What is Past is Prologue
These words by William Shakespeare are engraved over the doors to the National Library of Congress.
The meaning is that History often repeats itself and we seem to be suffering from that a lot these days. It is unfortunate that some people are no longer with us. About 25 years ago, Presidential wanna-be Algore's wife Tipper got her panties into a bunch over some "bad words" in "record albums" - Frank Zappa testified before Congress and delivered a cluebat of mammoth proportions.
Ex-President Clinton's wife Hillary is now on a campaign to censer Video Games and to keep them out of Kids Hands (isn't that the Parent's job? --ed.)
CBS News/Gamecore presents Frank Zappa's Statement To Congress from September 19, 1985.
Here are two links -- six-page with pictures and links and a two-page of just the text Part #1 Part #2
From the Articles introduction:
Where Is Our Zappa?
There is nothing scarier than the Cycle of Dumb. In it, we often find politicians from every side attempting to legislate taste and opinion under the guise of protection.
In the 80s, Tipper Gore led the charge against obscenity in music. Now Hillary Clinton is fighting to keep the video games she and her ilk think are harmful out of kids' hands. Both are the wives of Democrats.
In order to throw a wrench into the machine, or at least, as Burroughs said, to educate the mark, I'm proud to present Frank Zappa's Congressional testimony.
It's easy to draw parallels between the legal threats music faced over twenty years ago and what lawmakers are trying to do to video games now. Though this testimony is long, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't read it in full.
Find more Frank Zappa at Zappa.com, watch: Frank on Crossfire and Frank's second time on Crossfire.
Setting up Frank's Words: (The PMRC was an American committee formed in 1985 by the wives of several congressmen. They included Tipper Gore (wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore); Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; and Nancy Thurmond, wife of Senator Strom Thurmond. -- Such a nice cast of characters.)
The First thing I would like to do, because I know there is some foreign press involved here and they might not understand what the issue is about, one of the things the issue is about is the First Amendment to the Constitution, and it is short and I would like to read it so they will understand. It says:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
That is for reference.
These are my personal observations and opinions. They are addressed to the [Parents' Music Resource Centre] as well as this committee. I speak on behalf of no group or professional organization.
The PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years, dealing with the interpretational and enforcemental problems inherent in the proposal's design.
It is my understanding that, in law, First Amendment issues are decided with a preference for the least restrictive alternative. In this context, the PMRC's demands are the equivalent of treating dandruff by decapitation.
No one has forced Mrs. Baker or Mrs. Gore to bring Prince or Sheena Easton into their homes. Thanks to the Constitution, they are free to buy other forms of music for their children. Apparently, they insist on purchasing the works of contemporary recording artists in order to support a personal illusion of aerobic sophistication. Ladies, please be advised: The $8.98 purchase price does not entitle you to a kiss on the foot from the composer or performer in exchange for a spin on the family Victrola. Taken as a whole, the complete list of PMRC demands reads like an instruction manual for some sinister kind of "toilet training program" to house-break all composers and performers because of the lyrics of a few. Ladies, how dare you
Well, one of the things that has been brought up before is talking about very young children getting access to the material that they have been showing here today. And what I have said to that in the past is a teenager may go into a record store unescorted with $8.98 in his pocket, but very young children do not.
If they go into a record store, the $8.98 is in mom or dad's pocket, and they can always say, Johnny, buy a book. They can say, Johnny, buy instrumental music; there is some nice classical music for you here; why do you not listen to that.
The parent can ask or guide the child in another direction, away from Sheena Easton, Prince, or whoever else you have been complaining about. There is always that possibility.
Parental Responsibility??? One last Frank:
Senator Hawkins: Mr. Zappa, you say you have four children?
FZ: Yes, four children.
Hawkins: Have you ever purchased toys for those children?
FZ: No; my wife does.
Hawkins: Well, I might tell you that if you were to go in a toy store, which is very educational for fathers, by the way; it is not a maternal responsibility to buy toys for children - that you may look on the box and the box says, this is suitable for 5 to 7 years of age, or 8 to 15, or 15 and above, to give you some guidance for a toy for a child.
Do you object to that?
FZ: In a way I do, because that means that somebody in an office someplace is making a decision about how smart my child is.
Frank Zappa is a National treasure and is missed.
You may not always like his music but he was one of the smarter people around.
He died from Cigarettes...