Censorship and Dire Straights

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thorin_bane
Censorship and Dire Straights

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/story/2011/01/13/money-for-nothing-radio-pl...

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 "faggot" in its lyrics and is discriminatory to gays.

Funny because they won't allow the word on the forum. BUt they put it in the article and show the video. I would like to ask our community on this and perhaps huckleberry finn? Is the context of the words used being overshadowed?
Not to trivialize, but much the same as Born in the USA is about americans pro war habits, yet was taken over by the very forces that are pro war. Shouting U S A   U S A. Context of the song being manipulated.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. I think that revisionism isn't always the best like changing all the words in finn from the n word to slave. The context of it should show how the mistreatment of blacks was so prevelant. Just saying slave doesn't have as much punch as the other word to illustrate the times that it was written about.
AM I barking up the wrong tree on this one.

thorin_bane

COuld they not just beep the word if not. Seems to me I have heard it done like that or taken out the whole verse.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yup the homophobic aside in the song ruined a decent attempt at workers angst.   But banning it from the air waves seems a bit much given the content of many other songs. 

Maysie Maysie's picture

I wonder why the CBSC is offended now, 31 years after the song was released, homophobic lyrics intact. Although that could explain a lot about their relevance as an organization.

For fuck's sake I was in grade 8 in 1980! Yikes.

thorin, is the typo/spello in the headline deliberate? I noticed the name of the band is spelled correctly in your OP. Let me know and I can change it. Or did you mean "Dire Straights"? Now that would be sorta funny.

Fidel

Now look at them yo-yos!

Sineed

Now that the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has dealt with "Money For Nothing," they're turning to material released since 1985.  I think that somebody should tell them about the Internet.  Anybody know how to send a telegram?

Re the homophobic lyrics: as a young person back in the day, I listened to tons of commercial radio.  Most stations bowdlerized that line, just like they censored Carole Pope singing, "It makes me cream my jeans when she comes my way," in "High School Confidential."  In Toronto, only Q-107 played the song intact (as I recall).

thorin_bane

Sorry I think I had hockey on the brain when I types it. You can change it to straights. I think that is more appropriate given the article.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Sometimes I wish I believed in a diety... so I could offer bloody sacrifices to it to save us all from bureaucratic nonsense like this.

So the Council has decided to "ban" or "bleep" Dire Straits' Money for Nothing... are they going to do the same thing to the Rolling Stones' When The Whip Comes Down next? How about The Pogues' Fairytale of New York (apparently a seasonal sentimental favourite around here)?

I have no problem with someone raising an objection to the lyrics themselves... indeed, I am glad someone did, it should probably happen more often. Popular music is a pretty good mirror of the misogyny, homophobia and racism in the society that gave rise to the form of entertainment itself. I just think that the time and effort should be placed on combatting the societal ills, not references to them in song that is more than a quarter of a century old. Applying frosted glass to one portion of the mirror seems, at best, Disneyfication of what it reflects, at worst, an attempt to pretend that what it is reflecting really doesn't exist.

Maysie Maysie's picture

What bagkitty so beautifully said.

Was "Gloria" by Patti Smith ever censored?

*waves to bagkitty

Sineed

Quote:
What's the principal doin' with her?

Who's that guy, is he screwing with her?
What's her perfume? Tigress by Fabergé
She makes me cream my jeans
When she's coming my way

When I was in high school, we believed that the quality of a radio station was directly proportional to its willingness to play "High School Confidential" uncut.

Quote:
I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone's teeth get cleaner?
-- Frank Zappa, Senate Hearing on "Porn Rock", 1985, in response to Tipper Gore's allegations that music incites people towards deviant behavior, or influences their behavior in general

Remember when Frank Zappa called Tipper Gore a "cultural terrorist?"

Jingles

Huh. I can still hear Eminem sing about beating and murdering his girlfriend (whom "likes the way it hurts"). 

So this is the flip side to the "Fire in My Belly" mess.

That St John's guy who complained should join the Catholic League.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Ah, but Jingles, you're forgetting that violent lyrics, especially lyrics that depict, describe and glorify violence against women are rarely censored, if ever.

Lyrics about queer sex, however, are SCARYYYYYY.

And homophobic lyrics are fine. Until 31 years later, then they're outta here!

Fidel

Sineed wrote:
Remember when Frank Zappa called Tipper Gore a "cultural terrorist?"

