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January 12, 2011 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Twenty-five years after hitting the airwaves, the Dire Straits hit "Money For Nothing" has been banned from Canadian radio. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council decision is here.
posted by avocet (232 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want my sanitized MTV.
posted by chimaera at 8:51 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me guess:

The word "faggot" is used in a non-wood referring manner

OR

"the Chicks are free"

let's see if I'm right...
posted by Windopaene at 8:52 PM on January 12, 2011


The incessant replay of that dopey song is a de facto form of repression anyway, so good riddance.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 PM on January 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


#1 with a bullet.

"It's called sarcasm darling..."
posted by Windopaene at 8:53 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


One person can complain and get a song pulled from the air? One person?

Wow.
posted by crunchland at 8:53 PM on January 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


I was brought up with OZ FM and have many fond memories of them, back in the day. They didn't have much of a format then; sure lots of top 40, but lots of everything else, especially rock, too. I discovered music with them. Glad to see they at least gave it a shot at not giving in.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:53 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


A hearty amen, CBSC. Personally, I'd like to see any art with colorful (let alone even marginally unreliable) narrators banned. You never know what kind of retard is going to imprint on 'em and take what they're sayin' seriously.
posted by weston at 8:55 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


From what body can I demand an explanation of the phrase "Hawaiian noises"? I've never understood that.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:55 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always thought "Hawaiian noises" referred to a pedal steel.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:57 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


One person can complain and get a song pulled from the air? One person?

Wow.


Well yeah if they make a really good argument.
posted by Danila at 8:58 PM on January 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well that's pretty gay.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:58 PM on January 12, 2011 [44 favorites]


Dire Straits banned, you say? Finding it really, really difficult to get upset about that....Nope, sorry, still not angry.

Interesting discussion there about the difference between "Fag" and "Faggot", though. Also of interest: The decision on The Bloodhound Gang's The Bad Touch (offensive to Girl Guides...who would have thought?).
posted by Jimbob at 8:58 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree that this is a little ridiculous, but if you read to the end of the article it turns out they just have to censor the one word for it to be OK for the radio. Just like.... all kinds of other words.

The Outrage-O-Meter(tm) gives this... a "meh".
posted by auto-correct at 8:59 PM on January 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


"Recognizing that every person has the right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability."

They spelled color incorrectly.
posted by vapidave at 8:59 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just so long as they don't ban this.
posted by jackflaps at 9:00 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do Canadians understand that they do more legwork to become the butt of American jokes, than Americans do to say and make the jokes?
posted by hal_c_on at 9:01 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's about fucking time.

Ban Life is A Highway next please.
posted by furtive at 9:01 PM on January 12, 2011 [43 favorites]


vapidave writes "They spelled color incorrectly."

What the hell are you talking about?
posted by Mitheral at 9:01 PM on January 12, 2011 [13 favorites]


Now can we finally ban Don Cherry?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:03 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Remember what the MPAA says; Horrific, Deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don't say any naughty words! That's what this war is all about!"

- Sheila Broflovski

"But Mister Minister, isn't like this film is the first troublesome thing to come out of Canada. Let us not forget about Bryan Adams."
"Now, now, the Canadian government has apologized for Bryan Adams on several occasions."

Newscaster and the Canadian Film Minister
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:04 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


For the children's sake - ban it. I realize there may be other songs on the radio as bad. I hope you censor them too.

I think the CBSC may have gotten pranked.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:05 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has anyone gotten Sting's reaction yet?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:12 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone record a version that replaces "faggot" with "slave".
posted by 23skidoo at 9:13 PM on January 12, 2011 [56 favorites]


liberal fascism. As a liberal, I do not approve of this.
posted by hellslinger at 9:17 PM on January 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, how is this different from the use of the n-word in Huck Finn? I'm a computer programmer. Stuff like this does not compute for me. You probably shouldn't bother trying to explain it to me though, as your explanation probably won't compute either.
posted by smcameron at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Via con dios, faggot!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2011


But he's got his own jet airplane and is a millionaire!
posted by benzenedream at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


My memories of that song are dim and I'm loath to refresh them, but doesn't Knopfler put that word in the mouth of an angry lummox, as kind of a wink to the audience that we shouldn't like him?

And as far as Dire Straits goes, you know damn well that when Sultans of Swing came on the radio, you turned it up during that sweet guitar solo. Admit it. You did.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2011 [40 favorites]


if you read to the end of the article it turns out they just have to censor the one word for it to be OK for the radio. Just like.... all kinds of other words.

Yeah, I don't see the outrage here at all. That word is way worse than shit, fuck, etc, and those get bleeped from radio versions too.
posted by kmz at 9:20 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I AM BANGING ON THE BONGOS LIKE A CHIMPANZEE
posted by not_on_display at 9:21 PM on January 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


Meh. Not much different than a website that tosses asterisks in the most offensive f*cking words.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 PM on January 12, 2011


Hrm. I really never had a problem with the song, and I'm a pretty proud faggot.

I guess people have different battles to fight, but the contents of a Dire Straits song which is meant with sarcasm from start to finish really never struck me as being repressive or oppressive or anything. I'm much more upset with the content of a lot of hip hop lyrics than I ever was by this.
posted by hippybear at 9:25 PM on January 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Irony: both of the Dire Straits songs popular on the radio are about how popular culture prefers shitty music over good music.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:25 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always fucking hated the use of the word "faggot" in that song, which honestly felt like a punch in the head after the weird sharp poke of 'Les Boys' five years earlier (a poke that bothered other folks a lot more than it bothered me, mostly, I think, because it was fun to hear any kind of kinky on a pop album). Maybe I was stupid, but the repeated "faggots" in 'Money for Nothing' felt much different, made me wonder if I'd totally misread the earlier song and were shitty to hear every time they came on the radio, even though I was perfectly aware the narrator was supposed to be some sort of everyman clod. Didn't help the shittiness of hearing it, or the knowledge they took a cheap route to make their point in a way they felt more assaultive than the cheapness of 'Les Boys.'

So, this decision? For me, meh covers it just fine.
posted by mediareport at 9:28 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


BitterOldPunk: yes, just like in that Green Day song with the line "kill all the fags that don't agree". That was also obvious irony, but is now bleeped out in radio play.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:29 PM on January 12, 2011


Always hated that song--it and others of its ilk are exactly the reason I haven't listened to radio since 1987. Oddly, I do remember wondering why the fuck it was okay to play it on the radio back then.

That said, I do find some Canadian laws to be rather odd. A few years ago Perez Hilton called Will.I.Am a fag in Toronto and got a beating for it. At the time it occurred to me that I could submit a formal complaint and probably have that assbag banned from entering the country as he's on record as spouting hate speech in a public place and I thought it would be hilarious for him to find out the next time he applied to come here... but then I just didn't really give a shit.
posted by dobbs at 9:29 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


From what body can I demand an explanation of the phrase "Hawaiian noises"? I've never understood that.

I always heard the line as "Hawaiian oysters," which I took to be a gourmet food reference thematically in line with the mink coat and jet airplane lyrics. A quick googling of the lyrics on multiple sites (including the song's Wikipedia entry) indicates that it actually is "Hawaiian noises," so go figure.

As for the banning of the song, who the heck actually listens to the radio for music any more? Ever since I got my first car with a cassette deck back in college, I rarely tune in anything other than public-radio talk and news. I can listen to Dire Straits any time I want to, either from my own music collection or via the internet. And it's not like they're going to recall the album from stores or download sites, right?

In the meantime, we still have Weird Al's "Beverly Hillbillies" parody.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:29 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, this is nonsense. As a Canadian broadcaster (back when I was a Canadian broadcaster) I could play a song with words like motherfucker or shit or whatever provided I "contextualized" it first. Contextualizing it consisted of talking about what was important about the song and why it should be played, plus a warning that the song contained content not everybody would be comfortable with. My show was at noon on a Saturday. I used to play all sorts of unedited-for-radio-play stuff with lots of profanity and obscenities, no problem. I did get cited once by the CRTC for playing "You Suck" by the Yeastie Girls without sufficient contextualization, although they declined to fine us for the infraction. (Good times, good times.)

I wonder if the article is simplifying the decision; possibly if you were willing to go to the trouble of contextualizing the song, you could play it unedited, just as you can play songs with the n-word (or other slurs) if you provide sufficient contextualization.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:29 PM on January 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


From the complaint
and feel that there is absolutely no valid reason for such discriminatory marks to be played on-air.

I think the station took the wrong approach in its defense, though they probably had lawyers more experienced in relevant case law in the area than myself. To me, however, Prior use is a good defense for copyright but terrible defense for art.

The song is a (admittedly rudimentary) character study. The character in question uses derogatory language, sure, but there is more. Faggot is used as pejorative, but also as a verbal tool to discredit the very singers of the lyrics in question.

That is an actual, in the wild, pedants-are-happy, use of irony.

If obvious irony in art can be banned so easily, well, it's about time! People are too stupid to understand the difference and they need to be protected in case it's not obvious enough and their delicate sensibilities are mildly tweaked.
posted by Sparx at 9:30 PM on January 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


Alright folks, mission accomplished. Now for Phase 2, we start calling Portuguese people "My Heart Will Go On."

"HEY! HEY! Yeah, you, My-Heart-Will-Go-On! Why don't you go back to LISBON, My-Heart-Will-Go-On! Why don't you go eat some bacalhau My-Heart-Will-Go-On! We should never have let you My-Heart-Will-Go-Ons leave the Iberian Peninsula, My-Heart-Will-Go-On!"

It'll probably take another 25 years, but it'll be worth it.
posted by PlusDistance at 9:31 PM on January 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


First, the lyrics in question:

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


My reading of it, uneducated and uninformed as I am, seems to be that the singer is responding to someone else ('buddy') calling said rocker a 'faggot', and pointing out just how well that 'faggot' is doing in comparison to that someone else.

The singer, also a rocker, is likely actually defending the rocker from 'buddy', rather than denigrating the rocker themselves.
posted by Neale at 9:32 PM on January 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


I feel that on the spectrum of outrage, with "Hearing it might drizzle today" being a 1 and "SOCIAL INJUSTICES!!!!" being a 10, finding out that Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" has been banned from Canadian radio is like a .0025
posted by windbox at 9:34 PM on January 12, 2011


Oh, can they ban Twisting by the Pool too? Man that's a shit song. they were one of the MOST overrated BORING fucking bands in the pantheon of boring fucking bands. Them, Phil Collins and Billy Joel, and Sir Elton fucking John too.
posted by the noob at 9:35 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


The little kindling with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy, that's his own hair
That little kindling got his own jet airplane
That little kindling he's a millionaire
posted by maxwelton at 9:39 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do Canadians AmericansRussiansMexicansGermans... understand that they do more legwork to become the butt of American CanadiansRussiansMexicansGermans... jokes, than Americans CanadiansRussiansMexicansGermans... do to say and make the jokes?

I mean really, I honestly try and avoid the ftfy cheap shots, but anyone (especially fellow Americans) making that comment has got to be kidding.
posted by edgeways at 9:39 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


they were one of the MOST overrated BORING fucking bands in the pantheon of boring fucking bands.

What do you mean, "were"?
posted by dobbs at 9:42 PM on January 12, 2011


I'm disappointed that CBSC didn't weave "that ain't workin'!" into their press release even once.
posted by dr_dank at 9:43 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


they were one of the MOST overrated BORING fucking bands in the pantheon of boring fucking bands.

