My unpopular opinion of the day: “Don’t be an Idiot.”
Over the last few days, it seems like every popular music blog has covered this latest Holy Ship! “scandal.” I use quotations because everything seems to be a scandal these days and I’m just glad I haven’t seen anyone call it ShipFamGate yet. Though I’m sure it’s coming.
The long and short of it is this: Holy Ship! is basically is a music festival aboard a cruise ship. Fans and attendees (ShipFam) in private or secret Facebook groups dedicated to the event were reportedly posting about drugs and drug use on the ship. Organizers of the event became aware of this, and sent messages to those posters with harsh messages going as far as to blacklist them from future events. You can read about the whole thing in greater detail… well… pretty much everywhere, but here’s one take from Magnetic Magazine.
Tough for me to know where to start. Let’s start with the obvious: illegal drugs are illegal. We can all agree on that, yes? Cool. Let’s also recognize that a cruise ship like Holy Ship! travels through international waters and even to other countries. Think it’s a good idea to smuggle illegal drugs over international borders? Probably not, right? Because it’s like… a crime, right? Think organizers of Holy Ship! are going to be liable if a legal incident as such occurs? Definitely. Think it’s in their best interests to deter that from happening? Absolutely.
Now… from what I’m reading, the Facebook forums in which this all went down were private and/or secret. But, let’s also remember that it’s the internet and nothing is really private or secret. And if you don’t realize that, you just haven’t been paying attention to the news. Is it right? Maybe. Maybe not. But that’s the way it is right now. And let’s not pretend that it’s probably not all that hard for an employee associated with Holy Ship! to gain access to one of these groups. It’s not like there’s a secret handshake or password to use at a door. These guys are hiding in a dark room around a big oak conference table by candle light. Or maybe they are…
Now… if the organizers who sent out these messages infiltrated these groups for this specific purpose, it’s probably not the most upstanding or PR friendly way to deter drug use on the ship and avoid potential legal trouble for everyone involved, but if you’re upset about it, maybe… ya know… don’t post about using drugs online? Secret Facebook group or not.
While I’m not a lawyer (yet), I don’t believe what the event organizers did was illegal. And after writing that sentence, I remembered that there’s a relatively good legal resource for the music festival community: the guy known as Festival Lawyer. What did he have to say about it on Facebook? Well, he posted a link to the story as written by Vice’s Thump, and said “Add this to the numerous reasons it is dumb to talk about your drug usage on social media.”
So… I’d say he’s not too concerned about the legality of it all.
What concerns me the most is the way it’s all being covered. The headlines these blogs are writing to go along with the story make it seem like the worst thing to ever happen in live music, not to mention first amendment rights. I see the word “spy” a lot. I’m just not sure that’s the right word. Then you read on and realize you can actually go about your day and not be totally outraged. And you shouldn’t be. People posted things on Facebook they shouldn’t have, and it bit them in the ass. The end.
Now I’m not one to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Honestly, I don’t care. Do you, boo boo. Just remember, if what you’re doing is illegal, there very well may be consequences to you doing them. Especially if you’re going to talk about it online.
I have no doubt I’ll be getting a lot of flack for this. Maybe I’ll even be blacklisted from groups. I’m sure this is not a popular opinion among music fans, edm fans, festie fans, etc., but I do welcome a rational conversation. So feel free to comment, or even write me an email if you would like to discuss privately. My email address is Mike@EarNuggets.com.
Be smart, be safe, enjoy yourselves and enjoy the music.