. . . and now they’ve come for the rock band Dire Straits, the third verse of whose 1985 No. 1 hit, “Money For Nothing” is now banned from Canadian radio for using what officials called an “extremely offensive” word. The Washington Times explains:
In the song, Dire Straits’ lead singer Mark Knopfler sings in the persona of an appliance-installer looking at his store’s TV section and gawking “at them yo-yos [who] play the guitar on the MTV.”
The manual laborer expresses a mixture of admiration, dismissal and envy about the musicians’ occupation as “ain’t working” but allowing them to get “money for nothing and your chicks for free.”
The offending line occurs in the third verse, where the worker gawks at MTV showing “the little faggot with the earring and the makeup.” Two other uses of the word occur, referring to the performer having “his own jet airplane” and being a millionaire. At the time such MTV male stars as Boy George, Softcell and the Human League either dressed as women or wore sexually ambiguous makeup.
I think every intelligent person familiar with the song got that this was merely an accurate portrayal of working-class resentment toward the privileged life of the glitterati. And man, what a rocking guitar riff!
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