Maybe I’m the Faggot, America

So I’m alone in the car – a very rare thing of a mother of two girls – and I’m blaring the radio and singing along to Green Day as loud as I can.

Ah, freedom… Green Day, the rebellious sound of the last days of my youth. It’s no secret, I love Green Day. Been there done that, I bought the t-shirt. I’ve seen them in concert and they still hold up as one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live. I say that because they were the first (and only really) who sound exactly the same live as they do live. To me, that speaks a lot about a band.

So “American Idiot” is playing and I’m loving it. Empty car seat rattling with the power of my car speakers. Sing it Billy Joe!….

Everything isn’t meant to be okay.

Television dreams of tomorrow.

We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

 

Well maybe I’m the [dead air] America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.

Wait a second. Did the radio bleep out the word “faggot?” Alright, well I guess, that can be a very harmful and offensive word.

But this is Green Day The same band that hit the radio charts with Longview – a song about masturbation. Green Day is no stranger to using any kind of gay culture reference in its lyrics. In Basket Case (again a chart topper) goes like this…

I went to a shrink

To analyze my dreams
She says it’s lack of sex that’s bringing me down
I went to a whore
He said my live’s a bore
And quit no whining cause it’s bringing her down

I don’t think there is one Green Day song that doesn’t have the word “fuck” in it somewhere. So I wasn’t super surprised that “Fuck” as dropped out of American Idiot.

But then a few songs later on my “car concert” came on a little ditty by….Dire Straits. Maybe you’ve heard of Money for Nothing? A cute little song from 1985 that features Sting and was one of the most played videos on MTV. (Well, no surprise when it mentions MTV in its chorus)

Again, I’m singing along…

See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup

Yeah buddy that’s his own hair

That little faggot got his own jet airplane

That little faggot he’s a millionaire

Not one single word dropped out.

No one word omitted.

Why Green Day and not Dire Straits? Now it could be me, but I feel that the Dire Straits lyrics is much more harmful and filamentary towards gay people than the Green Day lyric. But hey, I love both bands, but I am a Green Day fan.

The point is. If radio is going to censor artist for a word choice shouldn’t it be across the board?

So I did a little research.

Turns out that Clear Channel said that “fuck” and “faggott” had to be omitted to be aired on Clear Channel. So if you’re listening to a Clear Channel (which isn’t that almost all of them now) then you get the bleep or drop out. Clear Channel apparently didn’t have their dirty little fingers on the censorship button in 1985 and Big Brother must have been out to lunch.

So that explains the radio. So now cut to the recent Live 8 concert where Green Day performs their mega hit American Idiot and the genius’ drop out “fuck” and “faggott” but a few minutes later Green Day goes into Holiday and for some reason the word “fags” is NOT dropped out.

Bang bang goes the broken glass and

Kill all the fags that don’t agree

But it gets better. When Green Day preformed American Idiot on the Grammy’s the academy bleep out “fuck” but not “faggott.”

What? Is there any rhyme or reason to censorship anymore? If you can’t catch everything then let it all go. I don’t know, I might be too liberal, and it will probably come back to bite me, but words are words. Remember the playground mantra “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

But that won’t work for the Clear Channel and the FCC so how about this instance analogy: We should drop out the word “tool.” A screwdriver is a tool. A hammer is a tool. The pencil that I use to write this piece is a tool. But this dangerous word is also another way to refer to a manly member of the human anatomy. I can also defame an entire group of people who can’t make decisions for themselves by calling them “a tool”. So because I could use the word “tool” in a sexual way or in a hurtful way it should be (sometimes) bleeped out on TV and radio.

But isn’t that just crazy? Wait, the word “crazy” hurt a group of people who have been in treatment for mental illness. Gnarls Barkley, Britney Spears, Black Sabbath and Patsy Cline – look out!!!

I guess my point is that Green Day is the most anti-homophobic band in mainstream radio. And to me when they say “Maybe I’m the faggot American” takes a word that American’s are scared of and turns it into maybe I’m the misunderstood one America.  And that something gay, straight or other we all can relate to.

I leave you with these words of wisdom from Green Day….

“King For A Day”
Started at the age of 4.
My mother went to the grocery store.
Went sneaking through her bedroom door to find something in a size 4.

Sugar and spice and everything nice wasn’t made for only girls.
GI Joe in panty hose is making room for the one and only.

King for a day, princess by dawn.
King for a day in a leather thong.
King for a day, princess by dawn.
Just wait ’til all the guys get a load of me.

My daddy threw me in therapy.
He thinks I’m not a real man.
Who put the drag in the drag queen.
Don’t knock it until you tried it

Interesting reading about the word Faggot.

Faggot phobia about Green Day and Clear Channel http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1589/is_2004_Nov_23/ai_n8706659

Grammy and Live 8 info http://www.rabbireport.com/archives/2005/07/odd-censoring.htm

Money for nothing info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_for_Nothing_(song)

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4 thoughts on “Maybe I’m the Faggot, America

  1. Rongwey says:

    Hiya Kate. I found your site when I did a google search for “dire straits – the word “faggot” dropped on the radio. Yeah, they did it to that song too. Money for Nothin’. I suppose it depends on whether or not somebody told them to censor that song on whatever station as to if it’s done or not. Idk.

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