The most entertaining part of CNN's State Of The Union is often the tail end when host Jake Tapper presents cartoons he has drawn to illustrate stories in the news. And today he did not disappoint with an interesting angle on the death of Prince, namely the Tipper Gore connection. He reminded us via illustrations that Tipper Gore's once notorious Parents Music Resource Center came about in reaction to Tipper and her daughter listening to a Prince album.
JAKE TAPPER: This weekend as we all mourn the beloved rock star Prince and contemplate how doves are indeed now crying, it's worth remembering one of the most intriguing roles this maestro played was in politics, specifically in December 1984 when eleven year old Karenna Gore asked her mom Tipper, wife of then senator Al Gore, to buy her the new album Purple Rain. They put it on and soon enough came track #5, Darling Nikki. Purple Rain was immediately confiscated from the Gore children and by the next year Tipper and some other Washington women had formed the Parents Music Resource Center. Advocating for parental advisory labels on some albums with adult content which some stores such as Walmart then refused to sell. The PMRC put out what they called the "Filthy Fifteen," the most objectionable songs including Cindy Lauper's She-Bop, Twisted Sister's We're Not Going to Take It, and the number one on the Filthy Fifteen, Prince's Darling Nikki. It was a brutal chapter in the culture wars at the time, though in retrospect both the controversial songs and the warning label sticker may seem like not that big a deal thirty years later. Prince of course remains a huge deal. Rest in peace, Your Purpleness.
One problem for both Tipper and Al Gore is while the PMRC might have played well to Tennessee voters, they later needed to prove how hip of a couple they were when faced with the prospect of a presidential run by Al in 2000. Reason describes how the couple attempted to make themselves appear hip:
In 1985, the Senate wasted its time and our money by holding a hearing on the dread menace of dirty lyrics and the whole bang-the-gong medley of backward masking, rock-induced suicide, and sexual promiscuity. Just a few years later, Al and Tipper would reinvent themselves as diehard Grateful Dead fans, the better to look hip while campaigning with Bill and Hillary Clinton (another couple of revanchist baby boomers who burned a hell of a lot time in the 1990s attacking broadcast TV and basic cable as impossibily violent and desperately in need of regulation).
Exit question: Does Jake Tapper draw his illustrations while under the influence of Colt 45?