DC Debate: In the case of ‘Beep’ song, it is a discussion based on assumption

YouTube doesn’t ban adult content, it restricts underaged people from viewing it, says Shakthi Girish

Don’t place rules on what one creates: Shakthi Girish, Chief editor of Galatta media

Freedom of expression and right to free speech and creativity is a hotly debated topic in our country. There are equal numbers of rebels demanding these rights as there are moral policing and proponents of conforming to specific repressive rules. But in the case of the “Beep” song, it is a discussion based on assumption because one person claims that he had nothing to do with it while another says it is a private song piece leaked (in essence, an invasion of privacy)! So let’s just work on these assumptions.

If it’s a leaked piece of private content, then this is the easiest topic to discuss — this was an invasion of privacy and one really can’t place judgments on someone’s private conversation or content. Whether one personally likes the content or not, it is none of their business. If it is indeed as many claim - a song by two celebrities that contains offensive material — it’s a bit more complex. I believe that one cannot place rules on what one creates. A painting, a song, a book — the creator has the right to his or her content, even if it does contain offensive material. It isn’t fair to censor, ban or even worse, slap lawsuits at the drop of a hat on everything that offends someone. Instead, categorising such content helps understand how and to who such content can be made available.

YouTube doesn’t ban adult content, it restricts underaged people from viewing it. Adult movies aren’t banned, they’re specifically marked A or R to restrict viewership by age and choice. If you look at songs with explicit content on iTunes USA, one has the choice of downloading versions with explicit content or a version with clean lyrics.

When an artiste chooses to sing songs or write lyrics with profanity, it may talk about their personalities, but that’s a different topic. If one wants to take offence against such personalities, then half the world’s population would be on that list!

Decorum is very important. I would very much like to see an idyllic world where people make better use of their vocabulary and abusive language; and violent behaviour is not the norm. But we have to be prudent and practical. Live and let live. If you ask me, the publicity created over ‘offensive’ material creates even more viewers/listeners for that material!

Need responsibility in freedom of speech: Leena Manimekalai, Award winning documentary filmmaker

Most mainstream film heroes including actors like Simbu have a history of making preserve movies and songs that objectify women and this insults the sensibilities of the audience. To be honest, this particular song was too cheap to even offend me. Unfortunately, though composing such songs always manage to make a quick buck because sexism has always made a selling.

Many youngsters and adolescents are usually the ones to consume these kinds of songs and they constitute a high percentage of cinema- goers. Actor Simbu especially has always been known for these kinds of movies and songs, they invariably always bully women in the name of love and his trophy teenagers like to imitate this kind of bullying and have no qualms about bullying women in real life.

This is simply not an issue of using expletives in songs or movies. I fully believe that an artist should have the right to present his art in whichever way he feels right. However, with regard to Simbu’s song, it is about “context”. Context is the key, it is not just about using vulgar language it is about how it is being used. In this case, Simbu and Anirudh use this language to reduce women to a mere body part. This whole song just revolves around how low a man can go when he is rejected by a woman and continues to degrade women for not complying to their “wants and needs.”

When it comes to the question of freedom of speech, I am all for it. I have always been keen on artists being given all freedom to execute their dreams, however this freedom of speech and expression also comes with a huge responsibility. This is something all artists should accept and understand. I don’t believe that there can be a fixed set of rules for creativity,. However, there are always ethical and non-ethical people in every sphere. Most of these box office films are not really for art but are just for profit and when profit is a motive then ethics takes a backseat. There has to be some discussion and debate. Every film is offensive to women in some way or the other but we obviously can’t ban all such movies. Therefore, there should be an opportunity for dialogue.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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