Senator GORE. When you responded to the Chairman a minute
ago, you said there is no way you can tell if the record has
pornographic material or material glorifying violence. In fact, some of
the material has an album cover design which will indicate it, but
some does not, is that correct?
Mrs. GORE. That is correct. Some of the album covers are very explicit. In fact, they look like they should be in Playboy or Penthouse, some of them, and they are in the record bins available to young children. But others, you can not tell.
I bought the "Purple Rain" album for our 11-year-old and I did not know that "Darling Nikki" was on it, and I felt that it was inappropriate for her and her 8-and 6-year-old sisters to hear a song describing a girl masturbating in a hotel lobby with a magazine.
I had no warning. In fact, all I know was that Prince was the new creative teen idol on the scene and had just received a Grammy Award. So I would have appreciated it if I had known that before purchase.
Senator GORE. Well, I appreciate that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Rockefeller.
Senator ROCKEFELLER. It does not matter to me who answers this question, but there is a difference between the material that Mr. Ling presented and the videotapes that we viewed earlier. For example, I thought that the presentation that your particular panel made was much more to the point than the previous presentation. It was not only graphic and shocking, but there was not any question as to where to draw the line.
If something is graphic, does that cross the line? Does it have to be explicit? I understand, that 80 record companies have agreed to conform to the labeling principle.
Where should the line be drawn as to what is fantasy, which is disturbing to a parent and yet is not as dangerous as something which is graphic, explicit, and clearly dangerous to teens and pre-teens with vulnerable, unformed values?
One cannot stop everything. The companies, you are saying, are going to have to make the judgment. In your conversations with them, how do they define the line that should not be crossed?
Mrs. GORE. In our conversations with Mr. Gortikov, he has made it clear that this is a difficult area. We suggested that the industry appoint an industry-wide panel of some consumer representatives one time to discuss the set of criteria that would be used.
It would not be a list of words. It would be simply a policy statement, such as, we will be sensitive to lyrics that talk about graphic brutality toward women, violence, rape, explicit sexuality. We believe that the record companies and those individuals within those companies are best left to make those subjective decisions. There will always be areas of gray, but what we want from them is an affirmation that they will be sensitive to this concern as they individually apply a warning label within their individual companies.
We need for them to be able to get together and say, we will do this in good faith, we will go back to our individual companies, we will make those subjective decisions and judgments ourselves. That is what we are asking them to do.