September 22, 2021

Girl, 11, not harmed by Pink concert, judge says

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jones_lawrence-Article-201406201620By Charles Toutant, From New Jersey Law Journal

A mother did not show poor judgment by taking her 11-year-old daughter to a concert by the singer Pink, and the decision can’t be used as fodder in an ongoing custody dispute with the child’s father, a family court judge has ruled.

The girl’s father contended that the Pink performance was age-inappropriate because of profanities in the singer’s lyrics, as well as sexually suggestive themes and dance performances. But Judge Lawrence Jones of the Family Part in Ocean County Superior Court denied the father’s request that the decision be afforded a negative inference concerning the mother’s parenting style. The mother “in no way, shape or form exceeded the boundaries of reasonable parental judgment in electing to take the child to the show,” Jones ruled.

The mother and father, identified by pseudonyms, are self-represented in a post-judgment custody dispute concerning their daughter and two other children before Jones. The mother and daughter attended the show, which supported the singer’s album, “The Truth About Love,” in December 2013 at the Prudential Center in Newark, according to Jones’ opinion.

The CD and a DVD for “The Truth About Love” both contain the parental advisory notice for explicit content, Jones said. But a review of lyric sheets and videos of the concert indicate profanities and curse words are “sporadic and incidental, and not unreasonably pervasive,” the judge said. Most of the songs contain no profanities at all, he said.

“More significantly, the lyrics in many of the songs are not only age-appropriate for teens and preteens in 2014 America, but from an artistic standpoint are particularly noteworthy in addressing important social themes and messages which are objectively relevant and very relatable to young Americans in high schools and junior high schools throughout the country,” he said.

The judge cited Pink’s song “The Great Escape,” which addresses the problem of young people physically harming themselves in response to stressful situations. The song “contains lyrics which clearly attempt to provide listeners with a message of hope,” he said.

Another song, “Perfect,” addresses the stress felt by people who judge themselves too harshly for their own faults. The lyrics carry the message that one does not have to be perfect to move forward in life, he said. That song was originally titled, “F**ckin’ Perfect,” but at the concert attended by the mother and daughter, Pink sang a version without the profanity, the judge said.

The judge added that “the reality with rock music is that in some instances, the listener cannot even clearly hear all the lyrics and decipher what the singer is even singing about” but “may still greatly appreciate and enjoy the song as a work of musical art.”

The father quoted a Hollywood Reporter review of the show that described the dancing in the show as three males “molesting” the singer. Jones, who reviewed online videos of the concert, said there were moments when male dancers, “in choreographed fashion, were trying to grab hold of the singer” but he added that the movements were in the context of a ballad concerning “an independent woman standing up to men who acted inappropriately towards her.” Therefore, the dance moves were not obscene or objectively inappropriate, Jones said.

A parent’s right to expose the child to age-appropriate works of the creative arts is a reasonably anticipated part of a parent-child relationship, the judge said. And rock music, notwithstanding the sometimes controversial or suggestive nature of some lyrics and performances, is nonetheless “a highly legitimate and culturally significant form of creative artistic expression in American society,” Jones said.

Even if a rock album contains profanities or foul language, a parent may consider their frequency when deciding if a particular album is age-appropriate for a child, Jones said.

Jones noted that family courts are “inundated with battles between warring ex-spouses who come to court with grievances and allegations about each other’s parental skills and decisions,” concerning issues such as the choice between healthy meals and junk food, or disputes about curfew and bedtime. Joint legal custody does not require divorced parents to agree on every child-raising issue, he said, and parents with joint custody must recognize the right of each parent to exercise reasonable parental discretion under one’s own watch.

IMAGE: Judge Lawrence Jones Asbury Park Press

For more on this story go to: http://www.njlawjournal.com/id=1202724534387/Girl-11-Not-Harmed-by-Pink-Concert-Judge-Says#ixzz3YWOxKAnM

 

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