25 Year Old Dire Straits Song Censored On Canadian Radio

While driving to work this morning, the local classic rock station talked about a story which the brilliant Alan Cross describes in detail here. The short of it is this: The Dire Straits song Money for Nothing has been around for 25+ years. For those who don't know, this song was controversial when it was released because the word "baggins" is used in it 3 times in the second verse. One can debate in what context it was used but as one might expect, this offends some people. There are altered versions of the song that radio stations have been able to play at their discretion but most chose to play the original, including CHEZ 106 here in Ottawa. They have been playing the original version of the song for over 25 years.

However, recently a single person from Newfoundland complained to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, an organisation which is to Canadian broadcasters which the ESRB is to game publishers. It was setup to allow the industry to regulate itself to keep our incompetent and corrupt CRTC (our version of the FCC) out of their hair. They agreed with this person's complaint and ruled that the original version of Money for Nothing can no longer be played on any Canadian radio station. Stations are free to play the censored versions of the song but playing the original will result in fines and possible legal action.

The morning hosts on CHEZ 106 talked about this some and while they were annoyed and clear have a stake in this, they made the obvious point that the song has been played for 25+ years without a problem. Clearly, virtually everyone has heard the word before (and if they haven't, two minutes on the Internet will ensure they experience its common use) and no one is suddenly going to go out and commit hate crimes or start slandering gay people because they heard the song. While I respect that this was in theory a private body and not the government that came to this decision, I think it's ridiculous. Where has it become part of our system of legislation that people have a legal right to not be offended by anything? Why does one whiny person who feels their views should be forced on everyone have more influence than the hundreds who have already called the CBSC saying they don't care about this? Why can this person simply not change the station if they hear something they don't like? Personally, I hate how much Neil Young CHEZ 106 plays but I'm not making phone calls saying he should be banned, I simply change to DAWG FM or Live 88.5 when I hear it. This is of course when I listen to the radio at all which is rare.

So I guess my question here really is this: Given the accessibility of radio to everyone and that it doesn't have parental controls like a console does, should it be legally ensured that language with offensive lyrics not be played? Should the same standards be enforced against bottom-rung shock hosts and morning shows? Should there be a statute of limitations on songs where if they've been played without an issue for a certain time, they can't be legislated later? Personally, I think stations should be allowed to play what they want and people should be free not to listen but I wonder if too big a deal is being made of this or not.

he he he "baggins"

I assume baggins is the GWJ filtered version of baggins?

Edit: Yup, it would appear so. (At first I was trying to figure out why baggins would be offensive...)

It took me a few seconds to remember that "baggins" was a replacement word. I kept wondering who was offended by a hobbit reference.

This controversy reminds me of the Huck Finn thing, where the artist is talking in the voice of a character and the reader/listener just doesn't want to hear it.

Nasty bagginses, they stole our precious [song]!

In the US it's pretty common for radio stations to only play "sanitized" versions of songs. While it's ridiculous to think that a single person's complaint could change the way a nation does something, it could simply be that they called the CRTC's attention to something they wouldn't have liked anyway. Maybe they even noticed but left it alone because no one ever complained (and now that someone has they're taking action).

I see where you're coming from but I've never considered music radio to be a bastion of free speech in the first place.

I heard it on the radio here in the US within the last week or so, and the baggins was actually very jarring (and uncensored).

Heh...I actually went to Urban Dictionary before realizing what the lyric was they were talking about.

Oh, I didn't know there was a replacement word for that. Well, it's obvious anyway.

That little Baggins has his own magic ring, that little Baggins is a millionaire..

God damnit, I don't know what "baggins" is a replacement of and I don't want to start spamming obscenities on the forum in the hope of finding one that translates into "baggins". I feel like a dog standing in a room next to a filled tub of water, but still completely confused as to what's about to happen because all the humans keep saying "B-A-T-H" and nodding to one another.

Ahhh... bagggins. It makes sense now, is that also how they censored it on Canadian radio?

FatConan wrote:

God damnit, I don't know what "baggins" is a replacement of and I don't want to start spamming obscenities on the forum in the hope of finding one that translates into "baggins". I feel like a dog standing in a room next to a filled tub of water, but still completely confused as to what's about to happen because all the humans keep saying "B-A-T-H" and nodding to one another.

Easiest solution: click the "quote" link on the censored post, and see the uncensored words in the comment box.

Tricky one. I had no idea about the naughty word, but that may be because we get the radio edit as standard here. Our broadcast media is very conservative.

The thing is, that sort of flippant homophobia is one of the last 'socially acceptable' forms of prejudice, despite the fact that homosexuals are very often treated badly. Would the 'N-word' be accepted? Of course not, and it wouldn't have taken someone 25 years to complain.

After 25 years should well enough be left alone? Or should a line in the sand be drawn with no regards to something's age? While it may seem petty I actually think that the mass media is no place for that sort of language.

In the song, he's speaking with the voice of a lower class worker commenting on the guy with long hair and tight pants on the rock video. So now we're censoring satire?

Likewise, I don't expect a movie about racists to avoid offensive language in their portrayal.

Robear wrote:

Likewise, I don't expect a movie about racists to avoid offensive language in their portrayal.

Don't we all now expect a movie based on Huck Finn to avoid offensive language? Producers just want to avoid a controversy. Maybe the Cohen Brothers will do a remake at some point and we can have a more grim Huck Finn.

Funkenpants wrote:
Robear wrote:

Likewise, I don't expect a movie about racists to avoid offensive language in their portrayal.

Don't we all now expect a movie based on Huck Finn to avoid offensive language? Producers just want to avoid a controversy. Maybe the Cohen Brothers will do a remake at some point and we can have a more grim Huck Finn. :)

That baggins really tied the room together.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

However, recently a single person from Newfoundland......

Wow. I did not realize we have that kind of pull down here

All it takes is one person from Newfoundland to complain and a song can be taken off the radio? Man, time for me to start cleaning up the airways in Canada. This will truly be a dark day for Justin Bieber fans.

I don't know how they found out that the person was from Newfoundland but I've seen it mentioned in several places, though no other details are known about the person. Nothing against Newfoundlanders of course. I think the point they were trying to make about it was that one person was able to exact that kind of change and that someone from one province has caused a song to be banned in all of them.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/0PR1s.jpg)

I don't get it. In the context of the song I always though it was used to make fun of the kind of person that would say "f*ggot" derisively.

I have doubled my knowledge of Dire Straits lyrics. My main reaction is if you are not on Pandora and still just terrestrial, what the hell are you doing?

KingGorilla wrote:

I have doubled my knowledge of Dire Straits lyrics. My main reaction is if you are not on Pandora and still just terrestrial, what the hell are you doing?

Driving?

There are phone aps.

KingGorilla wrote:

There are phone aps.

Plus Pandora isn't available anywhere outside the US.

You can sign up for VPN services and look like you're pretty much anywhere you want.

Reaper81 wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
Robear wrote:

Likewise, I don't expect a movie about racists to avoid offensive language in their portrayal.

Don't we all now expect a movie based on Huck Finn to avoid offensive language? Producers just want to avoid a controversy. Maybe the Cohen Brothers will do a remake at some point and we can have a more grim Huck Finn. :)

That baggins really tied the room together.

Also, Dude, baggins is not the appropriate nomenclature. Flamboyant-North American, please.

Malor wrote:

You can sign up for VPN services and look like you're pretty much anywhere you want.

Trust me, I've tried. Most of the free ones are recognised and blocked now.

Oso wrote:
Reaper81 wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
Robear wrote:

Likewise, I don't expect a movie about racists to avoid offensive language in their portrayal.

Don't we all now expect a movie based on Huck Finn to avoid offensive language? Producers just want to avoid a controversy. Maybe the Cohen Brothers will do a remake at some point and we can have a more grim Huck Finn. :)

That baggins really tied the room together.

Also, Dude, baggins is not the appropriate nomenclature. Flamboyant-North American, please.

Point the first: Heterosexually-challenged, thanks. That, or "FAAAAAABULOUS!"

Point the second: What Trachalio said.