In Honor of SOPA, A Timeline of Musical Censorship (and a Few Thoughts on SOPA).

This handy timeline comes courtesy of WFMU’s Blog. Click to embiggen:

If I may have a moment to talk about this SOPA/PIPA Buisness:

Censorship, being a topic I am passionate about discussing and protesting, always amazes me in terms of its causes. The question of why governments, organizations, etc. etc. choose to censor is a fascinating conversation if only for the brief chance to understand the way other people think and their visions of a world similar to our own, yet clearly painted in different shades of gray.

My appreciation and similar fascination with piracy is quite well known to those who read this blog often, but there is a need to reform how we support our artists. But this is something that has to change within the industry, and not mandated by the government. When you put the regulation of art and the commerce of art in the hands of the government, you risk the regulation of content as well, and that is far more dangerous to our society than a few unbalanced corporate checkbooks. Piracy is only a threat to businesses whose priorities and structures are so fucked up, the industry can rake in billions in profits year after year, yet still cry poverty because they believe that some server in an off-shore shack somewhere has a shit ton of Katy Perry albums and videos just waiting around to be taken by anyone greedy enough to download them.

I’ll get off my soap box here, because I never wanted the Electric Comic Book to approach anything of a political statement. But I will say this: in addition to doing what you can to fight SOPA and PIPA bills, and spreading the word through Twitter, Facebook, pamphlets, etc. etc. etc., you should also consider for a moment what you can do to better support the arts. And if you’re like me, and you think you give enough money to the arts, consider what you can do to convince your friends to commit to that same level of artistic expression. Fortunately, we do have a lot of content available to us for free, and I’m not asking anyone to break the bank for bands offering crap albums for $20 a pop, but I am asking you to consider your choices in art with a sense of what is really worth keeping in the world. And if that’s none of it, then I’d like to see YOU create something worth keeping around. Seriously, I would.

Art, in all its forms, are one of the very few things worth living for in the modern world. It not only gives us great beauty to distract ourselves with, but it also gives us a context and sense of place and time in history, and gives us a better understanding with ourselves and our world. And the Internet, for all its foibles and dark spots, is still an impressive exchange of human information. Never take either for granted.

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