Acoustic Sounds

Serge Gainsbourg

L’Homme à tête de chou



Serge Gainsbourg

Label: Mercury / Universal Music France

Produced By: Philippe Lerichomme (original album), Christophe Geudin and Sébastien Merlet (reissue)

Engineered By: Peter Olliff and Steve Brown

Mixed By: Poussin at Studio D.E.S.

Mastered By: Poussin at Studio D.E.S.

Lacquers Cut By: GZ Media cutting engineer

By: Malachi Lui

July 16th, 2023



A Serge Gainsbourg Essential, Remixed & Ruined

Poussin’s new remix of ‘L’Homme à tête de chou’ is an absolute disaster

In 2023, Serge Gainsbourg is possibly more controversial than he’s been since his 1991 death from a second heart attack at age 62. The upcoming museum opening of the artist’s Paris home, at 5 bis rue de Verneuil, sparked more than a few debates: can we still listen to the album about pedophilia made by a 42-year-old man with appearances by his 24-year-old girlfriend? Is it alright that he made a song with his then-12-year-old daughter about incest? Does anyone even need his “problematic” art anymore?

Those Twitter-grade culture war arguments completely ignore that that’s exactly the point; Gainsbourg was a great provocateur and a true artist, whose work therefore doesn’t survive our media-illiterate social media era unscathed. And no, he was not an incestuous pedophile, rather a shy, guarded man whose provocative public persona was merely a protective layer. To address the aforementioned examples, his 1971 album Histoire de Melody Nelson is meant to be creepy and self-aware of it, and the 1984 single “Lemon Incest” featuring his daughter Charlotte is literally about “the love that we will never make.” Serge might now be more repulsive to listeners in the Anglosphere, and maybe a bit more questioned in his native France, but he’s still rightly adored by the French masses (and anyone else willing to approach his nuanced work with context), his music repackaged multiple times a year and tributes scrawled all over his house. Now, his 1976 classic L’Homme à tête de chou gets a lavish deluxe reissue—expanded, remixed, and ruined.

Gainsbourg released his first 10” album in 1958, but the necessary background here starts with the 1969 single “Je t’aime… moi non plus” (“I Love You… Me Neither”), a duet with his longtime girlfriend Jane Birkin. She was 22, he was 40 (both legal adults, obviously, though try convincing those culture war mongers of that these days). By then Gainsbourg’s latest successful song and public controversy, “Je t’aime”’s four minutes infamously concluded with Birkin’s explicit moaning. Banned and denounced by institutions ranging from the BBC to the Vatican, it became a worldwide hit and gave Gainsbourg more creative freedom. He soon conceived his 1971 magnum opus Histoire de Melody Nelson ("Story of Melody Nelson"), a short, Lolita-inspired concept album about a middle-aged narrator who runs over a 14-year-old girl and has an affair with her until she dies in a plane crash. Melody Nelson juxtaposed a tight but energetic rock trio with dramatic orchestral arrangements, and is to France what Pet Sounds is to America or Sgt. Pepper to Britain: the moment that the pop album became high art. Its influence is easily traceable: Melody Nelson presaged trip hop’s sinister atmospheres and slower funk grooves by two decades, and where else did Jarvis Cocker get his whispery pervert thing from? Gainsbourg followed that with two more albums—Vu de L’exterieur (“Seen From The Outside”), a record mostly about shitting and farting made after his first heart attack at age 45, and Rock Around The Bunker, a rock ’n’ roll LP mocking the Nazis that occupied Paris while Gainsbourg, a Russian Jew born as Lucien Ginsburg, was a child.

That brings us to his 1976 release L’Homme à tête de chou (“The Man With A Cabbage Head,” or “The Cabbage-Headed Man”), another concept album. Like Melody Nelson, it’s about a middle-aged narrator who falls in love with a much younger woman. Unlike Melody Nelson, the narrator murders the girl, Marilou, after finding her in bed with rock stars. The narrator then loses his mind, ends up in a mental asylum, and believes that he has a head made of cabbage. The inspiration? A Claude Lalanne statue in Gainsbourg’s yard that appears on the album cover. You don’t need to understand French to sense and appreciate Gainsbourg’s wordplay, and Alan Hawkshaw’s musical arrangements provide an exquisite background to the artist’s speak-crooning (Hawkshaw did a lot of the KPM library music). It’s supposed to be background; many of Gainsbourg’s characters are in their heads, daydreaming, lost in their memories…

