Canada censors Dire Straits

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:25 am UTC

I go where I'm needed. Wherever there's an ignorant fool knocking down straw-men on an internet forum, an angry bigot yelling about the Jews in his teeth sending coded messages to the Chinese government, or someone listening to music I'm not very fond of in the apartment directly above me, I'll be there, and I'll be mocking them for being so gosh-darned silly.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby StNowhere » Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:38 am UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:I go where I'm needed. Wherever there's an ignorant fool knocking down straw-men on an internet forum, an angry bigot yelling about the Jews in his teeth sending coded messages to the Chinese government, or someone listening to music I'm not very fond of in the apartment directly above me, I'll be there, and I'll be mocking them for being so gosh-darned silly.


Certainly makes more sense when you put it that way.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby KittenKaboodle » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:13 am UTC

Jessica wrote: I disagree that adding more words is worse. If we are going to censor words we consider offensive on public radio, we should censor all of them, not just some. Recognizing that a word IS offensive to a group of people, and censoring it makes sense.


George Orwell wrote: By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.


I've heard it said that 1984 was a cautionary tale, not a "how to" manual, but I could be wrong.

Arancaytar wrote: I just had an idea: If we simply banned the words "racism", "homophobia", "sexism" and "rape" from being used ever again, we could wipe out racism, homophobia, sexism and rape completely. For ever!
Um, about 60 years late (see above) but still, plus good idea. :wink:

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:33 am UTC

Case in point
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Glass Fractal » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:20 am UTC

KittenKaboodle wrote:I've heard it said that 1984 was a cautionary tale, not a "how to" manual, but I could be wrong.


Ever noticed how people who say things like that are always fighting like hell to change the definition of words to fit their particular world view? It's like, irony, or something.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:15 am UTC

Yeah, although I'm a huge proponent of free speech, I'm just not seeing the relevance. There's absolutely nothing at stake; no one's enforcing any law, the original artists have demonstrated support for a pejorative free version, and it's consistent with previous requests for radio-stations to regulate their language.

The people who are crying out "PC police!" and "Orwellian thought control!" seem to be grossly misinformed. And as for those who are discussing the pitfalls of censorship as a means to addressing oppression and the danger of avoidance--they seem to be engaged in a dialogue with nonexistent people who hold nonexistent beliefs (that censorship is an effective means to address oppression).

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Arancaytar » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:38 am UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:
Arancaytar wrote:I just had an idea: If we simply banned the words "racism", "homophobia", "sexism" and "rape" from being used ever again, we could wipe out racism, homophobia, sexism and rape completely. For ever!

And maybe if we stop saying the word "idiot", you would go away.


... normally when someone insults me, I just ignore them. But you've been here quite a while, and I held your posts in some regard, so I would like clarification: Why is this a strawman? Taking away the language used to express bigotry has not done a thing to end bigotry, just as removing these words would not remove what they describe.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:50 am UTC

Arancaytar wrote:... normally when someone insults me, I just ignore them. But you've been here quite a while, and I held your posts in some regard, so I would like clarification: Why is this a strawman? Taking away the language used to express bigotry has not done a thing to end bigotry, just as removing these words would not remove what they describe.
I don't think the insult was necessary, but--again--who is claiming otherwise? No one in this thread is. As far as I can see, no one in the article is, either. You're arguing against an extreme position that no one present is taking up.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Carlington » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:31 pm UTC

So, from what I've gathered so far:
There are secondly sides being presented. Firstly, the view that this song should not be censored, for the reason (a)That the person using the offensive term is portrayed as the antagonist in the song; or (b)The song is a classic work, and censoring the word "faggot" would be akin to taking a marker and blacking out all the occurrences of the word "nigger" in Tom Sawyer. (Allow for some hyperbole on my part, before I get shot down for taking an extreme viewpoint that nobody has posted.)

