I was reading a blog entry recently by “Mighty God King” (subtle) called MGK Versus His Adolescent Reading Habits, as well as an article on the censorship of a Wikipedia page for the rock band The Scorpions by a British anti-pedophilia group a few weeks ago. In the blog, MGK takes old SF and fantasy book covers and gives them new titles, titles more accurate than the authors might have intended. My personal favorite is My Little Pony Goes to War (Mercedes Lackey’s Magic’s Price).
The censorship of The Scorpions’ Wikipedia page was a big flap for a week or two. Thirty years ago, The Scorpions put out a rather tacky cover featuring a naked preteen girl in a provocative pose. It didn’t help that the album was entitled “Virgin Killers” and the band subsequently changed the cover, having concluded (along with pretty much everyone else) that it had been a less than classy idea.
Flash-forward thirty years and a British anti-pedophilia group suddenly decided that this album was dangerous, that it might encourage pedophiles to do…whatever, and prevailed upon Wikipedia to cut it from the group’s Wiki page. This resulted in many British users being unable to access the page at all. Some of them couldn’t even use Wikipedia.
Cue much screaming about censorship by private groups and the like and much pointing out that when the album came out, people thought it was smut, but attitudes about this sort of thing were very different (Lolita, Pretty Baby, that sort of stuff). Who would have thought that the lame ’70s would be a time of happening experimentation compared to the Brave New World of the early 21st century?
And the biggest irony of all was that the album cover could be readily seen elsewhere, including on the band’s official site (though they’ve since removed it). Ooops. So much for closing the barn door after the horse had cantered out and gone romping around the fields.
Then there is the MGK experiment. Humor, of course, does a really good job of exposing, sending up and skewering taboos like so many clay ducks. Well…good humor, anyway