Prussian Blue: Sensationalist or Censorship?

July 21, 2007 at 10:39 pm (extreme music, politics and society)

Saw that highly odd documentary on 4OD this week entitled Nazi Pop Twins about the music of White Supremesist teen folk duo Prussian Blue. Like most Channel 4 fodder, it’s typical ‘shock doc’ material designed to provoke a reaction. Actually, there’s a healthy debate on C4’s Culture forum about the programme.

Josh 933 comments:
“You can’t solve the ‘problem’ of extremism by simply outlawing it, you have to explain why there’s a better, more fulfilling, ideological alternative to the White Nationalists or whoever. Free speech for all, not some, that’s equality.”

There’s no denying that Prussian Blue’s material is one-dimensional, neo-nazi nonsense, stimulated by their barmy mother who is clearly three swastikas short of an SS Bunker. Teaching three-year-old daughter Dresden (yeah, really!) her ABC (“A is for Aryan, B is for Blood…”) case in point. The oh-so-cute smiley-Hitler T-shirts the girls wear and jig-round-the-swastika is a clever marketing ploy on mom’s part, but although they’ll never achieve commercial success, they’ve clearly already achieved what attention-seeking mom wants through appearances on ABC News etc. She is, after all, just a pushy mom with a copy of Mein Kampf nestled next to Mrs Beeton.

What really offended me about all this, wasn’t the fact that actually the girls couldn’t sing or play, their music was poor and songs mediocre. It wasn’t grandpops cattle brand in the shape of a swastika. It was the utter sensationalist and bias reporting of filmmaker James Quinn. Quite clearly, he had no interest in using his journalist skills to make an objective or intelligent report on the twins and the wider issue of rising anti-seminitism, ‘white pride’ etc, but intended to shoot and edit to portray the family in the worst possible light. The ‘band’ have fans, otherwise they wouldn’t be touring Europe, but the portrayal was they were vilified by everyone under the sun.

Like many of these shock-docs, the subject is the ‘butt’ and the film made under false pretences. The rare exception being the genuinally rounded documentary of Bernard Manning: Beyond the Grave on Channel 4 recently. Gave the self-confessed racist codger enough rope to hang himself while filming his own obituary. Bizarre, yet touching and very funny. Bless him.

I digress. The real danger I’m highlighting here is that censorship, or deliberately sensationalist coverage of so-called ‘extreme’ politics, art or music (remember Manning was a mainstream and highly successful TV comedian in the 1970s, and the National Socialists had a few ‘fans’ in the 1930s so it’s all contextual) is in itself an attack on liberal society. When I googled to try and hear some of Prussian Blue’s music to make up my own mind, I found their website had been temporarily taken down, the only presence on Myspace was an anti-Prussian Blue group and a pro-Prussian Blue group but no profile or music. These ‘closures’ are unlikely to be related. However, there was some material on YouTube including a bizarre ‘white pride’ rant message piece (with no indication of whether it was produced by the band or a fan) and a happy meadow video, which you can judge for yourself. (I’m actually suprised their videos did stay on YouTube given their heavy-handed censorship, I had heaps of trouble trying to post a humorous naked eclair video by John Callaghan). The comments onYouTube are usually dumb-ass and ignorant on a good day, but this one by the “Victory Day” video took it to another level:

“id love to rape them in theyre (sic) mouths and then stab the baby in the head just to show how not cool nazism is. word” – theodoubleg

So when I finally got to check it out, my conclusions:

– A few catchy numbers, bit Alan Morris for my tastes – had they got the souped-up funky production of Joe Ladyboy they might be passable, but I can’t see any of these getting played at the National Front Disco.

There’s nothing wrong with swimming against the sea, running against the grain, and creating controversy with what you do – it’s damn hard and puts you in a vulnerable and weak position in society, so you would only do it if you really believed in your view. As Winston Churchill put it:”You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something.” As I would say, “You’ve never seen enough until you get thrown out“. Or as Prussian Blue say “Stand up for what you believe in” (even if it’s hideously flawed and offends 99% of the globe).

Art and music exist to reflect and challenge conventional views of society. It’s happened in France already with the Paris riots and increasingly in UK and USA, we have increasingly divided communities, fuelled by events and policy (e.g. terrorism, immigration) and between what is perceived to be an inbalance in the treatment of how freedom of speech differs between races and so-called ‘positive discrimination’ policies in society. Some rappers in France openly convey anti-white lyrics. The debate on the merits and flaws of multiculturalism and integration has never run more fierce.

Like Sex Pistols, Throbbing Gristle, Laibach and Ken Livingstone, it can take some extremism to challenge and change society for the better. By cutting short the debate, the many-headed hydra under the surface will bubble and later explode. I would hate it if Babyslave‘s music was ever censored. We’re controversial, but we like to think in a philosophical way, but it’s better to be banned than to be compromised in what you do.

Yet it’s the so-called liberals who tend to be the most reluctant to have their viewpoints challenged. In the UK, it’s more socially acceptable to be a Communist, Anarchist or Animal Liberationist than a Fascist or British Nationalist – though all are forms of extremism that have been linked to the rise of violence and terrorism. There’s no peace and love in the ALF. Are Screwdriver a better or worse band that Chumbawumba? The later, of course, having ‘sold out’ to EMI to have a chart hit which served as a drinking song more than political rally. Personally, I believe the world is greater enriched by exploring both ‘extreme’ points of views. Paradoxically, porous ideas and cultures are, after all, what changes the world.

I myself have stood in the face of Eastbourne’s liberals for standing up for an alternative view point, to start a debate following the aftermath of the London 7/7 bombings. Those coming to the gig to be ‘shocked’ (as it claimed in advance publicity) by extreme art, Foxtrot Echo, Tony Wakeford et al, turned out to be easily offended (I faced fairly limp-wristed threats afterwards), as this ‘exhibit A‘ recording testifies…

In hindsight, I may not have said and did what I did at the gig, but it was an immediate and direct response to the political and society ‘demons’ dancing publicly at the time of recording. And I think Prussian Blue, when they get over their angst, testostorone adolescence will probably make some more tempered music, less skewed to holocaust denial and maybe something a bit happier, like chasing butterflies in that pretty meadow. Then no one will care about them anymore, their time will be done.

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