A Study of Gothic Subculture

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Deseret News
September 28, 1997
By Douglas D. Palmer, Staff Writer

Library Opts Not to Pull 'Pornographic' CDs

The Salt Lake County Library Board voted unanimously Monday afternoon to deny a Taylorsville woman's [the notably anti-Goth Nancy Rector] request to pull two compact discs she deemed pornographic from the library system's collection.

Meeting at Sandy Library, the board received a letter from a board-appointed committee that studied Nancy Rector's concerns about the discs, "Antichrist Superstar" by shock-rock group Marilyn Manson, and "Downward Spiral" by Nine Inch Nails, an alternative rock band. After discussing the matter about 20 minutes, the board voted to uphold its staff's decision not to pull the CDs from the library collection. Basically, some board members, including Lohra Miller, Nancy Sanchez and Ronald L. Fox, said they personally find the materials offensive. But the board said that, based on the advice of legal counsel, the CDs do not fit into the legal definition of pornography.

"We listened to them (the CDs). We read the lyrics. We were advised by legal counsel, and we decided that, in our opinion it is not pornography," said Miller, who Friday was elected the board's new chairwoman.

Rector, who met with the board nearly a month ago, said after the meeting Monday that she is "appalled" by the board's decision. "I can't believe that they made that kind of choice and the reasons given for the decision," said Rector, who is founder of A.N.C.H.O.R.S. - Adolescents Needing Choices in the Handling of Occult Related Situations. She said she feels the materials, which include a picture on the outside of one CD of a sexual act, "blatantly (violate) pornography laws. I don't believe any song where they sing about sodomy, rape and body excrement has any artistic value, not to mention the picture of (the sexual act). I don't believe the public is aware of what is in this music. Once they find out, I believe they will agree with me." [The fact that parents react how she has reacted is exactly the sort of thing that makes Marilyn Manson so popular. Rebellious teens will often do anything to shock authority figures, including buying these CD's, dressing like him, behaving extremely, etc.] Rector, who said the CDs were a strong influence in her own two teens getting involved in the Gothic movement, vowed to continue to campaign against such materials.

The legal counsel referred to by Miller is Marty Verhoef, a deputy Salt Lake County attorney and the board's attorney. James D. Cooper, who served as board chairman until a month ago, made the motion for the board action, which was seconded Tuesday by Nancy Sanchez, a board member for seven years. Cooper's motion encompassed continuing board support for its library materials selection policy and library materials borrowing policy. Basically, the borrowing policy states that parents bear the responsibility for controlling what their young children read, view or listen to in materials checked out from county libraries. A letter prepared by Miller and distributed at the meeting says the board "unanimously felt that these items were distasteful and definitely inappropriate listening materials for young adults. However, upon careful consideration, we felt that the items are not 'pornography' nor do they legally constitute 'material harmful to a minor.'" The written statement noted that the board examined a number of criteria. "Although certain lyrics allude to sexual conduct, such references are vague and often indecipherable from the music," the statement reads.