Read the headline, and it's easy to get incensed, particularly if you're an armchair defender of Civil Liberties, who exercises those rights by crap flooding a message board and vandalizing the occasional Wikipedia page. Last week, Internet Watch Foundation, a watchdog group that patrols the wastes of the informational superhighway, alerted United Kingdom ISP's that a Wikipedia entry page for "Virgin Killer," the Scorpions' 1976 rock album, contained imagery that violates British child pornography law.
The page was summarily blocked to UK web surfers, and the outcry has come in the form of much frenzied typing, and much bluster about violations of free speech. In this press release, Wikipedia Foundation's General Counsel Mike Godwin cited the fact that the album remains untouched on sites of much greater visibility, such as Amazon.
One might blame IFW for selecting in Wikipedia a target of opportunity-- their adherence to "truth by consensus" couples with their loose editorial policies to produce a decidedly subjective and provocative approach to facts. But here's a dare from Gimme Noise. Take your laptop to your nearest coffee shop, pick out a nice comfy table, and see how long you can keep this image open on your monitor without getting a little squeamish.
It's not the first time the album art has landed the band in trouble. But Scorpions insist that the image and title track are a poignant critique on the perils of aging. In the band's defense, rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker insisted that a listen to the lyrics explains the image:
"The lyrics really say it all. Time is the virgin killer. A kid comes into the world very naive, they lose that naiveness (sic) and then go into this life losing all of this getting into trouble. That was the basic idea about all of it."Everything in this story rings more than a little absurd. But the idea that the Scorpions were launching a poignant message and not a marketing campaign might take the taco.
It's hard to imagine the faded Teutonic rockers are still managing to garner some finger wagging this late in their life cycle. Even if drug use, heavy metal, and skateboarding have been implicitly pardoned by parents worldwide, Klaus Meine and a butt-naked child can still land your inner teen rocker in hot water.