Wondering Whatever Happened to…For February 1


Sitting around wondering whatever happened to the “Filthy 15” while pondering…

You Want to Talk About Double Standards? In December in Akron, OH, Daniel Kovacevic was the subject of a brutal verbal tirade from Deone Slater on a sidewalk in a busy neighborhood. Kovacevic was so in fear, reports state, that he called police in to get Slater away from him. Police arrived on the scene and did speak to Slater, who was yelling profanities at Kovacevic…because Kovacevic wanted to walk in front of Slater’s business, a barbershop, while carrying a loaded rifle slung on his shoulder.

While Ohio is an open carry state – even to the point of being able to openly carry WITHOUT a license – Slater was understandably bothered that Kovacevic chose to do it in front of his business and really didn’t understand why police had an issue with his displeasure. “They (police) asked me why do I have a problem,” Slater said. “He’s a threat to me and my people. He’s a threat to me.”

If you hadn’t figured it out, Slater is black while Kovacevic is white and Slater believes this played into police reaction, which they deny. Still, the state of Ohio is the one that saw police shoot to death a 12-year old Tamir Rice for having a toy gun (among other superb examples of police work in the state), but in this instance decided to speak to a business owner about being upset over a guy walking around in front of his place of business carrying a rifle and running off his customers. Double standards, anyone?

What, You Contributed How Much? OK, Go Ahead and Kill Kids… – In the state of Florida, the stupidity normally runs towards criminals running into the swamp and being eaten by alligators or a bicyclist who shoots himself to death because he’s carrying his gun on him, but this one takes the cake. After the Republican Party of Florida was partially the beneficiary of $200,000 in political contributions from Tenet Healthcare, state officials dropped quality standards for surgical procedures for children with heart defects despite those procedures being in place for nearly four decades without being questioned.

Tenet Healthcare is a for-profit hospital that was under review because many tests and services for pediatric cardiology weren’t being performed at the hospitals owned by the company. As such, the Tenet-owned hospitals were unable to maintain a proficiency in heart operations for children, even on some babies younger than six months. A doctor from Johns Hopkins University suggested that the Tenet hospitals stop performing surgeries until their performance could improve. The hospital system ignored them.

Since those Tenet-run hospitals didn’t conform to the state’s standards for children’s heart surgeries, the state got involved. The state also quickly closed their investigations after $200,000 in campaign contributions were given to Governor Rick Scott’s political action committee, Let’s Get to Work, and the Republican Party of Florida. Of course, the politicos in charge claim that there is no “pay for play” in action in this case.

You might think that protection of children might be something that everyone would be interested in. Apparently not in the state of Florida…

For SHAME, Woman! Wear The Proper Clothes! – In Kansas, apparently a lawmaker is more interested in what a woman might wear when she appears in front of his committee instead of what the committee’s work might entail.

Kansas State Senator Republican Mitch Holmes instituted an 11-point dress code that dictated what was an “acceptable form of dress for women appearing in front of his committee.” Holmes, who said he thought about putting in something for men but eventually decided that “they didn’t need any guidance,” is the chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and says he wrote the instructions “because provocatively dressed women are a distraction.”

Naturally, the pervert Senator caught some flak for these “guidelines.” A fellow Senator, Democrat Laura Kelly, plainly said, “Oh for crying out loud, what century is this?” Another female Senator and the ranking Democrat on the Holmes committee, Oletha Faust-Goudeau, stated, “In my 13 years in the Legislature, that’s the first time I’ve ever read anything like that.”

After several days of being the laughingstock of the Kansas Senate, Holmes was finally shamed into removing the rules from his committee. “My failure to clearly specify that all conferees, regardless of gender, should strive to present themselves professionally is unacceptable. I apologize and meant no offense. I have decided to retract the conferee guidelines,” Holmes said in a written statement. He has refused any further statement on the subject.

Perhaps now the Senator can get about the business of rescuing Kansas’ rapidly escalating budget deficit rather than worrying about seeing some woman’s cleavage.

Perhaps A Remedial Course in the First Amendment Is in Order – Last week, the University of Missouri assistant professor who called for “some muscle” to rough up a student journalist during a campus protest in the fall was charged with a misdemeanor assault charge. Almost as quickly, the professor was able to avoid prosecution by agreeing to complete 20 hours of community service and not violate the law for the next year.

