Sunday, January 16, 2011

Next - Bob and Doug McKenzie Get Banned

So you're, of course, aware of the big news out of Canada last week that the twenty-six year-old song "Money For Nothing" was banned from Canadian radio. It's cold up there right now, so there's really no other news out of Canada. They're too busy having sex to keep warm, right?

This would be like having banned Dean Martin's "Not Enough Indians" in 1985 (except that song was only sixteen years-old at the time) for being insensitive to Native Americans (which it is). Such a ban would have been considered as ridiculous as Dean Martin attempting to stand straight up on two feet. But we had much higher BS thresholds then.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council explains their decision here. The short sum-up of their decision is that the Council will ban a song giving credence to only one person's claim of having been offended, without granting context to the offending remark (which they must do by their own claim) - and then they'll gouge their own eyes out.

So, why not just go all out? If "Money For Nothing" is offensive to one gay Canadian than certainly the equally decades old Bob and Doug McKenzie routines are offensive to at least one very humorless and sensitive Canadian. That's it, cancel SCTV syndication. Oh wait, SCTV isn't in syndication anywhere. Forgotten. Irrelevant. It has no contemporary context in a world with little room for history, and lots of room for sensitivity. What was that about those who forget history? . . . doomed . . . maybe when forgetting Roth vs United States (1957) when the Supreme Court did away with the 19th century standard of obscenity based on the reactions of a "particularly sensitive person", or forgetting women were denied voting rights based on the idea that their natures were too "sensitive" to handle the complexities of politics. Forget it, sensitivity is a raging fashion. Let's all pick something and be hurt, and share our pain, and ban some damn thing.

And yes, I know I moved to making my argument with examples from the United States, and the United States is not Canada. And my hat is not my head. But don't ignore that the US, Canada and the UK (and sometimes Australia, like the letter Y as a vowel) move in social sync. Each country's culture has a lot of influence on the other. I understand a radio station in Atlanta banned the song too.

The following is for those of us who still approve of getting drunk and torturing small animals:

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