The Six O’Clock News: Pharrell Williams Makes People Sad. :(

Since yesterday’s post involved dancing Tim and poetry, this one’s short.

I haven’t followed this story as much as I ought to, considering it’s an excellent case study for Politics, but can we please take a moment to appreciate the absurdity of the Iranian Happy Dance Prison Fiasco? (I don’t think they called it that.) I actually can’t find the original tribute amongst the plethora of news clips, although there are a few others from different states that I would watch if I wasn’t unsure as to whether I really like Happy or want to punch it… Anyway, the Iranian authorities considered the dancing to be “vulgar” and said they “hurt public chastity”. I mean come on, the dancing wasn’t that bad…

Still. It’s interesting to see what different societies – or authorities – think is/isn’t appropriate. Wasn’t Frankie Goes to Hollywood banned by the BBC ages ago? I think a few rock ‘n’ roll bands have been too – I’m sure MCR was banned from playing in a car park after it provided tour space back in the day – and yet Blurred Lines is still played on radio in public spaces. Yuck.

So, question of the week: if you could ban bullshit pop culture, what would it be and why and conversely, is there anything that’s been restricted that you think shouldn’t have been?

Let’s pretend it’s a democratic and scientific study!

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6 thoughts on “The Six O’Clock News: Pharrell Williams Makes People Sad. :(

  1. Ugh, yeah, I hate that ‘point and laugh’ mentality.

    You reminded me of this one time I saw a child aged probably eight or so – young enough that his parents were still buying his clothes – and he wore a t-shirt like the “I’m with stupid [arrow]” ones but instead it said “I think he’s gay! [arrow]” I looked at the guy with him, who I presumed was his dad, and could not believe that somebody actually thought it was a good idea to buy a shirt like that for a child… the parent(s) was/were the problem – as were the t-shirt company and the idiots who sold the shirt to the public.

    Maybe the people are the problem, which fuels the culture, which fuels different people and so on – so if it’s a vicious circle (cycle? I can never remember) should we just make a fuss whenever and wherever possible just to try to break the cycle?

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    1. I’d go with circle … but cycle also works!
      But yes, Yes, YES …. always make a fuss in order to break the cycle (or circle!). Nothing will ever change if people don’t voice their objection. Of course, there’s times where it would really be pointless and you’d be risking bodily harm … like telling an idiot parent (as per example you’ve stated) that they’re an idiot. If they’re happy to buy that shirt and have their kid wear it, they’re unlikely to welcome constructive criticism! That’s not to say you shouldn’t bother … but maybe choose your battles wisely.
      But it is sad that parents either actively teach their kids to be intolerant or else lead by example. Last year, whilst walking through a crowded city centre, a dad pushing kid (approx 3-4yr old) in pushchair encouraged his son to shout at people “get out of the way you fucking muppets!” What hope is there for t-shirt kid, muppet kid and many, many more? We’re doomed as a species!
      and speaking of making a fuss to break a cycle … there’s this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy5vRGtKPY0
      another sad indictment of society’s strange moral compass

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      1. Ooh I might put that on the News. It brings up that whole question of ‘if women want equality we have to be prepared to be treated exactly the same as men are’ – although there’s an argument that in some cases, like healthcare, women should be given more specific rights, because women require more healthcare and in impoverished countries are more likely to suffer because mothers put their children first.

        I sort of want a t-shirt that says “Dear Muppet Kid and T-Shirt Boy: we are sorry for your parentage. Please work hard and leave your town as soon as you are able.”

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  2. yes FGTH was banned, back in the day (which makes me very old because I actually was part of ‘back in the day’!) – but then again, the song was pretty much about sex and the band’s image was very S&M. Just watch the vid on youtube – set in a gay club, Caligula-esque character, Holly cavorting with a tiger cub … you can see why they might ban it! If only they’d kept up the pretence that the song was just about feeling motivated, they could’ve avoided the whole messy situation
    But I’m kind of opposed to banning things … at least things of an artistic nature. freedom of expression and all that. Once you start – where does it end? Appease one minority, you have to appease them all.
    But if it’s a country where something offends on a large scale or goes against accepted norms of that society or religious doctrine/ideologies …. well, it’s not my place to say what’s right or wrong for them, cos I’m not part of it. So I guess we have to go with the flow.

    Answering your second question first – songs such as Blurred Lines shouldn’t be banned/restricted. Like so many other things in life today – it’s a symptom, not the cause. What should be happening is educating people away from ideas that give rise to the notion that ‘isms’ are acceptable. So many aspects of rap/R&B et al, promulgate racist/sexist (and probably many other ists) themes. That’s what needs to change.

    However … if I really really do have to ban something, it would be ‘make-me-famous’ kind of shows. Whether it’s Big Brother, Celebrity Jungle, Brit Got No Talent (I refuse to use the acronym cos it always seems to the detriment of LGBT), X-factor, Voice. whatever!! It all irritates the bejeesus out of me. It reinforces the idea that life is just gonna happen the way you want it and you don’t need to put in any effort, it will just be an idyllic dream.
    I’m not saying that some of the people who have achieved fame haven’t deserved it, cos some of them are actually quite talented even if I don’t like their music, I can appreciate their ability. But I just hate the whole ethos, everything it represents, and it’s place in society.

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    1. Good point about banning artistic things and minority-appeasing – but doesn’t the symptom become the cause if no fuss is made? ‘Blurred Lines’ makes me cringe on the radio because people are bopping along to it and think it’s harmless because the tune is good – but surely it’s part of the problem of misogyny?

      In terms of the Iranian issue, the authorities were justified because the video went against their culture and (I think) laws. The West has a right to think the authorities disgusting (and politically Iran may have lost some soft power) but unfortunately we can’t do much but be vocal in our criticism, a bit like how we can criticise Russia’s gay laws but not change them. But in the UK, the notion of blurred lines, ie rape, is totally illegal – so is that reason enough to not play the song in certain public settings like where children are? Plus it could be a trigger for abuse victims, although that’s another can of worms!

      I had never thought of the BGT/LGBT thing! But yeah, those shows can be misguiding. Although Tim Minchin pointed out when he did ‘Superstar’ that whoever won the ITV show to find Jesus (haha) had had their version of ‘the grind’ to become good enough to be on the show. Maybe talent shows are better for older people, who have worked and struggled but not for those wee teenyboppers who get to quit school to sing?

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      1. Maybe until we’ve re-educated the masses into understanding why isms are not a good thing (if they’re the negative ones which people use to beat others with a big stick for being ‘different’) … perhaps we should ban the crap stuff as an interim measure?
        I think my objection to banning things is on the basis that it doesn’t actually solve whatever the problem is that allowed it to come into existence. So, you ban Blurred Lines but it doesn’t stop idiots from having those kinds of opinions – they need to be educated and a fundamental shift of opinion in society needs to be brought about. But yeah, I get where you’re coming from. and banning it would bring the matter into the public arena for discussion.
        Talent shows …. would be funny to have an age restriction or a rule stipulating contestants must’ve worked for at least 5 years in a relevant industry!! I think it’s not so much disliking the winner – cos if they deserve to win and they’ve got the talent, no probs. But the illusion that fame and fortune is so readily available and can be gained with little effort … it’s unlikely at best, and sad that people believe it. I also really dislike when they have auditions and some poor soul comes along, believing the hype and the dream, and they have little/no talent and get laughed off the stage. I’m sure that for some, it’s highly entertaining – I just think it sucks. They’re there cos they’ve bought into the notion that they can have their 15 minutes … I’m not a fan.

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