There are interesting takes on the censorship question here at Roof Beam Reader and here at The Guardian. There's also a very interesting post by Michael Chabon on the dilemma of reading an uncensored Huck Fin to his nine and seven year old kid. Yikes. I'm not there yet with my kids but I'm getting close. What will I do?
Buried a bit under the debate of Huck's censorship came another tale of censorship: Canada's radio watchdog is banning playing "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits for the use of the term "faggot"
When I was a kid in the late 70's my sister and her friends would tell each other to not be so 'gay.' My sister and I would tease each other and when one of us did something corny or lame the other would say 'you are so gay' and laugh.
Kids don't know anything (or, as my immigrant mom got a kick out of saying, 'their asses from their elbows') but they are eager to try to sound grown up. Calling someone gay at that time, whatever the person meant, was completely acceptable. I went to a catholic school and I'm pretty sure my friends and I called each other gay or gaylord often (as well as 'retard' 'doofus', 'dyke' and other epithets) with never a condemenatory word from an adult in a cossack or habit.
I'm not saying it was right, I'm saying it was history. According to societal norms, that was not wrong. Societal norms are notoriously shitty. Drowning old spinsters who made medicinal teas in the middle ages, otherwise known as 'Not Suffering a Witch to Live' was also a societal norm. Doesn't make it right. Again, I say, it just makes it history.
I've always hated that stupid song, even in 1985 when I was a bit of a Sting fan and those graphics, man they were CUTTING EDGE, so I'd love to say, lucky bloody Canadian's never having to hear it again. But I can't. It's art. It's a song told from a character's perspective and this guy (I think he's the shorter moving guy made out of rhombuses) is a jack ass and a narrow minded bigot. That's who he is. It's no one's job to make art 'good' or 'safe' with a giant Magic Censorship Eraser.