…Which is why the original mix works so well, with his voice very far forward and everything else in the back, wistful ARP Odyssey flourishes occasionally popping out. Those synth bits could’ve been a mere '70s novelty, but they serve the record’s atmosphere and narrative. The recording—done on 24-track tape in London—is bone dry, but the snare drum has a nice crack to it and everything’s well-arranged with good textural contrast. I played an early French repress in the Pure Audio Project room at last year’s Pacific Audio Fest, and the handful of us there all agreed that it’s a good sounding record. I also have Miles Showell’s half-speed cut from the recent 9LP Intégrale Des Enregistrements Studio, Volume 2: 1971-1987 box set. About that set, Showell told me:

“The master tapes all reside in the Universal vault in Paris, they will never leave Paris. I was sent archived high resolution flat transfers of the masters (all were 96kHz/24bit except for You’re Under Arrest which was mixed to 44.1kHz/16bit DAT).

"It was particularly challenging series of albums to cut as Serge smoked five packs of unfiltered Gitanes a day and drank plenty of wine too. As a result, his voice was pretty raspy and bright sounding and this is very prone to sibilance and distortion on vinyl playback. There were also a lot of mouth ticks and pops in the recordings because he was a fan of close miking. Because I cannot do any on-the-fly de-essing when cutting at half-speed, these tracks took a lot of line-by-line preparation… The most arduous track took over an hour to prepare and this was a 2:56 song!”

The old French Phillips pressings, all essentially the same as the originals, have more sibilance than the half-speed reissues, but it’s cleaner sibilance. For some reason, the 96/24 transfers of Gainsbourg’s discography render the sibilance choppy, where everything disintegrates when he hits those “sss” sounds. Showell’s half-speed cut of L’Homme à tête de chou (only available in the box set) lacks the original’s transparency but is the best that can be done with a digital file. There’s more bass and the overall presentation is thicker, but it gets you about 85% of the way there and is surely better than the other digitally sourced pressings. Still, make sure you have an earlier pressing if you only have the half-speed box.

L’Homme à tête de chou didn't need a remix, but it hadn’t yet received the lavish deluxe treatment like Histoire de Melody Nelson and Vu de L’exterieur have. Universal Music France fixed that with several configurations of this remix set: a 2CD+Blu-ray set with Poussin’s new stereo and Atmos mixes plus instrumental tracks and alternate vocal takes; a 2LP set with almost all of the same material; standard CD and LP packages with the album remix; and a picture disc LP of the remix.

The 2LP set is expensive—€42 at French retailer Fnac, £40 from Juno in England, and if you’re also in America, it’s an import costing $55-60 (I ordered mine from Juno with some other records to reduce shipping costs). However, the package feels lavish, with a glossy direct-to-board gatefold jacket containing the two records and a 20-page full-size booklet. It’s all in French, but the annotation is clearly detailed (if useless for those of us still learning) and there are some great photos and scans of handwritten lyrics, tracking sheets, and room service receipts. There’s a reissue producers’ note espousing “the technical expertise” of remix engineer Poussin (also in charge of other Gainsbourg remixes and archival projects) and approximately saying “any anachronistic treatment or artificial ‘inflating’ is prohibited here.” It also notes the supposed challenges of original engineer Peter Olliff not having an SSL console with automation recall. What does that have to do with anything? Nothing, really, because plenty of great sounding records were made before automated SSL boards hit the market, including the original mix of L’Homme à tête de chou!