Go listen to the Making Movies album.
posted by stargell at 9:43 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Am I misremembering, or was the US radio version of this song scrubbed of the verse? Because I have a memory of getting "Brothers in Arms" on vinyl (gorgeous cover) and being surprised by that verse.

Also, context, irony, etc.

Also also, Knopfler may be the most under-appreciated guitarist alive. The man is brilliant with a guitar.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:44 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Good thing she didn't see the video, which depicts Mark Knopfler spanking a Les Paul. Teh stupid is strong with this one.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:48 PM on January 12, 2011


Can someone explain to me why, if you're delicate enough to blanch at "fuck" you don't blanch at "f-word" or "f**k"?
posted by maxwelton at 9:50 PM on January 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


Does this mean we can get rid of far more reprehensible songs like the poor gangsta rap examples of the past decade with their misogyny? If so, then I'll take that trade.
posted by arcticseal at 9:51 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


People who are commenting in a Metafilter thread about censoring "Money for Nothing" are likely to be thinking about the different perspectives and levels of irony in the song. They're likely to conclude that it's not offensive if you consider the lyrics in context.

I'm more concerned about the listeners who aren't commenting on Metafilter, aren't analyzing the song, might not even be paying much attention to the song because it's playing in the background, and hear that word in passing, so it seeps into their consciousness as an acceptable thing to say.
posted by John Cohen at 9:52 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


MST3K on Canada.
posted by nola at 9:53 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Go listen to the Making Movies album.

Nah, crank up Southbound Again instead.
posted by mediareport at 9:54 PM on January 12, 2011


Knopfler wrote the song after watching two NYC appliance delivery men watch MTV in their store. He said at the time that he diluted their actual comments quite a bit but he still wanted to retain a little bite to it to keep the characterization true. But subtle commentary on society is lost on the masses. And most people still think Born in the USA is a patriotic song.
posted by Ber at 9:55 PM on January 12, 2011 [31 favorites]


Neale: It's actually allegedly a recitation of a conversation Knopfler overheard in an electrical goods store between two workers watching MTV (back when it played music videos). Personally, while I'm mostly for being sensitive to current mores and perceptions, I draw the line at bowdlerising 'historical' sources.

And, yeah, overblown and overated as they became (though Brothers In Arms ain't too bad), Dire Straits, Communiqué, and Making Movies are still standout albums.

In other news, no one has yet complained to the BBC for playing ELO's "Oh, No, Not Susan" back in 1973. Despite having had a previous song banned from UK airplay for using the word "faggot", they somehow managed to slip the word "fucking" past the usually-alert censors…
posted by Pinback at 9:55 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm more concerned about the listeners who aren't commenting on Metafilter, aren't analyzing the song, might not even be paying much attention to the song because it's playing in the background, and hear that word in passing, so it seeps into their consciousness as an acceptable thing to say.

I'm concerned about those listeners too, but I'm also concerned about judging whether art should be broadcast based on how it might be misunderstood or abused by the ignorant, uninformed, or inattentive. People who use "faggot" casually aren't living in a prejudice-free vacuum until "Money for Nothing" comes on.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:57 PM on January 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


People who use "faggot" casually aren't living in a prejudice-free vacuum until "Money for Nothing" comes on.

Oh, please. That's a straw man. No one would ever say that "Money for Nothing" is responsible for all homophobia in the world. The problem is that it gives a slight nudge in the wrong direction.
posted by John Cohen at 9:59 PM on January 12, 2011


I'm not saying it's responsible for all homophobia, calm down. I'm saying let's deal with the actual homophobic stuff out there first, then we can worry about what people might misinterpret second. Because that latter is a loooooooooooooooooong list, even longer than the first, I'd bet.

Otherwise, sure, let's go ahead and reword Huck Finn now and get it over with.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:03 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Again:
"Recognizing that every person has the right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability."

Name one song, one, that isn't banned under this clause.
posted by vapidave at 10:04 PM on January 12, 2011


If this doesn't finally bring down Dire Straits, nothing will.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm gay, and I felt that lyric's sting when I was in college -- even though I "knew" (or was supposed to know, I guess) that it was meant sarcastically. It was a number one song and it used the word "faggot," casually, more than once, "That little faggot, he's a millionaire." It was an emblem of how okay it was to throw the word "faggot" around, like it didn't matter. Of course the use of it in the song was meant as a generic putdown of some worthless character -- or was it? Same thing in real life. Was that guy who called me a "faggot" meaning to generically put me down? Or was he threatening me?

But I think this decision is shit.

The complaint read in part:

"I find this extremely offensive as a member of the LGBT community and feel that there is absolutely no valid reason for such discriminatory marks to be played on-air."

I find the complaint extremely offensive as a member of the LGBT community. Sweeping the word under the rug and categorizing it as an "unacceptable designation" isn't going to make it go away. Is bleeping the word when it's played on CHOZ-FM going to make it any less noticeable?
posted by blucevalo at 10:08 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread is turning fascinatingly in the direction of the discussion of the context of the Giffords shooting.

People need to use common sense. As noted, those that comment here tend to do that. The insane don't, and neither did the person complaining about this.

Penn Jillette put it thusly the other day:
Fuck Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. Marketplace of ideas can not be toned down for the insane.

But yeah, the outrage is weak with this one; the song just needs to be radio edited, it's not actually banned. Meh.
posted by yiftach at 10:08 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Free transformation from the depth of my lyrical genius (just check my projects man)...

See the little faggot wilson with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that's his own hair

It's a Count Zero reference, get it? Totally of its era. God being a genius is exhausting...
posted by nanojath at 10:08 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love Dire Straits. (Most of it.)

Love Mark Knopfler.

Love Money For Nothing.

Never loved those particular lyrics.

Was OK with the fact that the Sultans of Swing (The Greatest Hits) version cut out said lyric.

Hated that it also cut out the majority of the opening guitar solo.

Puzzled that people don't understand what the song is about.

Pretty OK with the fact that people don't want it played on the air, though.
posted by HostBryan at 10:09 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


It was the strange timing of this decision that led me to post this – I'm a little shocked that this didn't happen a long time ago. Also, I can't stop cringing at the video for Tunnel of Love but it hasn't stopped me from watching it about six times a day.
posted by avocet at 10:10 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"that little maggot" would work well in there.

I always thought the lyrics referred to Knopfler.

Also, aren't the Hawaian noises the bongos?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:10 PM on January 12, 2011


Faggots.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:11 PM on January 12, 2011


Arrgh. I just flagged the post accidentally! Sorry!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:11 PM on January 12, 2011


Dumb beyond words. WTF Canadian Broadcast Standards Council frickin' relax...

don't do it.
posted by Skygazer at 10:11 PM on January 12, 2011


Go listen to the Making Movies album.

hilarious. When I started collecting vinyl again about a year ago, that was the first record I bought (used, 3$...but still!) and I don't think I've listened to it since July or August. But I was just looking through my pile and threw it on, came on Metafilter, and found ... a Dire Straits thread!

synchro...
posted by mannequito at 10:13 PM on January 12, 2011


so it seeps into their consciousness as an acceptable thing to say.

But it was an acceptable thing to say and up until a year or two ago always was. That's precisely why Knopfler used it--no other epithet would have gotten past the censors.

Don't kid yourself that homophobia is not only acceptable but embraced in "art" everywhere in North American culture. It's a cheap laugh in blockbuster film after blockbuster film, even when no epithet is used. I watched the trailer for the Green Hornet today--a film aimed at boys 14-29--and in its 2.5 minutes heard 4 not-super-subtle anti-gay comments. This is a huge budget movie for 2011 and the idiots who made it think it's perfectly cool to mock gays in a movie aimed at young boys. Is it any wonder 'fag' or 'that's so gay' are "acceptable" things to say when this is a-ok?
posted by dobbs at 10:17 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Context, people. For reference, every damn Richard Pryor record.
posted by davebush at 10:18 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


So the song should be edited because it sucks? Why can't all the crappy songs that don't use the word "faggot" or other "unacceptable designations" be edited?
posted by blucevalo at 10:18 PM on January 12, 2011


It's kinda surprising, all the Dire Straits hate here. One of the best rock bands of the 80s (or any time), and one of the greatest songwriters/guitarists there has been!! Their albums are all immaculately produced and sound AMAZING (especially on vinyl.) Sure 'Money for Nothing' and 'Walk of Life' have been played out but they are still awesome songs. It sucks when good legit music gets lumped in with crap like "Life Is a Highway" just because they frequently appear on the same jukeboxes. Knopfler's lyrics outdo tons of crap that was out there at the time. Apparently the band or guys in the band overheard a couple of delivery guys complaining about how rock stars have it so easy, and used quotes from their conversation as lyrics in the song...
posted by ReeMonster at 10:18 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


five fresh fish: "I always thought the lyrics referred to Knopfler."

Funny, I thought the delivery man was referring to George Michael.
posted by bwg at 10:24 PM on January 12, 2011


Agree. Money For Nothing is a great song to showcase a good stereo because it's so much better than people remember it being on crappy FM radios. Not that it matters but I always assumed the lyric referenced Prince.
posted by Lorin at 10:24 PM on January 12, 2011


If this doesn't finally bring down Dire Straits, nothing will.
Time is on your side. Or not.

Still: Sultans of Swing

Like it or not they had a sound and a hook. Like fishing bat.
posted by vapidave at 10:26 PM on January 12, 2011


Exactly.. that's the problem with digital culture anyway. People are so accustomed to listening to their shitty iPod headphones and their lossy compression digital music files that it doesn't so much matter how their music actually sounds. I have two copies of Brothers in Arms on vinyl (not to mention all their other albums) and they are ideal turntable/stereo showoff albums.. and don't get me wrong, I usually follow up with OK Computer or even Charlotte Gainsbourg's latest.. all wonderfully produced..
posted by ReeMonster at 10:28 PM on January 12, 2011


Wait until they get to that Mindless Self Indulgence song. (NSFW audio / lyrics)
posted by zippy at 10:30 PM on January 12, 2011


Go listen to the Making Movies album.

Seconding this. And "Industrial Disease" from Love Over Gold swings.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always assumed they were making fun of Duran Duran. Which really made me mad at the time (J.T. 4 evar)
posted by Kloryne at 10:40 PM on January 12, 2011


It's kinda surprising, all the Dire Straits hate here.

I'm not. It's one of those positions that became de rigeur to distance yourself from the plebs. "Nothing is good if anyone else likes it" and all that.

As for the decision, well, if you're concerned about an anti-gay atmosphere, I can think of yards of material you should be banning, long before a song depiction a conversation with a blue collar yutz bemoaning the fortune of musicians.
posted by rodgerd at 10:43 PM on January 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Am I misremembering, or was the US radio version of this song scrubbed of the verse?

I seem to remember not hearing that verse on the radio, and only seeing it on MTV sometimes, but not others.

Also, a friend of mine mutters a few lines from this song whenever anyone mentions the Grand Theft Auto games, because he says they look like the video.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:46 PM on January 12, 2011


I'm glad. It's a stupid song that uses the word in an offensive way.

stargell: “Go listen to the Making Movies album.–

Did that a long time ago, when it was forced down my throat by somebody else. And gave it another try with Brothers in Arms because everybody always says it's fantastic. It's terrible tripe. Stupid crap. At their very best, Dire Straits were a throwback-style New Wave band, and that should be enough to consign them to the dustbin of history. And their happy use of a bigoted slur should only help the case for their elimination from playlists all over.

Ber: “Knopfler wrote the song after watching two NYC appliance delivery men watch MTV in their store. He said at the time that he diluted their actual comments quite a bit but he still wanted to retain a little bite to it to keep the characterization true. But subtle commentary on society is lost on the masses. And most people still think Born in the USA is a patriotic song.”

Ah, so true! It was subtle commentary! He wasn't actually calling those people faggots! He was saying other people did! In fact, Mark Knopfler loves MTV, and thinks the hip little bands that were making it on MTV at the time were the best thing ever!

That's not subtlety you're staring at there. It's just stupidity.
posted by koeselitz at 10:52 PM on January 12, 2011


This isn't how Screw You, Taxpayer! is supposed to work. You've turned gormless, Canada. YOU HAVE NO GORM!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 PM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


rodgerd: “It's one of those positions that became de rigeur to distance yourself from the plebs. "Nothing is good if anyone else likes it" and all that.”

In point of fact, all the plebs I know can't stand Dire Straits, and think that's music for old people. The "plebs," such as they are, listen to System Of A Down now. The only people I've ever met who tell me they like Dire Straits are cool kids and hi fi geeks.

I think the situation is rather that most people only know two songs by Dire Straits, and both of them are stupid songs. Of course, their other songs are just as dumb, so I don't think anybody's missing anything.
posted by koeselitz at 10:59 PM on January 12, 2011


"I'm more concerned about the listeners who aren't commenting on Metafilter, aren't analyzing the song, might not even be paying much attention to the song because it's playing in the background, and hear that word in passing, so it seeps into their consciousness as an acceptable thing to say."

Being concerned about the worst only leads to a culture focused on the worst. When we start assuming that the general public can't be trusted to grasp the subtitles of a Dire Straits song, we doom ourselves to a culture controlled by the stupid.
posted by klangklangston at 11:01 PM on January 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


What do you mean, "were"?

You've not heard of Nickelback?

As a Canadian can I write in how offensive Nickelback is to humanity itself and get them banned? Not that I would as it's really not that important. I just don't listen to them. I'm lazy I guess...
posted by juiceCake at 11:06 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just realized what Dire Straits are. They're the Billy Joel of Britain.
posted by koeselitz at 11:07 PM on January 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


And their happy use of a bigoted slur should only help the case for their elimination from playlists all over.

Absurd. Again, the argument is that the song sucks anyway so it should be edited.

But should Eminem be edited? I don't see any hue and cry for that going on. "And I'll stab you in the head, whether you're a fag or a lez, a homosex, a hermaph, or a transvez." That whole song is way stupider and way more bigoted than "Money for Nothing."
posted by blucevalo at 11:10 PM on January 12, 2011


He wasn't actually calling those people faggots! He was saying other people did!

Yes. Exactly. But, yeah, it's a pretty dumb song.

I like System of a Down.....
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:11 PM on January 12, 2011


I like System Of A Down too
posted by koeselitz at 11:22 PM on January 12, 2011


I am a faggot. I rather like Dire Straits. It's fucking stupid to ban this song or any art for this kind of bullshit. Words only have the power we give them with this kind of stupid false outrage.
posted by Long Way To Go at 11:29 PM on January 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


But should Eminem be edited? I don't see any hue and cry for that going on.

He is edited. His albums--and many hip hop records--are available in two versions.

"And I'll stab you in the head, whether you're a fag or a lez, a homosex, a hermaph, or a transvez."

Are you suggesting this is played on mainstream Canadian radio? Money for Nothing's been banned on mainstream Canadian radio. It's not like they're gathering up all the sold copies and throwing them on the pyre.

And as someone mentioned above, Dire Straits already censored the song on their own greatest hits package.

You've not heard of Nickelback?

I've heard of them--I haven't heard them. I assume they're boring stadium rock. They're no different than Dire Straits were in their day, in the sense that they make disposable music for the masses--Dire Straits for Baby Boomers and Nickelback for Frat Boys. Their tunes are best suited for pub juke boxes and cover bands.

And koeselitz, as much as I dislike Billy Joel, he's a far superior songwriter to Knopfler. They are worlds apart. Knopfler is so stomach-turningly obvious with his word-choices it's almost unbearable. Their sound is summed up in songs like Romeo and Juliet which sounds like something from Dylan's Blood on the Tracks diluted 10k times in piss. Terrible, terrible stuff. I can practically see people holding up their lighters in solidarity as I hear the song in my head.
posted by dobbs at 11:48 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think we can all agree: Mark Knopfler should just shut up and play his guitar.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:51 PM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dire Straits playing "Money for Nothing" in 1990 (with Eric Clapton, natch).

Around the 2:00 minute mark you'll notice that he says "queenie" instead of "faggot."

If my rock lore serves me correctly, I seem to remember that Elton John made the suggestion to tone it down a bit.

Also, as mentioned, I think you have to lend some artistic license here. He was trying to imitate the thoughts of two working class dudes watching MTV. (Personally, I always pictured them watching a Duran Duran video.)

And the first three Dire Straits albums before the mega-stadium production and excessive use of synths are pretty great. They were the quintessential British pub rock band with a decent song-writer who could play the fuck out of a Strat without a pick with some beautiful modal flourishes.

My personal favorite? "Lady Writer"

FWIW, when I was 17 my mission in life was to cross-pollinate the Strat playing of Jimi Hendrix with those of Mark Knopfler. Didn't succeed, but it was a noble quest.
posted by bardic at 11:56 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another fag here who agrees that the ban is stupid. Who is this person who got her knickers in a knot over this? And I like Eminem songs. Asking government to ban words you don't like, is, well, faggotty.

It is pleasing to me though that this nasty epithet has become less acceptable over time. In the song Uneasy Rider from the 70's, this line was considered fine:

"Well he's a friend of them long haired, hippy-type, pinko fags!"

but this line was a problem for radio play:

"Like their heads was on fire and their asses was catchin'"

(the asses being the offending word).
posted by kevinsp8 at 11:57 PM on January 12, 2011


1: Other instances of faggots being censored

2: Do Canadians understand that they do more legwork to become the butt of American jokes, than Americans do to say and make the jokes? — I'm pretty sure that we still have a lot of joke-butt credit left from the Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction Brouhaha.

3: I like Dire Straits too.
posted by hattifattener at 12:00 AM on January 13, 2011


And now I'm killing time at work by watching early DS videos. Another great song with some remarkable Strat wizardry (No fucking pick on an electric guitar, man! That's fucking insane! He still plays so fast!):

"Lions"

And as long as I'm being a sentimental bastard, my favorite Dire Straits song:

"Walking in the Wild West End"

Beautiful use of a National guitar.
posted by bardic at 12:01 AM on January 13, 2011


In the meantime, we still have Weird Al's "Beverly Hillbillies" parody.

Or the ever fresh Money for Netting - about the great UseNet reorg.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:03 AM on January 13, 2011


Banning a list of specific words on the radio just reflects the worst kind of simplistic babysitting by the government. I don't need to be shielded from hearing the word "faggot". I need to be protected from the actual homophobic laws and policies that fuck up my life. Oh, nevermind, those homophobic laws come from the same people telling me not to say fag on the radio. WTF.
posted by serazin at 12:04 AM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


dobbs: “I've heard of [Nickelback]--I haven't heard them. I assume they're boring stadium rock. They're no different than Dire Straits were in their day, in the sense that they make disposable music for the masses--Dire Straits for Baby Boomers and Nickelback for Frat Boys. Their tunes are best suited for pub juke boxes and cover bands.”

No, dobbs. I agree with everything else you say here, but... no. Nickelback are a breed of evil you don't quite seem to grasp. I hate Dire Straits too, but they're a mildly annoying mediocre sort of evil. Nickelback is an actual, balls-out, soul-destroying, civilization-negating evil that it's not hard to believe will be part of the eventual destruction of the world. Opportunist pieces of shit like this – my god, that one song, it's difficult for me to express the rage I feel every time I hear this vile trash. No honest, decent human being can hear such a song and not recoil in horror; and those poor, unfortunate souls that are suckered in by its buddy-buddy setup are in for pain, dissatisfaction, and utter hopelessness. It's horrifyingly tragic, that song. And that's only one of them. Then you hear another of their songs – this for example – and it's suddenly clear that they're a carefully-calculated boy band that's manipulating everything for cash. Maybe that's to be expected, but the audacity, the vile disregard... well, rock has been utterly subverted in them. Dire Straits was just a innocuous group of guys who, like every other band, thought they had it right when they were actually mediocre. Nickelback... represents an industry. An industry committing wholesale assault on a population through the medium of radio.

Nickelback is much worse than Dire Straits could ever even have imagined.
posted by koeselitz at 12:06 AM on January 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Billy Joel is fucking awesome.
posted by serazin at 12:07 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Billy Joel is fucking awesome."

It was all downhill after Attila.
posted by bardic at 12:10 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Woodrow Wilson, Kennedy, what else do I have to say?
posted by koeselitz at 12:10 AM on January 13, 2011


The saddest part about this is having read the title I immediately got the song stuck in my head, so I went to youtube to see the music video.
This video contains content from UMG. It is not available in your country.
I know that's not related to the CBSC ruling, but damn is that ever apt. I hate you, big media. I hope you realize that.
posted by inedible at 12:12 AM on January 13, 2011


Can someone explain to me what the Canadians are trying to accomplish here besides creating an entertainment industry that insults the intelligence of its audience?
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:32 AM on January 13, 2011


Fairytale of New York was temporarily banned by the BBC for the use of the words Faggot and Slut:

From Wikipedia

"On December 18, 2007, BBC Radio 1 put a ban on the words "faggot" and "slut" from "Fairytale of New York" to "avoid offence". The words, sung as Kirsty MacColl and MacGowan trade insults, were dubbed out. MacColl's mother, Jean, called the ban "too ridiculous", while the Pogues said they found it "amusing". The BBC said: "We are playing an edited version because some members of the audience might find it offensive". Later that evening Radio 1 backed down and said that after a day of criticism from listeners, the band, and MacColl's mother, they reversed the decision. The unedited version was then played later on that day. Other BBC radio stations, including the typically conservative Radio 2, had continued to play the original version throughout this period, the ban having applied to Radio 1 only. The MTV channels in the UK also subject the song to censorship by removing and scrambling the words "slut", "faggot" and "arse".
In his Christmas podcast, musical comedian Mitch Benn commented that "faggot" was Irish and Liverpudlian slang for a lazy person, and was unrelated to the derogatory term for homosexuals."
posted by DanCall at 12:43 AM on January 13, 2011


Nothing wrong with Dire Straits, provided exposure is limited to one or two times a year. In their pomp, this limitation was not possible. Some of us 80s kiddies bear the scars to this day.

Nothing wrong with Dire Straits fans, provided they don't talk about the band and the music, at length, incessantly, oh my god the production on that album is superb I've even got it on CD now you're going to have to come over and listen hey I've got a CD walkman now stick these in your ears.

Nothing wrong with reportage in pop songs.

I shot a man, just to see him die.

But then, he did have Sultans of Swing as a ring tone. The jury refused to convict.
posted by Devonian at 12:47 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


On a related note, I have to say that while I love the song, I've always been a bit leery of the use of the word in "Fairytale of New York". There's a claim that it's not related to the modern derogatory usage, but it still hits pretty harshly to my ear. (Can anybody across the Pond corroborate that, BTW?)
posted by kmz at 12:51 AM on January 13, 2011


Whoops, shoulda previewed.
posted by kmz at 12:51 AM on January 13, 2011


Can someone explain to me what the Canadians are trying to accomplish here besides creating an entertainment industry that insults the intelligence of its audience?

We've so far failed to do so as well as the Americans but we'll continue to try. Would that we aspired to some of the top BBC stuff (audio and video).

I've heard of [Nickelback]--I haven't heard them. I assume they're boring stadium rock. They're no different than Dire Straits were in their day, in the sense that they make disposable music for the masses--Dire Straits for Baby Boomers and Nickelback for Frat Boys. Their tunes are best suited for pub juke boxes and cover bands.

You are fortunate. Having not heard them your assumption, I feel, and subsequent conclusion are sadly lacking. Just as the old Fantastic Four cartoon makes the old Spiderman cartoon look like Shakespeare, so too does Nickelback make Dire Straits look just short of Nabokov. They are even worse than Lucas's Episodes 1 through 3 and 6. Of particular note is Nickelback's reuse of their songs (swf and uncontrollable volume warning).

Gene Simmons appears in their incredibly awful video. This says much.
posted by juiceCake at 12:56 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thank goodness we have finally come to the point where politics is allowed it's natural right to decide the intention of the artist. Where would we be without that?
posted by vapidave at 1:01 AM on January 13, 2011


smcameron: So, how is this different from the use of the n-word in Huck Finn? I'm a computer programmer. Stuff like this does not compute for me. You probably shouldn't bother trying to explain it to me though, as your explanation probably won't compute either.

Huck Finn is a book. Books are not played on the radio. Money for nothing is a song. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council decided to ban that song. So that Canadian radio stations cannot play it on the radio.

Simple enough for you?
posted by sour cream at 1:01 AM on January 13, 2011


Dire Straits for Baby Boomers and Nickelback for Frat Boys. Their tunes are best suited for pub juke boxes and cover bands.

What. The. Fuck?

Nickelback is just some grungy fucker and some power chords. Sultans of Swing is a textbook example of how awesome fingerstyle guitar playing can be. Critically acclaimed and consistently on "best guitar solo" lists.

Don't get me wrong, "Money for Nothing" is a mass produced piece of synthpop crap but their self titled debut album and Brother in Arms were some of the best pieces of pub rock to come out of the end of the 70s/early 80s.

They may both be in pub jukeboxes but I think that says more about the declining taste of modern frat boy music rather than an indication that Dire Straits and Nickelback are in a similar league of quality.
posted by Talez at 1:08 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


How would this board react to the non-movie soundtrack work of Randy Newman? (Last Link Alert: Beware of the Terrifying Etta.)
posted by raysmj at 1:15 AM on January 13, 2011


I must be the only one who never knew the lyrics said that.

Then again I have trouble understanding lyrics in songs all the time.
posted by OwlBoy at 1:19 AM on January 13, 2011


how did we get into comparing dire straits with nickelback? - by the way, "photograph" is a great song - don't ask me how a suck band like nickelback came up with it, but sometimes that happens - judging from their last few singles, it won't happen again
posted by pyramid termite at 2:10 AM on January 13, 2011


Banning a list of specific words on the radio just reflects the worst kind of simplistic babysitting by the government. I don't need to be shielded from hearing the word "faggot". I need to be protected from the actual homophobic laws and policies that fuck up my life. Oh, nevermind, those homophobic laws come from the same people telling me not to say fag on the radio. WTF.

Which homophobic laws and policies are those? Because at least from what I know, they've finished re-writing the laws in Canada to be neutral with regards to sexual orientation. Now if they could just get around to fucking passing gender-orientation protection laws, that would be nice.

With regards to the Huck Finn question, the decision addresses this:
the primary purpose of Clause 10(a) was to protect longer-form programming in which an idea or context that would otherwise be problematic under one of the negative portrayal provisions....
the Clause will generally be of application in the case of a song, in which the exposition of a context is less likely to be present. The Panel certainly does not close the door to that possibility but it does not consider that “Money for Nothing” is such a song.
So essentially: there is a saving provision through context: it hasn't been applied to songs very often (maybe at all), and this is not the song that's going to open up that exception - the last part seems to jive with DS' own self-censorship of the material.

Remember, this is being broadcast on the public airwaves, for which OZFM* has a licence. To at least some degree, they can claim to be speaking with authorization from Canada; that Canada does not seriously disapprove of their conduct. Unless something like this happens.
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:18 AM on January 13, 2011


Roll over, Beethoven. You've scandalized the Canadians long enough with your "Eroica".
posted by tommasz at 2:27 AM on January 13, 2011


What the shit is this? I'm supposed to hate the Dire Straits now? Whatever, guys.

[turns up Sultans of Swing]
posted by archagon at 2:28 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder what would have happened if Patti Smith had released Rock and Roll Nigger in 2011 instead of 1978.

Or maybe she simply wouldn't. She still performs the song live, though, or at least she did when I saw her in the late '90s. I dunno.

Jimi Hendrix
was a nigger
Jesus Christ and Grandma, too
Jackson Pollock
was a nigger..."

...and then Patti shouts the word over and over and over and it's ugly and it's brutal and it's bruising and you want her to stop and she won't and it's nothing like the simplistic moralizing of John Lennon's "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" it's taking all that hatred and vileness and spitting it right back at you and making you feel it and planting a flag on top of it: "outside of society, it's waitin' for me" and then you recall the question she plants a verse before "are you ready to behave?" and what is she really asking us? Is it "behave" as in "fit in" or "behave" as in "be good to one another" or is it something else entirely?

It's an ugly, provocative, beautiful and offensive song, and I'm glad she wrote it but I wonder if it's just an artefact of its time better left to history or if it, like Huck Finn, still speaks to us. Is it inexcusable arrogance or naïveté disguised as provocative art or is it the real deal? Is it all of those things, wadded up and spat out? Could a song like "Rock and Roll Nigger" happen today? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, but I thank Patti Smith for prodding me to ask them.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:35 AM on January 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


On the subject of the word "nigger" in pop songs, I wonder if the CBSC has Randy Newman's Rednecks on the banned list as well.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:12 AM on January 13, 2011


In other news, Bruce Cockburn has been detained indefinitely on charges of making terrorist threats involving rocket launchers.
posted by Spatch at 4:14 AM on January 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


So, this is good for Dire Straits, right?
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:23 AM on January 13, 2011


Wonder when this tune will make it to Canada. They'll flip....

Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields.
Sold in a market down in New Orleans.
Scarred old slaver knows he's doing all right.
Hear him whip the women just around mid-night.

...

Brown Sugar. How come you taste so good?

....

Just like a black girl should. etc. etc.

I've actually always wondered why this didn't seem to irritate people.
posted by WyoWhy at 4:40 AM on January 13, 2011


BitterOldPunk: "Is it inexcusable arrogance or naïveté disguised as provocative art or is it the real deal? Is it all of those things, wadded up and spat out? Could a song like "Rock and Roll Nigger" happen today? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, but I thank Patti Smith for prodding me to ask them"

I've always taken her use of "nigger" in this song to be synonymous with being "outside of society", using the language of the oppressor, claiming and making it her own as a giant Fuck You as her heart explodes with fearsome love in the infinite sea. But I think that's a device that worked ... better? more easily maybe? ... in 1978 than it ever could in 2011.

"Money For Nothing", on the other hand, employs the voice of the homophobic meathead; we're not hearing the bongo-banging musician claiming "faggot" as his own. But I do agree Knopfler is using irony in this song in adopting the voice of the unreliable narrator, and as far as I remember that verse had always been edited out when it was played on the radio during certain hours.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:43 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm just wondering if there can be some law that bans the playing of "Do You Feel Like We Do" from the Frampton Comes Alive album or Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" because there appears to be an Atlanta bylaw that requires both of those songs to be played a minimum of every 30 goddamn minutes on every rock radio station.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:46 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go listen to the Making Movies album.

Penance?
posted by the noob at 4:49 AM on January 13, 2011


Radio (at least state-approved, licensed radio) been heavily censored, edited and selective in what it'd play according to mainstream cultural norms, largely uncontested, for longer than I've been alive. Whether or not that's a good thing isn't really the issue - the only time I've ever seen any kind of large-scale attempt to question that censorship is when a song people had had the chance to get familiar with (the Pogues Christmas thing in the UK) was suddenly removed from airplay for reasons a majority apparently thought weren't serious enough. I didn't see them campaigning for the restoration of all the fucks, niggers, bitches and so on from newer songs, just the old one they were used to thinking of as harmless. If taking issue with the removal of these songs for their use of 'faggot' is a protest against the principle of radio censorship, where was that protest before it took away something familiar?

That's not to say I'm particularly in favour of radio censorship, but given that it exists and will continue to exist, I can't see the categorisation of 'faggot' as a word unacceptable to mainstream norms and the extension of its (okay, questionably helpful, but still) protection to a group that hasn't previously been considered worth protecting anything but a small positive step.
posted by emmtee at 4:50 AM on January 13, 2011


This has been an educational thread. I learned: Knopfler is British; checking wikipedia I learned he is old and bald; watching the money for nothing video I did not detect the word "faggot" but I will take your word for it that it's in the lyrics; the soft edge to his guitar notes comes from no pick.

And I saw the Weird Al Beverly Hills MTV video for the first time ever. That is fucking insane. I wonder what combo of hallucinogens and deleriants Weird Al took to twist his brain up into that mess. I will be careful about clicking on Weird Al links going forward. I am way too sensitive for that shit.
posted by bukvich at 5:15 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, for fuck's sake. This is getting to be beyond absurd.

The use of the word "faggot" in that song is in the voice of one of the workers who is bemoaning the lifestyle of the spoilt rock star. Perhaps Knopfler should have had him say "That rather effeminately-dressed gentleman got his own jet airplane. That somewhat unmasculine fellow, he's a millionaire"

This modern fear of words is not only pathetic and irrational, it is actually counter-productive. You give words extra force, power and attractiveness if you censor them. This stuff is so basic even a child can understand it; that's why "swearwords" are so attractive to children. Why are so many people now less smart than children about this stuff?
posted by Decani at 5:30 AM on January 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


The next thing you know Hollywood won't be allowed to make movies where characters behave like real human beings and say ugly things.
posted by bwg at 5:44 AM on January 13, 2011


Dire Straits banned, you say? Finding it really, really difficult to get upset about that....Nope, sorry, still not angry.

And here I was thinking the blue was a bastion for free speech absolutists.

They came for Dire Straits and I said nothing....
posted by IndigoJones at 5:54 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


The use of the word "faggot" in that song is in the voice of one of the workers who is bemoaning the lifestyle of the spoilt rock star.

It doesn't matter how much you're speaking in the voice of a character or trying to be ironic or whatever; you're not going to get 'nigger' or 'cunt' in a song on mainstream radio. This is just holding use of 'faggot' to the same standard. Argue against that standard if you like, but it certainly isn't a new standard.

This modern fear of words...

