13.07.2022, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf: Ein Riesenrad und eine Achterbahn stehen auf der Düsseldorf Rheinkirmes vor der Kulisse des Rheinturms. Der umstrittene Partysong «Layla» soll nicht auf der anstehenden Düsseldorfer Kirmes gespielt werden. Foto: Federico Gambarini/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The city of Würzburg has “banned” a song, they say. The excitement is great. Even Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann commented on Twitter. Censorship! Sing the critics in canon. And: That goes against artistic freedom.

It is the song “Layla” by the musicians DJ Robin and Schürze. It has been number 1 in the single charts for three weeks. The eponymous “Layla” is described as “brothel” and “slut”: “She’s prettier, younger, hornier.” Tasteless, sure. But don’t you have to be allowed to play something like that anyway?

The catch: there was never a “ban”. The city of Würzburg organizes two festivals every year for around 175,000 euros, one in spring and one in July, the Kiliani folk festival. Its operator has only instructed them not to perform the song – without any legal consequences if bands or visitors do. The rifle club that organizes the Düsseldorf fair has decided to take a similar step.

And that’s right. The excitement about the supposed censorship shows a fundamental confusion in the debate: freedom of art does not mean that you have to be given a stage everywhere with sexist nonsense. And certainly not that you have to get away with it without being criticized.

That’s a step forward that the feminist movement is about

Imagine the same debate, but with rappers like Kollegah or Farid Bang. The front would be closed to those who – rightly – accused them of their machismo. Not from my tax money, the refrain of the reporting would be.

So why not here too? A folk festival is intended for the general public. Everyone should feel comfortable there. Of course you don’t have to wrap the visitors in cotton wool. But does it really always have to be those whose fantasies are stuck in puberty who set the tone – literally – on such occasions? Who can only disinhibit themselves with a lot of alcohol? And by objectifying women?

What society is this supposed to represent? How many women (and men) stay away from such celebrations, preferring to avoid the presence of the hordes of men fueled by bang songs?

Sure, “Layla” is popular. It’s hard to miss the song. This success shows how uptight many Germans will still be in 2022. Because in pieces like “Layla” it’s not about eroticism, not about sensuality. But about possession. For power. There’s nothing more prudish than a Ballermann hit.