The problems began at the University of Missouri on November 9 when professor Melissa Click, who had joined several protestors who were protesting the delay that the school’s leadership was taking in its investigation into several racial matters on the campus, aggressively approached two student journalists who were working for the campus newspaper. Click allegedly grabbed one of the student journalists and called for “some muscle” to forcibly remove them from reporting on the scene of the protests on campus.

It must also be added here that Click is a professor of communications on the campus and had a courtesy appointment with…the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, which she not surprisingly resigned after violating that little thing called “freedom of the press.”

Although the legal case is apparently solved for Click, the school still has to decide what to do about her position. There is a tremendous uproar from the state Legislature to have her tenure revoked, but there is an almost equal crowd that is willing to accept the apologies that she has made and move on. At the minimum, she should have to take a review course in Journalism 101 and maybe keep that “freedom of the press” thing in mind next time around.

Now the answer to the question…whatever happened to the “Filthy 15?”

TipperGore                            PeopleMagazine1985

Three decades ago, there was a movement afoot that attempted to crush the rise of “shocking” lyrics found in pop, rock and metal music of that era. Led by then-Senator Al Gore’s wife Tipper (we never really found out who else was with Tipper in the group, just that she had a “legion of followers”), the Parents Music Resource Center railed against all forms of music that it felt violated certain standards that it set (and, once again, there was no indication of how these standards came about). They called the songs the “worst of the worst,” the worst offenders, the “Filthy 15” and the PMRC even went to Congress testifying about how “this type” of music was destroying the youth of that day.

The PMRC, as they were known, wanted to introduce a ratings system, much like what was done with movies since 1968 with the MPAA film ratings system. Instead of PG, R or X, however, the PMRC wanted something a bit different – D/A for drug/alcohol references, O for occult, V for violence and, sure, X for profanity or sexual references. After a hearing in front of Congress didn’t get the ratings system that they wanted, the PMRC was able to run the long con on the music industry that they WOULD be able to get their ratings system through eventually. The two parties ended up settling for the “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” sticker that we’ve come to ignore for the past 30 years.


To look back at the “Filthy 15” today, you would really have to chuckle. Metal bands such as Judas Priest, Motley Crue, W.A.S.P., Mercyful Fate, Def Leppard and Twisted Sister (yes, the song that Donald Trump currently is using in his Presidential campaign, “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” was a part of the “Filthy 15”) were easy targets for violent or occult references, but some of the others were comical. The Mary Jane Girls (“In My House” for being sexually explicit), Cyndi Lauper (“She Bop” an ode to masturbation) and Madonna (“Dress You Up” for being sexually explicit in probably what was her most non-sexual song ever) all earned the ire of Gore and her coven of mommies whose ears hurt when they heard these songs.

It seems the ladies had a particular wing of the PMRC built for the iconic Prince. Not only was he there for “Darling Nikki,” he also earned his place on the list with Scottish songbird Sheena Easton (“Sugar Walls” was written by Prince) and his protégé Vanity (“Strap On ‘Robbie Baby’”). Yes, if you couldn’t figure it out, it was for profane or sexual content that these songs made the PMRC list.


The two gentlemen above (along with musician John Denver, oddly enough) were at the forefront of testifying against Gore and the witch hunt from the PMRC. Noted musician Frank Zappa, while not a member of the “Filthy 15,” eloquently testified to Congress against the censorship of music, while singer Dee Snider of Twisted Sister said at the time that the music was no different than what kids had done throughout history…finding a way to rebel against their parents’ staid world. Unfortunately, Zappa would pass away in 1993 from colon cancer; Snider still is on the road, performing with Twisted Sister and as a solo act, and he admits to listening to everything that his children do to make sure that it is appropriate for them to hear, only censoring in the most extreme cases (he notes the Tenacious D song “Fuck Her Gently” was not appropriate for his eight year old daughter in an interview).

So what happened to some of the other “Filthy 15?” Vanity, for her part, never quite had the career that she might have had if she had stayed under Prince’s tutelage (she was supposed to be the female lead in Purple Rain, but had a falling out with Prince before filming began; the role would then fall to another Prince acolyte, Apollonia). The album that her PMRC greatest hit appeared on, Wild Animal, wasn’t exactly memorable and, in 1985, she posed for Playboy. In the early 1990s, she shed the stage name Vanity (returning to her birth name), found Christianity and became a minister. Regarding her days as “Vanity,” she said to Rolling Stone, “I was young and irresponsible, a silly woman laden with sin, not caring for anything except fame and fortune and self.”