And who cares what console—if it was even an actual console and not just a DAW controller—was used for this new remix. It sounds terrible. Serge Gainsbourg’s voice now exists on the same, mostly one-dimensional plane as the instrumentation, which seems to be drenched in some sort of “subtle” reverb or weird EQ. “Subtle” in that it doesn’t register as anything in particular, but it renders everything as thick, congealed, annoying slop. The drums are arranged with nice depth, but all the drums sound like literal cardboard and the cymbals sound thin and trashy (with compression artifacts at the end of “Aeroplanes”). Some songs like “Ma Lou Marilou” aren’t as offensively bad, while others like the opening title track and album climax “Variations sur Marilou” are an absolute travesty. The acoustic guitars on “Marilou sous la niege” lack any sparkle and transients found on the original, the ARP Odyssey is buried throughout, and on the new mix, the lead guitar at the beginning of “Marilou Reggae” sticks out as hard and grating. Bass is a bloated blob, and Gainsbourg’s voice is smeared and cloudy. Sure, it’s not as sibilant as the original, but it lacks its distinctive natural qualities. The drums on closer “Lunatic Asylum” on the original are bold, the tympani distant but dramatic. Here, it elicits the reaction of “oh, a tympani, so what?” Serge’s final "Marilou!" whisper on that track jumps out at you on the original, but like the rest of the remix, all emotion, drama, and texture is gone. I could go on but you get the point by now. Earlier this week, editor Michael Fremer reviewed Jon Astley’s new remaster of Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane’s Rough Mix, asking, “Why take a wonderful, magical recording with depth, space, transparency, transient purity, shimmer, delicacy, three-dimensionality, and the sense that you are right there, and turn it into a flat, compressed, bass-shy, midbass heavy, bloated piece of dry, boombox-like sonic shit?” I feel similarly about this L’Homme à tête de chou remix. It completely misses the point of the original record.

The bonus LP features instrumental versions of the full album plus a few alternate vocal takes. There are a few minor details that you don’t hear on the finished record, such as some extra synth parts on “Variations sur Marilou,” but it’s the average bonus disc fare: cool to hear once then promptly forget about. The sound is just as bad as the album remix. (The deluxe CD set has an alternate vocal take of “Variations” that the vinyl set doesn’t. I would’ve preferred the alternate “Variations” over the four shorter vocal alternate tracks on the bonus LP, but that’s the least of my complaints.)

GZ cut and pressed the 180g 2LP set. Both discs arrived flat and clean, though there’s some minor surface noise throughout. As for whether or not the records sound better than the digital files (I streamed CD-resolution on Apple Music), the vinyl sounds slightly softer and therefore more engaging for this material, but it also highlights the disastrous mix more than the file. The better your listening situation and setup is, the worse it sounds. The vinyl on my main setup is a more infuriating listen than the CD-resolution stream played through the SSL 2+ DAC and my Audio-Technica M50x headphones. This isn’t even a “for completists only” release; as a big Gainsbourg fan, this isn't worth occupying shelf space. The booklet is nice but not $50+ nice, and you can stream all the bonus material anyway. Spend your money instead on an early French pressing of this or any other Serge Gainsbourg record, most of which will sound far better than any digitally-sourced reissues.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: 5557466

Pressing Plant: GZ Media


Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: Digital Remix

Presentation: Multi LP


  • 2023-07-16 10:57:43 PM

    Roy Edelsack wrote:

    Jane Birkin died in Paris on July 16.

    • 2023-07-16 11:00:44 PM

      Malachi Lui wrote:

      saw that earlier today... i should note that i finished this review yesterday actually. odd timing...

  • 2023-07-17 02:53:53 AM

    Anton wrote:

    That is some solid synchronicity.

  • 2023-07-17 12:50:24 PM

    Georges wrote:

    Serge could more or less easily be met late at night or rather early in the morning, often walking alone in town when it was still possible. He would have suffered greatly to see what has become of the ancient capital of the western world. He was very approachable and really charming, even drunk. I don't think he was incestuous or a pedophile, he liked young bodies, which is quite normal and given his financial wealth, of course, remained attractive. He's the only artist I know of who has made better records and concerts (since Bijou had ordered him to go back on stage) than when he was younger. So he was far from rock but at the same time so close because he hated most of the french scene (especially the yéyés -remember The "Yeh-Yeh" Girl From Paris! by Françoise Hardy with whom he also worked -he much preferred work with actresses like Bardot, Mireille Darc, Adjani). That he tried to bring to his peak by recording in London or Kingston in Jamaica because he adored Peter Tosh. But for him it remained a minor art. The general public is absolutely not interested in sound quality and it will never be the case. So any reissue will sell and then be listed and sought after like old DG pressings which nevertheless scratch to death (I own them all ! I'm a completist !). Fewer and fewer people are buying records (vinyls brought back into fashion by das Kapital are often kept sealed as decoration!). Even listen to music or watch TV (well here, that's a good thing). For that I went back to listen to (in fact I digitize) my many non-reissued albums. Exit for the Goldmund studio 2 & welcome to my Sony PST15 -original arm!- with Pro-ject MC 1 H or Goldring E1 cartridge. The best is the enemy of good. Too bad the younger generation no longer has icons of this caliber like others who died a few years after him like Kurt...

