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01-13-2011, 06:02 PM
This is all over the Canadian news tonight. I have such a hard time choosing sides in situations like this. While I believe in artistic freedom, I also believe that people have a right to not be spoken about in derogotory slang. Although I do think that it's odd that this is being done 25 years after the fact.

Censor Dire Straits song: broadcast panel

The 1980s song Money for Nothing by the British rock band Dire Straits has been deemed unacceptable for play on Canadian radio.

In a ruling released Wednesday, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council says the song contravenes the human rights clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

The council is an independent, non-governmental group created to administer standards established by its members, Canada's private broadcasters. Its membership includes more than 700 private radio and TV stations across the country.

Last year, a listener to radio station CHOZ-FM in St. John's complained that the '80s rock song includes the word "***got" in its lyrics and is discriminatory to gays.

The broadcaster argued that the song had been played countless times since its release decades ago and has won music industry awards.

A CBSC panel concluded that the word "***got," even if once acceptable, has evolved to become unacceptable in most circumstances.

The panel noted that Money for Nothing would be acceptable for broadcast if suitably edited.


What are your thoughts on this?

01-13-2011, 06:33 PM
I think you have to judge by how the word is used. The singer is portraying a character who is jealous of a performer and so he uses the word to put down the star and to feel better about himself. Sure it would not be my choice of words but I do not hear a lot of hatred in the way the word is used. Kill all f@ggots would offend me. Or the Westboro Baptist Church's god hates f@gs I find quite offensive.

Now if there is a pattern in the use of the word by an individual then I think it is hate speech. One time in one song does not to me create a pattern of hate speech. I worked with a guy for years and one day he pinched a finger on a piece of equipment and called the equipment a c@cksu(ker. He looked up at me red faced with a look of shock and all I could do was laugh. I told him I did not care what he called a piece of equipment.

I am not easily offended unless the behaviors and slurs become a pattern. Then I become concerned. At that point it becomes hate talk.

Just the opinion of one f@g.

01-13-2011, 06:36 PM
So no I do not thing the song should be censored.

01-13-2011, 06:40 PM
Wow, what a potentially toxic subject! I'll see you and raise you.

Similarly, I read recently that Huck Finn is being re-released in a new printing without the word ****** too. I really wonder what Twain would make of that.

Retard has taken a beating recently too.
Being insensitive is bad, but censorship is worse.

You have to leave art alone, because the context when it was created was different. If anything, leaving it in creates a dialog about why that word was once accepted, before they became such a big taboo.

Pretending those kinds of words don't exist only makes them stronger.

01-13-2011, 06:47 PM
Wow, what a potentially toxic subject! I'll see you and raise you.

Similarly, I read recently that Huck Finn is being re-released in a new printing without the word ****** too. I really wonder what Twain would make of that.

Retard has taken a beating recently too.
Being insensitive is bad, but censorship is worse.

You have to leave art alone, because the context when it was created was different. If anything, leaving it in creates a dialog about why that word was once accepted, before they became such a big taboo.

Pretending those kinds of words don't exist only makes them stronger.


The Unspeakable, in Its Jammies
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Jan 12 2011, 9:05 AM ET
by Michael Chabon

Hey, remember the guy in the university town who thought it was a good idea to go through Huckleberry Finn and replace the word "******" with something less offensive? Not the dude at Auburn. The other one. The one writing this sentence.

Tom Sawyer was bedtime reading for me and my two youngest kids (son and daughter, 7 and 9) at the start of last summer. Of course we all loved it. It has some slow bits, and some prolonged bouts of humor (Tom's lovesickness, his punctilio about make-believe) that have to have felt at least a little labored even back in 1876, when it often took weeks or even months for a punchline to arrive. But it's exciting and funny and often surprisingly tender, even capital-R Romantic, and the classic bits—the fence, the Bible study tickets, the cave, the murder—appear to have lost none of their power to delight and scare children who dwell in a world of childhood so alien from that of Tom and Huck, half-feral in their liberty, alongside whom my own children seem like dogs in a run, no longer even straining at their cable.

Reading Tom Sawyer occupied the entire summer, and during that time I don't remember wrestling at all with the question of what to say, out loud, with my actual lips and tongue, when my eyes arrived at that strange little word. A cursory search of Google Books suggests that it makes a total of only 10 appearances in the entire book, which is, after all, not told by a backcountry boy in his own dialect but narrated, with a great deal of mock-decorum, in the third person. Ten is probably fairly close to the number of times that I have said "******" in my life, never once without some kind of ironizing or sterilizing quotation marks of tone fitted carefully around it, and, somewhat humiliatingly given the choice made by Professor Gribben of Auburn, which I heartily and firmly, piling on, condemn for its cowardice, mealy-mouthedness, and all-consuming fallaciousness, I recall that in those fleeting spots where I encountered the word I would substitute, without missing a beat or losing any literal meaning, "slave." It was no big thing. The kids had no idea that a switcheroo had been run on them. But then we finished Tom Sawyer, and they had loved it, and most especially the character of Huckleberry Finn, so much that they begged me to carry on to the eponymous sequel, starting the very next night.

