Freedom of Speech? No thanks, we’re Canadian…

As any subscribers to Katey's Rights and Freedom Bulletin will know, she was pretty sick this past week, and is still recovering.  But when I talked with her it was pretty clear that even though she was really sick, Katey wasn't nearly as out of touch with reality as the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council!  (or me either, just in case you're wondering!)

They've banned a song that's been playing on Canadian airwaves for the past twenty-five years.  The song, Dire Straights' 80's hit "Money For Nothing" was banned in a CBSC decision dated October 14, 2010. Even though they reached their decision last October, the decision wasn't released until January 12th, 2011, according to their website.

The complaint reads like this:

A song was aired, "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits, and included the word "faggot" a total of three times.  I am aware of other versions of the song, in which the word was replaced with another, and yet OZ FM chose to play and not censor this particular version that I am complaining about. I find this extremely offensive as a member of the LGBT community and feel that there is absolutely no valid reason for such discriminatory marks to be played on-air.

The radio station's response was absolutely perfect:

We have reviewed the material in question.  When determining what musical selections air on our station, we always take content into consideration, and attempt to balance the point-of-view of our listeners with the integrity and authenticity of the musical selections aired.

In this specific case, the song in question has been played countless times in its original form, from its #1 release in 1984 to the present day, and continues to be aired on stations across the country in this form.  As this selection has been aired continuously for 25+ years, and the original version is regarded by many as an historically successful and essential rock hit in that form with these particular lyrics, management chose in this specific instance to retain the authenticity of this selection.  Below we have some chart stats on the single, [which] support its mainstream acceptance:

  • 1986 Grammy for Record of the Year
  • 1986 American Music Award for Record of the Year
  • 1986 9 MTV Video Music Awards
  • Billboard #1 single September 21 -- October 5, 1985

[..]
The abridged version is aired on other stations mainly due to its length, but OZ FM changed formats to Active Rock and at that time it was decided that a number of selections be presented in their authentic format...

... We understand the concerns you have raised regarding this particular selection and do apologize for any undue stress caused to you as a listener by the lyrical content of this selection, but based on the above reasoning, we have operated with the understanding that in this specific case, no editing of the material is warranted.

I just love how, here in Canada, a single person can dictate what an entire nation can listen to, just by claiming a word in a song offended them.

Have we really become a nation of such pathetic sissies that we can't put our tender little feelings aside for one second?  Can't we simply exercise some personal discrimination and just change the darned channel!

Apparently not.  Some pathetic folks just can't be happy unless they force everyone else to bow down to their agenda.  It's sad, really.  Especially when, it would seem, it took this person 25 years to figure out that they were offended by the  song.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, being staffed by "good Canadians",  naturally doesn't want to offend anyone, especially not someone who has self-identified themselves as a member of a minority.  And a politically-correct minority at that!

So they banned the song.

Which offended pretty much everyone, as far as I can tell.

Halifax radio station Q-104 FM is pretty much telling the CBSC to pound sand. Along with their sister station in Edmonton, Q-104 FM is ignoring the ridiculous edict and even went so far as airing the hit song eight times in a row in a single hour!

"I think audiences in general have felt that this impinges on their right to free speech," said J.C. Douglas, program director at Q104.

"We believe that this decision may trivialize the meaningful work done to further the cause of the LGBT community and could actually work against them by creating a sense of excessive political correctness at the cost of the fundamental freedom of speech," Q104's J.C. Douglas said in a statement.

By playing the song eight times in a row they're making a point.  I love it. Stupidity like this needs to be confronted head-on.

I mean really... what else can you call a decision that panders to one person's hurt feelings when it's taken them 25 years to decide if their feelings are actually hurt!

A post on Guy Fletcher's website, (Guy is one of the members of Dire Straights) was hilarious and offered a unique way for the band to respond to their song being banned in Canada:

Hello Guy...Here's a suggestion for Mark...He should do a quid pro quo and ban Canada from his next tour, which we are all eagerly awaiting in the USA. He is welcome to say faggot all he wants here and with no Canada dates, he will have more time to spend with we broadminded types...

Even the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is asking the CBSC to reconsider their decision.

You can read the full letter from the CRTC on their website.

One commenter on the CBC website put it very well:

Money for Nothing pretty well describes the CSBC; they waste taxpayer's money and add nothing to Canadian culture.

Another writes:

"When do the book burnings begin?

Absurd doesn't begin to describe this person's reaction to a word in a song, nor does it describe the decision coming from the good folks at the CBSC.

The former needs to learn how to change the channel on his radio... the latter needs to grow a pair of balls and tell the guy to learn how to change the channel on his radio if he doesn't like a song that's been playing for 25 years and has won numerous awards.

Sheesh.  Can we just get over ourselves already?

Believe it or not, it's not all about being gay or straight. I don't particularly care which one you are.  It's not about how easily someone's feelings get hurt.

It's about freedom of speech.

Which means nothing in Canada anymore.  Or so it would seem...

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