Secondly is the viewpoint that censorship whether it is or isn't acceptable in and of itself, should at the very least be consistent. On those grounds, censoring the word "faggot" from this song is absolutely no different to any other radio edit of a song that's going around today. Backing that up is the fact that the un-edited version is freely available on CD's and on the internet, if you're so inclined. Aiding this standpoint is the fact that the band itself actively changed the lyrics in the past and is quite happy to record radio edits for just such a scenario.

I think I know which side I'm leaning towards.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby uncivlengr » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:35 pm UTC

Arancaytar wrote:Taking away the language used to express bigotry has not done a thing to end bigotry, just as removing these words would not remove what they describe.
Nobody is "talking away" language in the general sense that people are trying to make it out to be - this is a specific guideline that private broadcasters in Canada have decided to follow that one rock radio station (and now several) decided not to follow.

The CBSC (which made the decision) isn't a government organization - it's a body set up by private broadcasting itself to provide voluntary self-regulation to ensure that members of the public are given respect and a means of complaint, while maintaining the freedoms of broadcasters.

The "penalty" for violating the ethics code? Voluntarily broadcasting the following statement twice during peak listening hours:

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that OZ FM breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code in its broadcast of the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits on February 1, 2010. The song contained a word that referred to sexual orientation in a derogatory way, contrary to Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Clauses 2, 7 and 9 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code.


That's the "censoring" we're talking about here.
Last edited by uncivlengr on Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:42 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:40 pm UTC

Let's say you regularly use the word "faggot". You can't go three sentences without using the word "faggot". Hell, you like to double up on your faggots, just in case you forget to say it later (though that would be difficult, considering how much this hypothetical you loves saying it).
Now, let's say you want to come over to my place for honey and cream and cakes and tea, but I have a strict "no slurs" rule. You don't know why I have this rule -- maybe I refuse to deal with people who are openly bigoted; maybe a slur killed my family -- but you do know that I will not put up with your bullshit. So, you have a choice: shut the fuck up and eat some cake, or keep on keeping on and get the fuck out of my house.

The reason what you posted is a strawman is simple: nobody is arguing the points you are arguing against. It doesn't matter if what you are saying is true or not (though I don't know if banning hateful words is as powerless as you think it is. At the very least, it tells people that we, as a society, cannot, should not, and will not tolerate bullshit), but that you are fighting imaginary enemies.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby uncivlengr » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:50 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Let's say you regularly use the word "faggot". You can't go three sentences without using the word "faggot". Hell, you like to double up on your faggots, just in case you forget to say it later (though that would be difficult, considering how much this hypothetical you loves saying it).
Now, let's say you want to come over to my place for honey and cream and cakes and tea, but I have a strict "no slurs" rule. You don't know why I have this rule -- maybe I refuse to deal with people who are openly bigoted; maybe a slur killed my family -- but you do know that I will not put up with your bullshit. So, you have a choice: shut the fuck up and eat some cake, or keep on keeping on and get the fuck out of my house.
Bad analogy to this situation, actually; it would be more like this: You and I live together in the same house, and decided collectively not to use the word 'faggot' anymore, because it offends our guests when they come over, and we don't want to offend them for no reason.

Then I slip and say the word one day, one guest overhears, and you point out to me that we agreed not to use that word, and that I should apologize to our guest.

I completely LOSE MY SHIT and start saying faggot over and over to spite you, even though we had agreed in the first place. The only real consequence is that the guest leaves, and a bunch of other idiots that also like losing their shit for no reason come over to support my decision to break my own rules.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:57 pm UTC

Mine has more punch. Never understimate the power of punch in rhetoric.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Glass Fractal » Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:48 pm UTC

Carlington (The Aussie) wrote:So, from what I've gathered so far:
There are secondly sides being presented. Firstly, the view that this song should not be censored, for the reason (a)That the person using the offensive term is portrayed as the antagonist in the song; or (b)The song is a classic work, and censoring the word "faggot" would be akin to taking a marker and blacking out all the occurrences of the word "nigger" in Tom Sawyer. (Allow for some hyperbole on my part, before I get shot down for taking an extreme viewpoint that nobody has posted.)


