Reading my feeds this morning I stumbled over the news that a regulatory body in Canada has banned Dire Strait’s Money for Nothing from the airwaves for reasons of being offensive.
My initial reaction was “WHAAA?”, however on reading the article this was revised to “Oh, yeah – that bit”. The problem is of course the third verse – not one of Mark Knopfler’s best moments – where the song repeatedly uses a rather nasty pejorative. Someone complained – quite justifiably in my opinion – and away we go.
There seems to be a lot of outrage floating around over the decision, but personally it doesn’t bother me that much. I’m as big a Dire Straits fan as the next guy (assuming the next guy is also tragically out of step with modern music) but the verse really is in rather poor taste. More importantly there’ve been versions of the song without the offending verse available ever since it was released – as long as these versions are still allowed on the radio, what does it matter? You don’t listen to Money for Nothing for the words, you listen for the durn-d-d-d-duuuurn! durn-durn-durn – durrrrrrn-durn! d-durn-durn-durn! d-d! (and for Mr Sting wailing about MTV).
The people who complain about this sort of thing are typically the ones who want to keep on using the offensive terms in question. They hide behind a facade of second-person artistic integrity, but fundamentally they want to keep the word ‘faggot’ in the song because they want to keep calling gay people – or simply anyone they don’t like – faggots. The idea that their apparently God given right to hate and belittle others is under threat is what upsets them – not that a song from 30 bloody years ago will now have to be played in slightly modified form.
Sheeze. You might as well complain about not being allowed to sing that verse from Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport.