He ain't worf it, Peter!
Beenie Man is one of a number of Jamaican dancehall artists with an inclination for homophobic lyrics. Gay rights group OutRage!, led by Peter Tatchall, have been campaigning to put an end to such shenanigans. As promoters grow increasingly anxious about being associated with such artists, Beenie Man and friends have found concerts being cancelled. Not happy to end it there, Peter Tatchall wants Beenie Man prosecuted over songs which endorse or incite violence against gay people.
[OutRage!] is targeting eight Jamaican reggae singers whose songs incite
listeners to shoot, burn, stab and drown gay people: Beenie Man, Bounty Killer,
Buju Banton, Capleton, Sizzla, TOK, Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel. Last week, we
called on the organisers the Mobo awards to drop the nominations of the last two
performers in the list. These artists have a right to criticise homosexuality,
but free speech does not include the right to commit the criminal offence of
incitement to murder.
If you had to take sides in a scuff, it would be wise to choose Peter Tatchell. He's an articulate and indefatigable campaigner for the right of people not to be persecuted for being who they happen to be. Beenie Man, on the other hand, is a pedestrian purveyor of bong-addled doggerel and, judging by evidence available, an oaf and a bigot.
Tatchell expresses his views so articulately that it's easy to forget for a moment that it's actually nonsense. It's based on the same error of logic foam-flecked editorials in the Tele or Daily Mail make when they blame a murder on video games: when you hold art culpable for the crimes of its users, you're ignoring the millions who use it without any inclination to be violent.
Marilyn Manson was not responsible for the murders at Columbine and Beenie Man is not responsible for the assaults on Jamaican gays.
I support Peter Tatchell's attempt to make such artists a commercial liability - Beenie Man should be disputed, mocked and harassed. However, he shouldn't be arrested.
posted by Tim Stevens | 9/21/2004 04:31:00 AM |