It happens to be exactly like you taking your own copy of Tom Sawyer and crossing out the word nigger. Not only that but, to extend the metaphor, Mark Twain himself is absolutely fine with it. Why should you be criticized for engaging in "censorship" if you do that?

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Greyarcher » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:20 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:The CBSC (which made the decision) isn't a government organization - it's a body set up by private broadcasting itself to provide voluntary self-regulation to ensure that members of the public are given respect and a means of complaint, while maintaining the freedoms of broadcasters.

The "penalty" for violating the ethics code? Voluntarily broadcasting the following statement twice during peak listening hours:

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that OZ FM breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code in its broadcast of the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits on February 1, 2010. The song contained a word that referred to sexual orientation in a derogatory way, contrary to Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Clauses 2, 7 and 9 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code.
Heh, yeah, I thought that was a bit odd. I was reading up on the CBSC and I couldn't figure out what actual power, influence, or ability to penalize they had. I mean, if one particular broadcaster decides the decision is bunk and ignores it, do they get kicked out of the CAB or does the CBSC just say "Oh well, I guess we're not perfect self-regulators"?

Maybe the broadcasters are all pretty laidback and compliant so it never comes up.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby StNowhere » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:45 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:The "penalty" for violating the ethics code? Voluntarily broadcasting the following statement twice during peak listening hours:

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that OZ FM breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code in its broadcast of the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits on February 1, 2010. The song contained a word that referred to sexual orientation in a derogatory way, contrary to Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Clauses 2, 7 and 9 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code.


The penalty is voluntary? What's the penalty for not broadcasting the penalty statement? I'd assume it's expulsion from the CBSC (The Holy High Wiki says the CAB no longer exists), which would probably have some major consequences, but it's a non-governmental organization without the ability to levy fines against members.

According to Wiki, as well, the CBSC has a larger mandate than the FCC in the US - including the ability to apply itself to for-pay stations.

Edit: Really ought to pay attention to posters above me. Might save time in the future.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby uncivlengr » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:04 am UTC

StNowhere wrote:The penalty is voluntary?
I don't even know if you'd call it a penalty... Canadian Broadcasters as a group (the CAB) decided on a code of ethics that they'd follow, and assigned a body to monitor the members and receive complaints (the CBSC). It's entirely self-imposed, whether particular DJs like to admit it.

It kinda takes the wind out of the "Orwellian Nazis suppressing free speech and killing puppies" sails when you actually look at what's really happening.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:35 am UTC

uncivlengr wrote:
StNowhere wrote:The penalty is voluntary?
I don't even know if you'd call it a penalty... Canadian Broadcasters as a group (the CAB) decided on a code of ethics that they'd follow, and assigned a body to monitor the members and receive complaints (the CBSC). It's entirely self-imposed, whether particular DJs like to admit it.

It kinda takes the wind out of the "Orwellian Nazis suppressing free speech and killing puppies" sails when you actually look at what's really happening.


This is the exact reason why I'm not freaking out about this story as much as I could be freaking out about it. It's hardly a viscious assault on our freedom of speech.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Lucrece » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:42 am UTC

This is the problem with satire and those who write it-- they always frame their work on what they intended to do with it, not the actual impact and interaction it has with people.

If your satire takes some good amount of thinking to figure out, keep it to yourself. Most people will hear the ridiculous statement and take it at face value, and you will have done harm as people now think you're endorsing the statement instead of subtly mocking it.

Yeah, the lyrics might be ironic, but if all the people pay attention to is how catchy the tune is and sing the words mindlessly in a satisfied manner, now you have the word "faggot" being sung out and normalized with neutral/positive emotions. That's just not good.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby General_Norris » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:49 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:If your satire takes some good amount of thinking to figure out, keep it to yourself. Most people will hear the ridiculous statement and take it at face value, and you will have done harm as people now think you're endorsing the statement instead of subtly mocking it.

