One complaint, that’s all it took. One person has taken Money for Nothing by Dire Straits off the Canadian airwaves.
The song, you may recall, was a huge hit in the 80’s. Someone in another radio market took offence to the line, “The little faggot’s got his own jet airplane. The little faggot he’s a millionaire”. They complained to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council which ruled that the song, while not intended to be offensive to any group of people, is now indeed, insulting to the gay community and therefore should not be played on the airwaves anymore unless the offending line is edited out.
The word in question isn’t a word I would ever use or advocate using but at the time of the recording it was illustrative, not pejorative. The song is a piece of art. Telling broadcasters to edit it is like telling a museum curator to clip a piece of canvas out of a painting. It’s astounding that a passive little piece of pop music is thought to be such a threat when rap music on radio has been telling people to murder police officers, beat their bitches, steal – and those are only the songs that have touched my tender eardrums! Who knows what else is out there?
It’s not only baffling it also sets a precedent and opens the floodgates. What about the “coloured girls” in Lou Reed’s Walk On The Wild Side? What happens to Brown Sugar, who dances “like a black girl should” in the Rolling Stones classic? A few months ago I received a complaint about the Tom Jones song She’s A Lady, because of the line “she always knows her place”. Will we edit that too? Where will it end? Answer: it won’t. Thank you CBSC, or should I say Nanny State, for allowing one person to decide what’s appropriate for us all.