"I don't know," I said. "It's a little bit more of a grownup book."

It had been at least 15 years since I'd last read it, and my memories of it were pretty vague. I was kind of repeating the conventional wisdom. (Which turned out, in my view, to be questionable—huge stretches of Huckleberry Finn don't feel all that different, apart from the narrative voice, from Tom Sawyer, especially toward the end after Tom and his punctilio make their annoying return. The Duke and Dauphin, and the feuding families, complicate the book in ways that my kids needed help to understand. And then there are a few incredibly profound passages, above all the famous one in which Huck wrestles with the situational evil of absolute good as he determines to help Jim get free). But I knew—half-recollected, half-intuited—that there was some thorniness, that something in the book was going to bedevil bedtime.

We encountered the first of what must be at least 200 instances of the word "******" on page 6, along with Jim himself. Now I remembered!

I flipped ahead, finding the word on almost every other page, twice or three times a page. The book was lousy with it.

"Guys," I said, putting it down. "We need to talk about this."

I explained to them that because this book was written in Huck's own voice, and because in the time and place of its setting people of both races commonly referred to black people as "******s," and because there were a number of black characters, major and minor, in the book, I was going to be obliged to say, or not to say, that word, a great many times. I explained that saying the word made me extremely uncomfortable, that it was not a word I ever used, that some black people still used it sometimes to refer to each other, but that was importantly different, and that black people I had known were just as uncomfortable using the word around white people as white people were using it around them. I told them about my childhood friend Harry, mentioned in a prior post, who when discussing the Richard Pryor album Bicentennial ****** with me, a fellow Pryor fan but, unlike Harry, a white boy, used to refer to it by the codename "Bice."

Next I reminded them that Mark Twain was a great artist, a moral man and, furthermore, an accurate writer. I said that as a writer myself the idea of somebody taking the words I had worked so hard to get absolutely correct and spatchcocking in whatever nonsense made them comfortable made me insane. Then I asked them what they thought I ought to do, whenever I arrived at the word in the course of the next few months. I told them how I had substituted "slave" while we were reading Tom Sawyer, but that in this book the word was going to mean so vastly much more, and less, than that.

"You know what word I'm uncomfortable saying?" said my daughter, the nine-year-old. "Negro."

I remembered the earliest days of my consciousness of black people, when that was still, fadingly, a proper term. It had long since acquired distinct overtones of offensiveness, though it was not remotely, I thought, taboo. I could say it without feeling like I was licking a battery.

"Negro," I said. I really did not know what else to do. "All right, let's give that a try." So we did, and stuck with it, and it kind of worked, but the every time I said "negro" I wondered if they, my new companions in bad faith, were feeling the acid charge of the true word in their minds.

"Hey, Dad," the little guy asked me at one point. "How come if you can't say you-know-what, when you were reading Tom Sawyer you kept saying INJUN Joe, because that's offensive, too."

"Because I'm an ass," I said. Only I didn't say "ass."

01-13-2011, 07:19 PM
Great article John. Words do change over time. My best friend since junior high is black. My mother used to call her negro. I was embarrassed by it, but it didn't mean anything wrong to my mom. When she was growing up that was the acceptable term. But, over time that changed and when I was growing up it was considered offensive.

But I believe that the meaning of ***got isn't any different now than it was 25 years ago. (Although I always get a chuckle that we can't say Donald F@gen on this, a music, site)

And Troy, I say 'retarded' all the time. I don't call people retarded, but I will call a situation retarded. It's often the more acceptable choice over calling something '****ed up'. :)

A while back I was watching a Woody Woodpecker cartoon. Before the cartoon started the network aired a disclaimer along the lines of..."this cartoon reflects the politics and language of the time that it was created and does not reflect today's standards. Please watch with caution". I'm paraphrasing, but that was the jist. It was Woody Woodpecker for pete's sake! I watched the cartoon and had no idea what the disclaimer could have been protecting me from. It was so silly.

But I'm slipping off-topic somewhat...

01-13-2011, 07:41 PM
I know people who have more energy than I and are willing to take offense at most anything. I listen to the speakers or writers intent. If no harm is meant none taken.

I do approach street ministers when they say there are no F@gs in Heaven. I remind them I will meet them there and the place will be fabulous.

01-13-2011, 07:42 PM
The council is an independent, non-governmental group created to administer standards established by its members, Canada's private broadcasters. Its membership includes more than 700 private radio and TV stations across the country.

Since council is not goverment owned or funded and it is private with private broadcater members, I guess it does make it alright to censor if they want to. They are exercising their rights.

But if the censor happen with goverment funded council or mandated by them, then we would definitely have a problem with it.

01-14-2011, 04:32 AM
Did Tipper Gore move to Canada?

