Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cleaning up the Airwaves and the Backyard

I suppose that this post is something of a follow-up to last Sunday's mini-rant about the republishing of a (dead) author's novel to remove a certain offensive word. It was announced in the Canadian media on Wednesday that Dire Straits' song 'Money For Nothing' from 1985 can no longer be played on the Canadian airwaves because of its use of the word 'faggot'. It can still be played if the offensive word is masked over or substituted with another word.
This action was taken by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council in reaction to a complaint from a listener to a radio station here in St. John's that thought "...the song includes the word "faggot" in its lyrics and is discriminatory to gays." Here I was thinking that Canada was a pretty liberal country...until this week. I'll link to a Yahoo story here from Thursday that I think does a good job with both sides of the argument. I have read that Mark Knopfler meant the word in the context of a conversation he overheard between two men matching an MTV video. Sort of a way of mocking himself and others in the music industry.

Society has taken a bizarre turn in recent years with its ultra-political correctness (yes, even by Canadian standards). I recall the 'Lord's prayer' being banned in school as it could offend students (or their parents) of other religious affiliations. And then Christmas celebrations became Holiday celebrations (I should note that my Muslim co-workers back in Ontario had no problem with the Christmas recognition going on about them). I am in the construction industry and, years ago, we went through a period at work when door openings for people to enter, traditionally called 'man doors', had to be called 'personnel doors'. That was short lived because the industry will do what it wants to do.

I was going to attach a video (because I now know how to do it) of Dire Straights singing 'Money For Nothing' but can't find any version with the offensive words. I notiice that Mark Knopfler often substitutes the words 'queenie' or 'maggot' or 'mother' in its place.

I'm all for keeping offensive lyrics off of the public airwaves but I'm wondering if the use of the word 'faggot' in that song is so offensive, why hasn't the gay community been all over it at some point since its release over 25 years ago? Anyway, I'm sure it won't be long until complaints flood in from Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig supporters about Queen's 'Fat Bottomed Girls' and that won't be allowed on the radio either. I shall have to list out all the song's I find offensive and contact the CRSC about them...

On a side note, we had our first dumping of snow on Thursday. It was about 38cm (15 in.) of snow and my back hurt just watching it accumulate during the day, let alone applying shovel to snow. I enlisted the help of the boy. I coaxed the snow blower to life after its 9 month slumber and give Sean instructions on its use and a safety refresher. Mainly, keep hands and feet (or any other important appendages) away from the spinning blades. I finished shovelling the front and he cut a path in the back for the dog to 'do his business'. A small running circuit is good for the greyhound because after he does his poopy he likes to take what we call 'victory laps' about the yard. I'm not sure if he is happily celebrating his bowel movement, or is in fact reliving his glory days of 6th place finishes on the racetracks.  I have attached a sketch (yes, perhaps I DO have too much time on my hands) of the back yard showing Sean's interpretation of a dog path. I have included a handy legend below explaining some of the letters. I also believe that you can click on the image to enlarge.

WG - Once a thriving strawberry patch and later a carrot a Weed Garden.

C     - Compost bin.

R     - Large rock, probably glacial deposit.

GM - Grand Maple. Complete with black plastic bag fluttering in the wind.

PM - Petite Maple. Yep, smaller version of the above sans plastic bag.

SM - Stumpy Maple. I cut down four years ago, it's making a come back.

B1  - Birch 1...fell down after Hurrican Igor. Now a stump.

B2  - Birch 2...leaning heavily towards house after hurricane. May fall down this year.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Sigh. I've noticed people take offense at the oddest things, while accepting bizarre things without a blink. Angry rap is all right? But you can't use one word. I wonder if they plug their ears as Rhett tells Scarlet those famous last words?

Snow down here in Louisiana would kill folks, for they hardly know how to drive in hard rain, much less snow! An insightful, thought-provoking post. Thanks, Roland

Jhon Baker said...

I am truly and thoroughly offended by every note that leaves the mouths of B. Spears, boy bands, anyone, and I mean ANYONE that uses autotune... can I get them off the air?

