Posts Tagged ‘Censorship’

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Proposed Additions to CBSC’s Banned Music List

January 18, 2011

Speeding through Canada's new "Alpert-Free Zone."

As you are probably aware, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council decided to ban the unedited version of Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing thanks to a sole complaint by a Newfoundland woman who was completely outraged by the in-triplicate appearance of the word “faggot” and rushed to defend the entirety of non-straight humanity nearly 26 years after the fact.

You may also recall that some long-winded and profane amateur blogger spewed out around 1,400 words (about 40% of them variations of “fuck”) in response to this bit of news. This same blogger is back with more profanity and words to add fuel to the bonfire of stupidity with a list of tracks that would be better off blacklisted.

Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side
“Colored girls,” Reed? You should know better than that. The last person to use that outdated (and offensive) term was my grandfather, which makes him roughly the same age as you. So, um… as you were. Partial points for the positive portrayal of a transsexual.

Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
Plantation owner rapes slaves. Doesn’t get much worse than that. Willing to ban immediately provided Angie and Wild Horses are included for the heinous crime of being incredibly whiny, a fact compounded by their overuse as a rock radio tempo shifts/call-in dedications.

Billy Idol – Mony Mony
Jimmy Buffett – Margaritaville
Two-part banning. Any song that needs the audience to create and interject the only entertaining parts themselves is wasting valuable airtime that would be better utilized airing heavy-handed PSAs. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will be given a seasonal pass.

They call it a "handlebar" moustache for a reason...

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Reinforces gay stereotypes through campy operatics and bombastic multi-tracking. The moustache doesn’t help. Oh, and apparently they killed a guy. With a gun.

Three Dog Night – Joy to the World
Having just rolled out of the Happy Holiday season, do we really need to be exposed to thinly-veiled Christianity pimping?

Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
Diabetes currently affects nearly 98% of the 75% of the American population with weight problems ranging from “charmingly obese” to “morbidly obese.” A listener might be compelled to literally “pour some sugar” on an unsuspecting diabetic sending them into shock or irreversible coma.

Plus, the drummer is still under investigation for the murder of Mrs. Richard Kimble.

Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks
Causes undue panic, especially in Holland and other easily submerged countries. Let’s not even get into the Dutch tradition of jamming fingers into dikes.

Package deal: must also remove Stairway to Heaven and a track to be named later (probably Whole Lotta Love) as we’re all pretty fucking sick of hearing them.

Pink Floyd – Money
They clearly say “bullshit.” Do we really need another reason? (Ok, here’s one: quite possibly the worst song in Pink Floyd’s catalogue and I’m including the ones that are 15 minutes of dicking around while Syd Barrett looks for his remaining brain cells.) Won’t somebody please think of the children who aren’t even listening to this because they’re off in their rooms masturbating to the Suicide Girls while Lil Wayne’s nasal profanities help them figure how to treat a lady?

Elton John – Crocodile Rock
Bob Seger – Old Time Rock & Roll
Billy Joel – It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me
Pointless nostalgia written by men who were relics by the time they wrote the songs, setting off a recursive wave of pointless nostalgia for a mostly purloined era they were very minimally a part of. Part of a much larger rose-tint job that sanctified so-called “classic rock” as the last “honest” music genre, directly resulting in Eagles’ concert tickets starting at $450. Willfully excludes younger generations in a unctuous display of white, upper-class exclusionism.

Jagger pitches woo.

Rolling Stones – Under My Thumb
Pure, unapologetic misogyny. At least Eminem had the decency to wrap up the four minutes of rape and murder fantasies in Kill You with “Just kidding, ladies. You know I love you.” If only Mick Jagger could have been as sensitive.

AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Advocates murder as a universal solution to the problems of everyday life. Narrator utilizes predatory pricing, negatively affecting mom-and-pop hitmen. Will allow track to remain in airplay on the condition that You Shook Me All Night Long be removed from every jukebox/DJ bag in the world.

Tesla – Signs
Reinforces the dubious theory that long-haired hippies are positive contributors to society and tireless champions of the common man. Much like vampires, the moment you welcome them into your house they become a malevolent and destructively lazy force, moving in to your couch and hoovering down every snack in arm’s reach, all the while talking cocaine big about societal change and critiquing your cereal choices.

Imagine me/Working for you.” Sorry. Can’t do it. And I’ll bet you can’t either.

(Yes, I realize Tesla didn’t write this song but I’ll bet you haven’t heard the original on the radio in over 20 years.)

