Saturday, January 22, 2011

Money for Nothing, Censorship for Free

I love when a hot-button issue comes up that I consider win-win. The whole debate covering this song, "Money for nothing" and its use of the word "faggot" (and I do not think he is talking about firewood) actually makes me happy. On one hand, we have people arguing for free speech and down with censorship, on the other hand, we have people arguing that we need to be aware, especially in the light of many homosexual suicides, how we are talking about people. Either way we should come out better.

To be frank, I think I disagree with the word. I had no idea, before this controversy, that those lyrics were in there at all; even being familiar with the song, it didn't occur to me. Reading the lyrics, however, and considering the music video which apparently includes a clip of Prince, cements in my mind why we should not be using the word. Let us examine the nature of the usage.

The point of the word is to underline the singer's contempt for the rock star who has the life he would like, in the typical "green-eyed monster" fashion. Sour grapes, if  you wish. That is the problem. He is directing his hate at the individual, but it picks up the contempt for "earrings" and "make-up" along the way, reinforcing the notion not only that "faggots" deserve your hate (How dare they have a better life than you?) but also that all homosexuals engage in deviant behavior like cross-dressing, which offends both homosexuals and transvestites. If there is ever a reason for censorship, and I think that the censorship should only extend to alter (as little as possible) the song when it is played on public radio, this is it: to prevent harm. Tacitly condoning the use of the word in such a hateful context, is simply too much. However, I will admit a large amount of glee at the meta-message, that the singer hates the famous rock star, when the singer is, himself, a famous rock star.

A lot of people have compared the usage of the word to the use of the N-word, which I will admit I am too bashful to use, even surrounded by the protective arms of "quotation marks". I completely agree, the words are very similar, and please note that we attempt to restrict usage of that word to cases where it is educational,  such as, I believe, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. If there was ever a reason to use such a gross word passing on a warning about the culture that the word use originated from so future generations can understand why the word is not used, would be the best one. But this song does not; it just glorifies the contempt. There is no point to it; Let us edit it.

On a final note regarding the man who may be sent to jail for defending his property from fire-bombers; He is not being punished because he defended his home, or because he fired his revolver. He is being charged because he was not storing his firearms correctly and as a firearms instructor, he should have known better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well written. I hadn't made up my mind before but I think you've convinced me. Well done!
lol, mapa