So you are telling people to censor themselves because people are too stupid to understand their work? By the logic that people may learn evil things from books, we should force villans to be one dimensional characters again so nobody gets the wrong idea.

What you are saying is that art should seek education first, and that sucks.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Kulantan » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:58 am UTC

Ya know perhaps, just maybe, there is a difference between a radio edit and pure unsullied art.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:07 am UTC

General_Norris wrote:
Lucrece wrote:If your satire takes some good amount of thinking to figure out, keep it to yourself. Most people will hear the ridiculous statement and take it at face value, and you will have done harm as people now think you're endorsing the statement instead of subtly mocking it.

So you are telling people to censor themselves because people are too stupid to understand their work? By the logic that people may learn evil things from books, we should force villans to be one dimensional characters again so nobody gets the wrong idea.

What you are saying is that art should seek education first, and that sucks.
No. What Lucrece is saying is that the only difference between an ironic 'faggot' joke and a sincere 'faggot' joke is the audience that hears it.

And that's not a difference at all.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby General_Norris » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:12 am UTC

Kulantan wrote:Ya know perhaps, just maybe, there is a difference between a radio edit and pure unsullied art.

There are no mentions of radio edits in your post. Anyways, you are sying that they should censor it for mass difusion because people may take it at face value. My point still stands.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:11 pm UTC

RTFT
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Kulantan » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:59 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:There are no mentions of radio edits in your post. Anyways, you are saying that they should censor it for mass difusion because people may take it at face value. My point still stands.

While I/we would like to absorb the "Lucrece" organism into our gestalt we have yet to achieve this goal. For now you may have to consider us separate entities. I/we will provide an update if this changes.

I would also like to recommend the Thesaurus' (whose joining the gestalt I/we would also dearly love) suggestion of Reading The Fantastic Thread. From this reading, the context of this being about a radio edit of a song may become clear. If Lucrece's comment wasn't meant in that context but rather a more overarching statement then I have misinterpreted their argument.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby velcro2 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:29 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:Yeah, the lyrics might be ironic, but if all the people pay attention to is how catchy the tune is and sing the words mindlessly in a satisfied manner, now you have the word "faggot" being sung out and normalized with neutral/positive emotions. That's just not good.


Though in this case, almost everything else the antagonist in "Money for Nothing" says is ridiculously over-the-top misogynist or racist. Wouldn't the logical conclusion then be to not play the song at all? Why trust that people can sense the irony everywhere else in the song, but not there?

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:18 pm UTC

velcro2 wrote:Though in this case, almost everything else the antagonist in "Money for Nothing" says is ridiculously over-the-top misogynist or racist. Wouldn't the logical conclusion then be to not play the song at all? Why trust that people can sense the irony everywhere else in the song, but not there?
Because radios don't censor offensive statements, they censor offensive words. This isn't about trusting people to see or not see irony; frankly, I don't trust people to understand that "Go to Jail" in monopoly doesn't carry an actual fucking prison sentence.

But yeah, what Lucrece (probably) meant1 is that ironic misogyny--ironic homophobia--ironic racism--is often completely indistinguishable from its sincere counterpart; the only thing that changes is the audience you're speaking to. So treating them the same seems pretty rational; if you're not going to allow for sincere homophobia, you shouldn't allow for ironic homophobia either. If you're going to allow for ironic homophobia, allow for sincere homophobia as well.

One interesting exception--I'm a big fan of Sarah Silverman on this subject, because a lot of her 'ironically racist' or 'ironically misogynistic' jokes are structured in a way that it's just about impossible to parse them as sincere. Blaming black people rather than Jewish people for killing Christ, for example. I mean, Poe's Law and all, but any sensible person (those guilty of extensive racism included) cannot parse this as an affirmation of racism or racist values--because the joke relies on a contradiction.

1 With apologies in advance if I'm wrong.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Jessica » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

Update: The CRTC is urging the CBSC to reconsider the ban on the unedited song.

Here's the letter from the CRTC to the CBSC.