All I can say to this is you cannot possibly have been paying attention.
posted by emmtee at 5:57 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hint to all the Dire Straits and Mark Twain and (insert your particular wordsmith here): words depend on all the other words around them to derive a meaning. It's called context, and sometimes it completely changes the meaning of a word.

Offensiveness can be bad, but sometimes it's called for. Stupid is always bad. People offended by words are generally stupid. People demanding that words be changed because their sensibilities are offended are always stupid. This is lowest-common-denominator fascism. And stupid.

(And hate Dire Straits all you want - Mark Knopfler is a guitar god.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:58 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"To die hating them, that was freedom."
posted by Fizz at 6:02 AM on January 13, 2011


ugh. UGH. Why are there still people who hate to hear certain words on the radio? By reasonable standards of broadcast freedom, if I have enough warnings before the program, I should be able to play sounds of explicit lovemaking under myself screaming FUUUUUCK! SHIIIT! CUNTS! BALL SACK! FOUL HAIRY TAINT!, etc. . . Why does everything need to be sanitized in the name of the personally offended
posted by tehloki at 6:04 AM on January 13, 2011


People demanding that words be changed because their sensibilities are offended are always stupid.

There are some metatalk threads you might want to read.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:07 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


liberal fascism

This is lowest-common-denominator fascism.

Fascism? Jesus Fucking Christ, what next, "feminazis"? Maybe throw in some Orwellian comparisons too. (Oops, too late.)
posted by kmz at 6:14 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


On a related note, if you like Dire Straits and don't like the synthesizer-y mess that makes up the latter albums, Mark Knopfler's solo stuff is probably gonna be right up your alley.

And I don't THINK there are any offensive words. It's been a while since I listened to Sailing to Philadelphia. There could be a song on there that's just one long string of homophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynistic slurs bookending a bitchin' guitar solo. My copy is 18 hours away, I have no way of knowing.
posted by HostBryan at 6:21 AM on January 13, 2011


I swear, one day, I'm going to create a grand, magnificent Billy Joel FPP and you fucking haters will weep for its majesty and realize you just mighta been too hasty.

Seriously, though, Billy Joel is a terrific songwriter and if you base your entire opinion of him on one song (and a lot of you do), then you're fools.

Fools!
posted by grubi at 6:21 AM on January 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


There are some metatalk threads you might want to read.

He's too edgy for all that "PC" stuff.
posted by kmz at 6:23 AM on January 13, 2011


That little CAN-uck with the earring and the makeup
Yeah, buddy, that's his own hair
That little CAN-uck got his own jet airplane
That little CAN-uck, he's a millionaire
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:24 AM on January 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Am I crazy, or didn't Dire Straits also release a "sanitized" version at the same time, for radio stations with stricter audiences?

I definitely remember that -- kind of like how there are two different versions of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl" out there in the wild as well (in the original, he and his brown-eyed girl are "makin' love in the green grass" behind the stadium in the third verse, but there's an alternate version which has them "laughin' and a-runnin'" again behind the stadium). I know I heard bowlderized and un-censored versions of the song on different radio stations.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 AM on January 13, 2011


A few years ago, CBC radio in Toronto started playing Dire Strait's 'Money For Nothing' as part of a morning segment. The funny part was hearing Andy Barrie start talking over the record in a panic as soon as the verse about "That little faggot with the earring and the makeup" started. Obviously everyone in the studio forgot about the second verse on the original recording.

And I'll put out a vote in favour of 'Money For Nothing' being a great pop song. It's a mild social commentary with an awesome guitar hook, and it's a shame that people feel the need to ban the song outright rather than simply edit out the offensive second verse (a version that I have heard more than once -- in a weird way, the edit makes it an even better song, structurally). Then again, there's at least one commenter here who likes Nickelback's 'Photograph', which goes to show that there's simply no accounting for individual tastes.
posted by spoobnooble at 6:26 AM on January 13, 2011


Fascism? Jesus Fucking Christ, what next, "feminazis"? Maybe throw in some Orwellian comparisons too. (Oops, too late.)

Well, what would you call it when (literally) one or two people can deprive everybody else of listening to a song that the one or two people are unble to correctly parse the meaning of? Fascism is probably too strong; I'm open to alternatives.

He's too edgy for all that "PC" stuff.

I'm absolutely not for for being blatantly offensive. I said as much.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:37 AM on January 13, 2011


This isn't surprising. Everyone knows you can't say crap on the radio.
posted by electroboy at 6:48 AM on January 13, 2011


Just remember, kids, there is NO SUCH THING as "political correctness." Rush Limbaugh made it up in the 90s.
posted by adipocere at 6:50 AM on January 13, 2011


It's actually allegedly a recitation of a conversation Knopfler overheard in an electrical goods store between two workers watching MTV (back when it played music videos).

You forgot the best part, it was a Motley Crue video that they were commenting on.
posted by 445supermag at 6:56 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, so true! It was subtle commentary! He wasn't actually calling those people faggots! He was saying other people did! In fact, Mark Knopfler loves MTV, and thinks the hip little bands that were making it on MTV at the time were the best thing ever!

'Money for nothing' was the very first song to be played on British MTV. Dire Straits was one of those 'hip little bands' that had benefitted from the video revolution and went on to innovate in the format. 'Money for Nothing' was the first video to feature 3d animation (of the erstwhile appliance installers).
posted by anigbrowl at 6:57 AM on January 13, 2011


Well, after seeing how much hate there is for Dire Straits, I would like to raise the stakes by passing along a video of Trey Anastasio from Phish covering Sultans of Swing with his solo band. Much of the guitar part, including the ending solo, is arranged for horns and is badass.

And sure, it's a bit too cute because they contrast "don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band/that ain't what they call rock and roll" and it's a band with a horn section, har har, but, again, badass.

Haven't seen Trey in years, and didn't realize he'd scaled down his horn section to just three players. Bad choice. This one's from 2002.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:00 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just remember, kids, there is NO SUCH THING as "political correctness." Rush Limbaugh made it up in the 90s.

Not actually true, although he popularized the term.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:09 AM on January 13, 2011


I don't see how this is a problem. So they're going to bleep out "faggot" like they bleep out the many millions of occurrences of a handful of other words. Why does it suddenly matter?

Also people really don't need to worry about Nickelback as much as they apparently are, as it is no longer 2002.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:17 AM on January 13, 2011


Canada: No Money For Nothing but lots of Kinder Eggs.
posted by monkeymike at 7:18 AM on January 13, 2011


Just remember, kids, there is NO SUCH THING as "political correctness." Rush Limbaugh made it up in the 90s.

Not true. I and friends used it in the early 80s in college, though it had a different spin -- more of a sarcastic jab at fellow students who were self-consciously enlightened hipsters. The Right later appropriated it wholesale and changed the meaning to be "Disapproves of assholish behavior insensitive to the feelings of traditionally targeted groups."
posted by aught at 7:19 AM on January 13, 2011


There's a pretty interesting broader issue, and it's neat to see a somewhat innocuous instance of it get handled in real time. Since the arrival of the recording and the broadcast into our culture, we get these sometimes horrifying, sometimes all-too-familiar glimpses into the vernacularity of our predecessors.

These glimpses sneak up on people without context, or through the general ambience, as a kind of pathological permanence that seems to undermine civil rights advancements. I can appreciate the concern this may cause. How would you feel, say, if Fox starting rerunning the shit out of Archie Bunker, or worse, rebooting him as an 'ironic' commentator on our favorite hot-button issues, but really just a repeatable-hate-phrase-generator? (me, irritated) I guess the point is moot, because he would be too subtle compared to Beck et al. Oh god, they'd have to make him EVEN WORSE! /digression

I'm not saying I'm in favour of redacting the past wholesale, but its always happening, and here is an interesting little part of that we can observe without the ire that would attend the modification of a more beloved classic.

Do people these days also express outrage over the Minstrel Show Number in White Christmas? (asking sincerely, as I just saw that film for the first time this year and my jaw dropped when that started up, yet I've never heard about any kerfuffle. yes I grew up in a bubble).

Personal anecdote: once, as a young boy, after visiting with some older cousins, I called my sister a faggot in the car on the way home. Have you ever been told never to say a word, but not told what it means, by a parent who is trying hard to look stern and not crack up? Anyway, the word lost its luster as an insult to me that day. Too confusing.
posted by Casimir at 7:22 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is another song that Weird Al has colonized for me. I try to play it on the jukebox in my head and only the parody lyrics come out. Thanks, I guess...?

In other news, "Big Old Jet Airliner" by Steve Miller and "Money" by Pink Floyd have "shit" in the lyrics yet play unchallenged across the cuss-sensitive USA this is a hot-button issue with my fiancee, who is a DJ on a noncommercial station... HOW COME I HAVE TO CHECK THESE RECORDS BY THE EX FOR SWEARS WHEN STEVE GODDAMN MILLER SWEARS ON THE RADIO EVERY DAY etc
posted by jtron at 7:26 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was sarcasm, folks.
posted by adipocere at 7:26 AM on January 13, 2011


Am I crazy, or didn't Dire Straits also release a "sanitized" version at the same time, for radio stations with stricter audiences?

No, you aren't crazy; and yes, they did (or it was sanitized for them; my knowledge of Dire Straits is imperfect). I do know that I have heard the version with "faggot" on US radio so rarely that I'd almost forgotten about it until I heard the un-edited version a year or so ago. MTV's most frequently played video of the song also edited the word. So in regards to this song, Canadian radio has done nothing that US radio (and video) hasn't done for the last 20 years.

At their very best, Dire Straits were a throwback-style New Wave band, and that should be enough to consign them to the dustbin of history.

They should be so lucky. I don't think of Dire Straits as a New Wave band at all. More of a wanker-iffic guitar cod-prog act like Clapton or Satriani with a Styx/Kansas/Journey sense of faux-grandeur. If I never heard another Dire Straits song again I wouldn't miss them, but I'd choose "Telegraph Road" if I had to hear one. That's pretty much all of their virtues and vices wrapped up in one song.

Fun fact: I once heard "Money For Nothing" in an appliance store.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:27 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there not enough Canadian content in the song? Maybe Dire Straits can records a version that uses the word "hoser," ay?
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 7:29 AM on January 13, 2011


BitterOldPunk: “It's an ugly, provocative, beautiful and offensive song, and I'm glad she wrote it but I wonder if it's just an artefact of its time better left to history or if it, like Huck Finn, still speaks to us. Is it inexcusable arrogance or naïveté disguised as provocative art or is it the real deal? Is it all of those things, wadded up and spat out? Could a song like "Rock and Roll Nigger" happen today? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, but I thank Patti Smith for prodding me to ask them.”

Well, since you've brought it up, I can say this: that song has always bothered me, as a very, very fervent fan of Patti Smith. And I know there have been times that I've been actually pissed off that she put that song after the awesome "Babelogue" on the record, because it means I have to think quick and be near the turntable if I don't want it to just run into the next song.