'Cultural terrorist', that's a good one. Anybody with a name like Tipper should be arrested for sure. I'll bet she went to the church club and held hands with boys thinking pure thoughts every week, too.

A_J

Maysie wrote:

I wonder why the CBSC is offended now, 31 years after the song was released, homophobic lyrics intact. Although that could explain a lot about their relevance as an organization.

Well, this is what makes the ruling so strange: the full version is 8 minutes long, so for the radio they almost invariably play a shortened version that leaves that verse out altogether.  In addition there's also a widely used version that leaves the verse in but censors the word (I think it's replaced by "mother")

So, it seems at least, OZ-FM slipped-up at some point at played the regular album version and the complainant heard it.

mybabble

What are they going to do burn all the books that have words that might offend a certain group?  History books, uncle tom the list goes on.....

There is no hate in the song.

It is a time when those words where common place and not fabricated by the music group to cause anyone any harm.

It is insane but so are the tax breaks Harper is giving out to Big Corporations "getting your money for nothing" should hit home for most Canadians as Harper's HST brings job loses in BC.  Something Canadians can't bank on - up in credit is more like it as increased corporate tax breaks and corporate subsidies and damm Canada's waters there are profits to be made is the norm.

Its the free lunch Micheal Hudson talks of but it makes you wonder are Canadians out to lunch?  Not likely they can't afford it.

mybabble

Lyrics of queer sex is scary, could you elaborate for me the scary part?

Are lovers of the same sex scary?

Queer, gay, lesbian, and the list goes on but it is two consenting adults making out I don't get the scary part.

We have come so far Rock and Roll paved the way and music good and bad was are choice to make and as a society we aren't half bad we are half good.

 

 

Fidel

What if they just changed the lyrics on any copies of the song produced for sale now and future?

See the little f***** rocker with the earring and the makeup Yeah buddy that's his own hair

Does anyone think that Knopfler might have been referring to the way macho types and bigots critical of people in the music industry were talking about musicians then? I have a feeling Knopfler was counter mocking them albeit it at the expense of gay people everywhere.

Sineed

Fidel wrote:

Does anyone think that Knopfler might have been referring to the way macho types and bigots critical of people in the music industry were talking about musicians then? I have a feeling Knopfler was counter mocking them albeit it at the expense of gay people everywhere.

According to Knopfler, he wrote the song from the point of view of a bigot he knew. 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Hey mybabble. My snarky line about lyrics about queer sex is not about the Dire Straits song (obviously) but about the Carole Pope song Sineed mentioned, and then quoted. Thanks for the memories, Sineed. Wink

My point is that state censorship of this sort generally affects marginalized populations. Unless it's 31 years later. Break out the party favours.

Something that I would support, hypothetically, is limiting the scope of truly offensive lyrics (such as lyrics that glorify violence against women). But that isn't something that ever makes it to the state level. And, if there is going to be state attention to the issues of homophobia or violence against women, I would vastly prefer it to be in the form of public education, resources to various community organizations and anything other than wondering what song are they going to censor next. Plus with the internets, censorship of song lyrics starts to look kinda silly.

Edited to add: I wonder if the kerfuffle about High School Confidential was less about queer sex and more about a woman expressing her sexuality. Please note the lack of any notice whatsoever for the lyrics "I'm running down the road trying to loosen my load" and a gajillion more contemporary examples by men.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

What I find interesting is that I could never quite figure out who the song was dissing. That verse is done as a talking aside and if they were gay it could be seen as an ironic song about losers.  Its not like the band had only picked up a guitar and started wailing on three cords.  They were not lousy musicians so they were not talking about themselves.  I may be delusional since it was so long ago but I think I remember it being said then that the song was written from a conversation they had over heard.  Not to mention of course that putting MTV into a song at that particular moment in time was a great way to get the coverage that counted the most.   

You are right Maysie if this trend goes on it will not affect the women hating songs.  Maybe we can start a campaign to get Looking for Some Tush banned for good.  I hope no good person takes offence at Ingenue and gets it banned for promoting lesbian attacks on straight women.

al-Qa'bong

@Maysie

I always thought that was the Eagles' take on constipation.

The Dire Straits lyric is about jealous losers who try to put down the boys in the band and use any thoughtlless insult available.

The CBSC just compounded the insult.

mybabble

"Let it Be", a song well know as the lyrics are still in my head as well as "Getting your money for nothing".  How are they going to get it out of our heads?  It was a cultural revolution and the party who is trying to sensor history is someone who is out to touch.  I find it a bit strange when writing of late I used it to compare Harper's new tax break for big corporations.  Now that is something to raise objection about and gotten rid of no doubt.

