23-Dec-2010 (Thu)
Wherein Fiona Ma gets Footloose.

Here we go again...

Ma seeks to ban raves in latest War on Fun offensive

Someone needs to tell Assembly member Fiona Ma that the '90s -- with its myopic War on Drugs mentality, ascendant rave scene, and chest-beating "tough on crime" political one-upsmanship -- are over, even though we're still paying that era's bills. Because Ma just introduced AB 74, which seeks to bans raves in California.

Why now? Well, her website says this "historic legislation" was written "on the heels of recent drug-related tragedies in Los Angeles and the Bay Area," referring to three drug-related deaths at two events last May and June. And even though the same statement claims "attendance at raves can range from 16,000 to 185,000 people," Ma somehow thinks that a few overdoses justifies a broad ban on dance parties (although she pointedly exempts live concerts, for reasons she doesn't explain, even though the exact same argument can be made about concerts).

As a representative from the vibrant city of San Francisco, Ma (who did not return our calls for comment) is an embarrassment, taking the already-regressive War on Fun efforts by so-called "moderate" politicians to a new low. But unfortunately, the effort to ban public dance parties has already gained traction at the federal level with provisions of the long-controversial RAVE Act -- promoted by top Democrats as well as Republicans -- finally sneaking their way onto the books last year.

The bill is here, and is very short: AB-74. Apparently she defines a "rave" as any event at night, not in a bar or stadium, that is more than 3 1/2 hours long and includes any pre-recorded music.

I'm sure there will be no Constitutional problems with that, at all.

Back in 1994, when the UK tried to put a stop to those young whippersnappers and that boom-boom-boom noise they call music, they included the awesome phrasing,

"music" includes sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.

This resulted in Autechre releasing an EP with the warning,

Warning. 'Lost' and 'Djarum' contain repetitive beats. We advise you not to play these tracks if the Criminal Justice Bill becomes law. 'Flutter' has been programmed in such a way that no bars contain identical beats and can therefore be played under the proposed new law. However, we advise DJs to have a lawyer and a musicologist present at all times to confirm the non repetitive nature of the music in the event of police harassment.

Remember when we had a War on Drugs and now there are no more drugs? And then we had that War on Terror and now there's no more terror? I sure am glad we got rid of all of those repetitive beats.

4 Responses:

  1. Erica Unwoman Mulkey says:

    It seems the Musicians Union was a more powerful lobby than I'd realized.

  2. John Adams says:

    Just imagine if they managed to pass anything resembling the harsher aspects of the UK Criminal Justice Act of 1994.

    (see sections 63-65)

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/contents

    Thatcher did end up killing the acid house / rave movement after all, but some good music came from it...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd0YI6Fvv3s

  3. Christopher Nielsen says:

    I am bored with everyone trying to protect us from ourselves. Can they please go away now? I'd like to live my life in peace.

  4. John Seggerson says:

    What's [not] funny is that definition includes Ümloud!.