And I don't think I'd give her any historical excuses, either. (I know you're not necessarily saying that, but many would.) The word was just as grating then as it is now. And maybe I'm wrong, but I seem to remember Lester Bangs calling her out on it at the time, saying she was being lazy, saying she was going for cheap shock when she had the ability to be the greatest songwriter of her generation. I do know that he objected to the use of the word in that way by white people looking to make a point; and this after a long life in which he himself used it more than he would have enjoyed admitting in the end. It was a lesson he learned, and she should have learned it, too. Maybe she has. But I don't think it was right. There's nothing that can make the brash declaration that "Jimi Hendrix was a nigger" acceptable to me. And it disappoints me every time I hear it, because Patti Smith means a whole hell of a lot to me.
posted by koeselitz at 7:29 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff drink." -- Douglas Adams
posted by kirkaracha at 7:48 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, we are smarter than... than Dire Straits.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:50 AM on January 13, 2011


tehloki: “ugh. UGH. Why are there still people who hate to hear certain words on the radio? By reasonable standards of broadcast freedom, if I have enough warnings before the program, I should be able to play sounds of explicit lovemaking under myself screaming FUUUUUCK! SHIIIT! CUNTS! BALL SACK! FOUL HAIRY TAINT!, etc. . . Why does everything need to be sanitized in the name of the personally offended”

I just deleted a sarcastic statement of this principle, but: you're completely missing the point here, tehloki. Completely. Can you see this? This has nothing to do with obscenity. Please put that silly conservative notion out of your head. Obscenity doesn't even enter into it. This is about bigotry. Are you sincerely arguing that people bothered by (for example) the word "nigger" should stop being so "personally offended?" That we shouldn't curtail "broadcast freedom" to avoid its repetition? Seriously?
posted by koeselitz at 7:53 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm hardly someone who knows a lot about Smith, but here goes: to say "Jimi Hendrix was a nigger" is not an insult to Hendrix. He's Jimi ... Fucking ... Hendrix. The point of it is to take the word nigger and say, "You know, if Jimi Hendrix ... Jimi ... Fucking ... Hendrix, is a nigger, then maybe that word doesn't mean what you thought it did."

It's like Christians who use "Jew" as an insult. Oh, you know that Jesus dude? Your lord and savior? Jew Numero Uno. Even Moses has to step back. Suddenly, to those who would use it in hate, that word doesn't mean quite the same thing as it did before.

That's the thrust of Smith's whole song: all of those people who are "outside of society," that slice everyone can look down on, they are where Smith wants to be. "Baby was a black sheep. Baby was a whore." To get where she wants to be, however she is outside of the good, safe spot does not matter: sexual promiscuity, belonging to "the wrong race," or simple ejection from the family unit.

Smith, the woman who would later sing that the asshole is holy, is reaching for a joy that encompasses, perhaps is even based in, all things rejected and degraded. Jesus Christ and Grandma, too. So let's head back to Jesus. If any of the literature is even remotely historical true, there's someone who was outside of society. Those who looked down upon him then for his position are those who look down on others now, for the same reasons, and just look at how off the mark they were back when. When she says "Grandma," she's remonstrating with us: when did you last view your grandmother as anything but an inconvenience or a duty? How did you treat her when she was alive? You treated her like she was a disposable person, for no good reason, just someone you didn't want around anymore.

The song is fairly elliptical, but if you listen, she's using the word to strike at the image behind it by a technically and/or poetically correct application of a word of rejection to the very best of us: the artists, our ancestors, and those who would try to save our souls.

Outside of society, if you're looking, that's where you'll find me.
posted by adipocere at 8:02 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


By reasonable standards of broadcast freedom, if I have enough warnings before the program, I should be able to play sounds of explicit lovemaking under myself screaming FUUUUUCK! SHIIIT! CUNTS! BALL SACK! FOUL HAIRY TAINT!, etc.

There's this thing called "podcasting" now. You should check it out. I think you'd really dig it.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:03 AM on January 13, 2011


I always figured there had to be more to that song than "Hey, there are people whop use bad words". I figure that it is a response to some artists initial reaction to MTV, that it took the focus off the music, this response is "quit your complaining, you could be moving microwave ovens for a living."
posted by Ad hominem at 8:04 AM on January 13, 2011


If I complain to them, can I get The Knack's "My Sharona" banned from Canadian radio? Just on general principles?
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 8:06 AM on January 13, 2011


lol white people taking lyrics waaaay too seriously
posted by dydecker at 8:09 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also people really don't need to worry about Nickelback as much as they apparently are, as it is no longer 2002.

you do if you listen to contemporary rock stations - wgrd plays them a lot

---

In other news, "Big Old Jet Airliner" by Steve Miller and "Money" by Pink Floyd have "shit" in the lyrics yet play unchallenged across the cuss-sensitive USA

the radio stations in my area play clean versions - money's "shit" is just silenced and they play an alternate version of steve miller's song where "kicks" is substituted for "shit"

what's funny is that when these songs came out, they weren't censored

what's even funnier is none of these stations have figured out that roger daltrey says "who the fuck are you?" in "who are you?"
posted by pyramid termite at 8:13 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


When it comes to perceived slurs against an identifiable minority, I generally defer to said minority regarding the question of offensiveness or hurt.

(Translation: if the X community finds offense with word Y, I won't use Y)

But, c'mon, is the LBGT community really finding the use of the word "faggot" in the context of that song to be genuinely offensive? I've only skimmed the thread; has a LBGT member of the blue made that case?

I'd apologise for putting our Canadian wussiness on display in this CBSC ruling, but somehow I think it would be compounding the issue....

The Huck Finn story has been discussed alot here in the frozen north. The n-word was a milder word, but still a pejorative when the book was written. Today the n-word is a psychotic little noun with dynamite, a hair-trigger, and poor impulse control, and I can't think why anyone would want to use it outside of a strictly historical perspective. So I see the sense in pulling it from a version aimed at younger readers. I do question the use of the word "slave" as its replacement, because to me slave is a relatively toothless word, and it doesn't convey the racial component adequately, which I think is important to completely appreciate Huck's relationship with Jim.

To me the more effective choice would be a milder, dated pejoritive that has little currency today, but would have been used in Twain's time. Something like 'darkie' or 'colored'. Does this make sense?

As I said at the start, I am happy to defer to the preference of those to whom these words would potentially be offensive.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:15 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Despite what some people here seem to think, the song "Money for Nothing" has not been banned from radio by the Canadian government, nor did the article say it was. First of all, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is not an agent of the government. It's an organization formed by broadcasters themselves and joined voluntarily by broadcasters. So joining (and thus following their rules) is voluntary.

The standards are set by broacasters. The relevant standards are here. Presumably the radio station in question (and other member stations) are in agreement with this code. What was at issue here is whether or not this song violates the code that the radio station as voluntarily chosen to adhere to. The people they chose to decide this have decided that one particular word in the song does violate this code and that the song cannot be played by member stations with that word in it.

Now whether that's right or wrong, it's hardly "banning the song" nor is it "censorship" since the government isn't even involved, and the station could choose to abandon the organizations and its standards. Nor is it this dramatic unprecedented thing. There are all sorts of words that can't ordinarily be broadcast. This seems to add "faggot" to that list. I'm ok with that. If we're going to restrict the broadcast of words (and we do, whether we should is a whole other question, I suppose -- do those who think it's silly to ban a word without considering its context think there are no words at all we should just keep off the air?), I think "faggot" is worse than "shit" or "fuck," so if they can't say those words on the air, I think consistency damands they shouldn't say "faggot" either. To allow faggot but not the others implies that slurs are somehow less inherently offensive, which seems wrong to me.

And yes, I realize the song does not intend to imply anything negative about gay people, but since its the words and not the idea that's being restricted, the questions are 1) Should we restrict the broadcase of some words, notwithstanding the ideas they express? and 2) If so, what are the worst words and therefore the words that we would restrict? To argue that the word is used ironically and should thus be allowed suggests a "no" to question 1, in which case we should allow all those other words, too.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:15 AM on January 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


They should replace it with the vastly superior version by Royal Trux
posted by Conductor71 at 8:21 AM on January 13, 2011


what's even funnier is none of these stations have figured out that roger daltrey says "who the fuck are you?" in "who are you?"

JACK-FM, as it continues its infection of all Classic Rock stations, most certainly has. Others definitely let it slide, though.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:22 AM on January 13, 2011


And hate Dire Straits all you want - Mark Knopfler is a guitar god.

So is Johnny Marr and plenty of people don't care for the Smiths either. You'll find taste in music, movies, underwear, food, etc. varies wildly. However, there are some people who don't care for certain things but recognize the ability in them.
posted by juiceCake at 8:25 AM on January 13, 2011


1) Should we restrict the broadcase of some words, notwithstanding the ideas they express?

Shit Piss Cunt Fuck Cocksucker Motherfucker Tits.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:25 AM on January 13, 2011


Man, a lot of Nickelback hate here. Sure they're no Danny Dyer's Chocolate Homunculus or anything but still...
posted by MikeMc at 8:30 AM on January 13, 2011


Are you suggesting this is played on mainstream Canadian radio? Money for Nothing's been banned on mainstream Canadian radio. It's not like they're gathering up all the sold copies and throwing them on the pyre.

And as someone mentioned above, Dire Straits already censored the song on their own greatest hits package.


No, I'm suggesting that editing in general for words that offend is stupider than the use of the offending word itself.

If Dire Straits wants to edit out the word, bully for them. Doesn't mean that most people who ever bothered to listened to the song's lyrics when it is was actually a hit don't know it's there.

koeselitz: This is about bigotry.

I disagree. If it's really about editing songs to eradicate bigotry, I'd rather edit all the tracks that are played on the radio every day that refer disparagingly to gays without ever using the offending word "faggot" than have "Money for Nothing" edited. Buju Banton's "Boom Bye Bye" doesn't have that word anywhere in it, yet it's has probably inspired more outright violence and hatred against gay people worldwide in the last 20 years than any song by Dire Straits.

In any case, I don't think editing songs does anything to eradicate bigotry. Nicki Minaj's "Roman's Revenge" is a song in which Nicki plays with identity using a gay alter ego, and in which Eminem's Slim Shady alter ego calls Nicki's alter ego a "faggot." I'd rather see that song get airplay and, more importantly, get people talking about what the lyrics and the identity shifts in the song mean, than have the song edited because that word appears in it.
posted by blucevalo at 8:41 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


This song is going to be stuck in my head all day, and I'm not particularly even that fond of it. Where's the outrage over that?

(Also: Sorry, but as pro-gay rights as I am, this is just stupid. If we sanitize everything in our past, we leave a false impression of the past for people who grow up in the present. This particular song isn't exactly a rallying cry for oppression.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:41 AM on January 13, 2011


Also, with the exception of a couple of their "ballads" (blleearrgh), I rather like a lot of Nickelback's stuff. They're not the only band I like, but I don't feel particularly bad about it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:43 AM on January 13, 2011


I have heard this song countless times, and I can honestly say I never knew it contained the word "faggot". Now I have to go find an unedited version to hear it for myself.
posted by antifuse at 8:43 AM on January 13, 2011


CBC radio in Toronto started playing Dire Strait's 'Money For Nothing' as part of a morning segment. The funny part was hearing Andy Barrie start talking over the record in a panic as soon as the verse about "That little faggot with the earring and the makeup" started. Obviously everyone in the studio forgot about the second verse on the original recording.

Hee, on the Winnipeg CBC they did that with Lenny Kravitz's Mr. Cab Driver and Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:47 AM on January 13, 2011


While driving over Christmas, we listened to a lot of radio, and wifey and I both noted that we heard two censored versions: one had the whole verse removed, and one that went silent just for the one word but otherwise left the verse intact. We both struggled to remember if either were a new thing or if its always been done that way -- even twenty years ago, it was still a pretty inflammatory word, in the way it's used too, but we both recalled the uncensored version back then and censored seemed to be a new thing.

