It’s not that I think Canada is an over-protective nanny state full of cry-babies who had their sense of humour excised at birth and wouldn’t recognise irony if it bit then on the bum or anything. But really, scrubbing the airwaves of Dire Strait’s “Money for Nothing” because it uses the “F”(aggot) word is a bit much.
The song was banned by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council after a solitary Eljibiti radio listener whined that it bruised their fragile soul.
Every reader my age knows the “MTV” song virtually by heart — boneheaded delivery men being grumpy about the absurd amounts of money made by boneheaded musicians with more mullets than talent. The offending lyrics include the following:
“See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire”
Our Sensitive Soul found this “extremely offensive” and labeled it “discriminatory”. Since the complainant says they are a member of the Eljibiti Community, I’m assuming they consider it to be offensive to gays rather than to rock stars. But that confuses me. A pop classic which won the Grammy for record of the year in 1986 portrays homophobia as a sentiment expressed by bigoted and resentful boneheads. One person in Newfoundland, who apparently has not mastered the skill of switching off the radio, considers the association of homophobia with stupidity to be offensive. And six adults of sound mind meeting on behalf of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council spent I’m not sure how much time coming up with a 5000+ word decision that boils down to this: “The song contained a word that referred to sexual orientation in a derogatory way.”
Give me strength.
The decision makes for amusing reading, dredging as it does through the history of similar complaints. It seems that even more sensitive souls have in the past been upset by songs and skits about cigarettes (fags, to a good British sometime smoker such as myself). Of course the way Canada is going, it’s not impossible that cigarettes will soon be outlawed, with all evidence of their existence digitally excised from old Humphrey Bogart films.
In fairness, I should note that the overwhelming majority of Canadians of all sexual hues commenting on the Globe and Mail’s report of the ban think it is just plain silly. But I think I’ll try be more careful about my “hookers, fags and junkies” shorthand when I next visit Canada, just in case. I wonder if any radio listeners in Newfoundland are offended by any of these words: Big. Girl’s. Blouse.