The “Grammy’s” and Today’s Music: A Reflection of America’s Rotting Culture
By Gene Hogberg
PASTOR GENERAL’S REPORT, MARCH 2, 1984
On February 28, pop-and-rock sensation Michael Jackson set a “Grammy” record by finishing first in eight categories in the record industry’s 26th annual awards ceremony. Jackson is such a sensation that his “smash” album, “Thriller,” could sell as high as 35 million copies worldwide this year. No solo album has ever sold more than 12 million.
For the awards ceremony, Jackson was dressed gaudily as usual, in a spangled uniform with epaulets and sequined right glove. His high, squeaky voice showed that he would never pass first-year speech class at Ambassador Colleqe. (I can see it now: “Michael, you have to lower your voice and speak-out! Repeat after me: Up, up, up, around, around, around, down, down, DOWN !” )
However, for sheer abominability a group performing a number from a certain stage-show album stole the show. Five men came out dressed in “drag” (women’s clothes). Four of them receded, with the fifth proceeding into a solo. Dressed in evening gown, make-up, the works, the baritone boomed out the words, “I am what I am.” In the song, he defiantly defended his right to be and act the way he appeared. Afterwards, the audience applauded, naturally–confirming the truism of Proverbs 28:4: “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked.”
Much can be said of the wickedness of today’s rock–and especially rock- video–music. The television critic of the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, Michael Dougan, wrote an exceptional piece in his paper’s January 12 edition:
“One of the worst things about MTV, the rock video channel shown on most local cable outlets, is its rejection–through song lyrics and visual symbolism–of qualities like warmth, humor or interpersonal affection. Alienation is the operative mood and, considering most viewers are at an impressionable age, that’s not healthy.
“Now the National Coalition on Television Violence…has quantified the problem. After monitoring MTV for an unspecified period of time, NCTV has issued a report claiming more than half – of MTV’s videos “featured violence or strongly suggested violence.” NCTV counted an average of 18 instances of violant or hostile” action each hour, with 35 percent of the violence being “of a sexual nature.”
“Rock video’s combination of lyrics and images adds a new dimension to television violence,” said NCTV project director Phil Galli. “Many of the videos added violent imagery that wasn’t even present in the lyrics.” NCTV Chairman Thomas Radecki had – his own objections: “The message is that violence is normal and OK, that hostile sexual relations between men and women are common and acceptable, that heroes actively engaged in torture and murrder of others are fun..”…
Among the … examples from the NCTV report: “‘Fight Fire With Fire,’ by Kansas, features slave torture and sadistic women. ‘Murder Weapon,’ by T-Bone Burnett, features the stalking of a woman to kill her with a gun. Golden Earring’s ‘Twilight Zone’ features slow-motion murder and repeated interrogation torture. MTV has women boiled alive while other women are portrayed as cold-hearted and enjoying torturing men….”
Nor was NCTV enamored by the names of some rock groups, including Three Teens Kill Four, Sadist Faction, Pseudo Sadists, Rash of Stabbinhs and …Dead Kennedys. (It’s interesting to note that two of these titles–“Three Teens Kill Four” and “Rash of Stabbings”–are clearly inspired by newspaper headlines.) … It’s not that everyone who watches MTV is bound for rape and mayhem, of course, but the desensitization issue is a real matter of concern.”
It has always amused me a bit that some outside church groups have devoted so much energy to try to decipher alleged diabolical backward messages (“backward masking”) in rock songs. Such plotting has undoubtedly occurred. But this misses the much bigger picture: There is plenty of harm ”up front” in what young people plainly hear and see. Ours is a society increasingly “without natural affection” (I1 Tim. 3:3).]]>