I never really listened much to the lyrics when I was a young kid and the song was new, and later Wierd Al taught me that the lyric was "that little Clampett is a millionaire". When I got a little older I started actually listening to the Dire Straits version, and it blew my mind.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:52 AM on January 13, 2011


Context is our friend here. I mean, by that rationale a song with the lyric:
"He called me a faggot, doesn't he know that's a hate term?" could not get airplay. So, yeah context.
posted by ob at 8:56 AM on January 13, 2011


You never know what kind of retard is going to imprint on 'em and take what they're sayin' seriously.

The Canadian Blog Standards Council has found that Metafilter.com breached the Canadian Association of Bloggers (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code in its posting of the comment by weston at 11:55 PM on January 12, 2011. The comment contained a word that referred to diminished intellectual capacity in a derogatory way, contrary to Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Clauses 2, 7 and 9 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:57 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now can we finally ban Don Cherry?

Boy, am I glad I googled this before it came to fisticuffs. I didn't realize there was a hockey Don Cherry; I thought you wanted to ban the real Don Cherry.
posted by steambadger at 8:58 AM on January 13, 2011


There's a jazz Don Cherry?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:05 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The hilarious thing about this is that the CBSA is a private industry association. The CBC, the government-funded broadcaster, is not a part of it, and does not play by the CBSA's rules. They have their own code of conduct.

Historically, the CBC has been more willing to play questionable and explicit content than the straight-laced private companies, which, in Canada, have mostly socially-conservative owners. You're much more likely to hear raunchy lyrics on Buck65's drive home show than on commercial radio, which tends to play the same blanked-out stuff that get played on radio south of us. For example, I've hear Fuck You played without alteration on CBC2, while that "Forget you" abomination is all over the commercial airwaves.

So yeah, this is about the socially-conservative, right-wing, free market radio censoring itself. If you want the unexpurgated versions, listen to the public-funded radio instead.
posted by bonehead at 9:17 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, this is good for Dire Straits, right?

Curiously, the complaint to the CBSC was signed by a "Knark Mopfler."
posted by pardonyou? at 9:29 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The appropriate response from Dire Straits would seem to be to offer the single as a free download for anyone from a *.ca domain. Spitting in their eye and such.
posted by perrce at 9:40 AM on January 13, 2011


Oh, for God's sake. This song is not banned from being broadcast in Canada. I just heard it on the CBC a couple of minutes ago. As If only I had a penguin... said, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council != CRTC. Stations belonging to the industry association can play a bleeped version. And the CBC didn't bleep it.

Still, this is yet another reason to stick to podcasts and the CBC. Well, except when Stuart McLean is on. I'll listen to Rush on repeat for an hour instead because it sure beats chewing my own ears off.
posted by maudlin at 9:54 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


From what body can I demand an explanation of the phrase "Hawaiian noises"? I've never understood that.

"He's banging on those bongos like a chimpanzee," perhaps?
posted by Gelatin at 10:08 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's really stunning how ignorant and immature some people can be with their taste in music; flatly dismissing a wildly popular band who was hugely influential. Will these same people hate Arcade Fire in a few years because they also blew up and became wildly popular and are the "next big thing" in so-called arena rock?

As for the confusing over the Hawaiian noises and the bongo drums.. remember, the song is from the point of view of two delivery guys who we can assume don't know that much about music and they're equating bongos and Hawaii.. they don't really know what they're talking about, do they?
posted by ReeMonster at 10:29 AM on January 13, 2011


the radio stations in my area play clean versions - money's "shit" is just silenced and they play an alternate version of steve miller's song where "kicks" is substituted for "shit"

3:O

I had no idea... in the Chicago area it seems that both (as well as "Who Are You") play uncensored; my admittedly unreliable memory tells me that WPLR in CT did the same. Love to see a visualization of which US stations play which versions, to see if there's a geographic distribution...
posted by jtron at 10:41 AM on January 13, 2011


Maybe Dire Straits can records a version that uses the word "hoser," ay eh?
FTFY
posted by Neiltupper at 10:49 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


turns out they just have to censor the one word for it to be OK for the radio.

There's still radio?
posted by coolguymichael at 11:03 AM on January 13, 2011


The complainer who instigated the ban is particularly clueless, since the lyrics are what they are for the purpose of accurately depicting (and ridiculing) a couple of ignorant, bigoted, homophobic (etc.) loading dock employees who are expressing their resentment of what they see as effete artistes who make "money for nothing." The video for the song makes it even more clear that that's the songwriters' intent. (But the song itself makes the point sufficiently enough.) To say that one cannot depict the speech of such bigots accurately, because some idiot might make the mistake of thinking that the opinions expressed were those of the lyricist rather than of the characters created, is a direct blow against reasonable free speech, just as it is in Mark Twain's work, where he was depicting speech as it was, not as we'd like it to be.

People creating fiction are under no obligation to create only a sugar-coated version of reality. If they themselves directly express hateful sentiments, then, sure, you can take it up with them as you would with anybody else, but authors of any sort are not responsible for ensuring that absolutely everybody gets their point. They're responsible for expressing themselves well enough to get their points across to reasonably intelligent people (that's one criterion of good art), but not to outliers, people deep in the clueless zone. To suggest otherwise is to require that all art be pitched to a very low common denominator, with everything explained to death to a degree that would embarrass even the most paranoid corporate lawyer, and all subtlety and nuance made impossible.
posted by Philofacts at 11:04 AM on January 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Now can we finally ban Don Cherry?"

Grapes?
posted by klangklangston at 11:07 AM on January 13, 2011


This is actual censorship. A government stopping the playing of a song on the radio.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:14 AM on January 13, 2011


The hilarious thing about this is that the CBSA is a private industry association. The CBC, the government-funded broadcaster, is not a part of it, and does not play by the CBSA's rules. They have their own code of conduct.

Damn you for introducing some facts into my perfectly serviceable outrage!
posted by serazin at 11:21 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is actual censorship. A government stopping the playing of a song on the radio.

Have you actually read this thread?
posted by kmz at 11:23 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


1) Government not involved: see above.
2) The song can still be played on the radio stations that have VOLUNTARILY joined a PRIVATE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION if "faggot" is bleeped. Now, this may not still be the same song, but anyone jonesing for the gee-tar and high-pitched Sting bits can still hear them.
posted by maudlin at 11:23 AM on January 13, 2011


The complainer who instigated the ban is particularly clueless, since the lyrics are what they are for the purpose of accurately depicting (and ridiculing) a couple of ignorant, bigoted, homophobic (etc.) loading dock employees who are expressing their resentment of what they see as effete artistes who make "money for nothing."

That's the problem right there. These are not the people who gave us Prop 8. or are reducing welfare benefits to the poor. My experience with people who "work" is the complete opposite of this example.


You want to find ignorant, bigoted, homophobic (etc) workers, go to any Wall St. area strip club and watch the rabble take lap dances and guzzle Cristal while lighting cigars with $100.00 bills.
posted by pianomover at 11:41 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't really stand Dire Straits, but I'm totally jealous of that one dude who knows all the chords.

*curses stupid left hand*
posted by malocchio at 11:49 AM on January 13, 2011


Artists must be allowed room to offend and room to fail, or else everything will end up sounding like Nickelback.


"First they came for Dire Straits, so I handed them a map to Nickelback's house and was like, "you guys should go here first, eh" and they said, "oh thanks we sure will, hey this is a skookum map, did you draw it yourself?"
And I said "I sure did I've always been a dab hand with graph paper would you guys like to come in for a beer?"
And they said "oh thanks no, we really can't we've got a full day of oppressing to do, you know, but we'll take one for the road, thanks much"
And so I gave them a beer
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:50 AM on January 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don't give you any choice
'cause they think that it's treason.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:52 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


If we can't even play the Dire Straits on the radio, then we are really in ... uh ... deep tofu.

"Deep Tofu" ... now there's a good name for a band! You hear me, Mark Knopfler?
posted by sour cream at 12:04 PM on January 13, 2011


From the listener motion:"I am aware of other versions of the song, in which the word was replaced with another, and yet OZ FM chose to play and not censor this particular version that I am complaining about." -hardly a screed demanding censorship or fascism.
This, legitimate point; followed by the TERRIBLE defense... and I have to agree with the decision, I mean, seriously... "it is popular, ergo it has mainstream acceptance; yeah, that is THE ISSUE. There may be a case for displaying the unedited song, the one presented was not it. on preview, If only I had a Penguin... has the key here. CRBC is an independent, non-governmental organization... not the government(!).


You can still buy it. Listen to it. Eat it. Interpretive dance to it. But seriously "if only a GAY person would come here and personally TELL US that pervasive attitudes, and passive acceptance of bigotry or slurs are damaging to the psyches of people who fall under, or place themselves under the umbrella of the concepts denoted by a term..." really? We are back to that? We need [Person of minority and targeted group X] to tell us that pervasive Mass Media usage, broadcasting, endorsement of [Bigoted words/phrase/ideology] is 'offensive'... Every Time, before we will think clearly about it? You know, Black people have lives to live, and cannot spend all their time telling you that dropping the N-Word is some serious trash... does that mean that people are going to start dropping it more often? Is it not conceivable that even though, for example, the N word is used in some rap music, that there are not people who find it deeply hurtful, and don't think that it is "liberating"? Are there not many ways of "being" 'X'; what seems to be happening is essentializing, ie. some person who is black does not find this offensive or hurtful, therefore no one does... or, here, no LGBT person has come to you and said that it was hurtful, so therefore it cannot be... in both cases, people have better things to do than to explain again what has been explained so many times, to someone who likely doesn't want an example, and was only trying to make a rhetorical point. So why do that in this case. If you take great power, and great lessons from hearing this song, without the tiny tweaks which are implicated... tell us about that... what exactly about the phrasing, or terminology is empowering, what does it teach you to hear this song without the tiny tweaks (which the actual artists themselves have used for a seriously long time [quit trying to subvert the artists intent!])?

The only 'change' is that now radio stations which many employers play in their places of business day to day won't be broadcasting it, in scenarios which are not "listener beware", listener choices... but rather passive-choice listener (essentially, forced [really, when is the last time you were in McDonalds, and "My heart will go on" came on, and you went to the counter, demanding to have it turned off... and they turned it off?]) public situations. Malls, workplaces, public areas, etc. I really think people need to re-calibrate the outrage; personal choice freedom is what this is about [one has no choice in what station of radio will be put on in various situations. So this actually EXPANDS freedoms, adding a NEW freedom to not have to be bombarded by this against choice. It does not take away the freedom to Listen to an un-edited version of the song. Therefore, it has increased the overall body of Rights that exist in the nation.

Where many stations already had the new version that the CREATORS had self-edited. I really don't see the PC-are-coming-Panic that is on display around the morally outraged internet. I could turn many of the anti-pc arguments around and they would make the same sense... why should some single person be allowed to DICTATE to me that I have to listen to some song that hurts people (replacing it with the same song, with edits that apperantly those who have listened in the US, and most other stations, didn't even care or notice [I write care or notice, because it is not a "liberation song", it is a throwback to a time when stuff like that was cool, and widespread, and common parlance, it isn't "teaching us" anything, ]; because that is what we are talking about, the "mass" radio broadcasts... not personal choice. Everyone is free to personally listen to their KKK rally MP3's, or hannah montana cd, whatever... I just don't see any legitimate reason it ought to be forced on people who are never consulted before bombardment over public airwaves.

