On Friday, reports hit the blogs that MTV had banned Kanye West's "Monster" video. This seemed plausible for two reasons: 1. The video, in rough cut form, leaked onto the internet late last year, and was mysteriously never formally released and 2. It caused serious uproar about it's blasé attitude about scantily clad, beheaded women being feasted on in more ways than one. So, fine, it doesn't live up to MTV's standards, be they ethical or legal, and they opted not to play it. Barnes and Noble doesn't sell Penthouse, either—it's simply outside their scope, its popularity and conjoined dollar value does not come into play.
But instead of clarifying that they are choosing not to play the video according to their own decency guidelines, in a press release, MTV curiously volunteered the information that they have not played the video because they "are still awaiting the edits we requested in order for the video to be suitable for broadcast." MTV said they have been in "constant communication" with West's label regarding the cuts, the assumption being if they arrived at a happy medium, the video would be aired. That reads a lot like censorship. The video for "Monster" may be squeamish, unlikable and misogynistic, and MTV made a bold decision not engage with West's potentially troublesome views, whatever their reasoning. But to cave to (Kanye's, the label's, the fans'...) ambient pressures of popularity and power and request the scuzz be airbrushed out feels like a crummy compromise.