Tag Archives: censorship

Weird Al vs. MTV Censors

Nothing pleases the seventh-grade boy in me more than the recent resurgence of Weird Al Yankovic during this, the twenty-fifth anniverary of his first hit, “Ricky.” There’s been the profile in Wired, and more recently, the coverage of his release of a parody while the original was still #1 on the Billboard singles chart (and its aftermath).

And now, the Grey Lady is getting in on the action: Censorship, or What Really Weirds Out Weird Al. Apparently, his 2006 video for “Don’t Download This Song” has been censored by for MTV, and it’s starting to cause a bit of an uproar:

In an e-mail message on Sunday, Mr. Yankovic wrote that he had bleeped out the names to the file-sharing sites in his song two years ago, after MTV “told me that they would refuse to air my video” otherwise. “Instead of subtly removing or obscuring the words in the track,” he wrote, “I made the creative decision to bleep them out as obnoxiously as possible, so that there would be no mistake I was being censored.”

He complied, “because I was proud of the song and the accompanying Bill Plympton video, and I wanted to do everything I could to maximize exposure for it.”

All of this would have been largely forgotten, if not for the introduction last week of mtvmusic.com

The names of peer-to-peer services Morpheus, Grokster, Limewire, and Kazaa are apparently too controversial for MTV to air. Do any of those still even work anymore?

Video: Weird Al Yankovic – “Don’t Download This Song”

MP3: Weird Al Yankovic – “Don’t Download This Song” (Courtesy of download.com)

Be Your Own Corporate Tool

Be Your Own Pete - Get DamagedRemember those three songs that got cut from Be Your Own Pet‘s new album because UMG’s lawyers thought they were “too violent”? Well, it turns out the label has released them on an EP after all. Get Damaged is out now digitally, and will be available in store on June 24.

So everybody’s happy now, right? Wrong.

“The whole thing was just a huge mistake on Universal’s part,” guitarist Jonas Stein tells Billboard.com, contending that the lyrics, written by singer Jemina Pearl Abegg, are “tongue in cheek.” “It seems pretty hypocritical for them to not let us put these songs out because our ‘demographic’ is supposedly suburban young teenage girls — who I guess don’t listen to all the vulgar rap Universal releases.”

As if this wasn’t humiliating enough, their label has forced them to accept a spot on the Warped Tour, something they had previously refused. “But after hearing some pretty wise words and mentally growing a little bit, we’ve learned that any show is beneficial to a band. It’s not the show that shapes the band, it’s the band that shapes the show.” Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

UMG Censors BYOP

Three songs on the new Be Your Own Pet album, Get Awkward, were rejected by Universal lawyers for being “too violent”:

“When I found out that the songs were going to get taken off, I was just like, ‘Is there anybody I can talk to?’ ” Pearl said. “It’s like, I don’t even really know who these people are. There’s no one you can talk to to try to argue your case. Other than that, Universal has been great. But I guess that’s just what happens when you decide to have something to do with a major label. They’re going to be scared of anything that’s not completely cookie cutter.”

Pearl paused to take a breath. “I also feel like it’s a good thing to have an outlet,” she continued. “Like, maybe I would be a very violent person if I didn’t have the chance to sing about what I want to sing about and express things I want and it’s definitely helped me from being a destructive person in my life. And I think tons of people relate to that, so it’s kind of frustrating that they want to censor me or whatever.”

Dance with the devil, you’re going to get burned…

MP3s:

Be Your Own Pet – “Becky”

Be Your Own Pet – “Black Hole”

US to Dandies: Fuck You

No, not those Dandies, a real dandy! It’s not really music related, but strange and fascinating just the same—the United States customs service denied entry to an avowed British dandy. Yes, a dandy, like you see in old timey books and movies. Imagine Tim Roth in Rob Roy without the sword and a bit more of the femme style.

British writer and self-styled dandy Sebastian Horsley was denied entry to the United States after arriving to promote his memoir of sex, drugs and flamboyant fashion.

Horsley said he was questioned for eight hours Tuesday by border officials at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey before being denied entry on grounds of “moral turpitude.”

Moral turpitude? Can that be a real exclusion? It’s like being arrested for “disorderly partying,” a charge with which a GLONO contributor was actually accused back in the day.

Horsley was traveling to New York for the U.S. launch of “Dandy in the Underworld,” his account of a life dedicated to sex, drugs and finely tailored clothes. Apparently, he was sporting a top hat and long velvet gloves.

“My one concession to American sensibilities was to remove my nail polish. I thought that would get me through,” said Horsley.

I guess we now know why Babyshambles can’t tour the US.

'allo guvna!

Continue reading US to Dandies: Fuck You

AT&T vs. Pearl Jam: Corporate America Caught Red-Handed

Not that this is going to change anything…

When I first heard about AT&T censoring Pearl Jam’s webcast, I’ll admit that my initial reaction was, “Oh whatever, Eddie.” It just seems so expected these days, like how NBC cut Kanye’s “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” statement from the West Coast feed and regretted not bleeping it from the live feed. That’s how it goes.

But like all good tales of political intrigue, it’s not the “crime” that gets you, it’s the cover-up. And had AT&T not immediately blown off the whole incident as a “mistake by a webcast vendor,” everybody probably would have stopped paying attention. But they pushed it a little too far, claiming, “We’ve webcast more than 16 free concerts featuring approximately 310 bands and over 350 hours of live music, and this hasn’t happened before.” Oh really? Never?

Continue reading AT&T vs. Pearl Jam: Corporate America Caught Red-Handed

Google Blocking Video for Big Business

In addition to being a great repository of long lost videos and concert footage, YouTube was always a great place to find embarrassing footage of your favorite stars. There was a wasted Britney sputtering gibberish in a hotel room; there was Hasselhoff sloshed and sorting through a hamburger; Paula Abdul clearly off her rocker on morning news…

But with the sale of YouTube to Google, thus folding it under a massive corporate umbrella, how much longer can we expect these gems that humanize our heroes? Ok, nobody considers Paula Abdul a hero, but you get my drift.

A search today of “Beyonce Falls” leads me to believe our days are numbered. Notice that fan footage of Ms. Knowles face planting at a recent Orlando show has been removed from YouTube by dint of a “copyright claim by Sony BMG.” Copyright to what? Beyonce hitting the floor? The video I attempted to view was all of 13 seconds so I think any claim to the music could be written off as fair use. So why has YouTube caved? Because Big Business helps Big Business.

Party’s over, assholes. Back on you heads.

CD Baby Explains their Stance on Censorship

White power group Skrewdriver got onto iTunes via CD Baby. Derek Sivers justifies his company’s firm anti-censorship policy: “For every dollar we make selling some obviously racist/nazi/whatever album, we contribute TWO dollars to anti-racist organizations like UNCF and others.” Interesting resolution to a murky dilemma.