Al and Tipper Gore Separating; Remembering Frank Zappa

You’d think that after forty years together, a couple would have worked out any differences. Well that’s not always true, and being in the limelight can often be a stressing point. The latest celeb couple to split is none other than former U.S. Vice President/ would-be President Al Gore and his wife Tipper. The Gores sent an email out this morning about their separation, stating that it was a mutual decision.

There’s little in the way of details, and the Gores are asking for privacy — I suppose as much as someone as famous as they are can have — but if you’re bored and want a retrospective of the couple, read the Washington Post, Politico and Fox News. As for a reason for the separation, some wags on Twitter are tweeting that it’s because Tipper discovered Frank Zappa and Prince music on Al’s iPod, or variations of that theme. Doesn’t mean anything to you? Here’s a quick bit of a Tipper Gore history lesson.

In the 1980s, Tipper Gore and her PMRC group (Parents Music Resource Center) took on what they felt were dirty lyrics in songs and music videos (on display thanks to the then rise of MTV). The PMRC included wives of some top politicians — surprisingly a lot of Republicans, given that the Gores are Democrats. The center of controversy was that the PMRC had a list called the Filthy Fifteen, referring to songs they considered back then to have suggestive and offensive lyrics. I’m guessing they had aneurysms listening to Trent Reznor’s “Closer.”

I remember someone telling me about how much now-deceased rock star Frank Zappa detested her because of the PMRC, calling her a cultural terrorist. He even released an album called “Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention,” a play on Zappa’s former band’s name, “Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.”

Zappa appeared on the TV show Crossfire in 1986, defending the 1st Amendment, which includes freedom of speech, and pointed out that he didn’t have to like certain words to defend the right to say them. A video clip of the full Crossfire appearance is below. If you tend towards the open-minded, try not to laugh too hard while the well-spoken Zappa — looking the most clean-cut I’ve ever seen him — hands the other three guys their balls as he defends, as he puts it, “words.” LMAO. Actually, listen at about 16:25, when Zappa says, “This argument basically is about the 7 dirty words that the FCC complains about.” Comedian George Carlin, also deceased, made those 7 dirty words famous in a skit of the same name. The video of that is below as well, followed by an explanation of the history of the skit.

WARNING: NSFW language in the 2nd video! If you’re at work, pretend you’re sick and go to an Internet cafe. Or put on headphones.