Thursday, 20 December 2007

Radio One - Censorship or Responsible Broadcasting?

BBC Radio One have caused a stir by censoring FairyTale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty McColl. Probably the greatest and most sublime Christmas track of all, the lyrics are uncompromising and contain references to 'faggot' and 'slut' - two derogatory terms that according to Radio One would offend at least some of their obviously very sensitive listeners. Amusingly, the only offence that seems to have been caused stems from their decision to censor the song in the first place. Confusingly, BBC Radio Two have taken the decision not to bother and happily play the original in all its glory. This article written by Brendan O'Neil, takes an interesting take on the issue by suggesting that what this is really about is a narrow-minded, snobbish elite showing distaste for street-lingo. Is he right? Or, as Pater Tachel argues in The Guardian is ignoring the homophobic connotations of the word hypocrisy? Perhaps, but one thing is sure. Attempts at controlling, restraining and washing language clean of anything that might offend tend to fail because those attempts are always clumsily prescriptive, and therefore ignored by the rest of us living in the real world.

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