You’ve seen VH1, you either remember, or have seen reenactments starring Dee Snyder thereof, the Parents Music Resource Center hearings of the mid-80s, where a group of Congressmen’s wives (what a sentence!) tried to enact a stricter music ratings system, and how it didn’t work out too great for said wives, and how Frank Zappa yelled at everybody, but what you mayhap weren’t in knowingment of was that John Denver gave the sweetest, sincerest, John Muir-iest testimony of all time before the same committee! A of all, how much does using John Denver to testify on behalf of the Filthy Fifteen exemplify the exhortation to be as cunning as serpents and as harmless as doves?? B of all, LITTLE BUDDY!
Here’s part of the speech he gave:
I have had in my experience two encounters with this sort of censorship. My song “Rocky Mountain High” was banned from many radio stations as a drug-related song. This was obviously done by people who had never seen or been to the Rocky Mountains and also had never experienced the elation, celebration of life, or the joy in living that one feels when he observes something as wondrous as the Perseids meteor shower on a moonless, cloudless night, when there are so many stars that you have a shadow from the starlight, and you are out camping with your friends, your best friends, and introducing them to one of nature’s most spectacular light shows for the very first time.
I just! Can you imagine, listening to Frank Zappa and Dee Snyder with all your Congresspeople friends, and waiting to hear a lively debate about censorship and responsibility, and then John Denver shows up and won’t stop talking about how great the Rocky Mountains are?
They’re great, we can definitely all agree on that, but the issue we’re discussing today is–
Because I think anyone who thinks that Rocky Mountain High is about drugs probably hasn’t even BEEN to the Rocky Mountains.
I – sure. Moving on,
I’ve been to the Rocky Mountains.
They’re a wonderful starlit place, full of enwonderment and joydears and all your friends are there, your best friends, and they can see meteor showers with their own opened eyes, under the friendly smile of the night sky
I think everyone’s in agreement about the Rocky Mountains, John
Then why are you trying to ban them
This isn’t a committee on the Rocky Mountains, John
Then what are the Rocky Mountains doing here
[Everyone looks out the window to see that John Denver, mountain-man and son of America, has brought the Rocky Mountains with him. The committee unanimously votes in favor of camping with some good friends under the Colorado sky.]
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.