Black Humour In The Arts? Oh Heavens!

Today was a dark day indeed in music:  the Junos (the Canadian version of the Grammys) offered up five nominations to Nickelback (for an album that received one star reviews across the country and was aptly referred to, largely due to high levels of misogyny in the lyrics, “a soundtrack for date rapists everywhere” by one weekly), and Amanda Palmer blogged about the vast majority of UK outlets refusing to promote or play her latest single Oasis, or its accompanying video.

Oh wow.  First her belly does not resemble an anoretic’s and thus, Leeds United’s video is unsuitable to her label.  Now this.  Since when did artistic licence to approach the world with black humour suddenly become revoked?  Aren’t the British of all people notorious for black humour and taking the piss?  Or have I gone mad and missed a mass brainwashing via The Hills and its spawn reality shows?

Amanda’s entry does a commendable job of expressing my views on the subject of censorship in the arts, and I strongly encourage a read.  Do also feel free to join me in emailing the guilty parties and asking them what is up with this nonsense.  I’ve been merrily clicking the links supplied by Amanda all evening.

Here’s what I’ve been sending to the outlets banning Ms. Palmer’s single:

I am extremely disappointed and disillusioned with your lack of respect for artistic integrity by opting to decline to promote/play Amanda Palmer’s latest single, Oasis.  It is my understanding that this outlet falls on the side of the song being offensive and ‘making light’ of the issues of rape and abortion,

First of all, the song’s lyrical focus should make it clear that what the song is truly addressing is the fact that teenagers exist who idolize celebrities and have such a shallow view of their lives that a girl who is date-raped and ends up having an abortion cannot even take her own dreadful situation seriously, her head being firmly inserted into her rear.  Hence the chorus centred around the band Oasis.  The storyline of the rape and abortion are rather incidental and serve only to flesh out that broader point.

Second of all, even if the song and video do jest in a black humour fashion at those issues (and the ‘annoying’ Fundamentalist Christians), so what?  I am actually disturbed that songs such as Eminem’s Guilty Conscience (which promoted date rape in a way that did NOT feel sardonic) are permissable and promoted, but this one isn’t.  Why not?  Why can we not examine serious issues through black humour?  South Park’s bread and butter is a dark humour examination of multiple issues, with there ultimately being an intelligent point to the exercise.  Amanda Palmer musically embodies the same spirit of ‘everything is fair game’ as Trey Parker and Matt Stone embody.  BBC6 aired the song;  surely you could choose to promote it as well.

As a survivor of rape and molestation, never mind abuse, I am not offended in the slightest by Oasis.  In fact, it’s one of my favourite songs on the entire album.  A long time ago, I decided that I could do one of two things:  I could cry, and continue to cry, or I could laugh, and try to find beauty in the darkness, find things to be grateful for from those experiences and how they shaped me.  Oasis is bold, admittedly controversial, but to shy away from such things only says that these issues are not okay to speak of in a public forum.

I urge you to reconsider and give Oasis its due.  Be daring.  Be bold.  Open the forum up for discussion.  Here in Canada, the song Leviticus Faggot by Me’Shell Ndegeocello was played despite its controversial lyrics and title, and Muchmusic then held a TV special with panelists including Me’Shell addressing issues about the song, gay rights, and suicide.  If you genuinely believe the song could offend, open up a similar discussion and get the issues into the open!

Amber (Toronto, Canada)

In light of this nonsense, I welcome those of you who are NOT Amanda Palmer fans to take a gander at the video for Oasis.  If Ben Folds can produce this song after his girlfriend in high school had an abortion, and Amanda can write it after her own abortion, then surely world sensibilities are not nearly as hypersensitive as these supposedly edgy outlets believe?  Surely, I can cling to the knowledge that the world will not be assimilated by Celine Dion and Carrie Underwood?  Please?

One thought on “Black Humour In The Arts? Oh Heavens!

  1. Pingback: How Amanda Palmer Killed Amanda Palmer « Open 'Til Midnight: Musings of a Music-Obsessed Mind

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