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Canadian broadcast watchdog amends ruling on ‘anti-gay’ Dire Straits song

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  1. Stuart Neyton 1 Sep 2011, 11:49am

    These lyrics are horrible but to be honest i find censorship more offensive

  2. Jock S. Trap 1 Sep 2011, 12:02pm

    What about Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues’s Fairytale in New York?

    I do question censorship on this type of song esp when you compare it with the likes of Tyler, The Creator’s clear hatred of all things, Gay, Women etc and it means very little.

    Sing and promoted violence, rape murder and homophobia and yes, I would say ban it.

    1. she was a homophobic bitch and got what she deserved.

      1. Kirsty McKoll wasn’t a homophobic bitch. The difficulty with both songs is that the singers in each case adopt the 3rd person persona of someone with issues. In “Fairytale of New York” it’s two bitter alcoholic ex-lovers having a slanging match in a police cell one Xmas Eve and chucking any non-PC abuse they see fit at each other, you can see the real deal any day on Jeremy Kyle.
        In “Money for nothing” it’s an embittered blue collar removals guy actually slagging off someone a lot like Mark Knoffler, someone who resents his easy money and fay appearance. He actually more or less lifted it word for word from a real life situation he encountered.
        The problem with playing a character in song, more than with acting in films or plays people assume you endorse the views of any character you play.
        It ain’t necessarily so.

        1. Jock S. Trap 8 Sep 2011, 8:45am


      2. Jock S. Trap 8 Sep 2011, 8:44am

        Nasty comment, rapture. She wasn’t actually but hey way to strike at dead people who can’t answer back.

  3. I have hated this song since I was a child. Every time it played on the radio, it was like a knife reaching out through those speakers and trying to stab me. Dire Straits are idiots, and their use of the word is indefensible. If you have to know what was on the author’s mind when he wrote the lyrics to “understand” them, if it is NOT obvious upon simply reading the lyrics, then yes, it IS hate speech. I’m sorry, there IS no “context”. It’s bullsh**. Nowhere in the lyrics does it say “this is from the point of view of…” You would have to have unavailable biographic information regarding the author/composer to know anything about “context”.

    1. oh for crying out loud lighten up – it’s written in the 3rd person.

      1. really? I guess maybe you should learn what “written in the 3rd person” means:

        I want my MTV (“I”… 1st person)
        Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
        You play the guitar on the MTV
        That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
        Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free
        Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
        Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb (“lemme” slang for “let me”… 1st person)

        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

        I shoulda learned to play the guitar (there ‘s that pesky “I” again)
        I shoulda learned to play them drums (and again)

      2. So its ok for you to use the words n****r, ho and p**i as long as some loser backtracks with some lame excuse of writing in the “3rd person”

    2. It *is* obvious on reading the lyrics, though. The song is written from the perspective of uneducated people (from the vocabulary and grammar used) doing low-paid, blue-collar jobs (“We got to install microwave ovens” etc), who are bemoaning how easy the lives of rock stars must be. (“Maybe get a blister on your little finger, maybe get a blister on your thumb” and so on). Considering how comically exaggerated their claims are, is this likely to be meant literally? Could Dire Straits, as rock stars themselves, instead be mocking such attitudes and the people who hold them? Might water, perhaps, be wet?

      There’s a debate to be had about whether they have the *right* to use the word faggot this way, being straight and cis, but it’s not an anti-gay song by any means. It doesn’t say “this song is from the point of view of” because someone in the group made the apparently unjustified assumption that the listeners wouldn’t be morons.

      1. I agree with the above. The difference between “Money for nothing/ Fairytale of New York” and say Buju Banton is that in the former the homophobic banter is a character study of the kind of person who is discontent with their own sad lives and lashes out with homophobic rhetoric.
        Buju Banton is actually the real deal. It doesn’t do anyone any favours to confuse the two, though the moot point would be whether “faggot” is an appropriate word to put in a character’s mouth anyhow.
        If you’re playing the role of an embittered homophobe, would you self censor or not? I have no problem with the Pogues/ Kirsty McColl or Dire Straights but taken out of context I could see how some would.

  4. CBSC, context, who decides? That means if the “context” is homophobic or anti-gay, it’s OK, if it’ racist or anything else, it isn’t….

    1. edwarddwoodjr 1 Sep 2011, 3:57pm

      Precisely. So according to their ruling, I could sing a song using the offensive words “nig*er” or “go*k” or “he*b” or “half c*ste” etc., as long as I was just telling a nice little story. It’s all perfectly OK then.
      As Mikey said above, it really hurt when I was back in high school and heard it. It normalizes it and makes it OK. And as you said Beberts, all’s fair in homophobia.

      1. There’s a Bob Dylan’s song called Hurricane, where he uses the N word, but that is in “context”. It goes like this:… “and to the black folks he was just a crazy ni**er”, alluding to how some black folks use the word to identify some of their peers. That is not the case in the Dire Straits song, where the offensive F word is being used in a clear pejorative manner.

