Thursday, December 06, 2018

Help! Help! I'm Being Repressed!!

I've been involved in a conversation about an old song that some radio stations are refusing to play because it offends some members of the "#metoo" movement. There are folks on both sides of this argument.

I'm not going to discuss that. It's neither here nor there.

What I'm going to discuss is censorship especially what it is and isn't.

First, some questions:

  1. Is this song readily available if you wish to purchase it or otherwise acquire it?
  2. Has the government issued an official ban on this song?
  3. Are you in danger of arrest or other legal action if you are found with this song in your possession?

If your answers to these questions are yes, no, and no, congratulations! This song isn't being censored.

Now people may choose to engage in a form of self censorship by refusing to listen to any radio station that chooses to play it. That's their right.

A radio station may see that playing this song has cost them a segment of their listening audience and they may decide that this segment is significant enough for them to stop playing the song. Again, that's their right.

Neither of these actions has removed the song from your playlist if you want to keep it there.

Here's the surprising thing: you can say, write, play or perform any work you want (within reason*) However, nobody anywhere is obligated to give you a platform for distribution of that work. That's not censorship. That's an editorial or marketing decision.

You can still go somewhere else to get it.

*Within reason means that you can't publish child pornography or similar exploitative works. Nor can you publish works that incite people to violence although with the advent of certain "news" organizations, that's becoming questionable.