Is music *really* the new pornography?
August 27, 2005 8:26 AM   Subscribe

What, exactly, was Pat Robertson's reasoning when he called music "the new pornography"?

The quote "music is the new pornography" pops up now & then online. It's usually attributed to Pat Robertson. I'd be curious to see this quote in context — both to get the exact wording and to see if he explained the obscure reasoning behind this seemingly bizarre statement.

This question was, of course, occasioned by my recent acquisition of and incessant listening to "Twin Cinema" by the New Pornographers. It's a good 'un.
posted by Johnny Assay to Grab Bag (15 answers total)
I believe you're thinking of Jimmy Swaggart, not Pat Robertson. (I COULD BE WRONG)
posted by null terminated at 8:39 AM on August 27, 2005

Robertson's reasoning was probably no deeper than, "it subverts the Biblical power structure by ignoring it," so he has to find a way to vilify it. I guarantee you he has no Christian principle for the idea, as the man's not even a Christian.

OK, snark aside, controls on sexuality are some of the most powerful weapons the church has in its group-forming arsenal. They are very, very threatened by anything that doesn't strictly conform to their set of rules regarding sex, chastity, courtship, etc. Much modern music couldn't care less about a fundamentalist "Christian's" idea of mating practices. Thus, Pat sees it as pornography, where "pornography" means nothing more than "sexual behavior I don't approve of." He does this to let the flock know it is a violation of his rules of community.
posted by teece at 8:41 AM on August 27, 2005

Best answer: "Even Carl’s explanation of where the name came from was after the fact. “I didn’t find out until recently that it actually had some kind of meaning,” he admits. “[Televangelist] Jimmy Swaggart wrote a book called Music: The New Pornography. Holy shit, it fits so perfectly. Ever since, I tell people ‘Jimmy Swaggart said music was the new pornography. The New Pornographers are merely musicians.’ It’s completely innocent, and pooh-poohs people who say ‘what an offensive name you have.’"
posted by null terminated at 8:41 AM on August 27, 2005

whats pat robertson's reason for doing anything, other than being a robot commanded by money and power and a desire to maim all that isn't him?
posted by yonation at 10:10 AM on August 27, 2005

Man, anybody got an MP3 of Swaggart or Robertson calling it the New Pornography? That'd be great to have as a sample...
posted by klangklangston at 11:37 AM on August 27, 2005


Pat Robertson's reasoning
posted by Miko at 12:16 PM on August 27, 2005

Best answer: I can't find an mp3, but Swaggart apparently said this on June 1st, 1986.
posted by null terminated at 2:01 PM on August 27, 2005

klangklangston: Not exactly what you're looking for, but there's an mp3 here of Jack Van Impe calling rock & roll "filthy, lewd, lascivious junk [...] it isn't just the lyrics it's the beat." It was sampled on the Kleptones' Night at the Hip Hopera.
posted by strikhedonia at 2:03 PM on August 27, 2005

You mean all this time I've been downloading pornography?
posted by Soliloquy at 2:06 PM on August 27, 2005 [1 favorite]

Ironic considering Jerry lee Louis and Mickey Gilley are Swaggart's cousins. Check out Hellfire by Nick Tosches.
posted by captainscared at 2:51 PM on August 27, 2005

Thanks, strikhedonia! I fell in love with that sample when I heard the Kleptones use it, and it's a pleasure to have the original now.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:53 PM on August 27, 2005

You mean all this time I've been downloading music?

Faint of Butt: That same sample was also used on Pizzaman's "Sex in the Streets" and DJ Shadow's "Devil's Advocate", and undoubtedly a few other dance/hip hop tunes.
posted by arto at 7:03 PM on August 27, 2005

"What is the truth about rock music? Music is a powerful and perhaps the most powerful medium in the world. Music. Plato says when the music of a society changes, the whole society will change. Aristotle, a contemporary of Plato's, says when music changes there should be laws to govern the nature and the character of that music. Lenin says that the best and the quickest way to undermine any society is through its music...Music, ladies and gentleman, is the gift of God it was given to man to offer praises to God and to lift us up to him and to exalt Him to touch the tender recesses of our hearts and of our minds. Satan has taken music and he has counterfeited it, convoluted it, twisted it, exploited it and now he's using it to hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer a message into the minds and the lifestyles of this generation."

The Incredible PWEI vs The Moral Majority

This sample really needs to be heard to fully appreciate the cadence of the speech, and the segue into mad sociopolitical beats.

I don't know the original source - and I googled for it - and I should know off the top of my head, besides. (I'm so ashamed. *turns in college radio dork badge*)

I'm going to guess Swaggart.

I don't care if it's uncool: I fucking love that CD. It just came out too early or too late to do any good. And it's good to see Pop Will Eat Itself online with a robust web presence finally. I hadn't noticed until now.
posted by loquacious at 3:55 AM on August 28, 2005

Maybe it's just because I'm getting old, but I find much of today's music, and other popular culture, extremely distasteful. (By the way, I loved rock'n'roll in the '50s and '60s.) I'm glad not to be a parent.

In Martha Bayles' Washington Post op-ed today, she has the same sort of concerns I do : "Now Showing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Americans: Exporting the Wrong Picture."

"This massive export of popular culture has been accompanied by domestic worries about its increasingly coarse and violent tone -- worries that now go beyond the polarized debates of the pre-9/11 culture war. For example, a number of prominent African Americans, such as Bill Stephney, co-founder of the rap group Public Enemy, have raised concerns about the normalization of crime and prostitution in gangsta and 'crunk' rap. And in April 2005, the Pew Research Center reported that "roughly six-in-ten [Americans] say they are very concerned over what children see or hear on TV (61%), in music lyrics (61%), video games (60%) and movies (56%)."
posted by Carol Anne at 6:00 AM on August 28, 2005

Thanks for the Bayles op-ed, Carol Anne.
posted by russilwvong at 11:14 PM on August 28, 2005

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