instance by then Senator Al Gore (being pushed by his overly church-marmish wife Tipper) was holding hearings on the destructive influence of Rock & Roll lyrics on the minds of America’s youth. Somehow they got Frank Zappa and Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister to come and testify in defense of colorful lyrics, creating a gigantic media frenzy. This was on TV for days. Really though, Frank and Dee should have known better. The whole thing was a circus set up to allow congress to look like it was taking some action against immorality in the culture wars by beating up on two hapless guitar slingers (not unlike the annual flag burning amendment thing). The whole thing made a huge fuss and accomplished very little except to get those little "Warning: Explicit Lyrics" labels placed on album covers. Really silly stuff. Keep in mind, this was all well before any serious mainstream advent of hip hop, especially gangster rap which really took musical misogyny to a whole new level.

Interestingly, in the fall of '87, a year or so after this clip was filmed, I started college down in West Virginia. That first semester I saw my first concert in Pittsburgh at the old Syria Mosque and it was none other than Mr. Zappa, who was a lot of fun to see live. A great concert by a fabulous musician. I still have the ticket stub somewhere.


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