What do you think of the CBSC decision to change the lyrics of Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing"? - Macleans.ca

What do you think of the CBSC decision to change the lyrics of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing”?


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What do you think of the CBSC decision to change the lyrics of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing”?

  1. I called a gay couple that we are friends with and asked them there opinion…They don't have a problem with the lyrics at all, the context it is used in is not offensive, or threatening, or degrading….Is this the beginning of the slippery slope to ''Censorship? "

    • Wow! I got 'censored'!

      I wonder if it was because I used certain words as examples. Certainly not in a derogatory context.

      Oh well.

      • You got censored ? here ? Holy Doodle, It must have been really, really, bad then…just sayin……..

    • the beginning? buddy, i don't know where you were at the beginning, but i think we are a long way from the beginning at this point.

  2. Same here. One of my friends is gay and he doesn't see anything wrong with these lyrics, not mentioning the fact that Dire Straits is one of his preferred bands and that he considers the song Money For Nothing as one of their best. So there!

  3. Question(s) for truenorth and Jean: what if your friends found the song offensive? For that matter, what if every gay Canadian did too? What if Canadians of all sexual orientations found it offensive?

    Would that make the decision more defensible?

    • @ Guy Smiley : If your asking would I defend the lyrics of this song if my friends found it offensive? I would have to say yes….As I stated above, it is the context it is used in, If it was threatening or degrading etc,etc, I ''personally ''wouldn't listen to it, but to ''Censor '' the song…Brrrrr ! I shudder at the word ''Censor '' * note*..If our friends would have found the lyrics offensive it would make for a great Saturday night debate over a few beer ….Come to think of it ,probably still will…..

      • So it drives fear deep into your very soul every time a word is bleeped on the radio or TV?

        You must lead a very frightened life.

        • Nope, Mike T….Doesn't bother me a bit. The shows I watch very rarely (if ever ) get bleeped,,Mind you I probably do not watch the same shows that you do, you know, Jerry Springer, Maury etc,etc,. and the Rock radio station that I listen to does not get bleeped either…Sooo thankyou for your concern,everything is just Tickety-Boo over here !

    • Testing

    • That's just stupid! The song has been out for 25 years.

      • And of the thousands of times its been played on the radio, most contained the version of the song which didn't even contain that verse.

    • Offensive is just that, offensive. The question should be,' is it significantly damaging'. No, it's not like many issues that a person might deem offensive. The problem lies within the person who takes offense, their innability to deal with the perceived slight. For example, I've had friends who find it offensive when I do an East Indian or First Nation's accent in conversation but when I do Scotish or Russian, not an eye is batted.

    • If a majority of Canadians found the song offensive and wanted it out of the airwaves, I still wouldn't agree, but I would accept the decision, but here we're talking of one, ONE person out of the 35 millions or so Canadians and bang! the song in its original version is off limits, plus the fact that it's a 25 years old song. That's pushing it to the point of ridicule.
      Now, if my gay friend was to tell me that he's offended by the song, I have to say like truenorth: "it would make for a great Saturday night debate over a few beer."
      Now, me, for one, find most rap songs and videos disgustingly sexist and violent, devoid of any substance, so I don't listen to them and I don't watch them. But I'm not the one who would put a ban on them. Let those who like that kind of music enjoy it and let's move on with our life.

      • so like the other guy, do you throw hissy fits every time something gets bleeped on TV or radio?

        • No, I don't throw hissy fits, but I don't like it, and by the way, I don't watch tv and I don't listen to radio that much, and when I do, it's on channels that don't bleep.

          • @ Jean Chicoine…Don't think Mike T. can respond to you at this time…There is a Jerry Springer marathon on the tube……

    • Suck it up princess. You maybe want them to rewright Huckleberry Finn too?

      • Taxslave :Did I miss something ? All the above posts are against censorship, Yes ? So your reply doesn't seem to make much sense, unless you are reading something I'm not,…. Just curious……..

        • the person originally posting seemed to.

          • As I ,said, I'm curious as to what it is ……

  4. Sure, the term is offensive, but it is used with artistic license. The lyrics are written with the voice of a bitter, low paid employee who can't believe that people get paid way more for lip-syncing a video than he makes for working hard all day. The language is entirely believable. He's saying what a bunch of fools, and his buddy says, yeah, they may look ridiculous but they make a helluva lot more money than you do, so that guy who you think is a fool might be smarter than you. Great realism. You can almost smell the burnt coffee and stale cigarettes in the staff room, faded sunshine girl posters stuck to the wall with yellowed scotch tape…

    • I don't disagree with any of the above, but I would point out that the exact same argument could be used if the song included a different "f-word" than the one that appears. I mean, that employee in the staff room with the burnt coffee and cigarettes would be just as likely to call a rock star a "motherf–er" as a "little fa—tt". If that were the case, would you be as comfortable with the song being played uncensored over the public airwaves at noon on a Saturday?

