For every one person cancelled, one hundred others will self-censor
Superbly written piece and well constructed analysis, Winston. The most powerful part is drawing on the concept that the gatekeepers cannot “be seen” to be “neutral” at the same time as making a decision to sensor which is, itself, an act of bias based on judgment. Adam.
and why did they even bother to book her in the first place? aren't they obligated to hold up their end of deal? in what world is breaking agreements, losing deposits, and courting a lawsuit beneficial in any way to stakholders? just have them design the line up next time, and spare us all the SBF sob-story
Great work Winston! So appreciated. Self-censorship is truly one of the scariest issues of our time. I don't know how a person could call themselves an artist while practicing it (aren’t they worried their work will be boring, because it’s so obviously not genuine). And I don’t know how we can progress as a society in any meaningful and positive way should it continue. I'm a Solicitor in Australia and voiced concerns about the legality of the mandates, which for some workers remain in place even now, despite covid literally being everywhere. Not one friend from law school, aside from my sister, could be bothered to speak openly about the issue. My Dad has been a Solicitor for 40 years and the only lawyers who had any courage to discuss the legality of the mandates openly, were Solicitors and Barristers of his generation. Younger lawyers were either too afraid to say anything, or alternatively, were completely supportive of the mandates. Most of them, if they actually thought about it, would surely understand the dangerous precedent that has now been set. All of them were educated to understand the rule of law, but apparently none of them actually felt the need to defend it when the state breached it on a completely unprecedented scale. I don’t know how a person could call themselves a lawyer while silently bearing witness to such an incredible erosion of rights. More recently an Act has passed, bringing in professional repercussions for doctors who voice science backed opinions to their patients, should those opinions (as I said, even if science backed) conflict with the State’s health guidance. Super scary stuff. When I wrote to our State’s Council of Civil Liberties (a volunteer organisation run by lawyers) about it, I received a reply which included the words ‘There are many issues upon which we would like to comment but cannot’. I was flabbergasted. A group of lawyers at a civil liberties body, admitting to self-censorship during the pandemic. It feels like this is why things a crumbling in our democracies, because people who should know better, are now totally unable to show even the slightest bit of courage, should it mean facing criticism from the left. They can try to cancel M.I.A. all they like, but nothing they do will ever be as good as Paper Planes.
"The music industry, which prides itself on empathy and kindness,"
I think she and her supporters should set up a parallel performance and take her fans away from the festival!
Thank you for this excellent article. I'll be sharing it to my Twitter feed.
"The way to remain neutral is to book artists despite their opinions, not drop artists because of them."
Relating here my personal experience of being castigated for wrong think - as a practising textile artist I was a member of a professional international organisation called the Surface Design Association. In early December 2022 I was removed and blocked from an international live Zoom meeting discussing cultural appropriation, right at the start during the introductions, in advance of any potential comment. My views on cultural appropriation dissent from the populist Woke position - that appropriation is rampant and arises from white supremacy – are well known.
As a result of the censoring I sought to make a complaint to the SDA committee for Equity, Access and Inclusion. Regrettably for me, the same person who had been hosting the Zoom meeting who intentionally removed me, is also the head of that committee. Rather than a review of my complaint I received an email saying my membership of the SDA was refunded on the basis of them having decided my values are in conflict with their code of conduct.
Wow .. I thought the music industry championed Rebels? Or did I just imagine that?