"I don't want any other families to get this, expecting it to be clean. It needs to be removed from the shelves to prevent other children from hearing it," said plaintiff Trevin Skeens of Brownsville [Maryland].While shocking rubes is a time-honored tradition, their abject horror (which is apparently worth $74,500. Each. I've gotta drum up some abject horror, I think.) is a bit surprising. I didn't even know that "fuck" was dirty anymore. I thought it was the new black.
Skeens said he and his wife, Melanie, let their daughter buy the music for her 13th birthday and were shocked when they played it in their car while driving home.
The perennial offense taken to profanity in music seems a bit ridiculous to me. Lots of music I like is perfectly family friendly, lots isn't. Few are as raucous as Mary Prankster, whose song "Tits & Whiskey" apparently got airplay in Baltimore despite the necessity of riding the mute button rather more often than a ClearChannel employee might wish. (But I'll bet they weren't the ones who played it.) A sample:
Fast cars and explosions,
Party hats and motion lotion,
Let's get down to the ocean
And break out the tits and whiskey.
Fuck me fuck me, fuck me, fuck me,
I am Ernie's rubber ducky.
Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, kiss me,
Let's break out the tits and whiskey.
You know, not a song for when the kids are in the car, particularly as the Sesame Street reference might be misconstrued. Not that I have a damn idea how to construe it, but still...
I suppose there are acts for whom the use of profanity is their claim to fame, but I have to say, it makes less than no difference to me. If I like a song, I'm fine with the lyrics; if I don't, there's really no point in worrying about it. (A friend once told me he didn't mind profanity in lyrics if it was "heartfelt." Still can't figure that one out, but it's funny.) Any limits placed on art are inherently ridiculous, boundaries begging for transgression.
What worries me about this issue is not that Wal-Mart's getting sued over it--I believe they should be forced to give their money to someone other than the Republican Party once in a while--but that this means they'll stop carrying music altogether, or that there will be some governmental oversight put into place for the currently voluntary stickering system. The CD in question was not stickered, which is apparently the salient issue here.
Were Wal-Mart not such an overwhelming presence, I'd shrug this off. But I remember all too well begging my parents to buy me records as an adolescent, knowing that a big family shopping was probably my best bet, that I'd never get them into a record store, not in a million years. Without department stores that sold music, all I would have had to depend on was the radio and the not-always-dependable cool of my older siblings.
That's my prediction: government censorship and less music for the kids. If I may say so, fuck.