For those who don't know: The CRTC is a governmental organization that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunication in Canada, under the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Here's Xtra's article on the issue.

Personally, I agree with the original decision, and while there are others (even within the queer community) who are against the censorship, I still have for it. I'm also kind of pissed off that the government is pushing a non-governmental agency to change it's policies because so many people are angry.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby ExplodingHat » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:44 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Mine has more punch. Never understimate the power of punch in rhetoric.

That depends... is the punch spiked? :wink:

But seriously, I think the issue at hand really boils down to: Is "faggot" a 'bad enough' word to be censored on broadcast radio?
And presumably, the source of interest in this is "why now?"

*Edited to include "enough" in the ironic quotes.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Jessica » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:50 pm UTC

ExplodingHat wrote:But seriously, I think the issue at hand really boils down to: Is "faggot" a 'bad enough' word to be censored on broadcast radio?
And presumably, the source of interest in this is "why now?"

a) Yes.
b) Because now society doesn't hate gay people enough to ignore them outright. Also because now they are a class of citizen that is protected against discrimination in the Canadian Charter of Rights.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Diadem » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:20 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:One interesting exception--I'm a big fan of Sarah Silverman on this subject, because a lot of her 'ironically racist' or 'ironically misogynistic' jokes are structured in a way that it's just about impossible to parse them as sincere. Blaming black people rather than Jewish people for killing Christ, for example. I mean, Poe's Law and all, but any sensible person (those guilty of extensive racism included) cannot parse this as an affirmation of racism or racist values--because the joke relies on a contradiction.

So it's the word that is the problem, not the content, except when it is content which you happen to like, in which case it is ok. There is a word for that. Hypocrisy.

You can't have it both ways. Either the words themselves are the problem, in which case black rappers that use the word nigger, or gays who jokingly call eachother faggot should also be censored. As should, for example, academic studies on the effects on profanity on culture, or people talking about donkeys or bundles of sticks or a certain country in Africa.

Or we recognize that it is the context in which words are used that matters. Words are not offensive. They are just collections of letters. It's the meaning that people ascribe to those words that makes them offensive. Language is communication. You can't separate the content from the intent.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:36 am UTC

Diadem wrote:So it's the word that is the problem, not the content, except when it is content which you happen to like, in which case it is ok. There is a word for that. Hypocrisy.
...I was talking about a similar, but still significantly different, thing. The joke example I gave doesn't even contain the offending words.

But by all means; continue on with this train of thought. Next stop: Righteous Indignation Lecture Station!
Diadem wrote:You can't have it both ways. Either the words themselves are the problem, in which case black rappers that use the word nigger, or gays who jokingly call eachother faggot should also be censored.
Yeah, I've yet to hear about a radio station refraining from censoring 'nigger' on account of the performer being black (or doing the reverse--censoring a white performer's usage just because they're white). But if they did, I would consider that a dick move. Man, I'd consider that shit to be an Andy Dick Move1.
Diadem wrote:As should, for example, academic studies on the effects on profanity on culture, or people talking about donkeys or bundles of sticks or a certain country in Africa.

Or we recognize that it is the context in which words are used that matters. Words are not offensive. They are just collections of letters. It's the meaning that people ascribe to those words that makes them offensive. Language is communication. You can't separate the content from the intent.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby StNowhere » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:09 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Diadem wrote:So it's the word that is the problem, not the content, except when it is content which you happen to like, in which case it is ok. There is a word for that. Hypocrisy.
...I was talking about a similar, but still significantly different, thing. The joke example I gave doesn't even contain the offending words.


So, it's OK to say things that sound horrendously bigoted, as long as you don't use any of a list of specifically "bad" words? Because there's no chance [i]anyone[\i] would read it the wrong way if you're really over the top, amirite? I think your citation of Poe's law fits the bill here - as much as you may think it's terrifically obvious Sarah's not doing it to incite racial hatred, there's got to be someone laughing along thinking she means it.

