Enlarge Marduk‚ march 2012 Left to right: Morgan, Lars, Mortuus, Devo

Marduk Banned from Guatemala for Being “Satanic”

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The world is rife with hypocrisy. A lying sack of shit will soon ascend to the highest court in the U.S., likely shaping women’s reproductive rights for decades to come despite having assaulted multiple women himself. Season of Mist dropped an accused child pornography trafficker on a moment’s notice, but has no problem with blatant white supremacists staying on their label. And now the government of Guatemala will ban Marduk from entering the country on account of their allegedly “satanic” content (but not because of their ties to Sweden’s national socialist party!) while turning a blind eye to other kinds of music that espouse violent imagery.

Billboard reports that Guatemala’s congress moved to bar Marduk from entering the country by a vote of 83-17. Lawmaker Oliverio Rodas, who voted in favor of the ban, said the band’s music is offensive to “the morality of the Christian people of Guatemala.” But lawmaker Eva Monte Bac, who voted against, asked why the government would ban Marduk while allowing reggaeton music with lyrics that are misogynist and glorify drug use and trafficking, calling those who voted for the measure “hypocrites” and claiming the vote violates the country’s constitution.

Further, do we really want to go down the road of outright bans of messages that we find offensive? It’s one thing for individuals or organizations (record labels, venues, media) to take a stance against particular messages and advocate that others do the same. It’s another thing entirely for a country’s government to ban a band — or an individual or group of any kind — for their views. This is precisely what we’re talking about when we mention “free speech,” not the discussion between individuals or editorials in the media that detractors so often are up in arms about when whining “but my free speech!!”

What’s more, to what extent is it OK to discuss violence or to explore it through fantasy in art, ala Cannibal Corpse? I don’t know enough about the reggaeton Ms. Monte Bac is referencing to say whether it falls into that category, but the suggestion that all music that explores violent themes in any way should be BANNED is a very, very slippery slope. I don’t think that’s what Monte Bac is in fact suggesting, but it’s certainly worth discussing anyway in case her counterparts on the other side of the aisle would consider such a drastic stance.

I give up trying to understand anything. The world is fucked. Today sucks. Fuck it all.

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