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Post 9/11 entertainment: what changed and why – part 2 February 1, 2010

Part 2: Music

One thing that was, at times drastically altered in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks was music. This, however, was due in part not only because of the actual attacks but also in part by the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

At the onslaught of the September 11th attacks, all forms of media were forced to re-edit and re-evaluate their releases. The music industry was no exception.  The US Constitution says:

“Congress shall make no law representing an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

While, yes, the USA does not have a real form of censorship in the government sector, the country does in the private sector. Take for example Bill Maher, whose comments on US foreign policy and the War on Terror on his show Politically Incorrect quickly ended the show. Sponsors of the show pulled their ads.

Music genres changed drastically in the aftermath of 9/11. Especially country music. In the aftermath of the tragedy, country radio and popular country acts such as Toby Keith and Alan Jackson released more patriotic songs such as Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American) and Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) respectively.

In addition to the patriotic-ness of country radio, other artists such as LeAnn Rimes, Whitney Houston, Faith Hill, and Lee Greenwood also saw some of their more patriotic songs chart.

Country radio was not without its own controversial songs and people during this time. In March 2003, near the impending invasion, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, said to a London audience that “they were ashamed that the President was from Texas.” This comment, though Maines would later retract what she said and then take back her apology in the form of the 2006 release Not Ready To Make Nice, caused country stations nation-wide to ban the Dixie Chicks as well as even bulldoze their music.

Rock music, on the other hand, was more affected with censorship. Bands such as The Cranberries, The Dave Matthews Band, The Strokes, and Sheryl Crow had to alter songs or music videos. The Dave Matthews Band planned to release their new single “When The World Ends,” but scrapped that idea shortly after the attacks. The song in question for Sheryl Crow was the upcoming single Steve McQueen, which talks about the lack of heroes in the world, had her worried after the attacks that the song would not fit in with the public taste.

Mtv also turned into a solemn state. On the day of the attacks, Mtv and VH1 halted all programming on their networks and ran footage of CBS news. On September 14, 2001, Mtv’s Total Request Live with host Carson Daily returned, but the mood of the show was devoid of the usual shout-outs and applause. Instead the mood was best summed up by the shell-shocked look on the faces of the audience, which was mostly teenagers.

“Somebody said it was like MTV Nice,” recounted  Judy McGrath to Blender magazine, president of the MTV Group. “We quickly added a lot of videos, like Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and the U2 catalog, that seemed soulful and personal.”

One of the major events that happened in music was the alleged ban on 156 records done by Clear Channel stations nationwide. Some of the songs such as Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 and any Rage Against the Machine songs were more questionable in their lyrical content; while others such as Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar and New York New York by Frank Sinatra were banned due to metaphorical language in their lyrics. However, Clear Channel denied that it was a ban but rather a call to radio programmers to be careful in their playlists. The BBC also did likewise, although more overtly with their banning of such songs as Fly Away From Here by Aerosmith and Pilots by Goldfrapp on their BBC2 station. BBC also kept clear of playing upbeat songs in light of the attacks as well as tried to stay in touch with what the listeners were feeling.

In a style reminiscent of both Live Aid,  the music world pulled together with 3 major benefit concerts: America: a Tribute to Heroes, United We Stand – What More Can I Give, and the Concert for New York City. The major artists that were included in these concerts were Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, ‘NSYNC, Michael Jackson- who debuted his new We Are the World -style anthem entitled What More Can I Give,  Usher, Pink, Backstreet Boys, P. Diddy, Destiny’s Child, Goo Goo Dolls, Mariah Carey, and numerous others. The Concert for New York City raised, initially, over $30 million to help victims affected by the attacks.  Touring for many artists, on the other hand, became quite mute: some artists like Destiny’s Child and Aerosmith, postponed or cancelled concerts. Other artists, such as the Beastie Boys and Madonna, went ahead with their tour stops – albeit with a more focus on the tragedy that happened. Madonna went as scheduled with her Thursday performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as well as the Beastie Boys performance in Toronto.

Overall, the attacks for a brief moment in history, rallied music into either “give” mode or “critical” mode.

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A Christian’s take on Pat Robertson January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson seems to think that he can speak for all Christians. He thinks that he is like a prophet of the Old Testament. However, he does not speak for all Christians and he does not speak for me, a fellow Christian.

Robertson has a history of thinking that he speaks for every Christian when he does not. He thinks that he speaks for all Christians in regards to the massive earthquake that happened in Haiti yesterday. Robertson said on his show this morning, the 700 Club, that “something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, uh, you know Napoleon the 3rd and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’ True story. And so the Devil said, ‘Okay, it’s a deal.’ And, uh, they kicked the French out, you know, with Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by, by one thing after another, desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti on the other side is the Dominican Republican. Dominican Republic is, is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etcetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God and out of this tragedy I’m optimistic something good may come. But right now we’re helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable.”

Now is not the time to be saying that Haiti deserves to be hit by a natural disaster.

In 1999, Robertson said to a UK-based newspaper The Guardian that “you’re supposed to be nice to Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists … Nonsense. I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.” He basically said that these denominations of Christians were filled with the Antichrist spirit.

Perhaps by that token, some of the former presidents of the United States, are “filled with the Antichrist.” Former presidents Ronald Reagen, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush were either Presbyterian, Methodist, or Episcopalian.

In 2007, Robertson predicted that a terrible attack of terror on the US would result in “mass killing” in late 2007. That killing or attack never occured.

In 2005, Robertson suggested  an assasination of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. He later recanted the suggestion.

Robertson has also said, in 2004, that the reason for hurricanes hitting the Florida coast was due to the Gay Days at Walt Disney World.

Now, here is the beef: Gay Days at Walt Disney World is not sponsored by the Walt Disney Company. According to gaydays.com, this event is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch and gaydays.com – not Disney.

Also, since Pat Robertson claims to be a Christian, maybe he never read these Bible verse: John 8:7(KJV) which says “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Perhaps he also missed the verse in Exodus 20:13 that says “You shall not murder.” This covers wishing someone were dead as well.

Pat Robertson thinks that he can speak on behalf of the Christian community, but instead has forged a negative stereotype of all evangelical christians in the US.

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