Deep Purple - Smoke on The Water (Backing Track With Vocals)
Photograph: PA So, it's finally happened: the people of Canada will never again be terrorised by Dire Straits.
Money for Nothing — yes, that Money for Nothing; the song of inescapable refrain, haunted by the spectre of Sting wailing that he wants his, he wants his, — has been.
Specifically, it's been "banned" because it repeats the word "faggot" three separate times.
The CSBC's ruling has attracted a lot of speechifying.
It's being repeated, frequently, that the Dire Straits song is "social commentary", that it's back fast guarantee money in the voice of an unsympathetic narrator, play back money for nothing the ban constitutes "censorship", thatand — most puzzlingly — that the play back money for nothing is being "banned" because.
The assumption, of course, is that this "one person" must be an isolated crackpot, and not representative of the listening public.
It's an easy assumption to make.
As is the much-reported notion that the song is being "banned" in the first place.
Money for Nothing's use of the homophobic slur has been controversial since it was released in 1985.
InMark Knopfler mentioned receiving "an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London".
The critic Robert Christgau took particular exception to the "word Knopfler has with no static from the ", writing, "I mean, why not 'little n— with the spitcurl' instead of 'little faggot with the earring', Mark?
In fact, the only strange thing about this scenario is the choice of radio stations to play an unedited version of the song, when there have been several radio edits made precisely to prevent this sort of issue arising.
One edit replaces the slur with the word "mother".
And while you could once see the on M-T-Veeee, some stations have that play back money for nothing the offending verse entirely.
The verse is also cut from Dire Straits' "best of" compilation, entitled — wait for it —.
All the CSBC requires is that radio stations play the edited versions.
After all, if Knopfler's portrait of a working stiff is so very insightful, it shouldn't rely on a single profanity in order to work.
Despite all the shouting, the CSBC is instituting a common measure, applied to everything from Radiohead's Creep to Kanye West's Monster: play it all you want, but with the bad words cut out or changed.
This is hardly controversial.
What is controversial is the idea that "faggot" being a bad word is new.
Granted, the slur is less acceptable now than it was in 1985; 25 years of activism have accomplished something, even if it's only a widespread recognition of the fact that "faggot" is a word specifically intended to hurt and dehumanise gay people, play back money for nothing an all-purpose insult that sounds adorable coming from Molly Ringwald in.
But there are still some people who believe their right to say "faggot" — ironically, in character; or as a "social commentary" on the fact that poor people are sometimes jealous of rock stars — supersedes anyone else's right or desire not to hear it.
This is an obnoxious position, to say the least.
Still, one wonders if we gain anything by erasing history.
When certain publishers removed the "n— word" from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, — and it was based on some very solid grounds.
Yes, the word appears many times; yes, the word is unambiguously racist.
But erasing evidence of racism from Mark Twain's work, while valorising Twain himself, is hypocritical: sanitising history makes it impossible for us to learn from our mistakes, or even to know that we've made them.
But comparing pop music to Mark Twain is a little off-base.
Money for Nothing is not taught in schools, and editing the song for radio doesn't make the unedited versions disappear.
Still, if you'd ever wondered whether 80s cheese could provide you with a teachable moment, here it is: there was a time when men could be overtly homophobic on-air, without receiving all that much in the way of pushback — because not enough people knew that it was wrong.
And that attitude, hopefully, is becoming as dated as the phrase "colour TV" "Were there other kinds of TVs, Grandpa?
DIRE STRAITS Money for nothing (instrumental) with BV
In the coming years, technology allows Dodge’s brain to be turned back on. It is an achievement that is nothing less than the disruption of death itself. An eternal afterlife—the Bitworld—is created, in which humans continue to exist as digital souls. But this brave new immortal world is not the Utopia it might first seem . . .
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