        1. I couldn’t disagree more. Read an interview with Mark knopfler, he is making fun of the Joe Dirts of the world.

  5. rodneyhaines 1 Sep 2011, 3:43pm

    This issue is absolutely about nothing.

    If you really want to hear some horrible anti-gay, homophobic rhetoric, tune in the shortwave dial to 14.313 LSB and listen to ham radio operator Karol (VE7KFM) from Vancouver. Every day he makes DISGUSTINGLY anti-gay remarks. Industry Canada and politicians know about it and do absolutely nothing. In the mean time, his transmissions are heard worldwide and give Canada a black eye.

    1. Someone has to lodge a complaint for something to be done. The CBSC responded to a written complaint regarding the Dire Straits song, being played on a commercial radio station.

      You’re talking about a private citizen yakking on ham radio. There’s not much to do about that. It doesn’t mean he’s right. But the law doesn’t allow us to just waltz in and shut someone down that way.

  6. I wonder where Knopfler and Sting now stand on this sort of thing today? I’m shocked at Sting though.

    It does beg the question, of all slurs, why pick “faggot” and what was the purpose? Why did they deliberately choose not to use other derogatory slurs, including the “n” word for black people? Obviously, they went out of their way to pick this one. I’m never buying any more of their music.

    1. You must have no taste to have ever bought anything by dire straits . Apt they choose the word dire.

  7. rapture, the last time I bought one of their records was during the late 70s, nothing since.

  8. glaad and human rights and defamations groups need to get on these people and censor all racist rants against anyone , its maliscious , its vindictive and abusive, emotionally disturbing, also they need to censer all music rap hip hop and other heavy metals, that yell out and tell people to kill people or pimp people out or call women and girls out of their names , h and b words , its very wrong and distu;rbing and it causes riotss and violence, these people can sing regular songs without trying to offend others , you simpley leave peoiple alone, and be respecstful. this nation is insane, and evil as it is and every persoan adding hate messages and songs insights children and other gang violence what the hell is wrong with you people, you are suppose to be trying to stop wars and violence, you do it by getting to the root of whaat insights, it , that instigated racist and bigotted tones and language and action , against other families, out of spite and jealousy, Glaad to action now

  9. we need more songs like this, nothing wrong with peoples right to expression.Gays have to grow a thicker skin.

  10. YOu have already been dealing with racism and biggotry, in canada just like the canadian gay couple , all couple need to go and get married in states that have equal rights while you are fighting the battle in your own home states , the injustice has to be corrected and this is where it is paramount that this nation check the background of officials running for offices and stop electing bigots who will cause your states and cities a lot of horrific problems every day these people cause problems everyday they do evil to someone, they are real criminals in offices, gangsters of violence in suits, all the wrong people not good loving familiy people who love people and all children , they hate and hand down unfair and evil abuses of others, your families everywhere will continue be devastated until you get rid of biggots everywhere get them out of those offices and off benches, and out of your churches, and get back to humanity.

  11. The canada people need to go and get married elsewhere if they have not yet been civilized yet , in equal rights, they need to get what every paperwork and passports where they have equal rights, and go from there where they are going, they problems are going to have to be fixed by judge virginia and people like the ninth court circut and internationally amnesty.

    1. are you daft?

      Canada has had marriage equality for years. Americans have been coming to Canada to get married!

  12. Gay Daily Mail Reader 2 Sep 2011, 7:24am

    The word faggot was acceptable in 1985 in the same way it was okay to call your black labrador N****r in 1943. If Dire Straits released that record now it would have ended their careers. As well as the Pogues song also mentioning the faggot word, Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello makes a reference to ‘one less white n****r. I have always enjoyed Dire Straits’ music and have several of their albums and saw them in concert in 1982. There is an abridged version of Money For Nothing which omits the controversial verse. Should we ban ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ by Peter Paul and Mary? Ironically it is banned in Singapore but this is due to the song’s supposed drug references.

    1. I think it’s the same as asking whether an actor playing Hitler is a facist themselves who thinks minorities belong in gas chambers.
      99 times out of 100 probably not. It’s called acting for a reason. Both Money for Nothing and Fairytale of New York clearly establish a dramatic context for the abuse that follows.

      1. David Myers 2 Sep 2011, 9:00am

        Agreed on “Money for Nothing” which was caricaturing the working class bigots that would say such a thing. I have never taken offense to their use of the term in context, but I do understand that hearing it would still be upsetting to a young gay person who might hear others laughing and approving of the bigot making that statement in the song.

  13. Hodge Podge 2 Sep 2011, 1:17pm

    Censorship doesn’t work, it just makes people bitter. In an ideal world we would be able to acknowledge the context of the lyrics and trust people enough to understand them. Wouldn’t that be better than thinking it will just make the use look acceptable, and so ban it from all the untrustworthy masses?

    1. Buju Banton comes to mind

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