Aerosmith – Dude Looks Like a Lady
Steven Tyler’s rough approximation of The Crying Game creates an atmosphere of apprehension in men who are 90% sure that the lady they’re getting drunk is actually a lady.

A plea bargain arrangement allows for Dude… to stay in the rotation provided everything released after Permanent Vacation is removed from the playlist, thus freeing listeners’ ears from Aerosmith’s repertoire of single entendres and lazy ballads. Listeners are still welcome to imagine that Liv Tyler will look exactly like Steven Tyler once she ages into the shaky dignity that was Katherine Hepburn’s later years.

Van Halen – Hot for Teacher
Irresponsibly promotes inappropriate sexual relations between students and teachers, disguising the fact that nearly all of these trysts end in tears, litigation and a general increase in the male participant’s  reputation. (Cocksmithing +2)

This will also spare listeners from further diminishing returns from this increasingly one-trick pony (albeit one that has been ridden by three different jockeys).

During the full moon, Bryan Adams slowly transforms into Anthony Michael Hall.

Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
If you can somehow manage to stretch your credulity enough to allow that Adams graduated high school at age 10, you’re still left with the rather shifty bit of sexual innuendo that he apparently layered on after the fact. (That fact being his birth date: November 5, 1959.)

Now, rather than being a blatant easy-to-rhyme fantasy, it’s actually a song about mutual pleasure. Neither kids nor their parents should be further exposed to the childish giggling at the mention of “69” nor the accompanying mental images conjured thereby, whether straight (“Ourobouros”), lesbian (“fur trading”) or gay (“recumbent bicycle built for two”).

Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
Vanal references. And I’m pretty sure the old buggerer says something about “going down on the old man with the transistor radio.”

-CLT

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The Stabbing Knife Vol. 5: Doubleheader Edition

January 15, 2011

Don't sweat it, Roberto. I'm completely made of Tuesday.

If it’s completely true that snitches get stitches then it’s doubly true that self-righteous idiots who attempt to sand down the world’s rough edges through censorship get the business end of Roberto’s stabbing knife. And it’s been awhile, so we’re having a doubleheader. On to the wetwork.

We’ve all heard the phrase “One person can make a difference,” and we’ve all nodded thoughtfully while thinking, “Bullshit.” Just like the eternally optimistic phrase “Every vote counts” allows us to feel like our voice matters in the political arena, the sad truth is that one person has no chance in hell to make significant changes, especially in well-established institutions with years of history behind them.

And then something like this happens.

An anonymous (to us, anyway) complainant has singlehandedly gotten Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing removed from radio airplay in Canada. As many of you are probably thinking, what the fuck for?

This anonymous complainant (hereafter “AC” for the sake of my fingers) was offended by the use of the word “faggot,” which pops up three times as the narrator critiques the hair metal dominating MTV at the time. If you’re not familiar with the lyrics, I’m not going to run them down for you here. Perhaps you can get in touch with AC as you are apparently the only other English-speaking person alive who has not heard this overplayed rock radio staple several hundred times in their life.

A homophobe and his headband rarely part.

Having heard this track 26 years after it was released, AC sprung into action. Assuming the role of spokesperson for the entire gay (or “gey,” as I assume it’s spelled in Canada) community, AC fired off a letter to the offending station demanding they remove the song from airplay.

“A song was aired, “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits, and included the word “faggot” a total of three times.  I am aware of other versions of the song, in which the word was replaced with another, and yet OZ FM chose to play and not censor this particular version that I am complaining about.

I find this extremely offensive as a member of the LGBT community and feel that there is absolutely no valid reason for such discriminatory marks to be played on-air.”

At first, they blew her off, albeit in a very kindly fashion, running down the reasons for keeping it in the rotation and citing precedent.

“In this specific case, the song in question has been played countless times in its original form, from its #1 release in 1984 to the present day, and continues to be aired on stations across the country in this form.  As this selection has been aired continuously for 25+ years, and the original version is regarded by many as an historically successful and essential rock hit in that form with these particular lyrics, management chose in this specific instance to retain the authenticity of this selection.”

“We understand the concerns you have raised regarding this particular selection and do apologize for any undue stress caused to you as a listener by the lyrical content of this selection, but based on the above reasoning, we have operated with the understanding that in this specific case, no editing of the material is warranted.”

That should have been that.

The C stands for "Capitulation."

