Thursday, October 4, 2012

Music, Mobsters, and Misdirected Regulatory Efforts

Is the music industry evil?  We’re hoping to discuss some variation on that topic at the Oct. 23 Dionysium gathering at Muchmore’s, if you have some expertise on either side of the issue and would care to volunteer. 

This much I’ll say: The music industry is arguably less evil than human trafficking, the chosen profession of the cartel of bad guys in the Liam Neeson action movie Taken, the sequel to which comes out tomorrow, I’m pleased to see.  As Scott Nybakken says, one of the reasons the first Taken worked is that it was unapologetically patriarchal: Dad rescuing his sexually-exploited daughter from thugs – or in the sequel, daughter and wife, which must be weird for the recently-widowed Neeson, but then, he has a very special set of skills (called acting) and if you are in the theatre this weekend, he will find you.

Oddly enough, there is a slight connection between the bar event and human trafficking, though.  We may well use Oct. 23 to discuss Muchmore’s – like all too many NYC establishments – getting a summons for ostensibly violating the City’s draconian “cabaret laws,” which forbid even small amounts of spontaneous dancing at establishments not licensed for dancing.  It’s like Footloose in this insane, ostensibly free-thinking city. 

And a friend with some professional political experience tells me the City suddenly resumed enforcing the laws in the 90s as an extra excuse to shut down the strip clubs – and in some cases prostitution, supposedly – that it then wanted to get rid of.  So rather than target real problems directly – by, say, arresting a violent pimp or john and leaving people who are doing no harm alone – the law acts with its usual blanket unsubtlety, and everyone is rendered motionless to this day. 

In a City that seeks legal and regulatory solutions to such terrible menaces as margarine and table salt, this explanation is at least superficially plausible. 

But we can discuss it all on the 23rd – without dancing, I’m afraid.

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