Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Video of the Day: Jello Biafra, Tipper Gore, and the censorship debate of 1986

Anyone who grew up in the 80s will probably remember this surreal episode of Oprah with The Dead Kennedy's Jello Biafra and pre-second lady Tipper Gore. If not, you probably remember the debate around "satanic" rock music that caused contributed to teenage suicide. As a historical document, it's easy to laugh at, because no one really thinks Dee Snider or whomever was coming for our children, but just the other day I read a story about a woman who complained to Trader Joe's about their  misogynist background music as if it were her right to not be offended by the Rolling Stones while she shopped for Kale chips. No, it's not censorship in the legal sense, but there is an authoritarian sense of entitlement behind these things, and while the PMRC seems ludicrous now, it's interesting to see the parallels between that and what's happening now with offense overkill.

Parts 2, 3, and 4