      I'm just trying to discover if most commenters want the line moved, or erased.

      • you mean like metal and rap in general?

        • Is rap even classified as music.?

    • Right on!

  5. A slippery slope indeed. Freedom of expression, freedom to choose what you listen to ……..these rights aren't something worth giving up just to appease one gay man after 25 years of airplay. If you don't like it the song, be happy you have freedom to listen to something else. I find Adam Lambert offensive, but I don't make a huff. At what point do you stop government from intervening in our personal lives & freedoms. We don't need a baby sitter, we need common sense.

    • Just for the record, a lot of that 25 years of airplay didn't include the offending word.

      Dire Straights themselves released a "radio friendly" version of the song in the 1980s which doesn't contain that verse (it's not that the word is bleeped, the whole verse isn't there). I actually know people who went back and listened to their copy of the song when they read about this decision and confirmed for themselves that they had never heard the offending passage before because it wasn't included in the version they owned.

      • And I'm STILL trying to find a live clip on youtube where the band doesn't self-censor the term.

    • Dont forgett La sange wikileaks….& FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

  6. "…that little bundle of sticks, is a millionaire"

  7. What does "big government" have to do with this?

  8. This is a very, very ridiculous situation. How is it that 1 person can get a 25 year old song yanked from the airwaves? Doesn't democracy ensure that the good of the whole supercedes the good of the individual?

    • Since when have corporations ever operated democratically?

    • Since when have we had democracy in Canada?

  9. The CRTC ordered it which is a governement owned and run corporation. what's your point?

    • Um, no. If "CBSC" looks like "CRTC" to you, it might be time for an eye exam.

    • The CRTC did NOT order this.

      Technically no one "ordered" this, it was a recommendation, but the recommendation wasn't from the CRTC either, it was from the CBSC, a private, independent, non-governmental organization.

  10. You are letting your anti-government bias show.

    The CBSC was set up by the private broadcasters themselves.

    • there is something wrong with an anti government bias? if people with an anti government bias didnt exist, we would be living in a totalitarian nightmare. democracy thrives on anti government bias.

  11. As so often, your questions are simplistic and inadequate. Some of the comments are also simplistic, and inaccurate. The issue, at least to me, is whether political correctness as we in Canada in 2011 should govern how we look at art (in all its forms) from the past. Allowing today's views to suppress the art of yesterday is no different than putting fig leaves on nude Greek or Roman statues. So, should we ban the musical "Showboat", or "Porgy and Bess", or "Huckleberry Finn" or even "To Kill a Mockingbird" because their characters use words we wouldn't use today? I could go on, but there is too much to say if this is going to be a rational discussion.

    • Aren't they doing it, as we speak with Tom Sawyer?

      • Ya, but you have to admit a line like "Catch the mist, catch the myth" is an abomination.

        • Ooooh…I know what you just did…..your good !!

          • Corporate self-censorship isn't political correctness.

          • I don't agree that the CBSC is "self-censorship" when it's ultimate mandate, in this debate, is to monitor and determine what the public will be permitted to hear. In my books that's 'political correctness' although it might also be described as attention-seeking activism. It's time we took the term "gay" back and coined a more appropos descriptor. Any suggestions?


  12. Sheer ignorance of the song's intent led to this amusing and dismaying censorship foolishness: in the context of the song, whose narrator is jealous of the rock stars he is criticizing, the slur fits well as expressive of his negativity. It is silly to remove the word when it is part of the song's message, which is that hate springs from not understanding or tolerating others.

  13. Let's just hope that "those at the top" read this poll and make their decisions accordingly.

    Someone said it quite rightly. We don't need to PC-up any form of art, or else they're going to have to PC-up EVERY form of art, no matter what it is. I hope they pay attention to this poll.

    • "I hope they pay attention to this poll."


  14. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid bureaucratic non-sense!

    • You mean corporate nonsense, right? No bureaucratic interference involved.

  15. Just so we're clear, are most people here calling for an end to ALL "censorship" of what goes over the public airwaves, or is it more that this case in particular seems to have gone too far?

