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Lyrics changed by the BBC so nobody can be offended

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Can't say I see stay the fuss is about.

 

Prime-time radio has blanked out swear words and offensive words forever as they know young kids are listening.

 

This is just a word that is considered a lot more offensive now than it was in the 1980s, so it makes sense that it's blanked out now.

 

What's the big deal?

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2 minutes ago, Buce said:

 

Something of a contradiction there, Alf. lol

 

On that subject, though, has there ever been a more ridiculous fashion (and I say this as someone who was a teenager in the Seventies!)?

Strange one really. First noticed this fashion (stemming, I believe on a kind of badboy cool based on police removing belts of prisoners) about 30 years ago at least. So if it is a fashion,  it's a very backward-looking one.

Or is it a symptom of a certain lack of imagination among the young? 

To a casual observer there seem to have been hardly any cultural innovations this century. 

Bit weird when you weigh it up.

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1 hour ago, Alf Bentley said:

 

 

That rare moment when FT posters cause you to (partly) change your mind......

 

I'm instinctively opposed to censorship, except of stuff designed to promote hatred (which should be dealt with legally). But you make a good point. Even though the song is categorically not intended to be offensive to anyone (the Pogues' guitarist was gay, as it happens) and just depicts a fictional couple of drunken old gits, down on their luck and ranting at one another about lost dreams, why give it wall-to-wall coverage at Xmas if that will cause hurt and possibly encourage bigotry in morons who misinterpret or abuse the song? Particularly if it's only an editorial decision not to play it on certain stations?

 

I do categorically reject any suggestion that the song is homophobic, misogynistic or otherwise offensive, though.

 

Shane MacGowan, who wrote the lyrics makes the point better than me: https://completemusicupdate.com/article/shane-macgowan-responds-to-fairytale-of-new-york-controversy/

"The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character. She is not supposed to be a nice person, or even a wholesome person. She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate. Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend. She is just supposed to be an authentic character and not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable. Sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively". However, he added: “If people don’t understand that I was trying to accurately portray the character as authentically as possible then I am absolutely fine with them bleeping the word, but I don’t want to get into an argument”.

 

Censorship - including censorship of fiction - is a slippery path that should be avoided, if possible. I presume that nobody will be censoring Shakespeare, although Iago was a racist character in Othello and other plays depict unsavoury and misogynist characters, probably homophobes, too, I imagine (long time, no Bard). I suppose the assumption is that the "educated" audience understand that these are just the dubious words of fictional characters and not the promotion of hatred.

 

But what if a popular drama was produced about Hitler? Would all anti-Semitic utterances have to be removed in case it encouraged "the plebs" to hate Jews? Would it be limited to BBC2 or C4? Bigotry needs to be discouraged by means other than hiding depictions of bigotry from the public - and I say that as someone who got some homophobic abuse as a teenager, despite not even being gay, so I have at least some understanding of how hurtful it can be.

 

You have a point that an editorial decision to not play the (unintentionally) "offensive" version of the song on particular stations is justified to avoid needless hurt, but such effective partial censorship should be the exception, not the rule.

I think that (in bold) is fine, honestly. We're all still entitled to our personal views and if you don't find it offensive then I'm certainly not going to claim that you should think differently. What should happen is that there's respect for those that do find it offensive* and an attempt to understand why that is the case, and make arrangements to accommodate where suitable. As the BBC seem to be doing.

 

In fiction in general, when the language is critical to the plot or fits in thematically (with purpose) then I've no problem with it whatsoever, but its when it's used gratuitously which I take issue with, and especially when it could otherwise be easily altered. In this case, changing 'fa***t' to 'blaggard' would have the same cadence, half-rhyme and context, without being as directly offensive to a marginalised group.

 

Music is certainly in a different niche to plays/TV though, although I'm having a hard time of formulating my thoughts into words on that one, admittedly. Particularly so this song with its unique place in popular culture which I think sets it apart from other comparable media.

