How are your liberal credentials today? Here's a quick test for you (Daily Mail readers need not play): A virus has been released that seeks out and destroys gypsy music. Is this the first sign of ethnic discrimination among the viral community, or a service to the world?
BitDefender, the Romanian company who added the signature of the virus to their scanner only to receive complaints from users who liked what it did, is unsure. For anyone who is enjoyed secretly replacing the Most Relaxing Classical Music In the World... Ever! CD in their aunt's stereo with an Extreme Noise Terror/Aphex Twin mash-up (then supergluing the drawer closed. And don't think I wasn't tempted), the idea of seeking out and destroying all the bad music in the world is so tempting it's all too easy to overlook the rather poor credentials of those who've tried before. Have a quick Google for Entartete Musik if you'd like a hint - although if you actually are a Romany you may already have guessed.
So that's a bad thing.
Much as we might like the concept of a world free of folk, improv jazz, Coldplay, The Crazy Frog or Kurt Schwitters (I suspect those latter two are the same thing), there are no shortage of people who feel much the same about the things we love. A tolerant, inclusive attitude is required. Indeed, we must defend those who are attacked, even if we loathe their taste in easy listening - although even Voltaire might have been hard pushed to maintain his Enlightenment ethos in the face of his neighbours' 2 AM samba party.
I have a dream - a dream where digital signal processing has progressed to the point where active earplugs monitor all sounds before letting them through, blocking those which fall beneath our exacting aesthetic standards. Then let a thousand cheesy ringtones bloom! They will no longer be able to harm us.