    • 2023-07-17 06:33:38 PM

      Malachi Lui wrote:

      thanks for this comment... i appreciate and agree with your opinions.

      • 2023-07-17 06:41:20 PM

        Georges wrote:

        Thank you mate, we always learn something by reading you, and this is rare enough to be underlined.

  • 2023-07-17 01:41:54 PM

    PeterG wrote:

    Haven't we had enough reviews of sociopaths making records that would not be worth buying even on artistic issues alone? We've had anti-semite Roger Waters, race-baiting Lee Atwater, and now a pedophile? This is a high percentage of the reviewer's recent reviews, is it not? At least Waters puts out great records, but all you did with the other two is bring publicity to lousy records released by lousy people. And didn't your Lee Atwater review bump up his score because he was less reprehensible as he was dying than while he was fully engaged in making the world a sadder place? We don't all have to be Boy Scouts, and I think the art should be reviewed separately from the artist, but in at least two of these the art was not worth reviewing. So one has to wonder

    • 2023-07-17 01:46:02 PM

      PeterG wrote:

      All right, that was too harsh. I'm sorry for my tone. But these bigots just send me up the wall. I appreciate your efforts, and I note that you did call out the artist for his behavior and label the album an "absolute disaster"

      • 2023-07-17 02:58:04 PM

        Jim Shue wrote:

        PeterG - not harsh enough! Fremer is losing the plot by publishing this drivel. I guess along with insanely awesome features and reviews from Mark Ward and all the excellent equipment reviews we have to out up with this garbage.

        • 2023-07-17 06:06:29 PM

          Malachi Lui wrote:

          again, you've also missed the point. my appreciation of gainsbourg's nuanced work is very clear in this review. it's the culture war arguments against him that i dislike. serge himself was one of the absolute greats of music history.

          • 2023-07-17 09:49:23 PM

            PeterG wrote:

            These are good points. But this is not in a vacuum. You did gloss over Waters's anti-semitism, and Lee Atwater was a terrible person and nobody's idea of a great musician. So having been too kind too both of them, you're carrying some baggage.

            • 2023-07-17 10:01:07 PM

              Malachi Lui wrote:

              i didn't review those records, i am not responsible for those reviewers' opinions which in my individual opinion were expressed in a balanced manner.

            • 2023-07-17 11:16:45 PM

              Michael Fremer wrote:

              PeterG: The writer of the Roger Waters review did mention it but not in great detail, which I felt was sufficient. Atwater was not a good person though he apparently repented on his deathbed. I just felt a review would be of interest because of who he was, and who chose to work with him on a record. Neither Dylan Peggin nor Joshua Smith are carrying any "baggage" for having written those reviews. Or at least I don't think they should.

              • 2023-07-18 12:59:32 AM

                PeterG wrote:

                Malachi and Michael--thank you for the clarification. My mistake thinking Malachi was the reviewer there. I don't think these reviews in close proximity are a great look for TA, but I respect and appreciate your efforts in general. Cheers

        • 2023-07-17 06:15:52 PM

          Michael Fremer wrote:

          This is not "garbage". Nor is it "drivel". Is Oedipus Rex by Sophocles "drivel" and "garbage"? What about "The Color of Purple" by Alice Walker? "Hotel New Hampshire" by John Irving. "Garbage"? "Drivel"?

          • 2023-07-17 06:42:16 PM

            Anton wrote:

            A John Irving shout out! Yay! To go along with your excellent take, just for fun... Nabakov was a pedophile. Thomas Harris is a cannibal. Bram Stoker was a vampire. We could have fun with this all day. In this case, the Shue does not fit. (But I agree with him about Lee Atwater's unworthiness of mention.)

          • 2023-07-17 06:56:08 PM

            Georges wrote:

            I prefer that to a lot of S. King's work. It's rare to find these days laudators of some French artists because the country seems out of history. Unfortunately (or fortunately?!), they always are extremely cultured people. Not tomorrow the day before the hexagon will manage to seduce the mainstream.