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_for_Nothing_(song)

I get the song's purpose not as approval of the goings on but rather this is what is going on and isn't it absurd?

thorin_bane

OK thyanks I thought I was going a little nuts thinking they went overboard on this one.

Hurtin Albertan

Well, look on the bright side of things.  All those woman hating songs will be off the air in 2040 or so!

mybabble

Maysie wrote:

Hey mybabble. My snarky line about lyrics about queer sex is not about the Dire Straits song (obviously) but about the Carole Pope song Sineed mentioned, and then quoted. Thanks for the memories, Sineed. Wink

My point is that state censorship of this sort generally affects marginalized populations. Unless it's 31 years later. Break out the party favours.

Something that I would support, hypothetically, is limiting the scope of truly offensive lyrics (such as lyrics that glorify violence against women). But that isn't something that ever makes it to the state level. And, if there is going to be state attention to the issues of homophobia or violence against women, I would vastly prefer it to be in the form of public education, resources to various community organizations and anything other than wondering what song are they going to censor next. Plus with the internets, censorship of song lyrics starts to look kinda silly.

Edited to add: I wonder if the kerfuffle about High School Confidential was less about queer sex and more about a woman expressing her sexuality. Please note the lack of any notice whatsoever for the lyrics "I'm running down the road trying to loosen my load" and a gajillion more contemporary examples by men.

Maysie you hit the phobia right on, fear and so I just took it a little farter to see what people thought.  I got it that you didn't approve of the prejudice or the removal of the song.  Since the phobia is based on ignorance it seemed bringing awarness through music to create controversay is a way of creating awarness and ultimately change.  Apparently Haper's senate has members entrenched in ignorance gays have choices be straaight or go to hell.

Fidel

Ya what would we do without all those wonderful song lyrics about cowboys treating women like doormats and receptacles for sea men? I just don't know. Baby please don't go! twang?

A_J

Funny act of defiance from OZ-FM (the subject of the original complaint) this morning - instead of playing one of the readily available censored versions (i.e. a shortened version or one that replaces the word) that everyone else plays (and they themselves have used in the past every time I heard the song on the station) they opted for the full 8 minute album version with intentionally clumsily-inserted silence in the second verse.

Caissa

I haven't read the ruling but after listening to the coverage on CBC last night it is my understanding that by implication playing any song with "faggot" in it is now prohibited.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

2 things..

If you listen to the song,the lyrics are a narrative of a stereotypical 'working man',responding to the images he's seeing on MTV and complaining that these 'pastel coloured parachute pant wearing guys with overly moussed hair dos' are becoming millionaires from doing nothing as this 'working man' has to bust his ass delivering appliances everyday.

Sadly,the term 'faggot' is exactly how a jealous,frustrated labourer would describe this musician--especially back in the '80's.

The second thing is that I heard,I have no idea if it's true,that Mark Knopfler is gay...If it's true,the song was not a conscience attempt to demean anyone...And if it's false,the song STILL isn't meant to demean anyone.

I think this is an over reaction in much the same way as Randy Newman got in hot water for his song, 'Short People'

Maysie Maysie's picture

Hurtin Albertan wrote:

Well, look on the bright side of things.  All those woman hating songs will be off the air in 2040 or so!

Ha ha! That's of course assuming that no songs about hitting women and treating them like shit are written between now and then. Sigh.

alan smithee wrote:
 If you listen to the song,the lyrics are a narrative of a stereotypical 'working man',responding to the images he's seeing on MTV and complaining that these 'pastel coloured parachute pant wearing guys with overly moussed hair dos' are becoming millionaires from doing nothing as this 'working man' has to bust his ass delivering appliances everyday.

I get that, but isn't it interesting that a) most of those singers/pop stars in the 80s who dressed that way were STRAIGHT (Duran Duran comes to mind. Hair bands! Woohoo!), and b) that millionaire rock stars who are clearly straight, such as Mick Jaggar, etc are not targeted for being unworthy of their millions?

Caissa

Courtesy of Wikipaedia re. MK:

Mark Knopfler has been married three times.

