Saturday, January 15, 2011

Censorship is More Dangerous Than Freedom

The title of this post seems shockingly clear and obvious to me, but perhaps I'm just unenlightened.  In the event that reading words (curse words and slang) offends your delicate sensibilities, I strongly suggest that you stop reading this post right now.

There are many songs that I can think of off the top of my head that have questionable lyrics.  I don't find the lyrics questionable personally and I like all of the specific songs listed below, but I probably wouldn't listen when my parroting 2-year old is in the car.  Here's a quick run down of a few songs with curse words or slurs contained in the lyrics:

- Bullshit in Money by Pink Floyd
- Fuck in Who Are You by The Who
- Shit in Jet Airliner by Steve Miller Band
- Just about every single one of Prince's hits includes at least one blatant sexual reference
- Tits, chicks "cream"ing, and a pussy wagon in Greased Lightening from Grease
- Bitch in The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band
- Damn near the entire rap genre with the exception of LL Cool J as I can't recall a single curse in his songs, though his songs are horny as they come (heh, get it?!)
- Faggot in Money for Nothing by Dire Straits

Money for Nothing was released over 25-years ago and I'm assuming that everyone has heard the song at least once or twice in the last two decades.  If you have half a brain and listen to the song, you realize that it is from the perspective of some blue-collar redneck type who is envious of the bitchin' stuff that these "faggot" rock stars can acquire.  Mark Knopfler wasn't slamming homosexuals (though I feel that it would be his prerogative - yes, it's spelled correctly - if he wanted to) and he wrote the lyrics in such a way that it's obvious the faggot millionaire is the smart one because he's getting money for nothing and chicks for free.

Canadian society must be in a state of total perfection because this song has a problem that needs resolving.  The word faggot is not acceptable in a song that was released more than a quarter of a century ago.  The original version of Money for Nothing has been banned from Canada's airwaves.  A 25-year old song has been banned because it's lyrics are considered offensive somehow.  This manufactured controversy is one of the stupidest things I've ever read about.  Good fucking grief!

Don't think I'm only slamming our neighbors to the North because America always seems to be brewing a special brand of censorship stupidity.  An edited version of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel that is well over 100-years old, has been published so that the book can be used in classrooms.  Anyone who has ever read the book can probably guess why this is considered necessary to protect our precious little snowflakes.  Yes, the dreaded N-word (in case you're totally clueless, that would be nigger) is used and that is no longer acceptable, even in classic literature.  However, it is still socially acceptable in rap lyrics so make whatever you will of that double standard.  If you have read the book and didn't allow one friggin' word to turn you off from a great story, you would realize that Jim is a fantastically pivotal character and the book itself shines a light on the idiocy that is racism and prejudice.

Have we grown so thin-skinned and delicate that we can't handle reading or hearing simple words?  We are offended by artistic works the way they are written or composed?  If so, this society has become a bunch of pussies and we really need to grow the Hell up.

Words only have the power that we allow them to have.  Words can't hurt you if you don't allow yourself to be hurt by them.  Frequently use the words that are hurtful and you will find that one day they can no longer cause you to hurt.

I didn't always feel so free with language.  For example, the word cunt really bothered me for some damn reason and it appears to be a word that offends many women.  I found the word to be highly offensive and I'd stiffen up in disapproval whenever I would hear it.  One day I decided that I did not want to give a word such power or control that it can actually change my emotions.  I mean, come the fuck on, it's just a word!

So guess what I did?  I began to use the word cunt.  I used it anytime that I would normally have said pussy, snatch, or vadge.  This was several years ago and, you know, the word cunt doesn't bother me in the least these days.  I stripped the word of it's power by using it and saying it often.

Insisting that others stop saying a word, writing a word, or singing a word only serves to let the word in question grow in power and continue to inflict pain.  In this way (and in others) censorship is more dangerous than freedom.  Flex your freedom; don't shrink your vocabulary, allow it to grow!

In a post such as this, I feel it's obligatory to list the following so-called dirty words:  shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits!


  1. This is your best one yet!

    (But I *heart* swear words, so I may be biased!)

  2. Thanks Mandi! Thanks to a 2 1/2-year old who repeats EVERYTHING we say these days, I'm a reformed sailor-mouth and my favorite words these days are "fiddlesticks" and "Oh, fooey!" I don't care what language adults use, but I don't want my toddler to bust out CS or an F.