        • 2023-07-20 03:05:28 AM

          Dave Clayden wrote:

          "this drivel"... Well, of course, one man's drivel is another man's hidden gem, but you didn't suggest either what you think is drivel or what you think of as clearly superior. In my experience, and I guess that could start you laughing, wherever people start in music, eventually they expand into either the mainstream or the non-mainstream. I am not a massive Gainsbourg fan (I have Melody Nelson and that's it), but I'd rather listen to that than any of the canon of hifi holy works.

      • 2023-07-17 05:59:28 PM

        Malachi Lui wrote:

        you missed the point. the beginning of the review is me criticising the arguments other people have to 'cancel' gainsbourg, who i maintain was an absolute genius. and it's the remix that's a disaster. the music remains brilliant.

      • 2023-07-17 06:12:14 PM

        Michael Fremer wrote:

        Gainsbourg was not a pedophile and Robert DeNiro isn't a mobster.

        • 2023-07-17 06:43:15 PM

          Anton wrote:

          Are you implying Anthony Hopkins does not eat human livers while enjoying a nice Chianti!

          • 2023-07-17 08:24:42 PM

            Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

            100% TRUE! LMAO... Anton is awesome.. and 100% True as a dude.

            • 2023-07-17 11:19:29 PM

              Michael Fremer wrote:

              Yes, thank you Anton. I'm also LMAO. I wish we could all just get along and be more tolerant...the "History of Melody Nelson" record is something I wish I'd learned about when it was first released but better late than never....

              • 2023-07-18 01:11:14 PM

                johnnymidnight wrote:

                I for one and looking forward to a Gary Glitter review!

                • 2023-07-18 03:16:29 PM

                  Anton wrote:

                  Gary Glitter, Interview, Part 2.... Hey. Heeey hey heeey hey. Heee-eeey, heeey. Heeey. Hey, hey, hey.

    • 2023-07-20 02:59:06 AM

      Dave Clayden wrote:

      You seem solidly in the camp of deliberately confusing jewdom with Israel.

  • 2023-07-17 06:54:41 PM

    Jjgs wrote:

    The analog masters at least for Melody Nelson don’t exist anymore, the tape litteraly desintegrate into the boxes 20 yrs ago due to bad storage, this is comon story in the archival audio world in Paris. For certain albums, all is left is some lousy digital transfer done in the eighties...i wouldn’t buy the "uni vault in Paris" story that MS was told, and i do Know the good adresses :) . Love your reviews Malachi! Regards

  • 2023-07-17 08:52:44 PM

    Robert DuPont wrote:

    With these reissues costing a lot , it's great to have someone who I respect , especially when it comes to sound quality ..I enjoy Gainsbourg , I would like to find a clean copy of Melody Nelson on LP

    • 2023-07-17 08:57:14 PM

      Malachi Lui wrote:

      for 'melody nelson', make sure you get an old french phillips pressing, any of them from the 70s and 80s will sound great. i got a late 70s one and it absolute obliterates any of the digitally sourced ones. worth every penny.

  • 2023-07-17 09:03:22 PM

    Silk Dome Mid wrote:

    Gainsbourg was an inventive scumbag who couldn't sing, but I have no objection to seeing his work reviewed. Assessing him as an "absolute great of music history"? That's pure hyperbole. Unless you're French.

    • 2023-07-17 09:53:20 PM

      Jim Shue wrote:

      The gaslighting to prop up this French nobody is laughable but not unexpected. To call it " pure hyperbole " is to understate the hugeness of the BS. The Fremer and Malachi Show ganging up in the comments section to promote junk reviews is an unwanted carryover from AnalogPlanet. SAD!

      • 2023-07-17 10:02:49 PM

        Malachi Lui wrote:

        'french nobody'... with that statement you've lost all credibility. just because you're too ignorant to have heard of him doesn't mean he's a 'nobody'. maybe someone's projecting their insecurities here (not me)...

        • 2023-07-17 10:15:53 PM

          Jim Shue wrote:

          That's right Malachi - he's a French nobody indeed! Heard him and his bad singing well over 3 decades ago. Sucked then and sucks double plus more now. Your review was competent but to be filed under " who cares ". I'd venture to say 95% + of the readership of TrackingAngle could care less. If you and Fremer want to present this drivel why not start up a competitor to PitchFork or Pop Matters, go for it! That's where this review belongs.