The same is also true for Blackie Lawless, the founder and leader of W.A.S.P. Their song “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” was one of the biggest bombshells of the PMRC and Lawless’ photograph – of him with a circular saw blade protruding from his groin as he played bass onstage – was waved frequently during the hearings in Washington, D. C. in 1985. Lawless, however, now is a born-again Christian and states that he hasn’t played the song – either live or otherwise – in more than a decade.

Others, however, are unapologetic for the music they created. Easton commented to Billboard that “parents have the right to filter the content that their children are exposed to. If parents felt that “Sugar Walls” was inappropriate…they were well within their rights. Adults, on the other hand, are free to choose what they want.” Prince noted that the “times were different back then” in saying, “I wouldn’t stand out today if I were brand new.”

Finally, there are those that viewed that “Parental Advisory” label as a badge of honor. King Diamond, the vocalist for Mercyful Fate who went on to form his own eponymous band, stated, “The sticker never served as a warning, but more as a stamp of approval that kids ended up looking for in record stores.”  Vince Neil of Motley Crue echoed Diamond, saying, “Once you put that sticker on, that album took off. Those kids wanted it even more.

And as for the PMRC and Tipper Gore? The organization doesn’t even exist anymore and Gore separated from her husband in 2010. She continues to be a political advocate, this time for the LGBT community and in support of AIDS research. Meanwhile, no one pays any attention to the sticker on the CDs anymore and songs such as Big Sean’s “I Don’t Fuck with You,” Tove Lo’s “Talking Body” (where she sings “we fuck for life”) and other songs are readily played on the radio nowadays with little thought about their lyrical content.

Are the University of Missouri’s Issues Indicative of a Bigger Problem?

I have been watching the recent spate of news out of the University of Missouri with a great deal of interest but not much conclusion. This is something that bothers me because, usually after I study an issue for a period of time, I can normally come down on one side or the other in the discussion (this doesn’t mean, however, that it is set in concrete). With the current situation at Missouri the more I read, the more confusion sets in on my thoughts.

For those that have come a bit late to the story, the situation at the University of Missouri that many think exploded over the last two weeks has actually been simmering for some time. Earlier this semester on the Columbia, MO, campus, the school’s student government president stated that he was targeted with a racial slur by someone on campus. A campus group, the Legion of Black Collegians, followed up the student government president’s accusation in adding that they, too, had been targeted by people (assumedly white) who used racial slurs against their group. Then there was a swastika, drawn in fecal matter, found in a dorm bathroom.

Now, those situations are all serious incidences and require a good deal of investigation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that there was much sympathy for the Mizzou administration to taking the time to examine the issues. During the school’s homecoming back on October 10, a group of protesters actually surrounded the vehicle of school president Tim Wolfe to the point of interrupting the parade, questioning him about the investigation. According to local television reports, Wolfe’s vehicle actually bumped into one of the protestors and he didn’t interact with them during the parade or at any time following the altercation.

As to be expected, it pretty much went to Hell after that. A graduate student, Jonathan Butler, started a hunger strike with the intent to force Wolfe out of his position at the school. This didn’t have an effect on the school’s administration but, once the Tigers football team stated they would not practice nor play until Wolfe was removed from his position (with a game scheduled for this Saturday against Brigham Young University at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City set to pull in $3 million), the writing was on the wall. Earlier this week, Wolfe resigned his position and the school’s chancellor also said he would step down within the next few months.

The resulting turmoil has spread across the United States to other college campuses and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Early this morning, the Dean of Students at Claremont McKenna College in California, Mary Spellman, resigned after standing and being photographed with students dressed as Mexicans to celebrate Halloween. At Yale University, two weeks of protests regarding a “white girls only” party at a fraternity on the campus culminated in a massive march against racism on the campus. Ithaca College in New York, Smith College in Massachusetts and Guilford College in North Carolina have also felt the rumblings of racial unrest and protests.

Now it isn’t like there aren’t some issues with relations between young people that are of different cultures. Black students have discussed how their white classmates – or even their roommates – have made racially insensitive statements around them. Those black students have also discussed how they feel they are viewed on the campus. It even goes into the Hispanic community, as the situation in California demonstrates. There is also something problematic in that the group at the University of Missouri, Concerned Students 1950, draws part of their name from the year the first person of color was admitted to the university. The question is, however, is it blatant racism or just something that is inherent from upbringing?