Not good enough. AC was still perturbed and fired back, using a lot of words but mainly pointing out than anything less than removal or censorship of the track would be unsatisfactory.

“I am highly dissatisfied with the response I have received.  I do not feel the argument in favour of the unabridged version of the song was valid, and it is certainly not strong enough to justify playing such words on the radio.  This word carries an unavoidable connotation of hate.  By airing it unapologetically on the radio, this station is indirectly propagating hate.  Although I can see the value in a timeless classic rock song in its original form, I cannot help but feel that it does not overshadow the importance of ending discrimination.”

The CBSC, not wanting to be seen as “propagating hate” or not being really on board with “ending discrimination” through continued airplay of a 26-year-old song, consulted and decided in her favor, issuing a lengthy missive explaining their reasons for removing the track.

So, apparently, one person can make a difference.

Now, before you get all inspired and head out to start a carpool or become a locavore or write your Congressman in an attempt to rid hotels you don’t even patronize of PPV porn, take a good, long look at what this is.

This isn’t justice. This isn’t David triumphing over Goliath. Hell, this isn’t even the local repertory theater’s production of Pay It Forward.

This is myopic, narcissistic bullshit.

This is saying, “This song offends ME. Change it. Fuck everyone else.”

It’s not that I think Money for Nothing is a classic work of art or that using the word “faggot” is ok in all circumstances. But maybe, just maybe, this instance is alright because FOR FUCK’S SAKE, THE SONG HAS BEEN OUT FOR 26 YEARS AND YOU WANT TO CENSOR IT NOW??

For Christ’s sake (or so they say), the Parents Television Council is always trying to censor this or that offending bit of culture but at least they’ve got some sort of quorum and the signed petitions and email carpet-bombing to back it up. I don’t agree with them ever but at least it’s not just one person wheedling away with a 2-year-old’s sense of entitlement, moaning “I don’t like this! Changeitchangeitchangeitchangeit!!!”

Dr. Alan Gribben is unaware that his moustache is on slightly crooked.

This is no different than Twain scholar Alan Gribben who’s working tirelessly to crank out a version of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, free of the troublesome word “nigger,” which has coyly been replaced with “slave.” (Also on the chopping block: “Injun” and “Half-breed.”) Once again, lots of history but at least in this case he’s not the first person to censor or ban this book.

“The idea of a more politically correct Finn came to the 69-year-old English professor over years of teaching and outreach, during which he habitually replaced the word with “slave” when reading aloud. Gribben grew up without ever hearing the “n” word (“My mother said it’s only useful to identify [those who use it as] the wrong kind of people”) and became increasingly aware of its jarring effect as he moved South and started a family. “My daughter went to a magnet school and one of her best friends was an African-American girl. She loathed the book, could barely read it.”

His main issue seems to be that it makes him “uncomfortable,” especially now that he’s relocated to the South. If he can’t handle using this in its historical context then he probably shouldn’t be teaching. Obviously it’s too much to expect that he might provide his students with the historical background or engage them in a discussion of how hearing/reading this word affects them.

No, I guess it would just be simpler to jack Tom Sawyer’s brush and whitewash the shit out of an American masterpiece. Even worse, he’s teaching a new generation that if something offends you, you should get rid of it no matter its history or context or importance to other people who aren’t you.

In this era of self-victimization thousands of people are running around with a chip on their shoulder and hot tears of self-righteous humiliation in their eyes. Why should something that offends them need to disappear? Are these self-appointed guardians of our culture really that selfish?

If you think that you might be offended by the word “faggot” leaking out of your speakers in the near future, just shut it off or dial away when you hear the very distinctive opening of Money for Nothing. And if you think you might not be able to handle the word “nigger” in print then just fucking read/teach something else, you projecting bastard.

Stabbity-stabbity-stab-stab-stab.

Quick postscript: Reaction to the ban of Money for Nothing has been pretty much completely negative. Here’s a typical take from an actual gay man, Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall):

“Shakespeare would be rolling over in his g-word,” said Thompson, the 51-year-old actor/comedian best known for his work with the Kids in the Hall troupe.

When you ban a word, you make the word more powerful. All this banning that’s going on just makes (the hate) go deeper and deeper into the soul, where it festers. Let it it out. I want to know what you really think. I can handle it.

“It makes me feel like we’re five years old and need to go potty. The n-word, I guess, is number 1 and the f- word is number 2.”

Check on previous victims here:
ASCAP
Steve Dahl
Garth Brooks
Bono

-CLT