Our friend Faza (who writes the brilliant Cynical Musician blog) summarized those foisting the insipid “Great Firewall of America” attacks on the rogue sites legislation in a recent exchange on Twitter that is well worth repeating: “As someone who’s lived under a proper dictatorship I have to point out: lumping those together makes you look like an idiot.” (Faza is Polish and lives in the UK.)
When we were on tour in Europe during 1977 there were a bunch of those “proper dictatorships” still around within a day’s drive from us. The band that opened for us was from one of those countries. After a few days on the bus struggling with language, we kind of settled into the general sense that these guys who looked a lot like us–long hair, leather, boots, a little long on the testosterone–were in fact like us.
Then one day we got to talking about their interest in going to America and they described how difficult it was to get out of their country “officially”. I said now that you are out, why don’t you just keep going? What stops you?
And the bass player, who was a big strapping guy covered in tattoos and chains, started to break down. “Because they will kill my mother, man.”
And I believed every word of it. Because at that moment, that dictatorship reached inside that guy’s brain without having to lift a finger and invaded our tour bus in the idyllic [West] German countryside with every bit as much force as if they had actually been present.
So if you find the need to somehow compare the rogue sites legislation to censorship, totalitarian regimes, etc., just realize that for those who understand what those experiences are actually like–and those are millions of people in the world, many of whom risked their lives and the lives of their families to get to America–“lumping those together makes you look like an idiot.”
I would say not just an idiot, but an entitled, inexperienced idiot who is spoiled rotten. And yes, this means you, Eric.