          • 2023-07-17 11:24:17 PM

            Michael Fremer wrote:

            French President François Mitterrand paid tribute by saying, "He was our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire ... He elevated the song to the level of art." Jim, you are free to disagree with the 3Ms and call him whatever you wish, but none of us can speak for 95% of the readers. Readers are free to pick and choose among the offerings. I'm really trying hard to present a great deal of diverse content.

            • 2023-07-17 11:52:01 PM

              Jim Shue wrote:

              Your appeal to authority is weak Fremer.

              The French are the best second raters in the world (at pretty much everything)_ Arthur C. Clarke.

              You're publishing a website for audiophiles and hardcore music collectors - not a DEI exercise for PitchFork and Pop Matters readers. I'd be fine with this nonsense if you reviewed a lot more of all the great vinyl reissues coming every month and published way more equipment reviews. Not this drivel from a creepy French douchebag. Let me guess - some of these Malachi reviews are scraping the bottom of the barrel on your site analytics.

              • 2023-07-18 12:07:22 AM

                Malachi Lui wrote:

                tons of hardcore music collectors love gainsbourg. and we've got tons of reviews of brand new vinyl reissues and new music every week. not everything might appeal to you but we've got a solid balance of everything for everyone.

          • 2023-07-20 04:09:44 PM

            Anton wrote:

            You should boycott this place.

            That will show us.

            The Shue doesn't fit.

        • 2023-07-19 04:02:55 PM

          Al in New York wrote:

          Anglophones like Jim S. who don't understand chanson should not comment on Gainsbourg. Yeah, many Americans think he was a perv. (That's what the counter guy at a now defunct Soho [NY] record store told me when I asked him where the Gainsbourg records were some years back.) Your loss; more's the pity.

          Anyway, I registered on TrackingAngle just now so I could tell Malachi how wonderful this review is, and how his writing has now hit the groove (which began under Mikey's wing at the old AP site). The one bit of unsolicited, and probably unwelcomed, advice I would give is that you should use more paragraph breaks, and use them where you like not just to split up football fields of text, but for effect. Words are weapons, and punctuation can be, too.

          Mikey, apropos of Gainsbourg, I would say TrackingAngle has a certain je ne sais quoi, which makes it a must-read destination.

  • 2023-07-18 06:29:46 AM

    Jjgs wrote:

    While i recognize he has some importance in the french cultural history, I can’t really stand the guy, he was often surrounded by true geniuses in the studio such as the great Alain Gorager, Jean Claude Vannier (the later essentially made the Melody Nelson record) people that did not get much credits from him, not only that but let’s not forget he ripped off nearly an entire Olatunji record in the late 50’ (Gainsbourg Percussion=Drums of Passion ) he even managed to rip off a Myriam Makeba song on the same record. Charlotte kinda aknowledge these things lately but yeah I don’t like the general indulgence around him specialy in the french music background

  • 2023-07-18 07:18:46 AM

    PeterPani wrote:

    Just want to throw in: somebody might argue that his daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg cannot sing, too. But that misses the same point as with her father. Somehow both manage to give their words a captivating depth that bolts me in the seat to listen through their records again and again. For an European (Vienna) the Gainsbourg's are very important artists. It is nice to see that a younger generation (in US!) sees their huge influence up to today! Today the younger of our societies would need people like Serge to see and recognize the possible potential of human being.

    • 2023-07-18 04:43:38 PM

      Silk Dome Mid wrote:

      Feel free to be bolted to your seat. To each his own. His music is guaranteed to make me bolt from mine to turn it off.

  • 2023-07-18 09:36:18 AM

    Georges wrote:

    In fact, he succeeded in making people talk about him several decades after his death: hats off to Serge!

  • 2023-07-22 11:25:18 AM

    Matt wrote:

    Thanks Malachi. I continue to enjoy your diverse range of refreshing and thought provoking reviews. Love or loathe him, Gainsbourg was an important music and cultural icon that deserves reflection. As for the subsequent thought police comments - I expected more from this community but am happy to see the editorial policy still encourages freedom of expression and exchange of ideas.