Recently, there were a number of articles and opinion pieces written about so-called censorship and when it is ok to silence hate speech. Most of them are emotional ramblings with little depth to them, but few of them are extremely thoughtful and appear well researched. While the latter would seem to be productive, it’s important to always lend a critical eye just in case. After all, the author’s bias might influence what sources they quote or how they structure their argument.
One well circulated think-piece among my extreme music loving brethren debated that it was not only not any record label’s place to make an ethical judgement about the music they put out but any attempt at doing so would actually do more harm than good.
While, on face value this was a smart and well written opinion piece it doesn’t take much digging into it to realize it was heavily reliant on straw men, deliberately ignores the skinhead experience punk’s and hardcore kids had to deal with among other examples, and leaves out the tolerance paradox and more.
While I get his point about opening a so-called dialog that is supposedly cultivated by releasing hate music that makes an assumption that the other side, the bigots, the true believes, the nazis and klansman, and other xenophobes really want to talk. When was the last time you saw that happen at any kind of scale? While one mind changing is an accomplishment or one mind saved from needing to be changed is noteworthy letting literally thousands of them rot, or worse multiply that kind of intolerant hate isn’t helping the scene or the genre at all.
Actually it plays more into the negatives the genre already has… People are gonna find and make garbage anyhow. There’s no reason other than a greedy amoral capitalist one to exploit that. The better answer is don’t cover it, don’t actively distribute it right next to everything else and don’t give it legitimation. Just let it alone. If you read any of the research on white power it’s a common theme form them to exploit the counter culture, so it’s never been a surprise to find them recruiting from the self proclaimed alienated souls of extreme music
Are the writers at MetalSucks really that anon? I mean, it’s not like those pen names are really that hard to unmask. And, they write everything under them, so it’s not like it’s trying to hide this any more than really anything else, they’re editoralizing the same as they always have, albeit for maybe something that strikes a specific chord (pun intended)
Public shaming is a tried and true way of dealing with white supremacy. It has its roots dating back to the original anti-KKK movement during the Jim Crow era, was used by the original antifa movement post WWII, was used again during the Civil Rights era against the Klan and its ilk, Bulletin Board keyboard warriors employed it during the 90s, Anonymous used in the 2000s and you find the antifa again employing it. Sometimes it’s been straight straight up overt pointing out the obvious which is what I think MetalSucks are doing, sometimes it’s been a bit of deeper diving in calling people out from the shadows, sometimes it’s been Doxxing. But, it’s a tried and true, time tested way of making people who otherwise don’t want to “say” they are choosing a side to, in fact, chose a side.
What labels that leverage hate, no matter what that hate is, are doing is, in fact not remaining neutral. They are choosing a side. They are saying, this is good enough to make money off of, therefore it has a rightful place in society. They are not tacitly supporting it by not saying anything, they are throwing their marketing and distribution (however limited) behind it and saying it should exist.
Now, while the idea of “freedom of speech” is a noble one, in the US, the First Amendment ONLY has any relevance to the Government’s role in it. It has NOTHING at all to do with private citizens, corporations and the like from playing a role in socially accepting or ostracizing certain kinds of speech. While the 1st might protect speech from the Government it doesn’t mean such speech isn’t without moral or social concequence. All MetalSucks is doing is leveraging their speech AGAINST the speech of another who they disagree with. The concequence of hate speech is that morally and ethically sound people WILL speak out against it.
Finally, while I understand art is art and sometimes art and stuff society doesn’t like do intersect, I’m not going to straw man argue ignorance. I have an undergraduate degree in music performance and decades of performance art experience, I have an undergrad and grad degree in marketing with decades of work in the entertainment industry and worked with a lot of extreme artists and performers, I have certifications in IP and US law and bumped up against a lot of instances of pushing boundries over the years. I definitely understand the difference between people who select art that challenges social and political norms through thoughtful art verses those who seek to espouse an agenda. I definitely understand those who blindly want to capitalize verses those who are true believers. I definitely understand where the different lines are and while I’m not super familiar with all the individual players in this story, I am more than able to take an educated guess based on what I know where the truth lies.
This same argument played out in technology recently with the Daily Stormer and their ability to retain hosting. It’s not new and in the grander scheme of things that was a much, much, much bigger and more morally siezmic argument. The way many in the tech industry handled the question and called out those who shielded the Daily Stormer was certainly much better conceived than MS but very much along the same lines. Sadly, those who defended protecting the Daily Stormer may have also done a much better job at their defining why they did what they did, if you haven’t read all the back-and-forth I strongly suggest you do as it’s brilliant. Be sure to get your dictionary ready, because it’s also very heady.
Finally, I strongly suggest reading this piece that attempts a documentation of the effects of white power historically on the extreme music scene and how their intention was, is and never will be that of art but that of recruitment https://noisey.vice.com/…/a-brief-but-very-informative…
“censorship” exists as in all ways 1) a governmental quagmire 2) a social and political fixation 3) a personal moral and ethical obligation. There are very few absolutes among the three. While I loathe censorship from a purely governmental POV I’m not completely adverse to it. While I am not always keen on the social and political idyllic attempts at leveraging it I absolutely understand much of their approaches are a see-saw of for-better-or-for-worse. While I comprehend the individual’s supposed innate abilite to tell so-called “right” from so-called “wrong” I actually put very little faith in the individual to make a sound choice which is why society and the government end up stepping in.
After all, if the individual made a sound choice would these kind of warning labels need to exist