    Would people feel the same if the CBSC announced that they felt that any change to any song was inappropriate in a free country like Canada, and that stations should feel comfortable playing Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name", or the original version of Cee-Lo's "Forget You" on the radio at noon on a Saturday? It's entirely appropriate to argue, of course, that the Dire Straights instance is bad, but the Cee-Lo instance is good, but that's what I'd like to get at. Is your problem with where the line's been drawn, or that there shouldn't be a line? 'Cause a lot of the rhetoric in the comments seems to suggest that people want there to be no line, but I have a feeling a lot of those commenters might change their minds the first time an uncensored 50 Cent song came on the radio while they were driving their 5 year old to school.

    Also, as I've suggested elsewhere, I want porn on the CBC and CTV. End censorship now!!!

    • I'm calling for an end of all censorship. Jared Taylor, George Galloway, Jose Ruba are all individuals who were supposed to hold debates at SMU or DAL universities over the last couple of years but were turned away because of varying 'rights groups' opposition. Personally I consider all these individuals to be idiots but how will I ever know if they are muzzled. Let them get on their respective soap boxes and then have an academic with his head screwed on right knock them down several notches with logic and reasoned arguments.

      As for 50 Cent while I'm driving my son to school? One click of a button and my son is listening to CBC Radio One or a Sharron, Lois and Braham album. The great thing about personal choice is CHOICE. Life isn't a scene from A Clockwork Orange; nobody is being forced to listen to garbage like 50 Cent and Adam Lambert. Snooki exists but I have the choice to overlook her existence.

  16. I'm calling for an end of all censorship. Jared Taylor, George Galloway, Jose Ruba are all individuals who were supposed to hold debates at SMU or DAL universities over the last couple of years but were turned away because of varying 'rights groups' opposition. Personally I consider all these individuals to be idiots but how will I ever know if they are muzzled. Let them get on their respective soap boxes and then have an academic with his head screwed on right knock them down several notches with logic and reasoned arguments.

    As for 50 Cent while I'm driving my son to school? One click of a button and my son is listening to CBC Radio One or a Sharron, Lois and Braham album. The great thing about personal choice is CHOICE. Life isn't a scene from A Clockwork Orange; nobody is being forced to listen to garbage like 50 Cent and Adam Lambert. Snooki exists but I have the choice to overlook her existence.

    • Individuals like the Newfoundland complainant shouldn't concern themselves with what others are subjecting themselves to. If a song is on that you don't like don't listen, if you don't agree with a speakers position tell him he's full of sh*t followed by a reasoned argument. I'm tired of people shouting in the streets for reasons they don't fully understand. I'm tired of people who have the wherewithal to deal with the bureaucracy of the CBSC but not to deal with the >>> button.

    • I think I lean more towards your view on this myself David. And thanks for the reply!

      I'm curious how many other posters also feel the same.

      • LdKitchenersOwn…I also feel like David, as I said in my above post, if I find it offensive, I won't listen to It…Me , myself , and I…I will choose, not have someone do it for me. Censorship is a very scary thing and can be extremely dangerous if placed in the wrong hands .

        • Same here. No line, no censorship. It's all about choice. I choose to listen to a song or a radio station or I choose not to. I don't want bureaucrats dictating me what and what not.
          Censorship is a slippery slope, as the saying goes, and I'll add that it can become steep very fast.

          • I used to volunteer at a radio station and nobody is afraid of the CRTC. But they are afraid of losing listeners. If there's a version of "MOney for nothin" with a word which could concievably anger a listener and one that doesn't include that verse, guess which one the private business is going to choose?

    • Don't corrupt your son by letting him listen to the cbc

  17. It is obvious those people with their nose out of joint need to get a life when they pick on a 25 year old song then pick it to pieces.

  18. Hey CBC minions, spend your time with something important.

    • LOL

      Accidentally blaming the CRTC for this, that I get. What could the CBC have to do with this though?

    • Did you just see some letters with a C and a B imixed in and turn your "I hate the CBC" nozzle to high?

      • It's almost unfair to shoot a fish in a barrel in that way. Thanks for the laugh though.

        I thought it did come across as the decision of some government body as it came out in the news, to be fair.

        • It's a self governing body. They sound and act the same as a government body.

          • Except the whole part about…not being a government body.

            Somebody cue the "sad trombone" noise…

          • MostlCivil and Wawawawaaa….Well done….Bravo………

  19. Crazy. Ridiculous. I am embarassed to be a Canadian regarding this matter.

  20. truenorth…..is that you Peter Pan? Blah blah blah. Yawn.