While he was living in Leeds he married Kathy White, his long-time girlfriend from school days. They separated before Knopfler moved to London to join Brewers Droop.[8]

Knopfler married for the second time in November 1983, to Lourdes Salomone, and became a father to twin sons, Benji and Joseph in 1987,[15] both of whom he has said are talented musically, and aspiring musicians. Knopfler's marriage to Salomone ended in 1993.[16]

Knopfler's third marriage is to actress Kitty Aldridge,[23] and has given him two daughters Isabella (born 1998) and Katya Ruby Rose (born 2003).[24] The family currently lives in Chelsea.

Ghislaine

Have the regulators seen MuchMusic lately??? As a parent of a young daughter, I shudder about when she inevitably is exposed to the RELESTLESS misogyny on display.  (I am, sadly, assuming that things will not have improved much in 12 years when she is 13)

I don't agree with censorship of this song at all, but I especially think some perspective is needed. My brother is gay and has no problem with this song. He does not like calling people faggots, but he understands the context of the song.

Buddy Kat

This is a good example of how influence from the right changes things...wait till the only thing yer allowed to listen too is what conservatives want you to hear ...just like our media.. Young people can laugh at this stupidity but the neocons are squeezing up thru the middle implementing their version of cherry picked nazi/commy censorship akin to book burning..

You people that don't vote because your head is in a bong don't worry harpo and his klanservatives are expanding their prisons with you in mind..and all you people that don't vote cause yer video games are more important ..how about the only game your gonna ba aloud to play is Mario bros..think of that! It's time to "Kick the Kon"

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Buddy Kat wrote:

This is a good example of how influence from the right changes things...wait till the only thing yer allowed to listen too is what conservatives want you to hear ...just like our media.. Young people can laugh at this stupidity but the neocons are squeezing up thru the middle implementing their version of cherry picked nazi/commy censorship akin to book burning..

You people that don't vote because your head is in a bong don't worry harpo and his klanservatives are expanding their prisons with you in mind..and all you people that don't vote cause yer video games are more important ..how about the only game your gonna ba aloud to play is Mario bros..think of that! It's time to "Kick the Kon"

 

 

I agree with much of what you say above except for the video games.   You don't have to worry about only playing with Mario, the first person shooter games will never be banned and will only get more and more similar to actual weapons systems that grunts use in the modern imperial army.

wassup

Buddy Kat wrote:

This is a good example of how influence from the right changes things...wait till the only thing yer allowed to listen too is what conservatives want you to hear ...just like our media.. Young people can laugh at this stupidity but the neocons are squeezing up thru the middle implementing their version of cherry picked nazi/commy censorship akin to book burning.. 

You can blame the Conservatives fot a lot of things, however I am certain it is not the Conservatives that are trying to censor the word faggot from a 26 year old song. 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

wassup wrote:

You can blame the Conservatives fot a lot of things, however I am certain it is not the Conservatives that are trying to censor the

word faggot from a 26 year old song. 

Certainly not at the PMO or parliament level.  So does anyone know which party these business people who made this ruling belong to?

But this is very much the Conservative model of regulation fully supported by the PMO.  Business self regulating in all areas from environmental concerns to human rights concerns.  After all if we can't trust our business elite to provide fairness and protect against discrimination then who can we trust.?

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

 

alan smithee wrote:
 If you listen to the song,the lyrics are a narrative of a stereotypical 'working man',responding to the images he's seeing on MTV and complaining that these 'pastel coloured parachute pant wearing guys with overly moussed hair dos' are becoming millionaires from doing nothing as this 'working man' has to bust his ass delivering appliances everyday.

I get that, but isn't it interesting that a) most of those singers/pop stars in the 80s who dressed that way were STRAIGHT (Duran Duran comes to mind. Hair bands! Woohoo!), and b) that millionaire rock stars who are clearly straight, such as Mick Jaggar, etc are not targeted for being unworthy of their millions?

I hear you about bands and invidual pop singers etc.. that were always labeled as 'gay' from back in the 80's

I think everyone who is of a certain age all remember the 'stomach pump' rumours..When I was in high school the very same story was spread targeting 2 different singers (not going to mention them)

And I think therein lies the crux of those who use these particular words as a means to demean another.

Only a high school kid could believe a medically impossible rumour such as the stomach getting pumped urban legend...The majority of us grow up and don't label everyone that appear different from ourselves a derogatory word.

Unfortunately,you have the hopelessly bigoted who still believe these myths and believe and buy everything they hear,view or read. 

And unfortunately for all of us,those are the people we currently have governing this country.