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Thursday, July 05, 2007 

Cameron in still being an idiot shocker.

Do music lyrics really contribute to a broken society? Actually, scrap that, we know full well what David Cameron really means. Are rap/hip hop lyrics really contributing to a broken society? Are the black kids (because we all know that white kids don't listen to rap/hip hop, and again, they are whom Cameron is more than obviously targeting) that listen to rap/hip hop songs then going out, having listened to the violent, misogynistic, materialistic lyrics, and decide that it's a jolly good idea to form gangs and go out on rape and pillaging sprees?

Dear old David Cameron sincerely thinks so. Not content with making himself look like a complete idiot last year by claiming that Tim Westwood was destroying the moral core of our society by playing other people's records, he yesterday returned to the theme,
this time in a bizarre address to the British Phonographic Industry. He apparently proposed, in return for the industry heads taking into account his belief that music lyrics are helping to create a regressive counter-culture, that the copyright for sound recordings should be extended from 50 to 70 years, something the Gowers report of last year opposed and which the BPI has been lobbying heavily for. I posted on that last year, and Tim similarly lays into Cameron here.

While Cameron claims in his speech that he is most definitely not calling for censorship, legislation or the banning of content, as he is after all a liberal conservative, it's more than apparent that he'd certainly rather that such music didn't exist, which ought to show just how intolerant of artistic freedom, or at least musical artistic freedom he is. He wouldn't call for the "banning" of books or ask the publishing firms to consider their responsibilities when distributing literature which contains explicit violence or horror, and while I wouldn't put it past him to call for similar restraint from the film industry, he doesn't seem likely to do it anytime soon. No, the targeting of the music industry is because it's an easy scapegoat, and due to the fact that most of the music Cameron dislikes comes from the United States, few artists and producers are also going to challenge his hypothesis.

In any case, to suggest that it's just one genre of music that has a problem with troubling lyrics is a nonsense. The various offshoots of metal have more than a reputation for misogyny and violent imagery, although maybe it's because that those within that music sub-culture are almost entirely white that Cameron doesn't have a problem with it. He also hasn't referred to the surge of "emo" bands
which so excised the Daily Mail last year, scaremongering about how angsty middle-class kids were being indoctrinated with self-hatred and arm-slashing, again probably because its adherents tend to be hideously pale.

More than anything, Cameron has picked on song lyrics because it's something he thinks he understands. This is a man who hasn't ever had to spend a day on the streets of inner London or other cities, except for the cameras. His only other idea for dealing with a "broken society" has been to promote the family, which is all well and good except that it similarly ignores the reality on the ground: you have to deal with what is there, not what you wish was. Most of all, it misses the point. He's blaming the lyrics for having an influence on society rather than person that might have been influenced by them. For a man who supposedly wants to promote personal responsibility, blaming the artist rather than the perpetrator only shows up his continuing political bankruptcy.

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Silly but not totally idiotic. The music that most people listen to is a commercial product, and the ideas it promotes are whatever the suits think will make money. See Black Agenda Report:

Cheers septisicle for a very informative and entertaining blog, I've now decided to stop reading the papers and just receive my news from you. You have a great take on the real issues and the bullshit that surrounds it. Keep it up.

I thought this would be a good point to start commenting, so let me give you a link to Rhymefest's blog. If you don't know - he is the grammy-award winning US rapper that co-wrote "Jesus Walks" with Kanye West and who had some beef with Cameron last year over the same issues. It's quite a good read so check it out.

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