The University of Missouri is estimated to be 80% white, with blacks making up approximately 8% of the student population (no breakdown as to the remainder of the student body). With a few exceptions, this is a breakdown that you would probably find at many public colleges and universities and, to be honest, it may be worse at private institutions. When I went to college long ago, I went to Butler University, a private school in Indianapolis that was predominantly white and, as far as I know, is still that way today. There wasn’t, however, a base of racism that ran through the school (at least to my knowledge).

Some of the incidences brought up by black students at colleges and universities across the country do have some serious racial overtones and/or problems. Being asked about how a black person styles their hair, asking a black person to teach them the latest dance moves or even state that black people’s skin is greasy because slavery made their ancestors “sweat a lot”…these are all examples of some of the idiotic questions or statements posed to black students. What these statements demonstrate isn’t inherently racism as much as it is pure stupidity.

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, though. For the most part, when 17-18 year olds get together at a college or university, they aren’t well-versed in the ways of the world. They aren’t educated as to the diversity of the world and how to actually treat people who aren’t just like you (here’s a thought, how about the Golden Rule?). Finally, they are pretty stupid to begin with; this is the reason for college is to further educate yourself about the world that is around you.

While some of these instances may be racial in nature, there are some problems on the other side also. Reportedly journalists looking to report on the protests at the University of Missouri were harassed, kicked out and generally not allowed to either videotape the proceedings or what some of the protest leaders were saying. In one particular instance, a student with the Missouri school newspaper has filed a complaint against one of the professors who was leading the Concerned Student 1950 protest, who is allegedly videotaped calling for “muscle” to eject the student reporter and his videographer from the protest.

Furthermore, there are questions as to the validity of some of the alleged situations. Part of the reason that there was so much time taken in the University of Missouri situation (that investigation – and its length – was a major complaint by Concerned Student 1950) is that there is little evidence to investigate. A student who is the victim of a racial slur thrown from a moving vehicle is going to be difficult to investigate, unless the student has a photographic memory and/or has their cellphone video running (although racism is problematic, the knee-jerk reaction completely to the other side isn’t logical either). The “poop swastika” situation, short of taking DNA samples from the entirety of the Mizzou campus (something that would violate pretty much every privacy law on the books), isn’t going to be solved quickly.

One of the problems overall is that there is still racism in the United States today. Despite what many might want to think, there is still an ugly part of the citizenry that believes people of a different ilk are beneath them and should be treated as less than human. There is still the problem of de facto racism, where it isn’t blatant but is ingrained in the psyche and practices of a particular segment of society. Does it make it right? No, but you have to recall that, even up until the mid-1970s, there was blatant racism going on in both the North and the South (busing in Boston comes to mind). Just because a black man was elected President of the United States twice doesn’t mean that “racism is over.”

On the other side, there are some things that are going to take time if they are to be rectified. Those people that “clutch a purse tighter when I come by?” Those people who ask inappropriate questions regarding your ethnicity? Those people who may shy away from you because they grew up in a 99.9% white country town? Those things aren’t going to change overnight…hell, it may not change until late in this century at the earliest. Change doesn’t happen immediately; for it to firmly take hold it has to be, like a science experiment, performed over and over again with the same outcome occurring.

There is also a problem on college campuses in the fact that they aren’t a bastion of open thought anymore. The ability to be racist isn’t something that should be protected, don’t get me wrong, but the examination of issues regarding race, religion and other areas is something that has traditionally been a discussion point at colleges and universities. The oversensitivity of one or several parties on a college campus – and their overwrought demands to “make it stop” – is something that seriously inhibits free thought, something we should strive for as humans.

Furthermore, I have problems with protesters getting no response from administrators but, as soon as an athletic team threatens to boycott a game, then the change comes rapidly. A sports team shouldn’t have an undue influence on who is in the leadership of the school. What does it say about that leadership if, recognizing that they’ll lose millions of dollars if that team doesn’t play their game, they knuckle under?

The turmoil regarding these situations – wherever they are either in the United States or in the world – are continuing to roil and it doesn’t appear that it will stop anytime soon. I am still on the sidelines, however, as there are way too many moving parts – and changing stories – to be able to draw a firm conclusion as of yet. Perhaps will some more time and the completion of some of these investigations (which SHOULD be given time to come to fruition rather than complaints about their slow pace), those of us on the outside looking in might be able to determine who is right.