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Canadian Broadcast Standards Council vs. Dire Straits

July 4, 2013

(Originally posted on Facebook, January 15, 2011)

I’m sure most of you are aware of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) decision to censor the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing, effectively removing the word ‘faggot’ and neutering the lyrical context of the song… and ensuring it will become exponentially more popular in Canada in it’s original form. This decision was prompted by one (let me repeat that… ONE) complaint from an obviously thin-skinned and probably none-too-bright gay person in Newfoundland. I can only assume that we won’t be hearing Newfie jokes anymore either… or any other humor for that matter.

Let’s face it, differences and friction are a major source of material for songwriters, playwrights, comedians, authors, painters, columnists or anyone else with an artistic or creative bent. Generally their aim is NOT to dwell on the differences or build walls, but to point out the pettiness of those that are so consumed by their own perceptions of inferiority that they feel they must tear others down instead of building themselves up. And now unfortunately our Newfoundland “bundle of sticks” has placed himself squarely in the camp of the petty and against those that would defend him. How many people in the last 25 years have listened to Money for Nothing and decided that they hated gays because of the lyrics? Hands up…. as I thought, zero! Rational people understand context. Irrational people get offended by perceived slights, or ban lyrics and books. Bob Dylan’s Hurricane has the word ‘nigger’ in the lyrics. Should we assume Bob Dylan is a racist, or take it in the context of the lyrical entirety? Nay, it is one of the most powerful and moving pieces of songwriting I’ve ever heard… an absolutely searing indictment of those that are racist and would pervert justice.

Being the naive sort that I am, my assumption was that the CBSC must have bowed to some stupid political/funding threat, but they are an independant, non-governmental organization founded and funded by broadcasters. Can you believe that? They are that idiotic and they aren’t even politicians. Wow! Which segues nicely into Stephen Harper commenting when asked that he wasn’t wading into that. What? Are you saying you have no opinion about or interest in artistic freedom, freedom of expression, free speech… or any other rights that are supposed to be our sacrosanct, constitutional charter rights? Then please resign now… dickhead. (Oops, I don’t mean to offend anyone whose head and/or member may resemble ones head and/or member.) And this guy pretends to be a fan of music. Yeah, you are real hip and with it dude. I’m sure Mark Knopfler would love to hang out with you.

EDIT: Further reading shows our Newfoundland “bundle of sticks” is a woman, not a man. My apologies to anyone who may or may not be either a man, woman, undecided or transgender. No slight or insult was intended by the arbitrary assignment of labels.

ADDENDUM: The CBSC would like to assure Canadians that it is in their best interests that certain words be stricken from certain songs according to whatever methodology, rational or lack thereof they choose to, or not to employ. You will certainly be safer, warmer and well fed in the future. The CBSC chair Ronald Cohen added “If there was an appeal process, it would be cumbersome”. Amen to that. We can all relax when arbitrary and silly decisions are final. Thanks Mr. Cohen

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