 

I'd agree that censorship in general needs to handled with care, as it could indeed be a slippery slope, and it's difficult to see where you draw the line. With this specifically, however, its such an easy change to make by one organisation, the original is still readily available and in circulation on their platform AND it can be freely accessed for personal use via youtube, spotify etc with no restrictions at all. If the government came out and banned the song completely then I'd agree its an overreach, but in actual fact there's very little censorship actually going on in this case. 

 

 

 

*Edit: those that find it genuinely offensive and not just for-the-sake-of-it. I appreciate that statement alone opens up a whole can of worms, but you get the picture.

Edited by Xen
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1 hour ago, Sol thewall Bamba said:

Would you back the removal of all radio edits of songs and radio stations just playing the album edits then?

A ridiculous question unworthy of a reply, but I’ll bite anyway 🎣 of course I wouldn’t as it’s a completely different thing altogether.

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39 minutes ago, Unabomber said:

Can’t believe the morons on Twitter getting mad about this lol it’s like they are just gagging for something to get cancelled or changed so they can flip a lid. Absolute helmets.

I suspect people wake up each day, head to social media to find things to get offended and angry about and spout their venom.

Whilst the rest of society - the majority I would guess - just get on with their lives quite happily.

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44 minutes ago, TamworthFoxes said:

Standard BBC. Absolute shower.

Can’t bend over enough to come across politically correct. 
 

Except we know that's not true because, as I pointed out, Radio 2 will still be playing the original, uncensored version. Plenty of commercial radio and TV stations have blanked out the word before.

Edited by Voll Blau
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i dunno whats worse, people being offended by a derogatory word or the people in this thread outraged thats the song has been cleaned up. you do realise that complaining about the song changing makes you as bad as the people that complained about the song in the first place , right? and the pogues themselves agree that the song should be changed. there really shouldnt be any discussion about this. its an old fashioned word that shouldnt be used anymore. change happens, get on board or be a fossil
 

 

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11 minutes ago, Beliall said:

i dunno whats worse, people being offended by a derogatory word or the people in this thread outraged thats the song has been cleaned up. you do realise that complaining about the song changing makes you as bad as the people that complained about the song in the first place , right? and the pogues themselves agree that the song should be changed. there really shouldnt be any discussion about this. its an old fashioned word that shouldnt be used anymore. change happens, get on board or be a fossil
 

 

This is a very interesting point and I need to think about it.

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2 hours ago, Tuna said:

 

Herrenvolk is a superb insult by the way.

It really is, I'm going to plaguerise the shit out of it and try and fit it in to conversation where possible.

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25 minutes ago, Mark 'expert' Lawrenson said:

Because a radio edit is something completely different, a shorter version of an album track to fit in with broadcast schedules.

By "radio edit" I meant taking out the swearing but you knew that already. Other songs have "slut" and "faggot" taken out for radio broadcast so why should this be any different? 

Edited by Sol thewall Bamba
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6 hours ago, Voll Blau said:

It's amazing that people are whinging about this in an age when you're literally never more than a click away from hearing any song you want in any way you want. Plus, it's not like the Beeb are the only radio station/TV channel to do this.

 

If this helps a few kids struggling with finding out who they are in life, then who cares? I'll still listen to the original but I'll just do so on Spotify, YouTube etc.

Yes but I didn't listen to Radio One anyway AND I CERTAINLY WON'T BE LISTENING TO IT NOW

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I personally detest the words slut and faggot. 

 

Do I think they should be removed from a song written 33 years ago, a song which in itself is somewhat tongue in cheek? I'm not actually sure.

 

I'm not easily offended may I add, I think it's too easy to brush this off as people being easily offended

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6 hours ago, Buce said:

 

Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but would you say the same if the word was N****r (so offensive to some that it can't even be used in the context of this conversation)?

All about context isn't it? Hence NWA (hey, it's in the name) saying it doesn't sound as bad as Coldplay (can you imagine!? :teehee:)

 

I think the same applies to Fairytale of NY. It's a ballad, they're portraying characters who would've talked like that.

 

What about Jump Around by House of Pain? The lyrics of that song are really nasty, yet it gets played as a "banging tune" floor filler all the time.

 

At the other end of the spectrum you get songs like Rockstar by Nickelback or Golddigga by KanYe that they play on the radio with every other word bleeped and it just sounds stupid.

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