Saturday, 23 June 2012

The best thing that can be done with anything is to ban it

The best thing the authorities can do is ban something, if they want to increase its popularity or success. This applies to whether it is a film or a song, or a comic act which creates or causes offence with the public. The authorities banned Clockwork Orange in 1973 because some 16-year-old nutcase attacked and killed a 60-year-old a tramp in Oxford, called David McManus. Afterwards, the defence of the killer was he did it because of what he had seen in the film Clockwork Orange. Yes, Clockwork Orange had moments of violence. It must have been shocking for when it was released, which was two years before, in 1971. It remained banned until after when Stanley Kubrick, the director of the film, died in 1999. However, to blame the film on some twisted sicko killing a tramp is totally absurd. If that individual hadn't seen the film, then he would have committed or carried out some other crime or done something similar to this, because it obviously was in him anyway. It was just that Clockwork Orange was the catalyst for him to do it. He would though, have ended up in court over something else, as sure as night follows day.

I personally thought that Clockwork Orange was a good film, when I finally obtained it on DVD in December 2007. It didn't make me feel like killing anyone for no reason, least of all a 60-year-old tramp. It certainly didn't make me want to emulate the sadistic Alex on any level, and do you know why, because it wasn't in me. I watched it mainly just to see what the furore was about. Perhaps if such a furore hadn't been created, I might not have bought it.

The authorities also banned the film "The Exorcist" for 25 years, in the same year. Perhaps the reason was because it upset some people who had psychiatric or psychological problems. Again, you must have psychiatric or psychological problems to be upset by it in the first place, though it wouldn't have helped, if people self-harmed because of seeing it, it was merely a catalyst, rather than a cause. In 1998 I went to see it just to see what all the fuss was about. Perhaps again, it was disturbing and outrageous for the time. I didn't think it was particularly scary. I went to see it just to see what the fuss was about. On 29th April 2011 I watched the Alan Clarke film "Scum" which I believe was banned for a time. I like it as a film. Would I have been as interested if it hadn't been banned?

The song "Ebenezeer Goode", which the group The Shamen took to number one for four weeks in September 1992, caused controversy. The song was initially banned by the BBC, and the single was eventually withdrawn after the band were hounded by the British tabloid press. It got to number one in Drugs Awareness week. A blonde bloke in an hat jumping around singing that "E's are good" isn't going to make me take Ecstasy. It didn't make me take it 20 years ago. Hearing it wouldn't have made me take it 15 years ago, or 10 years ago or now. If you were to take Ecstasy because of that song, then it must have been in you to take it in the first place. Again, a catalyst, not a cause. There was references to Cannabis in the song. It didn't make me smoke Cannabis because of that.

Would it have got to number one if it hadn't been banned or had it had those lyrics? Same with Frankie Goes to Hollywood's song Relax. That was about number 68 when banned when the DJ Simon Bates read the lyrics out on air live and he was totally disgusted by them. If Bates hadn't done that, would the song had got to number one? It can be argued that Frankie Goes To Hollywood owe their career to Simon Bates. It is a lot harder nowadays to ban songs, as opposed to the pre-Internet days of 1983 or in 1992 when the Internet in its infancy and in the pre-social media days of Facebook and Twitter or pre-music downloads. Clarkson and Giggs tried to impose injunctions on stories of their private lives coming out in 2011. They were both unsuccessful. Twenty or thirty years before, they would likely have been.

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