I'm not fighting for anyone's right to use derogatory names every five seconds. It does annoy me, however, (and I'd describe it as annoyance, not blinding rage), that there used to be several words that were perfectly acceptable that can now never be used acceptably again because some racist/sexist/homophobic moron decided to use it to denigrate. Even if we divorce the world from the idea of hatred, I have a feeling that we still won't be able to use those words, because they're in the penalty box, waiting for George Carlin's ghost to call them out.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:38 am UTC

StNowhere wrote:So, it's OK to say things that sound horrendously bigoted, as long as you don't use any of a list of specifically "bad" words?
Are you reading my posts or are you just making things up, signing my name to it, and then writing replies?
StNowhere wrote:I think your citation of Poe's law fits the bill here - as much as you may think it's terrifically obvious Sarah's not doing it to incite racial hatred, there's got to be someone laughing along thinking she means it.
The joke is designed to be a contradiction; the humor is derived from the statement being incredibly absurd. And yeah, if you really do think black people killed Jesus, it's not a joke--it's a statement of fact.

In the case of most ironic racist jokes, the humor is derived simply from the racism ("man, that joke is so awful!" - spoken with a grin; "Wow, that's really offensive" - stated with a giggle). I'm saying that when a sincere racist joke is identical to an ironic one, we shouldn't treat them differently. Either say both without fear--laugh at both without fear--or say neither and laugh at neither.
StNowhere wrote:I'm not fighting for anyone's right to use derogatory names every five seconds. It does annoy me, however, (and I'd describe it as annoyance, not blinding rage), that there used to be several words that were perfectly acceptable that can now never be used acceptably again because some racist/sexist/homophobic moron decided to use it to denigrate. Even if we divorce the world from the idea of hatred, I have a feeling that we still won't be able to use those words, because they're in the penalty box, waiting for George Carlin's ghost to call them out.
You're still free to use those words, of course; depending on your country, there are no major legal restrictions on language. No, the only price you pay for using those words is having to deal with the people who hear them.

So, use them. And deal with the response. Or don't, and don't deal with it.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:41 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby StNowhere » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:41 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
StNowhere wrote:So, it's OK to say things that sound horrendously bigoted, as long as you don't use any of a list of specifically "bad" words?
Are you reading my posts or are you just making things up, signing my name to it, and then writing replies?
StNowhere wrote:I think your citation of Poe's law fits the bill here - as much as you may think it's terrifically obvious Sarah's not doing it to incite racial hatred, there's got to be someone laughing along thinking she means it.
The joke is designed to be a contradiction; the humor is derived from the statement being absurd. And yeah, if you really do think black people killed Jesus, it's not a joke--it's a statement of fact.

In the case of most ironic racist jokes, the humor is derived simply from the racism ("man, that joke is so awful!" - spoken with a grin; "Wow, that's really offensive" - stated with a giggle). I'm saying that when a sincere racist joke is identical to an ironic one, we shouldn't treat them differently. Either say both without fear--laugh at both without fear--or say neither and laugh at neither.
StNowhere wrote:I'm not fighting for anyone's right to use derogatory names every five seconds. It does annoy me, however, (and I'd describe it as annoyance, not blinding rage), that there used to be several words that were perfectly acceptable that can now never be used acceptably again because some racist/sexist/homophobic moron decided to use it to denigrate. Even if we divorce the world from the idea of hatred, I have a feeling that we still won't be able to use those words, because they're in the penalty box, waiting for George Carlin's ghost to call them out.
You're still free to use those words, of course; depending on your country, there are no major legal restrictions on language. No, the only price you pay for using those words is having to deal with the people who hear them.

So, use them. And deal with the response. Or don't, and don't deal with it.


I apologize.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:54 am UTC

StNowhere wrote:I apologize.
Well, okay, I wasn't really expecting that; I apologize if I was being way too harsh with you. I realize my general attitude here on the forums is a little antagonistic; my aim isn't to make you feel like shit or browbeat you into my position (even if a lot of times I seem to act that way).

