Howie Klein has today's must-read post. As former head of Reprise Records, Howie was the first-hand witness to the puritanical wrecking ball that Joe Lieberman took to the music industry through his activities with the PMRC:
People often ask me what happened and what was the big deal. Lieberman knew exactly what he was doing-- far better than the batty wives' group that preceded him-- when he insisted on ratings on CDs and it had nothing to do with helping parents supervise their children. Few people understand-- the way Lieberman did -- that in the late 80s something like 70% of all recorded music was sold in stores in malls and that malls have very stringent lease arrangements about their tenants not selling "pornography." Over the course of this controversy two of the Senate's most uptight and close-minded prigs, Sam Brownback and Lieberman, pushed for the kinds of stickers that would make it impossible for the kind of music they objected to -- like anything talking about masturbation or homosexuality, for example -- to be stocked by 70% of American retailers. The effect inside the music business was chilling-- and instantaneous. Suddenly a whole new internal bureaucracy had to be created to police every record and suddenly artists were being pressured -- sometimes overtly and sometimes less overtly -- to cave in to demands by two really reactionary fundamentalists whose values are far from mainstream. In one fell swoop Lieberman destroyed an alliance between young voters and the Democratic Party that had started with John Kennedy's election as he ham-fistedly savaged their culture for his own political ambitions.People in the entertainment industry have long know that Lieberman is happy to curry the favor of the universal pecksniffs by smashing free speech. He is despised by both conservatives and liberals alike for being -- among other things -- a vicious homophobe, as Howie notes. His adventures in Bush kissing have just allowed the rest of the country to get a glimse of what a toxic little churl he is. Read Howie's post, it's excellent.
The antidote: Ned Lamont. You can also visit Ned's new blog.