    • Elle….If you find Adult debate's boring, please feel free not to participate…..

    • Elle…If you find these ''adult '' debates boring, please feel free not to participate….

  21. There goes Rap!!! Political correctness rears its ugly head again. Freedom of speech has been dealt another petty blow, and its foundations are weakening, chip, chip, chip and we all fall down.

    • If it makes you feel any better, Evan Solomon said "Rumsfeld is a dick" on tv the other day. Apparently it's part of a haiku – anyway the American author he was interviewing was pleasantly impressed.

      Win some, lose some.

      I guess I'd be more bothered if I liked that song.

  22. of all the things 2 worry about!!! With earthquakes– floods other disasters around the globe– such -tripe –should not even be !!! In my book– a –fag– has always been a cigaret!! so what's all the hipe!!!

  23. since when; does anyone have the canadian agency have the warrant to censor art .

    • The people who own the art gallery can show or not show whatever they want.

  24. "Too much P C going on in Canada's upper echelons, "

    Again..Corporate self-censorship isn't political correctness. And if by "upper echelons" you mean guys who own radio and v stations, then sure.

  25. Who is this one lone woman who complained? I think she should be exposed to the public to answer why she made the complaint. The horror is that one person complains and a panel of six people have the power to make decisions for all of us.

    • I'd suggest that the 6 complaint assessors need to get some perspective on real life…. Or a job…

  26. This type of censorship is utterly ridiculous. This is a talented and intelligent group of musicians. There are so
    many other songs that `they`could criticize but if you don`t like it don`t listen!

  27. Not only do we have to suffer under the dictates of the Trudeauvian culture police, the CRTC, now we have the CBSC dictating what's tasteful or offensive and therefore verboten to all. The irony of a 25 year old song being banished from the airwaves to pacify the complaint of one person 25 years after this song was a hit is comically deranged. A classic case of the State ramming it's self imposed political correctness doctrine down our throats, while putting forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

    • "A classic case of the State ramming it's self imposed political correctness doctrine down our throats…"

      This topic has provided classic demonstration of wingnuts' failure to comprehend the world around them.

  28. Hey! Now there finally is a way to get that Rap Crap off the air. Where do I write to lodge my whiny complaint? I'm sure I can find offensive lyrics in every Rap song that is written. Then "Country" is next on my hit list. I'll be able to ban a few of "them thar red neck songs" as well. Then the "90's rock" – then the "80's rock" – songs that promote drugs and a carefree lifestyle are corrupting our youth of today. I hate "Heavy Metal" and the druggie lifestyle it promotes too. . . . then that "Classical" stuff too – 'cause its all too old.

    "We don't need no education" (Pink Floyd) – well that's a lie. Lets get rid of songs that lie and lead our children away from the "proper" upbringing. Oh, of course "Christmas" songs. There are far too many of those songs played at Christmas that I'm sure offend non Christians – get rid of them too. ( Oops, I accidentally said the offensive "C" word that is close to being banned from our Canadian Dictionary)

    I'm sure if I work on it, I can get the "Acceptable Playlist" down to two or three songs from John Denver. Then the whole world will be a better place to live. No longer will I have to switch stations to get away from the songs that I don't wish to hear.

    Now where do I write to complain about the CBSC so I can have them banned as well? Then the federal government . . . then . . . .

    • Just don't let them mess with the ''Sound of Music '' O.K ?


  30. I agree Judy why pick on this one song. Have they not listened to our "rap" songs

  31. What does the CBSC have to say about the real, mortal threat to the rights of Gay Canadians and Canadian women, namely Muslim Immigration? Nothing? Oh, that's right, the immigration lobby has the right to stifle any serious discussion about this, sorry, I forgot.

    • The immigration lobby? Why would they be harassing a bunch of private broadcasters?

      Oh, hold on, it's just come to me. You have no idea what you're talking about, do you? Now it makes sense.

  32. Okay so even McLeans censors the f word, I just wrote a post using the word in question and it immediately got deleted, so why are they complaining about he CBSC doing it too?

