TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider, who was famously called to testify before the U.S. Senate against the proposition to have warning labels be placed on albums deemed “offensive” to listeners, has once again spoken about the rise of political correctness in the social media era. Asked by Dane Studios at the 2023 New York Comic Con if he foresees a world where the censorship issue will be “fixed,” Dee said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “No, because if you really examine censorship way back… I sometimes feel sorry for conservatives because every time they move the line, they’ll go, ‘Okay, you can have this, but no more.’
“There was a time when, on a sitcom, couples couldn’t be in the same bed,” he continued. “Then they allowed them to be in the same bed. And then you get to ‘Friends’ and they’re openly talking about open relationships and having sex and things like that on an eight-o’clock Thursday-night TV show. You go back 50 years, that was inconceivable. So they keep readjusting — the Puritans, for lack of a better word — and we keep saying, ‘Well, we want more. We want more. We want more. We want more.’ That’s one part of it. The other part of it, and this is the weird part, is that the pendulum has gotten weird because it’s not so much conservatives now. We’re dealing with ultra-liberals who are the hypersensitive and censoring. The whole P.C. [politically correct] thing — ‘You can’t say that. You can’t say that. You’re canceled for that. You’re canceled for that.’ Because I said something that you disagree with? That’s as much censorship as this was on the part of conservatives.”
Addressing the United States’ regression on abortion rights, Snider added: “This is scary times. Women’s rights — all rights. They’re trying to push the clock back. Not to get all political here, but when they say, ‘Make America Great [Again],’ they’re talking about the ’50s. They’re talking about the fifties. There’s a town in North Carolina, and it’s Mayberry, after ‘The Andy Griffith Show’. It’s an exact replica. And Ted Koppel went there and did an interview, and 95 percent of the people there were Trumpers. I went political on this, but the point is it’s just really white, it’s ’50s, it’s the old days, man. And that’s not the good old days. So to have my granddaughter [living in] a time where she has no right to choose what happens to her own body? That mortifies me. And as far as the verbal censorship, we were just talking the other day about one of the greatest movies of all time, ‘Blazing Saddles’. What a great comedy. It could not be made. It could not be made. I just said to you guys, we keep pushing the line forward, but they’re pushing the line back, too. And the clock’s being turned back.”
Dee previously talked about censorship in a May 2022 interview with Spain’s Hellpress. At the time, he said: “In the ’80s, it was the Reagan era — Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher — and a very conservative world, and conservative people, puritan and religious people, were trying to stop rock and roll and [introduce] censorship of things. But now, over the years, it’s gone to the other side; it’s gone to the more liberal side. And the reasons [are], they’ll say, ‘We’re not being controlling. These words are hurtful and these words make people uncomfortable and these are not the nice things to say.’ And I understand that. We should always try to improve as a world. But when you start to look at history and challenge people for things that they did 10 years ago. I’m not talking about super-bad things — pedophilia; there’s no time limit on that. And they wanna change the past.
“You saw the movie ‘The Dirt’ [from] MÖTLEY CRÜE?! And there are a lot of people very upset that the movie showed women objectified. And they said, ‘It was the ’80s. That was what was happening. That happened.’
“You can’t change the past,” Dee added. “You can say, ‘Okay, we’re not gonna do that anymore.’ That’s what bothers me — when people try to wanna go back in time and somehow censor the past and change the past. We’ve gotta recognize that things happened — good things and bad things happened — and if we wanna make changes, make ’em moving forward, not going back and changing what happened.”
Snider went on to say that censorship crossed his mind while writing his latest solo album, “Leave A Scar”, but he pushed any fears of offending someone out of his head to get the record done.
“On [the] album, there’s a song called ‘In For The Kill’. The chorus is ‘In for the kill, fire at will.’ It’s using a gun metaphor and killing as a metaphor for achieving your goals and dreams. But my brain inside said, ‘Wait a minute. Can I write that?’ And my other brain, the bigger one, said, ‘Fuck yeah! Yes, you can. What the fuck? You’re Dee fucking Snider.’
“Just the idea that as a creative person, I was thinking about censoring. ‘Cause I’m a writer, I write screenplays and I just did my first novel, and when you write, never edit as you write. You write — just freely write — and then, after you [are done writing], then you go back and say, ‘Maybe I’ll edit some [of these things].’ But you should never be self-editing as you create. Creation should just come naturally and flow.”
In 1985, the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC),led by Tipper Gore, was trying to introduce a parental warning system that would label all albums containing “offensive material.” The system was to include letters identifying the type of objectionable cntent to be found in each album (e.g. O for occult themes, S for sex, D for drugs, V for violence, etc.),which resulted in the “Parental Advisory” sticker now found on new album releases with “questionable content.” The incongruous trio of Snider, Frank Zappa and John Denver were called before Congress to testify in defense of music.
In 2015, Snider wrote an Op-Ed story for HuffingtonPost.com about his experience, saying: “Thirty years later, everything and nothing has changed. The ultra-conservatives still want to dictate to the masses what they deem acceptable for the general public to see and hear. The record industry is a mere shadow of its former self (apt punishment for its cowardice),and CDs and vinyl albums have almost become ‘novelties’ in a world driven by downloads. Yet, the warning labels still adorn individual track listings and albums online.
“While initially my appearance at those Senate hearings was damaging to my career and reputation, long term it was beneficial, showing people for the first time that I was much more than a screaming ‘Raggedy Ann on acid’ and a fairly intelligent, sentient human being. Fortunately, I have gone on to better things.”
TWISTED SISTER called it quits in 2016 after completing a farewell 40th-anniversary tour.
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