DEE SNIDER Says 'Censorship Has Always Existed': 'It's Never Gone Away'
July 20, 2021
In a new interview with "The Chuck Shute Podcast", 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, once again spoke about the rise of political correctness in the social media era. Asked for his opinion of the current state of "censorship," including the cancel culture, which is the idea that someone, usually a celebrity or a public figure, whose ideas or comments are considered offensive should be boycotted, Dee said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Censorship has always existed. People have gotta understand that. It's never gone away. The first time somebody said or did something, somebody else said, 'You can't do that.' Trust me. Throughout time, creatives, artists — people that push back on censorship and try to push the boundaries — and the people who were behind censorship used to be very puritanical; they would give an inch and they'd go, 'You can't go here,' and then the creatives kept pushing, kept pushing, kept pushing. That's our job, as creatives, is to push, and the censors, their job, apparently, is to push back. And they keep drawing lines and we keep stepping over the line. It goes on and on and on and on. The odd thing is the censorship never went away. The pendulum has swung, and it's gone from being a right wing conservative, puritanical thing to a liberal, hypersensitive social consciousness. And not that I'm not. And you can't say that because that hurts a feeling. This makes people feel put upon, and this is insulting. It's coming very much from the left now, which is very odd… In an effort to be kinder and gentler, we've become just [makes puking sound]. So, it never went away. The odd change is that it's coming more from the left than it is from the right now."
Last year, Dee told Canada's The Metal Voice that a movie like "Blazing Saddles", the 1974 American satirical Western black comedy film directed by Mel Brooks "could not be made today — it literally could not be made, because it would offend too many people.
"I remember seeing that movie the first time in a theater full of African-Americans in a black neighborhood in a black theater; me and my brother were the only two white people," he continued. "And I was laughing my ass off. And my friend said, 'Stop laughing. We're gonna get our asses kicked.' And I looked around the theater, and everybody was laughing. I said, 'Everybody's laughing.' It's funny. Funny is funny.
"It's odd, because conservatism was ultra-right back in the '80s. Now it's shifted toward the left, where you've got the liberals saying, 'Oh, you can't say that, and you can't say that, and you can't say that.'
"So, yeah, [censorship] still around, it's still an issue. But we've just gotta continue to push back and fight."
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 content 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.