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THERE IS PRECIOUS LITTLE that needs to be added to Eddie Dean’s excellent profile of the new PMRC (“Dirty War,” 8/25). But I found the view that lyrics can be separated from music utterly stunning. I had not dreamed these zealots were so naive.
This suggests music alone doesn’t have an emotional, even spiritual impact. Through the centuries, certain styles of music, down to the notes and scales that comprise them, were held to be immoral. This is certainly a more subtle concept than the PMRC’s and not wholly without merit. Tension-inducing, unresolved music does impart a feeling of dread. Whether it’s dread of He of Cloven Hoof or of another gaggle of 16-year-olds with Marshall stacks—it’s your call.
The PMRC’s emphasis on lyrics suggests that spoken-word performances (Rhino’s beat poet collection?) are also candidates for stickering and state-by-state criminalization. This is particularly troubling in light of the literal-mindedness of PMRC watchdogs. Satire, irony and basic characterization all seem to escape their comprehension. The sad thing is, parents should care about the thoughts and ideas which stimulate young minds. But there are no shortcuts to keeping the crud out. And as Dean makes clear, woe to anyone who relies on a nut-job 900 number to do it for them.
Gaithersburg, Md., via the Internet