In case you haven’t noticed, censorship is back in Western society, and it’s back with a vengeance. Yes, so far it’s just anecdotes, but when you have an accumulation of many anecdotes, what you are looking at are symptoms of a much deeper disease. These anecdotes I’m about to relay all come from the last couple of months.
In a musical festival in Hammond, Illinois, the highlight was supposed to be a performance by rapper Chief Keef. Actually, it wasn’t even him performing, but his hologram. But even a hologramic Keef was just too much for the Hammond Mayor, who sent the police to shut down the event. What made the hologram so horrible that it could not be tolerated? The Mayor explained that Chief Keef is known to be involved in a gang, so the performance might have drawn his gang members to Hammond and presented a threat to public safety.
I hear gang members like to drive fancy cars. Let’s ban those too and drive only old clunkers, lest we get gangsters in our neighborhood.
Another rapper feeling the sharp blade of censorship is Tyler the Creator, who was prevented from appearing in Australia. Tyler is a theatrical rapper who plays different characters in his records, some of them quite psycho. This is of course one on the main functions of art: to explore humanity’s darker side, to bring them to the light. Allowing art to delve into these dangerous regions is one of the things that exemplifies Western modern society and helped it become the most enlightened and least violent human society that ever existed. But that notion is lost on a group of Australian feminists, who believe that records containing violence towards women are perpetuating what they call “rape culture” and apparently somehow drive men to rape women. Tyler’s psychotic characters are violent to women, so the group successfully campaigned to get him banned.
I hear there’s this playwright who wrote a play where a man strangles his lover to death because he thinks she cheated on him, another play where a woman commits suicide when she finds her lover dead, and a play where a man “tames” a woman who is considered too wild. That doesn’t sound very feministic to me. I guess we should ban him too.
Nearby, in New Zealand, a teen book called Into the River was banned on a demand from a Christian group, apparently for containing too much sex and drugs. Because I guess that’s bad.
Meanwhile, in Boston, the MFA museum was holding a Monet exhibition, and invited its guests to don kimonos like in Monet’s painting La Japonaise. But they were forced to cancel that invitation after an angry mob protested against what it called the “cultural appropriation” of Japanese culture by the West. Someone should tell these morons that all culture and art always appropriates from other cultures, and without “cultural appropriation” there would be no culture.
In a Glasgow pride parade, drag queens were banned from performing because their lighthearted approach to androgyny might offend transgenders. Turns out it’s ok to ostracize people, but heaven forbid we should hurt someone’s feelings.
Finally, we have Jewish dancehall rapper Matisyahu, who was almost banned from appearing in a festival in Spain because he wouldn’t publicly condemn Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Matisyahu is not an Israeli, but being a Jew made him guilty by association. Thankfully, the organizers regained their senses in time and removed the ban, but that should serve as a lesson: if you open the door to censorship, eventually anti-Semites and other racist will creep in and start banning people based on their race.
This attack on art is saddening and worrying to anyone who wants a free society, but what is even sadder is that it is quite obvious where all this bad spirit is coming from, what is the root cause of this oppression. And it is the very place that is supposed to be the bulwark against censorship, the defender of freedom of speech, thought and creation. Western academia is deeply rotten, and we’re beginning to feel the stench.