Seriously, though, I have something to talk about today because today I had to make a tough call. I subscribe to several action groups (Care2, One, Change.org, to name... I think all of them, but my name may have gotten onto a couple of other lists, too.) At any rate, I periodically get messages asking me to sign this or that petition and nine times out of ten, I do. Today was one of the days I didn't and it wasn't easy, because I agree the 'cause' in question is worthy. But see, so is the other side.
The petition in question calls for the record company that produces Kayne West (I'd never heard of him before today) to stop promoting his video "Monster" because of the graphic depiction of violence against women (in lingerie, many of whom were sporting vampire fangs.) I watched the video (most of it, anyway, after a while I just couldn't deal with lyrics I don't understand and images that only sort of make sense.) The gist of the petition is that if Jewish people were being depicted dead in bed with Mr. West, the same way several white girls were, there would be an uprising and it would be an immediate "hate crime", but since it's women, that isn't the case. Truthfully, I'm not certain what would happen if the dead people were clearly distinguishable as Jewish or Black or Hispanic or some other ethnicity, rather than a bunch of floozies in S&M gear, but the point is that I just don't see the message of hate... well, I sort of do, the lyrics are something about how he's a monster and everyone around him are blood suckers.... but I can't honestly say I comprehend enough of the lyrics to really judge.
The biggest thing for me is that Mr. West has the right to write and direct the video any way he likes. All of the actors looked over the age of consent and the "violence" wasn't really there; there were bodies, but I've seen more actual violence in a B grade horror flick (where a fair majority of the victims are big-chested women in t-shirts or nightgowns.) And, just as he has the right to produce his video, I have the right to censor what I let my child watch and listen to--you'd better believe that I do. I know I can't hover over her 24/7, but I keep a pretty tight control (and maybe I'm a smidge over-protective at times) and I can say with reasonable certainty that I know what she listens to.
One of the points of the petition to remove record label support for Mr. West was that many of his fans are apparently teens. All right. The responsibility lies with their parents to monitor what they watch and listen to--the record company is under obligation only to offer appropriate label warnings about West's language (and the language of its other singers/songwriters.) The record label should not be made to be babysitters; that's the job of parents.
Did I find the images offensive? Honestly, no, although I can see where some people would; it certainly isn't a light and happy video. Do I think there are instances where true hate crimes/violence should be punished? Absolutely. Nobody has the right to incite violence against another person, regardless of the reason. No one has the right to discriminate against someone else based on ethnicity, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. People DO have the right to their opinion, but they have the OBLIGATION to act with responsibility and respect toward the rest of the people with whom they share this planet, whether they like those people or not.
"Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books
except the books that nobody reads."
George Bernard Shaw