01-14-2011, 05:35 AM
I hope so.

01-14-2011, 06:18 AM
Did Tipper Gore move to Canada?

I hope so.


That was funny! :lol:

01-14-2011, 07:54 AM
Obviously this is a minefield, but I was particularly upset by the Huck Finn thing. I do sort of understand the one argument I read that said that basically without taking the word out, no one ends up reading the book and it just gets dropped from lesson plans and becomes another obscurity rather than the cultural touchstone it have become. Also, I can see how things like reading the book out loud in racially diverse classrooms could be problematic and difficult both for teachers and students who are sensitive.

However, I think editing out remnants of the past creates more problems in a couple ways. First off, there is the whole slippery slope thing. What gets edited next? What is found offensive and by whom? Do we end up mutating all classic literature into bland faceless documents to ensure they line up with the politics of the day? Do we return adn re-edit every couple decades to make sure things line up? And, just like messages passed through friends, do we eventually alter the meaning?

Also, I think when we take away markers of a work's history, we alter the work and are playing with altering the past. We need to remember how language was used. We need to know this work existed and was used, and used a lot. Wiping it from the history book to me is dangerous. If we forget it, does that mean it didn't happen? Does it mean we don't have to address problems if we just white wash them?

And really, the amount of power we have already given to this one word, power that is only increased rather than diminished when we treat it like this and clamor to desperately irradiate it from the remotest corners, is stupefying in my mind. Words have power, but they only have the power and meaning we give them and we have disproportionately increased the power behind this word and measures like this only increase rather than diminish that power.

01-14-2011, 09:29 AM
I think that the writer of the song was trying to portray how people outside of the music industry view people in the music world. That their jobs are easy and that they make huge money for doing nothing. He portrayed these people as being small minded and prejudice. To me, the song is pointing out how stupid people can be in a very sarcastic way.
The song doesn't offend me, but the censorship does.

01-14-2011, 09:50 AM
Funded by Viagra and Cialis, a group of middle aged American men with ED are pushing for deleting references to the character Jake's broken dick in The Sun Also Rises. "This is such an important book for those of us going through our mid-life crises. We all want to travel to Europe and meet a hottie, but the thought of not being able to get it up really brings us down," one limp-dick spokesman for the group said.

01-14-2011, 10:44 AM
Probably won’t add much to what’s been said. But, I can’t help myself from joining in (ie, rambling).

With the Huck Finn story, I thought I heard an interview with Alan Gribben where he explained his rational for the word substitution. Basically, the book is already one of the most banned books out there due to one word. It’s a travesty that this important work is not being read. Therefore, by thoughtful substitution, the book is once again made available, and for the most part the intent and meaning of Huck Finn is preserved for new readers. On the other hand, I can’t see a book like Lolita being adapted by making Lolita acceptably older. That would destroy the work. As an aside, I wanted to read Lolita for years but didn’t because of the biases of my friends. In retrospect, I can’t believe that social¬ concerns kept me from reading such a great work with much so much to say.

To me, the Huck Finn edit seems like a ‘win”¬. Lots of literature is condensed, abridged, or adapted for (young) readers. Lots of literature is translated too. I’m not going to raise a stink that everyone should read books in their original language. I’m happy with an approximate translation. The original is always available and people can always continue to have healthy debate. Given the conservative book-banning climate in general, I think Alan should be commended for putting forth a thoughtful and sensitive solution. Personally, I think the original should be read and sensitively taught in high schools. I just read Tom Sawyer to my girl and plan to read Huck Finn as written someday soon to her.

I think its sad that we’re in what seems to be a forced politically correct era. My opinion is that we overreact and redact when we should be exposing and explaining, and there’s too much dumbing down of content and too much validating of preposterous positions/beliefs. But, language changes and sometimes we need to help it keep up.

Now, on Dire Straits. It does seem silly. However, if a society wants to create a more civil society, this is how you do it-- by agreeing on public standards and attempting to adhere to them. I don’t particularly like the over sexualized over commercialized content of pop music that my 7 year old daughter is about to start listening to. I don’t want to see her succumbing to peer pressure and, heaven forbid, dating. I also know I can’t stop it from happening. I can’t stop her or anyone from listening to drug/sex/obscenity laden music. But, as a member of society, I don’t think that means we are obliged to let all drug/sex/obscenity laden content broadcast. I don’t want that. Despite my fondness for Prince and the song Darling Nikki, I still would rather not have it play over the airwaves. I don’t find it suitable for public listening. Got no problem with in within the confines of my 4 walls, however. If Money for Nothing is deemed socially offensive, so be it. Society is a collective and as long as you can protest and be heard you’re doing your part.

back to work…

01-14-2011, 03:02 PM
We live in an age where our government(s) are becoming larger and more intrusive in our daily lives, and in many cases where they don't belong and aren't welcome. We have so many serious problems in today's world, yet they see fit to censor a song that's been played countless times all over the world. What a shame.