Wednesday, December 19, 2007

British fairytales

Under the censors' thumb

Today's page was about to begin with the words "Britain's hit a new low". Yesterday BBC radio 1 decided to ban a few words from The Pogues' 1987 Christmas hit "The Fairytale of New York". According to some zealots at the corporation, the song epithets 'faggot' and 'scumbag' were apparently gagging for their share of 'bleep' treatment.

It is exactly this type of idiocy that gives fresh ammunition to the (currently trendy) Daily Mail-led "political-correctness-has-gone-mad" lobby. Thankfully, of course, when challenged, no-one at the BBC 1 was prepared to argue that, in the context of "Fairytale of New York", the word 'faggot' is imbued with inflammatory undertones. Anyone vaguely familiar with music may be just aware The Pogues inhabit a territory miles away from Beenie Man's braindead gaybashing.

This time round, fitting the happy-ending narrative, people at BBC radio 1 came to their senses and took back their decision. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr Brain's faggots were soon to disappear from supermarkets. Or, most likely, if the makers of Lost were to be taken to court for racial hatred each time Sawyer is caught saying 'shortbrown'. And how about half of Fawlty Towers banned from telly and the authors of Queer as Folk legally bound to come up with another title? Oh, and no more Love Thy Neighbour on UK Gold… Not many grumbles with that one, I guess.