Written By: - Date published: 9:32 pm, March 7th, 2019 - 187 comments
Categories: boycott, capitalism, International, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: bans, book burning, freedom of choice, michael jackson
Radio networks in NZ, Australia and elsewhere have decided to terminate with extreme prejudice the music of Michael Jackson, following the release of a new documentary alleging the King of Pop committed extreme sexual crimes.
Like a disgraced Politburo official in a retouched photograph, Jackson is to be erased from the public consciousness.
How sad and pathetic is that?
We do not know with absolute certainty that Jackson himself has done anything wrong, though, obviously, there’s plenty of reason for suspicion.
We do know that Jackson’s music has definitely done nothing wrong.
So why can’t we be trusted to make our own decisions about what we listen to?
Why are new generations going to denied the chance to hear some of the greatest pop songs ever written?
There is a long history of banning music and generally it doesn’t work. My favourite example of this is the chimurenga music of Thomas Mapfumo, which often used cleverly disguised allegories about animals to criticise the racist Rhodesian government. Subtle, but still got him jailed, of course.
And, sadly, Mapfumo is still writing protest songs; this time chronicling the many disappointments of the Zimbabwean people since liberation.
Famously, Margaret Thatcher may have scuppered the UK career of Split Enz when Six Months on a Leaky Boat got the chop, but their popularity back home soared.
And in 1969, the idea that a woman might enjoy sex was too much for broadcasters worldwide.
The Nazis, of course, were quite keen on banning things. Books, art, ‘degenerate’ music; all verboten. Ironically, Hitler’s own paintings have , on occasion, been bought at auction by people who said they intended to destroy them. Again, you’d have to wonder what crime Hitler’s daubs have committed.
Even the Beatles saw their records publicly destroyed when John Lennon controversially pointed out that, to some kids, they were bigger than Jesus.
And I suppose we can look forward to Hauraki and the Rock banning Led Zeppelin.
Just kidding; they’re normal.
I do know what it’s like to feel a bit queasy about certain music because of the activities of the artists. I can’t listen to Radiohead or Nick Cave without feeling that their support for apartheid Israel has cheapened their music.
It’s complicated, I guess.
To be fair, I’m not a big Michael Jackson fan, I don’t often listen to the kind of stations that usually play his stuff. So this isn’t going to really affect me or my listening habits.
However, I always thought the sentiments of this song, and the ground breaking video that accompanies it, were terrific.
I’m kinda pissed I’ll never hear it on again on NZ radio. That just doesn’t seem fair or proportionate to me.