Hysteria is a weird thing. Most men only feel it in relation to their long suffering sports team finally winning a championship. The result is getting wasted, clutching men you barely know, and occasionally crying. Nothing to be proud of, even if generally forgivable, especially if you’re from a small or mid-sized sports market.
The rhetorical and political blowup of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and subsequent death of a protestor by a hopeless loser cowardly driving his car into a crowd of people is something rather unprecedented. Neo-nazis and Klan and militia-right and Confederacy dunces have been a part of the alternative social landscape for about forever now. They join the Fruits of Islam, the Guy Fawkes masked anarchists, and Lyndon LaRouche disciples in the grand landscape of America’s political fringe. At their best, they boast followers in the tenths of percent of voters. They don’t statistically register.
Charlottesville is hardly the first such rallying point of these groups, such that a nationwide get together of five-hundred people with subsidized travel can be considered a rally. Five thousand come in to Charlottesville for Duke road games at UVA. Nor is the Charlottesville event the first demonstration where people have been assaulted, or even died. It’s always bad when it happens, but it’s happened often. Never has the countermanding of the inalienable rights been so fierce in the aftermath.
In 1995, Timothy McVeigh killed 168 men, women, and children and badly injured hundreds more. Nobody decided to start burning down historical relics or tearing up books determined to be bigoted. Eric Rudolph detonated a bomb a year later at the Olympics in Atlanta because he hated gays and abortion. The 700 Club wasn’t blacked out across all cable providers.
The hysteria around Charlottesville mixes the toxicity of a real social problem and putting the loudest, most irate people in charge of the solution. Hence, government institutions, municipalities, media outlets, and private businesses are being coerced into some seriously Stalinist to-do lists. Spotify is the latest. One of the Orwellian monitors noted that the music streaming service contained some number of music artists that promote hate and tout racism and white power. That same criticism has been leveled in the past against some fairly well known bands. Spotify is axing these music artists from its service.
“In the wake of violent clashes in Charlottesville and an increasingly vocal, post-Trump white supremacy voice, the presence of white supremacy music on Spotify takes on a different light.”
Spotify clearly has the right to censor content based on their perception of what is hate-filled music. Or even simply as a response to public pressure. As do Facebook, Google, GoDaddy and others announcing a stepping up of the blacklisting of sites, songs, and people deemed to be white supremacists or publishing hate speech.
The ACLU is standing by the sidelines on this one. While the civil rights organization were decidedly involved in providing for neo-Nazis to express their First Amendment rights in Skokie in the 70’s, Trump wasn’t President at the time. And being perfectly clear, this is about Trump.
If Hillary Clinton were President, this Charlottesville incident still would’ve taken place. Much ado would’ve been made, expressions of sorrow, and coming together, and stamping out hate. But not the histrionics and protest pandemonium. That’s an expression of Resist from people whose world was turned upside down last November when a man they view as the devil incarnate was elected President. All that seething rage and anger and angst has made every single opportunity to cast Trump as Beelzebub with an orange toupee an opportunity for intense, nonstop, and hyperbolic outrage. Hence, people touting themselves as liberals looking to censor speech at every turn. Also, being played by political forces coldly calculating much of this.
People old enough to remember the Reagan years especially early on recall a similar frenzy. Though without the Internet, cable news, or social media, hysterics were simply harder to conjure up. Also, to be fair, Reagan was much less of an asshole. You can only be so wound up by a guy who smiles and talks like your grandpa. Trump is not a guy you want reading you bedtime stories or taking you on your first fishing trip.
The good news is these Silicon Valley firms and large media conglomerates censoring content are not Constitutionally bound not to do so government institutions. The bad news is, they answer to nobody and control 99.9% of information flow in the modern flow. There’s a good chance you feel there’s no place for hate-filled white supremacy speech in our fair nation. Unless you’re an irrational thinker who’s never read a history book, you should be very scared when groups of outraged citizens are determining what exactly constitutes hate.
Tipper Gore and her 1985 Parents Music Resource Council tried to take away Judas Priest and Twisted Sister. Everybody laughed. If she changed her rhetoric to include some “alt-right” buzzwords, she could easily do it now. Be careful playing that moral Salem witch hunt, eventually that bell will toll for thee. They’re called reeducation camps because they can hold a lot of people.
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