Nasty As They Wanna Be to Public Enemy’srn1991 video for the rap “B thernTime I Get to Arizona,” which depictedrnthe shooting and poisoning of public officialsrnwho declined to approve a publicrnholiday honoring Martin LutherrnKing, Jr.; from Madonna’s fall 1992 releasernof the aptly named “Erotica” tornIce-T’s infamous “Cop Killer,” whichrnrime Warner, the parent company ofrnhis record label Sire, pulled from his albumrnBody Count only after Icc-T himselfrngave into popular pressure—thesernexamples of “creative expression” makernan protest about the “controversialrnphilosophical content” of Vaus’s 1 ricsrnseem absurd, hidecd, in comparison tornthe words of “Souljas Story” by rapperrnTupac Amaru Shakur, known as 2Pac,rnVaus’s ditty is mere child’s pla-. “Copsrnon my tail so I bail till I dodge ’em /rnThey finally pull me over and I laugh /rnRemember Rodney King and I blast onrnhis punk a— / Now I got a murder case.”rnThese lines, which incited one RonaldrnHoward to fatally shoot a state trooperrnwho had pulled him over for a routinerntraffic stop near Victoria, Texas, last ear,rnarc controversial.rnThe typical reaction among the mediarnto what Icc-T terms “intelligentrnhoodlum” material is to denounce censorshiprnand uphold free speech. BarbararnEhrcnrcich, a 6()’s feminist who refusesrnto grow old gracefully, argued in arnJuly 1992 essay about Ice-T for ‘iimernmagazine that “this is our free marketrnof ideas and images, and it shouldn’t bernanv less free for a black man than forrnother purveyors of ‘irresponsible’ sentiments,rnfrom Daid Duke to AndrewrnlOice Clay.” And Gene Santoro wroternin a July 1990 issue of the Nation regardingrn2 lave Crew’s arrest on obscenityrncharges: “Certainly the dramatic increasernin obseenitv prosecutions by thernBush Justice Department . . . is creatingrna chilly climate for any form of sexualrnexpression.” Even if we bu thesernarguments, why don’t they appl to Mr.rnVius?rnFor all their rhetoric about creativernfreedom, liberals are the most puritanicalrncensors of all: the’ vill defend to therndeath their right to silence aiuone whorndisagrees with them. The AGLU protestedrnWashington State’s law (passed inrnthe spring of 1992) against the sale ofrnalbums judged “erotic” to minors; yetrnthis guardian of civil riglits was nowherernto be found when country singer HollyrnDunn was attacked for her summerrn1991 release “Maybe I Mean Yes”rn(about a woman wlio reealuates her decisionrnto turn down a date), which wasrnmisconstrued by feminists as encouragingrndate rape. According to leftists,rnlyrics like Dunn’s “W hen I say no, Irnmean maybe, or mabe I mean yes”—rnunlike Ice-T’s lines “I’m ’bout to bustrnsome shots off/ I’m ’bout to dust somerncops off… / Die, Die, Die Pig, Die!”—rnpromote violence and therefore have nornplace on the current music scene. Unfortunately,rnDunn caved in to this pressurernand asked radio stations eerywhercrnto stop plaving her hit, e’en though itrnwas rising to the top of the countryrncharts. As Janet Scott Barlow noted,rn”When a sweet-looking and boringrncountry singer makes the front page ofrnUSA Today for being ‘insensitive tornwomen’ at the same time Madonna isrnscoring feminist points for wearing underwearrnas outerwear, you know thingsrnare out of hand,”rnEven Rich Bond—the RNG chairmanrnwho tried to kick Pat Buchanan out ofrnthe Republican Party—had to draw thernline somewhere. Bond wrote Viius a letterrnencouraging him in his efforts: “Isn’trnit ironic,” he asked, “that liberals cryrn’censorship’ when concerned policemenrnor mothers want to stop obscenity fromrnbeing aired, but none of these same activistsrnare anywhere to be found when arnsong promoting values contrary to theirsrnis blocked from the air? This is thernhypoerisv of institutional liberalismrnwhich wc face on a dail- basis.” Thernleft has in effect grown fat by having itsrncake and eating it, too. Free speech forrnpatholog’ but not for political dissent:rnthis is not what the First Amendment isrnall about. Barbara Ehrenreich is, inrnmore ways than one. Tipper Gore distortedrnby a fun-house mirror. Both wantrnto dictate America’s taste and morals;rnboth should mind their own business.rnAmericans neither need nor wantrngovernment agencies or corporate executivesrnto determine what they (or theirrnchildren) should or even can listenrnto. As Vans himself argues, “In order torntake America back, we need to regainrncontrol of her art forms and airwaves.rnOtherwise the battle is lost before itrnhas begun.”rnCopies of Steve Vaus’s song “WernMust Take America Back” may be obtainedrnby calling 1 – 8 0 0 – H I T – S 6 N G .rnChristine Haynes is editorial assistantrnfor Chronicles.rnTune In, Turn On,rnTurn Outrnby John f. MillerrnThe Lollapalooza Concert Festrn^ ^ T j lease visit all the booths, signrnX your name where needed, andrnlook up to the sky and enjoy yourself,”rnsaid Eddie Vedder, the lead singer ofrnPearl Jam, just before his group finishedrnperforming at the seven-band Lollapaloozarnconcert festival in Fairfax, Virginia,rnlast August. All day long the skyrnwas grey, and the rain-dampenedrnground, sloshed about by the feet of overrn22,000 alternative music fans, becamerna vast pool of mud. The soft, wet earthrnruined wardrobes as hordes of concertgoersrnplayed in the brown slop. Theyrnhad come to frolic and dance to their favoriternsongs. The show’s organizers,rnhowever, had intended to hold not arnconcert but a gigantic awareness-raisingrnseminar.rnThe combination of polities and musicrnis hip again—a mini-caravan of leftwingrnactivist groups accompanied thernbands on their sold-out North Americanrntour, which concluded last Septemberrn—and the soiled crowd in Fairfaxrnrepresented what many people are callingrna politically concerned youth counterculture.rnHuge murals decorated thernvenue, asking “WTi’ Do You Glory InrnOur Subjugation?” and insisting “ThernRuling Class Had Better Wise Up.”rnComparisons to the 1960’s were e’ervwhere,rnbut the polities of Lollapaloozarnturned Woodstock on its head. Performersrnencouraged voter registration,rnnot rebellion. They sold an attitude ofrndisenchantment to the supposedly alienated,rnyet the disenchantment was entirelyrnnonthreatening. It appeared inrnthe form of a $23 souvenir T-shirt thatrnread on the front, “Choices,” and on thernback, “9 out of 10 kids prefer crayons tornguns.” The musicians ordered adolescentrnangst into the voting booth. Censorshiprnwas a central point of interest,rnespecially for the vulgar lyricists whorncontinue to scream endlessly about thernFirst Amendment every time somebodyrnsuggests that they should tone downrntheir enthusiasms. Various demands forrnrights—for cattle, for weeds, for guncontrolrnlobbyists—circulated freelyrnabout the crowd, but the political wrathrn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn