Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More sluts and faggots

The newspaper response to the Radio 1 "faggot" ban is covered here:
Daily Mirror
The Sun (also features some humorous PC Christmas Carols)

The backdown came after a day of scathing attacks by critics including Jean
MacColl – the mum of Kirsty, who died in 2000 aged 41. Jean said: “It’s
pathetic, absolute nonsense. Today we have a lot of gratuitous vulgarity, which
I think is quite unnecessary. “But these people in the song are characters and
they speak like that. It’s a great song – it’s like a play.” Enraged fans also
bombarded BBC radio, television and websites – as well as The Sun.

The Guardian (comment piece by Peter Tatchell)
What concerns me is not so much the use of the word "faggot" as the
hypocritical condemnations of Radio 1's original decision to bleep it out. They
wouldn't endorse the use of the words "nigger", "paki", "yid" or "spastic". For
the sake of consistency, either the f-word should be disallowed too or these
other bigoted words should also be permitted. It's the inconsistency that
grates. Let's also remember that in Fairytale of New York the word "faggot" is
being sung as an insult, alongside the words scumbag and maggot. In this abusive
context, it difficult to feel comfortable about its usage. But the crunch issue
is double-standards. I challenge those who defend the use of the word faggot in
these lyrics to state publicly that they would also defend the right of white
singers to use the n-word as a term of abuse in a song. They won't and that
makes them cowardly homophobic hypocrites.

1 comment:

JD said...

As far as I understand it, the decision to (temporarily) ban the word 'faggot' had its origins in a misunderstanding of the word itself.

The OED shows that two of the meanings of 'faggot' are 1) a male homosexual (North American, informal, derogatory) and 2) an unpleasant or contemptible woman (British, informal, dated).

From the setting of the song and the context within the song, it's likely that meaning 2) was intended but the Radio 1 banners, I believe, wrongly interpreted it as meaning 1). Controller Andy Parfitt even talked about how the station did not condone "homophobic lyrics" – but the word faggot, in this context, isn't homophobic. Just generally offensive.