Saturday, April 28, 2007

Taboo Tunes

I got this book from the library thinking it might be a laugh, but it is the most unamusing book I have ever read. It has got the feel of a scientific article to it. You know, everything thoroughly researched, cross-referenced, with multiple citations.

I would not want this author for a friend. Since I think I would tire very quickly of his conversations, but then he is a passionate defender of free speech, and the book is all about the First amendment of the American constitution.

It is heavily biased towards the banning of songs in the USA and the rest of the world rarely features. Al Gore's wife, Tipper takes a bashing, as does the christian religious right wing.

The main things that gets a tune banned are as follows.

  • If it has a beat then it is jungle music
  • If it promotes drugs or drinking
  • If it has any sexual content
  • If it is satanic
  • If it contains references to death or suicide
  • If it promotes bad language.
  • If it encourages violence.
The one valid point he does make is the there seems to be a double standard. There exists a gulf between the pop culture and lets say the classical arts. The play Romeo and Juliet has underage sex, violent killings, and a double suicide, yet nobody has ever suggested that it should be banned. Many of the operas by Verdi or Puccini feature a suicide or two, and Wagner goes in big time for incestious sex and gratuitous killing, but because these are considered to be "high art" then they escape censorship or public scrutiny.

Can it really be true that only popular culture has an evil influence?
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