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Have artists such as Marilyn Manson, Snoop Dogg and Eminem do TV PSAs telling the youth of America not to buy their records, unless it’s the clean versions—and advising them not to ask their parents what the bleeped words are.
BIGGER STICKERS! SHINIER CAGES!
Other Ways The RIAA And NARM Can Improve The Parental Advisory Program

First, a quick timeline: In April 1999 President Bill Clinton orders the Federal Trade Commission to evaluate the media in the wake of Columbine massacre. The FTC issues a report in September 2000 criticizing the media for marketing adult entertainment to children. The entertainment industry offers to self-police. Last month, the FTC followed up with a report, as requested by the Senate Commerce Committee, saying that the music industry is still advertising "explicit content" music in magazines and on TV shows geared for the under-17 set. Two days later, Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) introduce legislation that would expand the power of the FTC to impose fines on entertainment companies for false and misleading advertising if they voluntary label content for adults only and then market it to kids (see story, 4/26).

Seizing the moment, RIAA head Hilary Rosen went on ABC’s "Nightline," a show that no kid would ever watch, last Thursday night (5/3) to counter last week’s FTC report accusing the music biz of marketing violent content to minors.

Rosen announced the forming of a Parental Advisory compliance task force in conjunction with NARM. The new entity will make sure print ads and retail websites contain the parental-advisory label wherever appropriate. It will also work to get websites to link to the site that explains the Parental Advisory Program. Rosen plans to meet with the labels individually and request that each appoint a staffer to oversee the compliance effort.

While this should certainly solve all the problems and pre-empt legislation, we at hitsdailydouble.com feel there’s more to be done. Here are a few possibilities:

  • A Parental Advisory mascot. Something cute for the kids, but with enough of a presence to get adults to pay attention. Sort of like that dog that used to "take a bite out of crime." How about Pavlov the dog, which slobbers every time it hears the bell of politicians criticizing pop culture? Other candidates: Deffo, the "hear no evil" monkey, Tipper the Tiger, moral guardian-superhero Lieber Man.
  • PSAs on TV shows aimed at kids. Have artists such as Marilyn Manson, Snoop Dogg and Eminem telling the youth of America not to buy their records, unless it’s the clean versions—and advising them not to ask their parents what the bleeped words are.
  • A "V-chip" for CD players. It would cause offending discs to skip and appear defective, preventing kids from being exposed to controversial material and getting them back into retail outlets, where they could exchange said discs for, say, a nice John Tesh record.
  • Make Parental Warning stickers bigger. CD jewel cases are a mere five inches on each side. Parents surely couldn’t ignore stickers 25 square inches in size. And if the stickers completely envelop the discs, kids would probably walk right by them anyway.
  • A three-day waiting period for purchasing stickered albums. Sure, it only takes 48 hours to get a handgun, but that includes a background check. We’re not suggesting that anyone’s civil rights be violated, just a "cooling off" period—after which consumers may decide they’d rather have a nice John Tesh record.
  • Isolating discs containing "explicit material" in decrepit shacks behind stores, perhaps encircled by crime-scene tape.
  • Have record-store employees hide all questionable material every time an underage customer walks in. Considering how bad most clerks are at helping you find music, they might as well be hiding it anyway.
  • Magical "denial beads" for parents, to help them believe that policing music will prevent their kids from acting out.

--David Simutis, Simon Glickman and Bud Scoppa

 

 

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