Politics / Entertainment | Some Thoughts on Music Censorship


Hello, hello, hello! Now I know what you're (probably not actually) thinking. Wow, Paris is back! She hasn't written a blog post in forever! And for that, I apologise. Alternatively, you may be thinking "shouldn't she be revising". Yes, I should. But I have some thoughts about some news I saw and if I waited until after my exams to write this, it would probably no longer be relevant.
As I'm sure you're all aware, the UK General Election is fast approaching and, whilst I don't often get political on here, I wonder if perhaps I should do so more. Recently, a song called 'Liar, Liar' (referring to Theresa May) has charted and radio stations have refused to air the song for its political criticisms. As a big lover of music (and democracy and freedom), this really struck a chord with me, so I decided this was a good time to wipe the dust off of my blog.
Whilst it might be argued that radio stations are there to play music and should therefore stay "politically neutral", I take serious issue with this. For starters, the arts and politics have always been strongly intertwined. To name a very small handful, Shakespeare's Macbeth provided a (very veiled, due to censorship) critique of the contemporary monarchy; Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird provided a critically acclaimed reaction to US Civil Rights (or lack thereof); and The Clash's Rock the Casbah provides an unimpressed perspective on Middle Eastern politics. Music is a wonderful creative outlet purposed at telling stories, sparking discussions and allowing people to express themselves and their views. Certainly, as someone who listens to a lot of music, I consider it an open door to so many different people's perspectives and ideas and the thought of radio stations closing that door makes me rather uncomfortable. Denying a song airtime for its political overtones is to deem it an inappropriate use of music, which completely ignores one of the many beauties of music.

To anyone thinking, "it's just a song, calm down, it's not a big deal", please think again. Music is certainly not a frivolous thing and its impact can often be huge (see Hamilton increasing high school student engagement with American history, or Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? raising thousands of pounds over its many years of repeated seasonal playing). Ultimately, censorship is censorship whether it be of lengthy newspaper articles or of a simple song, and such is simply not acceptable in our democratic nation (it's also reminiscent of the 1970s: Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen, I'm looking at you). Really, it's no different from BBC News downplaying or ignoring anything negative about the Conservative Party which I'm sure glad they'd never dream of doing! Oh wait... they do... often...

I'd also like to clarify that this outrage is not born of my personal political orientation - were a song criticising Jeremy Corbyn to chart, I'd expect it to be played as usual on the radio. There are plenty of songs that I feel project bad messages, or messages I don't agree with - most immediately jumping to my mind is Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. But, as much as I complained about that song back when it was released, I would not expect it to be censored from radio stations just as I would not expect to have my abhorrence for it censored. We live in a democracy, unless the line is crossed into hate-speech, neither a song, its supporters or its critics, should ever be quietened.

'Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently'

Thanks for reading!

Paris out 💃 xxx