The name “Tipper Gore” was never spoken casually; it was spat in contempt if it had to be uttered at all. The now-former Mrs. Al Gore was the leader of an organization called the Parents’ Music Resource Center, a coven of useless and thick-skulled citizens whose only claim to public attention was their being married to powerful men in Washington. The PMRC was aghast and atwitter (though there was no Twitter) about the shocking content of popular music, terrified of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and scandalized by Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop.” The Twisted Sister song, they said, promoted violence; I defy you to locate a trace of violence in the lyrics, the main effect of which was teaching a million eleven-year-olds the meaning of “condescending” and “gall.” (Not quite as good for the vocabulary as Bad Religion, but this was the Eighties.) “She Bop” apparently encouraged masturbation, and this was before we had Ivy League college curricula to do that. Madonna, AC/DC – all the Eighties favorites came in for scrutiny. Even Judas Priest …
True, there was still an Iron Curtain back in those days, and we might have had more important things to worry about, but we did not think that just because we were legal minors that we needed Tipper Gore and her sorority of bored housewives to tell us what we should and should not listen to.
So, Millennials, I have to ask: What the hell happened to you people? We didn’t want warning labels when we were kids, and you’re demanding them as adults?
You’re out campaigning to have warning labels put not on Slayer albums but onFinnegan’s Wake and A Prayer for Owen Meany, because you’re afraid that after a lifetime of wearing pedestrian helmets your soft little butts are going to get kicked by a poem?