1. I wholeheartedly do not agree with the idea that Odd Future were going to be a threat to ‘public order’, but the decision mentioned ‘public interest’ also, (citing the Immigration Act (2009)). I believe this is going to be the key fulcrum of the censorship debate into the future, and is indeed the basis on which most media classification decisions already lie. I spent a day with the OFLC office and students last year and they definitely come down on the side of freedom of artistic expression, when balancing the potential overall positive / negative impact of cultural material.
2. The response of fans has for the most part, been testament to the potential set of attitudes referred to by people interested in advocating for women in our society - a cursory look at the Stop Demand Facebook page: (maybe they are simply being ‘ironic’, or ‘post-modern’)
3. Rapture is an all ages event. I wonder if some of the young girls there would have sung along? (Probably, what does this mean?) Many of the young women in our society are critically active, well educated and strong, but many are not (not through their own design). They might not have the psycho-social support and educational foundation to make sense of and integrate these messages into a flourishing life.
4. Another argument - Having gay / bi sexual members means that they can no longer be accused of homophobia or accusations that their lyrics are damaging? Really? In my opinion, this is analogous to saying “How could I be racist? I have a black friend.”
5. Another specious argument: “If you don’t like the music, don’t listen.” This is not the point, people do listen, it’s the potential effect on the people in question that we are interested in, quite obviously.
6. Yet another specious argument: Odd Future are being ‘ironic’. Irony is when something happens in a way that is contrary to what is expected and provides amusement as a result. In what way are Odd Future behaving in a way that is contrary to what people expect of them? They are fulfilling expectations (of fans and detractors) equally. In my opinion irony should not be used to defend the forceful and flippant projection of damaging representations of women.
7. I am still waiting for a coherent explanation of their artistic merit beyond their shock value, initial subversion of traditional rap genre expectations and ‘craziness’.
8. If you don’t want to (insert media experience here), don’t (go to, listen to) (insert media experience here), argument is also spurious. The whole idea, is that some things are injurious to the public good, for people who do (have this media experience) There are types of phenomena we don’t condone as a society (sexually violent or coercive pornography, for example,) where we do not trot out this argument.
9. The argument: “This will just make them more popular” - could potentially happen. However, what was that film that was banned last year again? Can’t even remember it’s name. I think it had Elijah Wood in it. Might look it up. If I can remember. Hmmm… My point - these things recede into the distance eventually, but are still accessible to motivated people who are most probably more strongly equipped to manage their overall impact.
10. At some stage we need to, as a society, be able to say that we disapprove of things strongly, without being labelled as conservative, against art, against freedom of expression, etc. I think it is morally healthy to send a message that we don’t approve of certain lyrics and sets of behaviours supported by some artistic cultures.
I teach young men the skills to unpack these messages and hopefully manage the destructive representations around them. Not all young people, or adults are equipped with these skills, indeed, many vulnerable people hang off collectives of artists like Odd Future’s every word.
This matters, and people who work with young people are strongly aware of the effects.