“Ding-Dong The Witch is Dead”

“Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead” is #1 on the British Music Charts.


That’s a strong protest against the Thatcher policies regarding torture, immigration, union rights and health care. More interesting, though is that although #1 songs are played by the BBC radio, now the BBC has decided it will not play this particular Number 1 song.  Not all Brits agree with this political protest, especially the supporters of the Thatcher policies who call the protest bad taste. They are pressuring the BBC not to play the song, since it is simply a political manipulation.

No matter if you are a pro-Thatcher or anti-Thatcher, this remarkable event brings to light the way that all media is manipulated all the time.  Two questions arise:  who is doing the manipulation and how do we choose to consume media.

The BBC was accused of caving in to pressure and censoring the will of record-buyers after ruling that it would broadcast just five seconds of “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” during Sunday’s chart run-down. The five seconds will be part of a news program and not the music chart show.

The only note I want to make is that popular music, like all media, is always a constructed human activity.  Someone is making it and feeding it to us.  It is part of our cultural fiber and we consume it regularly.

To use it as political protest is interesting because it means we see the serious side of what music does in our lives.  It sets the agenda for public conversation and also frames the discussions that we have.  In this regard, music is exactly like food.  Media and food are both deeply embedded in our culture.  Both are produced by people who deliver it to us. Sometimes we need to take a closer look at how we choose to consume it.

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