  33. I'm a gay man myself and I have no problem with how the F word (can't mention the actual word or McLeans will delete the post) was used in that song. true sometimes it can be used as an insult but sometimes its also a term of endearment, one I often use among my friends but in a positive context. Personally I find the expression "that's so gay" when used in negative context to be much more offensive even though its words are much more polite. Context is everything in language and artists and academics should have licence to go beyond social norms for the potential benefit of all society. However I do support the work of the CBSC and think they have made some very good decisions to reduce the spreading of hatred for gays and lesbians, most recently when they sanctioned Charles McVety for claiming gays and lesbians are inherently pedophiles in one of his broadcasts. That sanction I fully supported because I believe McVety's comments were hate speech designed specifically to spread hatred of gays and lesbians, besides being just plain wrong and ignorant. Stopping the spread of hatred is a worthwhile goal of the CBSC and I applaud them for it, however in this case they missed the mark in my opinion, mind you when you look closer at how they made the decision its clear that there are procedural issues at hand that lead to this poor decision, for one thing the station itself is supposed to make a defense which they didn't do in this case while the complaintant laid out a good case by pointing out all the other songs with potentially insulting words that that station does play censored versions of while refusing to play a censored version of a song including a word offensive to some gays and lesbians. The actual list of songs that that station will play censored versions of and the words they censor are ridiculous. That radio station is hardly a defender of free speech or artistic licence judging by all they do censor, except for the F word. I believe in this case the problem is more with the radio station in question than the particular song, keep in mind that the CBSC sanctioned the radio station itself and not the song as is being suggested in the media. Anyways if you want to read what other LGBT folks are saying about this, both for and against, check out xtra.ca coverage, some very complelling arguments are made on both sides.

  34. Personally, this action is totally wrong as we live in a free country where we don't have to listen to anything if we don't want to plus music is the one thing that is wonderful for many reasons and the above song I listened to many times while working, raising our children and growing older happily. Whatever reason would anyone have for thinking this song could change anyone's attitude into a negative note for all society… Only an idiot would feel this way!!!

  35. If you really want to get a song played, just ban it! Kids who have never heard of it are busily downloading and playing this great song. Way to go! Unintended consequences obviously an alien con cept to these morons….

  36. This is government control gone mad. Someone wants a song to be barred from play because they don't like one of the words used in the song should be ignored and not accepted as a legitimate action. Nonsense! What a waste of tax dollars.

    • No government and tax money involved, Ray.
      How about making a minimal effort to understand an issue before commenting on it?

    • "The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) is an independent, non-governmental organization created by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) to administer standards established by its members, Canada's private broadcasters. The Council's membership includes more than 730 private sector radio and television stations, specialty services and networks from across Canada, programming in English, French and third languages." http://www.cbsc.ca/english/index.php
      So, basically, the CBSC is a self-regulating body put in place by the Canadian private broadcasters to get the CRTC off their back.
      This being said, the decision regarding Money For Nothing is dumb, to say the least.

  37. Disappointing …. that I must be told what I like or don't like. To be informed that I am supposed to be offended by this material is also way past the pale.

  38. I think the fact that a Dire Straits song has become a focal point of a rights debate is evidence enough that our society has done a good enough job already of protecting its basic human rights.

  39. not that i am necessarily disagreeing, but the CBSC isn't the government.

  40. You have no idea what actually happened here, do you?

    Try being angry at the right people. Send some mail to the CBSC and tell them ysou,ll take it out on their advertisers. Then call your local station andtell them to quit the CBSC or you,ll call their sponsors directly.

  41. just a slight correction, the CBSC is privately owned and operated. no government involved, although i'm not saying i disagree with you.

  42. 3.8% of respondents have no taste in music!

  43. I find the CBSC and similar censorship bodies offensive.

    There…I've said it, now can we ban them?

  44. I have been sending emails to the CBSC for the last week demanding that the N word be removed from all songs that use it. I don't really care if they do or not, but, it is to make a point. How can they possibly censor one song for one word spoken 2 times, when rap songs can say the N word throughout almost constantly?
    The change in Money for Nothing was in response to a complaint from one individual and they made the ruling on that one persons complaint. I am one person also, but so far I have heard NOTHING from them.

    • Ed…Go to Macleans ''Need to know '' Jan. 21, 2011….You will be pleased….

  45. it's ashame that 1 person can start such a fuss over a song .. and get the country in an uproar .. but yet we mention drunk driver up again on yet another charge making it his 15th .. we get no reaction.. just us at home watching the news saying shocking he should be locked up. or like when they took smoking out of clubs and smoking out of public places… i'm a smoker and i say take them off the shelf if we are being told where to smoke them… or my thoughts would blow all your minds so i will stop here… i was just saying.. if you don't like the thing you hear you have the option to change the station on the tv or radio ..

  46. I don't know what are you talking about. However, national anthem of Canada, I think it is the most boring song! a HAPPIER TUNE AND SOME MODERN LANGUAGE WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN PERCEPTION.