Censorship: does it really help?

The news last week that the Dire Straits song Money For Nothing had been banned in Canada came as no great surprise but did leave me feeling a bit sad.

And it was the confirmation that we are so ridiculously politically correct was the reason for both my lack of surprise and the wee twinge of sadness.

So what did the 80s icons do that was so bad Canada had to strike it from the ears of its citizens?

Well, the word faggot is contained in the song.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am certainly against homophobia or any kind of discrimination based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. However, if you actually listen to the lyrics, you’ll figure out that it’s meant to be the redneck whingings of a guy whinging redneck bitching about the easy lifestyles of rock stars on MTV.

Rick Mercer, a Canadian dude of some description quoted in a news item on the censorship said: “the song doesn’t offend me, because it’s all about context, and it’s a character line spoken by an ignorant person who is jealous of a glam rock and roll star”.

And yes, the subject of the song does refer to a faggot but I’m not entirely convinced that it’s even actually meant to specifically call someone gay. My take on it at the time was that it was being used as a general insult (akin to pillock, twat, moron, scum-sucking goat-fondler etc). Let’s face it, every time I refer to someone as a wanker I’m not actually specifically saying that are at that moment caressing their manly bits. No, I’m actually using the word as a general insult.

It’s a bit like the hoo-ha over teens referring to stuff as “gay”. They simply mean it’s a pile of shite, not that it’s homosexual. I heard one mention gay stickers just today and I know he wasn’t looking for rainbow coloured decals, he just meant they weren’t particularly flash. Way back in my day (many moons ago) we’d use terms like dork and spaz. Didn’t mean we were taking the mickey out of male genitalia or those with twitching issues.

Besides, in the scheme of things I think there’s a lot more in the world of music that is a lot more offensive, glorifying violence and crime.



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