Sexually Explicit Lyrics OK with Tipper When Global Warming’s Involved

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Live Earth got so much coverage today that I swore I wasn’t going to chime in. But there’s one thing I couldn’t let go unsaid.

Right by Al Gore’s side during the event was his wife Tipper, clapping and cheering away for the performers, one of which was Madonna.

This is the same Tipper Gore who in 1985 founded the Parental Music Resource Center specifically to target musicians like Madonna for having explicit lyrics in their songs! Madonna’s “Dress You Up” was on Tipper’s “filthy fifteen” list of songs that she felt should be monitored and rated by the record industry. It’s because of the work of Tipper and the PMRC that the record industry eventually started slapping “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” stickers on CDs. It appears that she has since removed herself so far from the censorship debate that she’s even appeared onstage with the Grateful Dead to raise cash for Al.

So, what? Music censorship is only important if the globe’s warming is not at stake?

I’m not the only one to remember the PMRC. Mark Hemingway, reporting on the event, points out that the Foo Fighters strummed their way through a cover of Prince’s “Darling Nikki,” a song about a girl masturbating in a hotel lobby with a magazine, that got Tipper all riled up in the first place.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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