To be clear--what bothers me here is just the flimsy justifications we use so we can laugh at racist jokes without guilt; I mean, if a joke making fun of black people makes you laugh, oh well, deal with it. Don't try to justify it by calling it 'ironic racism' or adding a wink on the back end or describing how it was totally cool with this one black guy you knew and oh my god don't you know some of my best friends are black I am so not a racist!

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby StNowhere » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:05 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
StNowhere wrote:I apologize.
Well, okay, I wasn't really expecting that; I apologize if I was being way too harsh with you. I realize my general attitude here on the forums is a little antagonistic; my aim isn't to make you feel like shit or browbeat you into my position (even if a lot of times I seem to act that way).


Not your fault. I just think I'm going to stop posting from now on, though.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby jakovasaur » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:29 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:To be clear--what bothers me here is just the flimsy justifications we use so we can laugh at racist jokes without guilt; I mean, if a joke making fun of black people makes you laugh, oh well, deal with it. Don't try to justify it by calling it 'ironic racism' or adding a wink on the back end or describing how it was totally cool with this one black guy you knew and oh my god don't you know some of my best friends are black I am so not a racist!

You are a smart guy, or at least a very self-aware one. Edgy, insightful humor is hard. Even the very best (Pryor and Chappelle come to mind) struggle with it. But I don't think anyone would argue that we are better off without it. The only thing you can do is be honest with yourself, try to broaden your perspective, and make a good faith effort to evaluate what makes a joke funny, if it's OK, and what the impact is.

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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Triangle_Man » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:16 am UTC

On the one hand, I can understand the arguments about people taking this lyric out of the context of the song.

On the other hand, I also know that using this word in any context is a bad idea for the same reasons as one shouldn't casually drop racial slurs into everyday speech; you are going to offend people.

And not the 'My Feelings Are Hurt Because I'm a spineless pansy!!!!!' type of offended that some people seem to attach to these kinds of events, but the 'I've just had old wounds opened up and this word has made me feel horrible about a part of my very being' type of offended.

Basically, while the people protesting this may have legitimate arguments about freedom of speech and context, I suspect that they haven't realized how much the word 'faggot' is like a knife wound to the gut for some.
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Re: Canada censors Dire Straits

Postby Diadem » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:44 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Diadem wrote:So it's the word that is the problem, not the content, except when it is content which you happen to like, in which case it is ok. There is a word for that. Hypocrisy.
...I was talking about a similar, but still significantly different, thing. The joke example I gave doesn't even contain the offending words.

Ok, in that case you are at least consistent.

But by all means; continue on with this train of thought. Next stop: Righteous Indignation Lecture Station!

Wait, what? You accuse people who do NOT want to censor other people's speech irrespective of intent based on some perceived sleight against yet other people of righteous indignation? Nice doublespeak.

Diadem wrote:You can't have it both ways. Either the words themselves are the problem, in which case black rappers that use the word nigger, or gays who jokingly call eachother faggot should also be censored.
Yeah, I've yet to hear about a radio station refraining from censoring 'nigger' on account of the performer being black (or doing the reverse--censoring a white performer's usage just because they're white).

You should listen to radio more then. You can't turn on a music station that aims at the young-adult demographic without hearing black rappers use the word at least 5 times a minute. If a white person uses the word carelessly, it's a national riot though. White people aren't banned from using the word, they are banned (banned in a figurative sense. It's obviously legal, 1st amendment and all) from using the word offensively. Which is exactly how it should be.

Diadem wrote:As should, for example, academic studies on the effects on profanity on culture, or people talking about donkeys or bundles of sticks or a certain country in Africa.

Or we recognize that it is the context in which words are used that matters. Words are not offensive. They are just collections of letters. It's the meaning that people ascribe to those words that makes them offensive. Language is communication. You can't separate the content from the intent.
Whoosh--you drove that train right past Pointsville, on to Irrelevant-Tangentania.[/quote]
I'm going to parse that as "I have no argument against what you are saying but I do not want to admit that you are right". I can find no other meaning in that sentence.
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