In other times, there was a certain epic in attempts to regulate what we could read, see, hear. The processes against Lady Chatterley's mistress, Ulysses or -give me a generational reference- the magazine Oz they followed a stimulating script: fiscal cenutrios against cultured and eloquent experts, with comforting endings in first or second instance.
Currently, powerless against the Internet, Western governments renounce to pursue cultural products. They have discovered that the producers or distributors themselves exercise effective censorship. We speak of moral censorship, although it does not apply to works: the intimate life of the creators is judged. They do not even wait for a sentence (Kevin Spacey, Ryan Adams); even, they despise those verdicts in which the artists were declared innocent: Woody Allen, R Kelly, Michael Jackson.
I will be told, with good reason, that justice depends on the caliber of the lawyers involved and the ability to negotiate economic agreements. It amazes me, however, that the promisers of the prohibitions are so slow to react: we would say that social responsibility attacks increase when artists have died or go (commercially) in the doldrums.
Is it reasonable to characterize Michael Jackson as a sexual predator? Well, he was a monster in everything, including his talent, a rare creature in his motivations and evasive in his behavior. However, now appears Leaving Neverland, a cheat and leaden documentary that seeks to move viewers. On the contrary, the response of the Jackson family has been lukewarm (except Janet, who triumphed on her own, all continue to live on Michael).
It gives the feeling that, as in previous earthquakes, they believe that it will return to normal in a matter of months, years. They ignore that today they face empowered masses, ready to kill any lynching. And the opportunities for stoning are never lacking. In the universe of art, exemplary lives do not abound. Let's forget pop, so given to abominable biographies; Recently, the TLS revealed that Charles Dickens tried to intern his wife in an asylum, to facilitate his relationship with a young actress. Beethoven used his considerable power against his sister-in-law Johanna, whom he snatched from his son on the grounds that she was "a prostitute" (he also assured that the son was his, so get an idea of the degree of anger). It no longer serves the excuse that they were other times, with different mentalities. Such arguments do not impress: they prefer media vetoes, the withdrawal of honors, the demonization of the supposed depraved. Punishments that are applauded by the public, or at least, by the sector that manifests itself in the networks. That they are not necessarily fanatical or ignorant.
Although it forces us to go back to times before the Net, we must remember the attacks against Salman Rushdie by respectable authors such as John Le Carré or Roald Dahl, accomplices in eroding the concept of freedom of expression: they even tried not to publish the cheap edition (paperback) of The satanic verses. It was the same: in Europe, the fundamentalists bought the book and, already in the street, without needing to read it, burned it with a gesture of satisfaction. Great feat: they had turned a postmodern text into a supposed blasphemy, worthy of medieval revenge. And, in passing, they discovered gaps in a Europe willing to temporize with radical Islamism. Do you know that Khomeini's fatwa is still valid and that even the reward for killing Rushdie now exceeds three million dollars?