Jim Harper over at TLF displays once again the anti-freedom thread of so-called ‘libertarian’ thought. He seems to be saying that censorship is OK if it comes from a large corporation, but of course, if it comes from the government it is bad, bad, bad!
If Eddie Vedder sat stone silent for 30 seconds, everyone would know that he hated George Bush. Eddie Vedder is hate for George Bush. He is the Jeremy to George Bush’s recess lady. Bleeping out Eddie Vedder’s criticisms of George Bush is censorship in the same way umbrellas censor the sun.
But maybe reheating the tempest in a teapot about some AT&T-owned site bleeping some political comments from a big rock star is a good way to while away the August doldrums.
I don’t think it was the shot heard round the world either, but I do think it is a straw, as in the last straw.
What all the folks at TLF are ignoring is that the instance with Pearl Jam was just one of many many times AT&T was censoring speech. So, now, finally this corporate censorship looks like it might get derailed, and the TLF is saying saying: “Get used to some censorship. It’s really OK as long as censorship comes from corporations, but it’s really bad if it comes from a government”
Well, if it quacks like a duck, it is one. And with big government and big corporations growing into a very symbiotic relationship, I don’t see how censorship by a large near-monopoly corporation is fundamentally any different than censorship by a government. They both subtract from fundamental individual liberty.
Here’s some of the recent history of bands censored by AT&T.
From the daily swarm, a whole list of censored acts:
Alleged: Nightwatchman (Tom Morello) @ Bonnaroo 2007 (Nightwatchman message board)
Did anyone else watch The Nightwatchman live stream from bonnaroo? Everytime Tom began to talk the audio would cut out. I’m assuming that it wasnt just me.
Alleged: Lupe Fiasco @ Lollpalooza 2007 (Pearl Jam message board)
I actually missed the Pearl Jam set, but I saw Lupe Fiasco’s performance earlier in the day. He has a song called “American Terrorist”, and while the song itself seemed to go by untouched… Lupe’s lead in to the song was. It went something along the lines of “Some of you might know him as George W. Bush… The President. I know him as George W. Bush ___________ (dead air)”. Having seen Lupe in concert before, I know that muted out section was a “American Terrorist”. He pretty much yells it into the mic before launching into the song.
Alleged: Lily Allen @ Bonnaroo 2007 (Lollapalooza message boards)
They were definately censoring what Lily Allen was saying in between songs. When there are technical problems, the picture will stop and sometimes the word playlist above the buttons on the video screen will change to buffering. During Lily Allen my picture would keep playing fine and the sound was gone. The sound while the Roots were talking in between songs just cut out for the first time.
Alleged: Ozomatli (and everyone else!) @ Coachella 2007 (MicheBella on Rotten Tomatoes)
In nearly every band I watched, there was a moment when said band spoke to the crowd. Suddenly, the sound disappeared. I just watched Ozomatli, a very political band, and at the end of a long segment of talking with no sound, the guy turned around and had a picture of George Bush on his back for a split second.
Alleged: Tom Petty (and everyone else!) @ Bonnaroo 2006 (FunknJam Productions messageboard)
A big WTF? to the people in charge of streaming this webcast!! At first I thought that maybe it was a glitch in the streaming or my computer behaving funny. But every so often, the audio would cut out. And it always cut out while there seemed to be some interesting lyrics going on. I didn’t fully realize that the webcast was being CENSORED FOR CONTENT until Tom Petty sang for the third time, and had censored for the third time, “Let’s get to the point, Let’s (dead air) and turn the radio on….” Like that song hasn’t been played on the radio to death?!??! I can’t help but think this all had something to do with…. “Hey Wakarusa Policeman…”
Alleged: Buddy Guy @ Bonnaroo 2006 (webcast setlist)
Talks about Hip Hop/sings about a Cow/Bull/Mule ( censored )