Politics & Policy

Beat It

Rep. Chris Cox & Michael Jackson agree shape indecency bill.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

House Policy Chairman Cox, Pop Star Michael Jackson Agree on Indecency Bill

WASHINGTON–At a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday morning, embattled pop star Michael Jackson met with House Republican leader Christopher Cox (R-CA), Chairman of the House Policy Committee and Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and reached a ground-breaking agreement on a new bill to curb indecency on the public airwaves.

The quietly arranged meeting was Jackson’s first with a Republican during his three-day visit to the Capitol. On Tuesday and Wednesday, he met with Democrats to discuss lending his celebrity to the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Jackson’s offer of help in the fight against indecency came while watching the congressional hearings following his sister, Janet’s, Super bowl stunt. He “wants to show that he, too, is fed up with all the sex and inappropriate material aimed at kids these days,” said Chairman Cox.

Jackson also dismissed speculation that his interest in the Cox legislation is a ploy crafted by attorney Mark Geragos to rehabilitate his client’s image. Cox agreed. “I can’t imagine an attorney of Geragos’ stature stooping to such tactics,” said Cox.

Jackson–who entered the private dining room wearing an electric purple jacket bearing the pink-sequined profiles of Elizabeth Taylor and Brittney Spears locked in embrace–called Cox personally to arrange the meeting. “Naturally, I was surprised,” the Chairman said, considering Jackson’s current legal difficulties stemming from his seven felony counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 and two counts of giving the child an intoxicating agent. “At first I thought it was Mike Tyson, or maybe Bob Novak disguising his voice, having a little fun with me.”

But Cox finally was persuaded as to the caller’s identity and agreed to meet, reassured by the pop idol’s denials of wrongdoing. Jackson’s publicist had originally requested a meeting for the singer with the entire House Majority Leadership, but was turned down. The other Leadership members cited scheduling conflicts.

Chairman Cox acknowledged Jackson was, at times during the meeting, hard to understand clearly through the surgical mask he was wearing. “But you could see from his occasional thumbs-up, or sometimes a peace sign, that he’s fully engaged in our policy discussions.”

“The bill that Michael and I are proposing will put an end to the kind of thing that Janet, Justin, and the AM shock jocks are inflicting on America’s pre-teens,” said Rep. Cox. “Michael thinks it’s disgusting that his sister’s Super Bowl scandal has only made her a bigger celebrity, landing her spots on Letterman and GMA, while his work with young people at Neverland has been turned into a PR liability. So our bill will add a new ‘indecency user fee’ to CDs such as Janet’s new ‘Damita Jo,’ which she’s promoting with her newfound notoriety.”

The album contains such tracks as “Moist,” an ode to what Michael calls a “Clintonian private act” best left behind closed doors. “Jackson’s concern with this issue was obvious,” stated Chairman Cox.

Noting that his sister’s song concludes exuberantly with the line, “And now it’s my turn!”, Jackson believes children will get the wrong message. “That’s really what convinced him to sponsor this Republican bill,” said Cox.

Chairman Cox hastened to add that the “user fee” was “in no way a tax. I oppose new taxes. Rather, the indirect costs of indecency represent a classic case of a market externality that isn’t properly reflected in the pricing system. In a manner analogous to emissions trading credits, the indecency user fee will rationalize the incidence of costs and burdens that

are now disproportionately borne by young people through peer pressure, and by their parents, who do not choose to buy this ‘music’ but are nonetheless involuntarily exposed to it, and find it

rebarbative.”

Jackson listened attentively during the breakfast meeting, jotting down notes on the tablecloth. Afterward, he asked the waiter’s permission to take the tablecloth with him, which he then wore over his head to disguise himself from would-be curiosity seekers during the morning rush hour as he exited. “If there were any reporters around, they were completely fooled,” chuckled Cox.

The congressman had high praise for Jackson’s role in the discussions. “You could tell he was paying attention. He asked me to spell ‘rebarbative’.”

Cox added that the as-yet unnamed bill will be marketed with a slogan suggested by Jackson himself: “Indecency: Beat It!”

This April Fool’s Day spoof press release was the brainchild of the office of California Republican Congressman Christopher Cox.

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