On second preview; bluecevalo... then make that complaint! It really ought not be an 'either or', like, if they finally take the version that everyone else is using [sent out by the band]... we cannot also notice, and take issue with other crappy practices. But really, isn't the discussion past needing to "hide the discussion" in songs?

"Songs" are ambiguous... if there is a REAL pressing message, it can be said, written, or signaled... if people are worried that we will "forget" that we come from a history of bigotry and hatred of the other, then maybe write an essay about it, document what happened, teach your/other peoples' kids about it... but I really do not see how "playing some song on a radio station, and having an obnoxious hurtful word in it" actually "teaches" something. All it "teaches" me is that music is played on radio stations. We can either have, or not have a back and forth discussion; but I really think that Mass Market songs are far more likely to have an ambiguous "message"... songs, metaphorical rhetorical musical songs are not the place to put our nuanced modern cultural discourse... they once were, and that was pretty neat, when things could not be openly discussed with words, debate and interaction, like race, or gender, or these sex issues, and we had to hider, or embed secret messages of acceptance into song form. But a "song" that will be played many times, with no ability to give feedback, or to parse wtf the artist was saying, or meaning, or intending... are ambiguous at best, and damaging at worst.

Like porn and the Supreme Court we will know a song of liberation when we see it. This is not that. Artists can still shock us... all they want (seriously)! But, we don't need to be forced (by the very public nature of Mass radio stations, to "eat" this media (yet with this particular station, people have no choice in the matter, despite the artist showing their intent to not be the song with the particular words; do people have to personally, and individually, at the expense of privacy, and possibly their job go up to their employer and ask them to change the radio station that is blaring this? Or must those people just shut up, because their understanding of the hate in the word is not that important?
posted by infinite intimation at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2011


Government not involved: see above

Ah, I got my regulatory bodies mixed up! I would like to retract my Screw You, Taxpayer! comment.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:21 PM on January 13, 2011


"So this actually EXPANDS freedoms, adding a NEW freedom to not have to be bombarded by this against choice."

Uh, you don't actually know how freedom or liberty work, do you?
posted by klangklangston at 12:39 PM on January 13, 2011


infinite intimation : We are back to that? We need [Person of minority and targeted group X] to tell us that pervasive Mass Media usage, broadcasting, endorsement of [Bigoted words/phrase/ideology] is 'offensive'... Every Time, before we will think clearly about it? You know, Black people have lives to live, and cannot spend all their time telling you that dropping the N-Word is some serious trash... does that mean that people are going to start dropping it more often? Is it not conceivable that even though, for example, the N word is used in some rap music, that there are not people who find it deeply hurtful, and don't think that it is "liberating"? Are there not many ways of "being" 'X'; what seems to be happening is essentializing, ie. some person who is black does not find this offensive or hurtful, therefore no one does... or, here, no LGBT person has come to you and said that it was hurtful, so therefore it cannot be... in both cases, people have better things to do than to explain again what has been explained so many times, to someone who likely doesn't want an example, and was only trying to make a rhetorical point.

(see, I told you the n-word is toxic. I can't even refer to it obliquely without it leaving a small crater somewhere)

I'm guessing this was at least partly directed at me? If not please excuse my egocentricity.

First, my point in writing what I did was to see if someone from the LGBT community would actually dismiss the whole thing about "Money for Nothing", and mention that they weren't bothered by that song. Cos honestly, before this week, I had never heard any voiced objection to that song, including from the LGBT viewpoint.

The "Every-Time" is your invention, I didn't say that. I was simply stating that I will accept the stated wishes of the concerned group as to what they take offense at. Not for language and situations where offense would obviously be taken of course, but where a gray area may exist.

What you've written is the perfect example where PC gets a bad rap. In you eyes, it's not enough for me to have good intentions, I have to know completely what every human alignment might find offensive, and taking a consultative approach doesn't cut it.

And I'm still asking. Is this song genuinely offensive to a majority of LGBT listeners? Cos I don't know.
posted by Artful Codger at 1:04 PM on January 13, 2011


On second preview; bluecevalo... then make that complaint! It really ought not be an 'either or', like, if they finally take the version that everyone else is using [sent out by the band]... we cannot also notice, and take issue with other crappy practices. But really, isn't the discussion past needing to "hide the discussion" in songs?

I'm not sure what you're responding to that I said, but I don't think I said what you seem to think I said.
posted by blucevalo at 1:27 PM on January 13, 2011


Is this song genuinely offensive to a majority of LGBT listeners?

I cannot speak for any LGBT listener except for myself, but I never have and still do not find it offensive.

But I may have a more nuanced worldview than a lot of people, and won't claim that those who are offended by it have no reason to be offended.

I'd still rather see a bits of hip hop taken down for misogyny and homo-hating than see this song taken down. I don't see much nuance in a lot of Eminem's lyrics at all.
posted by hippybear at 1:37 PM on January 13, 2011


I can't really stand Dire Straits, but I'm totally jealous of that one dude who knows all the chords.

Well, with a name like Guitar George, I would sure hope he knows all of them. That time I met Cat's Cradle Charlie, and he only knew like three positions, I was pretty bummed.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:10 PM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


IF ONLY he'd said "that little pussy" instead of that "that little faggot," then this would not, could not have happened.
posted by rahnefan at 2:39 PM on January 13, 2011


I don't really care all too much about the word choice. I don't even particularly like the song itself. But that Guy Fletcher overdubbed sci-fi keyboard intro is still fantastic 25 years later.
posted by blucevalo at 2:43 PM on January 13, 2011


What I've learned after 200-some comments is that the "N-word" might actually in some circumstances be "Nickelback".
posted by Wolfdog at 3:41 PM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


The only 'change' is that now radio stations which many employers play in their places of business day to day won't be broadcasting it, in scenarios which are not "listener beware", listener choices... but rather passive-choice listener (essentially, forced [really, when is the last time you were in McDonalds, and "My heart will go on" came on, and you went to the counter, demanding to have it turned off... and they turned it off?]) public situations.

Just because a person who hates Celine Dion is too lazy to go to another McDonalds doesn't mean that anyone is forcing him to listen to "My Heart Will Go On." If a song comes on the radio, and you can't change the station, and you don't want to hear the song, leave the establishment for at least 5 minutes. No one is forcing anyone to listen to anything.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:11 PM on January 13, 2011


I, for one, can't wait for the day when robots have full citizenship, and the unexpurgated version of 'My Heart Will Go On' is dropped from airplay for potentially causing offence to Nickles…
posted by Pinback at 4:31 PM on January 13, 2011



The complainer who instigated the ban is particularly clueless, since the lyrics are what they are for the purpose of accurately depicting (and ridiculing) a couple of ignorant, bigoted, homophobic (etc.) loading dock employees who are expressing their resentment of what they see as effete artistes who make "money for nothing."


That's the problem right there. These are not the people who gave us Prop 8. or are reducing welfare benefits to the poor. My experience with people who "work" is the complete opposite of this example.


You want to find ignorant, bigoted, homophobic (etc) workers, go to any Wall St. area strip club and watch the rabble take lap dances and guzzle Cristal while lighting cigars with $100.00 bills.


Well, as they say, your mileage may vary. Maybe you haven't experienced any bigotry among working folk; I have, and I don't think my experience is particularly anomalous.

Sure, there are many flavours of ignorance/bigotry/etc., found all across the social spectrum. Some of them are found among that strata of working class folk, as I've found working alongside them in my younger days. There are also very socially aware and sensitive folk in the working classes, and sure, probably more there than among Wall St. strip club denizens, who I'm sure I'd find at the top of my list of people I'd least like to spend any time around. (Rather like certain insufferable Harvard undergrads, a subset of that school's population, that I witnessed when I lived near Harvard Square in the 80s - I'm sure a lot of them are now heavy hitters on Wall St. and frequent stuffers of dollars into G-strings. Random anecdote: Idealistic friend of mine, now a small town lawyer in Maine, during his first month at Harvard Law School asks classmate what he wants to do when he graduates. Guy says with straight face: "Mortgage-backed securities." My friend is speechless.)

I wouldn't hazard a guess as to percentages of dumb/bigoted vs. savvy/sensitive among working stiffs; but the point for the author of any work, whether a song, a story, or a film, is not to depict only the most prevalent type but only to depict plausible ones, ones many of us have experienced, perhaps, but not even that, necessarily, as long as they're based on some real experience. Authors don't have an obligation to follow the middle of the bell curve in depicting members of any group. It's enough for me to know that, yes, I've seen and heard guys just like the ones depicted in "Money for Nothing", regardless of how representative they are of their social strata.
posted by Philofacts at 6:46 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


They came for Dire Straits and I said nothing....

But watched the rap and hip-hop fans cheer them on. Ahhh, delicious irony.
posted by rodgerd at 11:40 PM on January 13, 2011


K-97 Continues to Play Money For Nothing Unedited
posted by Fizz at 5:38 AM on January 14, 2011


Just popping to say that the M.f.N. riff is badass, and that the guitar tone makes me drool.
posted by barrett caulk at 9:45 AM on January 14, 2011


Isn't it crazy how crappy the rest of the instrumentation is thereafter? That riff just punches you in the face, and then the drums are hollow, the synth is cheesy, and the bass is super pedestrian. And yet, I actually dig that song, so sweet is the guitar (and Sting caterwauling in the background.)
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:30 AM on January 14, 2011


They were the quintessential British pub rock band with a decent song-writer who could play the fuck out of a Strat without a pick with some beautiful modal flourishes.


At their very best, Dire Straits were a throwback-style New Wave band

One of these is more accurate than the other
posted by stargell at 4:28 PM on January 14, 2011


This is actual censorship. A government stopping the playing of a song on the radio.

Have you actually read this thread?


Here is where I argue that the large corporations that control what you hear on the radio and the government have a mutual interest. The people that own the radio stations pay the politicians. Together they have taken over the US. Find me a city without a doubleshot Wednesday or a Tripleshot Thursday.

Hi Canada, it hasn't been 1812 for 198 years. I don't know the names of the corporations or the politicians but if money and power are linked then Canada should expect a Clear Channel.

The season in the sun is over. You will feel like we do.
posted by vapidave at 7:30 PM on January 14, 2011


People, people. Yeesh.

It's not like they've banned the record. They just can't play it unbleeped on the radio. Oh no! What's next? Editing cable shows for networks? Oh, that's right, it's standard industry practice.

And god forbid shitty Classic Rock radio stations across the country might have to reformulate that one ten-song compilation CD they've had on repeat for the last twenty years. Christ.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:30 PM on January 14, 2011


Yeah, okay, they were certainly pub rock, not new wave. But pub rock is almost as lame as new wave.
posted by koeselitz at 7:57 AM on January 15, 2011


Minor update: the CRTC has asked the CBSC to review this decision as they have received hundreds of letters questioning the decision.

Meanwhile, none of the stations that staged marathon playing of the unedited song in protest received a single complaint. Well, at least the CRTC didn't receive any complaints.
posted by flipper at 12:48 PM on January 21, 2011


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