Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 13, 2010 - Money For Nothing rightly censored!

Money For Nothing was a classic 1985 progressive rock tune written by Mark Knopfler and Sting for Mark's band Dire Strait's 5th album. The song went to #1 in the charts in the USA and #4 in the UK. The song has one of the most legendary song-opening guitar-riffs of the rock genre.

However, the tune contains some rather controversial homophobic slurs. the song's story tells the story of an apparent frustrated working class guy sitting at home watching MTV, and voicing his displeasure that glam rock stars are making millions of dollars for dressing up in feminine glam attire, playing guitars on MTV, and getting 'chicks for free'. the glam rock star in question is referred to as a "f@ggot" in three separate references in the song.

well, a complaint was filed recently with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, a private organization who has been authorized by Federal Government officials to act as the governing body that will ensure that public radio and tv broadcasts adhere to a set of ethical and legal standards.

Amazingly enough, the complaint was filed by a 21 year old lesbian from St. John's Newfoundland, of all places!

well, i did some research and took note that Part VI of the CBSC Equitable Portrayal Code clearly states that it is a violation to broadcast content that includes negative stereotyping, negative portrayal, or stigmatization, of individuals or groups.

although it may have been acceptable in 1985 to negatively portray, stigmatize, or stereotype, femininely dressed male rock stars, through a homophobic slur, this is not acceptable in today's world.

so it appears quite clear that the broadcasting of this song on radio is a flagrant violation of this policy.

many members of the LGBT community in Canada face employment discrimination, ridicule, exclusion, bullying, and violent hate crimes from intolerant homophobic citizens. while censoring this song won't necessarily stop all of this, it sends an important strong message to society that these actions will no longer be tolerated in our Country.

although i can't relate to being a glam rock star (although i was once actually mistaken for being a rock star when i was in Denmark last summer), as a vocal member of the trans community, i can attest that transwomen all over the world are also often mistaken for being feminine men and/or mistaken for being homosexual men, and often face derogatory terms, such as f@ggot, said towards us by others as a token of intolerance and hatred.

So i say kudos for the 21 year old local who took action. while many seem upset at the censorship, citing 'freedom of speech' violations, the issue here is that freedom of speech rules do not apply to hate literature, which in this case, appears clear.

i also say Kudos to the CBSC for having policies and procedures that ensure respect for the acceptance of human diversity and the integrity of human rights and equality.

and you know, to show my status as a music historian and rock admirer in general, i say kudos to sting and knopfler for many many great songs. other than this one, i think the majority of both of your music catalogues are excellent.


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