A tip from tipper on how to chill to music

Do we run the risk of becoming a nation of Tipper Gores? For those unfamiliar with the name and context, in the 1980s, Tipper Gore, then Democrat senator and future US veepee Al Gore’s wife, formed the Parents Music Resource Centre (PMRC) with other spouses of powerful US politicians. No, this wasn’t a group of guardians encouraging young people to take up music. PMRC‘s purpose was to increase parental control on what kind of music their children shouldn’t be listening to.

This culminated in Senate hearings in September 1985 to determine the need for ‘industry standard’ appraisals on rock and pop music. The 15 songs that came under the Tipper-led microscope included numbers by Black Sabbath, Madonna and Prince. PMRC considered them to be ‘obscene’ or promoting violence, drug use, ‘sexual deviance’ and other things that give moralistic mums (and dads) sleepless nights. The result of the hearings was that ‘parental advisory‘ stickers on cassettes and CDs became de rigueur. But, thankfully, no censorship machine was switched on.

Today, music can be far more explicit than it was in Tipper-era America. What was OMG yesterday has become meh today. This pertains to songs in Indian languages, too. Most parents don’t bat an eyelid and ‘see’ it as part of the growing-up game. But in the political arena, some ‘mai-baap’-types still get het up. As some overenthusiastic BJP karyakartas did against AAP’s campaign song, ‘Jail Ka Jawab Vote Se’, when they wanted the ditty banned for ‘slander’ and spreading ‘false propaganda’. The matter was brought up before EC. Thankfully, after some reported modifications – which no one can really spot – the song got an EC go-ahead. It’s a relief we’re not infected by old Western-style puritanism and touchiness.


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