I've been troubled by the widespread suppression of dissent that has become so commonplace under the current President. It's bad enough when it is carried out by the government, but its even worse when nongovernmental bodies do the same out of fear of backlash. I'm a big enough Nine Inch Nails fan to have seen them about 10 times, to still cling to my well-worn Pretty Hate Machine tour t-shirt and to buy their new albums the week of release. Until now, I've never known anything about Trent's political opinions, so obviously he's not one to really wear them on his sleeve. But MTV was so alarmed that they would have an image of George W. Bush as a backdrop while playing "The Hand That Feeds," that NIN decided to pull out of the MTV awards rather than ditch the photo.
The full statement is on the band's official web site,
and I was surprised that MTV.com
actually covered this in their news section. MTV's official
statement in response says they were "uncomfortable with their performance being built
around a partisan political statement." As political statements go,
it's a rather vague one. Therefore, the situation is all that more
disturbing, that MTV is afraid of a single artist who merely hints at
disagreeing with the current administration.