Natalie L. Sin said...

I had no idea that word was even in the song. It's hard to hear rock and pop lyrics. My guess is, regardless of what side they would be on, most people don't know the lyrics to any given song unless they're HUGE fans of the band. You should hear some of the things I misquote! ; )

Laurita said...

I would think that the lyrics would be more offensive to kitchen delivery men as it paints them as homophobic jerks.

Great map. I notice that you have barking dog neighbours on both sides. That must get interesting.

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

LOVE the map! Hilarious!

The Money For Nothing thing is just ridiculous. The only good thing about it is the debate has brought a great song back for more airplay.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

What people don't say in public, won't change what they do say in private. The world will always be filled with inconsiderate jerks, but let's be smart enough to know who they really are. This song is not offensive and is not meant as such. Society has to be carefull about the fires they try to light.

Mark Kerstetter said...

Support Mark Knoppfler by buying the album. The best songs on it were not hits. I've always heard the characters speaking in that song as good 'ole American boys. They do say things like that, and it is funny. Obviously Dire Straights were poking fun at themselves as well as the idea that any rocker who dances around on MTV must be a faggot.

Here in the U S of A we have this thing called the Constitution, which has a few Amendments. The first one secures for all of us freedom of speech. I have watched in dismay the gradual eroding of this basic concept, but most disturbing of all the champions of politically correct speech are working for censorship in the name of progressive politics.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Roland- Thank you, sir. I'm sure that Rhett's word was shocking, back in the day. I'm sure that a couple of inches of snow would creat Chaos in your region. Folks have got to remember the magic words...slow down! (stay at home are also useful as well...)

Jhon- You'll just have to head north, my friend, and rattle some cages at the CBSC. Let's get that nasty crowd off the air!

Nat- He, he, he...I'm sure that you've used a shocking word or two in your time!

Laurita- Interesting spin on that...perhaps a short story from THIER point of view. Yep, the barking dogs are annoying, especially since ours is so sedate.

Cathy- THat's true about the airplay. I've heard that they've had quite a spike in album sales as well.

Wendy- If only more of us thought that way...

Mark- I was wondering also if it refered to the days of 'glam rock'. The censorship thing is a fine line to walk, though I wouldn't doubt there are SOME things that could be revamped in the Constitution to reflect the 21st century.

Entre Nous said...

Oh gosh, your first reminds me of a.) the banned book the US decided should not be distributed (Other Losses by James Bacque. I was lucky enough to get a copy from a friend who owned a bookstore and had ordered a box early, and b.) about ten years ago a local cable company's owner decided people shouldn't be watching live trials on CNN (shortly after his son had been accused of some crime) and shut it down from the server. I went to sat. after that. I think we can make up our own minds as to what is offensive, mocking or just plain literary license.

I love you to pieces for saying your back hurt just looking at the snow. We are in the midst of a snow, ice and freezing rain storm at the moment. I just went out and shoveled a foot of wet snow, after brushing off the car. The "kid" can't do anything with his double hernia situation going on. Now my herniated disc is reminding me it is not totally back to what is is supposed to be. But it's a good thing. I can catch up with my blog buddies. While the heating pad heats up, gaud am I old...

Love the map, just think 'If at first you don't succeed, DESTROY ALL EVIDENCE THAT YOU TRIED....' ! :}

John Wiswell said...

I'm offended by the crude language you've used to label that one rectangle. Outraged. Women and children might read this blog. Impressionable, innocent, gentle souls who could be injured, grievously tainted by...

It says "deck?"

Well that's still somewhat unsettling. I'll figure out why later.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Joni- Sorry to hear that the 'kid' is on the bench for the season with a double hernia. I guess all that can be done is shovelling in small doses. Or several prayers to the snow gods. I feel your pain. I put my back out at 19 when I used to unload truck for a 'major department store'. It's never been quite the same.

John- He, he, he...Hardly a day goes by that I don't offend SOMEONE. Have a hot chocolate, you'll get over it.