Thursday, August 06, 2009

Banned Songs in Argentina, or "Love Is as Bad As Progressive Politics"

Lillie points us to this article revealing songs that Argentine governments (including the dictatorship of 1976-1983) banned between 1969 and 1982. Some of the selections are far from surprising - protest songs and social-justice songs in Spanish. Interestingly, both the first and last banned songs were "love" songs: "Yo te amo, pero no mucho" ("I love you, but not a lot"), in 1969, and "El amor" ("The love"), in 1982. The usual suspects are also on the list - John Lennon (though not for "Imagine," but for "Kiss Kiss Kiss",) Joan Baez, chilean folk singer (and victim of the Pinochet regime) Victor Jara, and several Argentine folk singers. Also on the list are Queen, Brazilian singer (and far from politically radical) Roberto Carlos, Rod Stewart for "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," (which should have been banned worldwide on the principal of being so awful), Eric Clapton (I initially presumed for "Cocaine," which was indeed the case), and Donna Summer [?].

The one really interesting thing from this list (besides the inclusion of Donna Summer) is how much songs that touch on love and sex appear, even if they were relatively benign (even by 1970s standards). It's not too surprising that a state organ that kills upwards of 30,000 of its own citizens probably isn't too concerned about love. However, it is interesting (if not so surprising, as Diana Taylor has demonstrated) that, in these 13 years of periodic military rule and right-wing governments, the focus seems to be as much on the effect songs could have on societal "moral decay" as on political "subversion."