Wednesday, December 19, 2007
FAIRYTALE of NEW YORK - controversial song
Kirsty MacColl died on December 18, 2000 due to a criminally careless joyrider in a motorboat. So it's a bit ironic that seven years later, her guest-spot with The Pogues on "Fairytale in New York," didn't hit the air as a tribute to her, but instead made U.K. headlines when some radio stations censored the word "faggot."
The song depicts a sparring couple at Christmas, and if this was a scene in a movie, nobody would think twice about it. It would be accepted for what it is; an artistic attempt at duplicating realistic dialogue:
"You're a bum, you're a punk!"
"You're an old slut on junk. Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed."
"You scumbag, you maggot. You cheap lousy faggot
Happy christmas your arse I pray God its our last."
It's a grim, gritty song of hope and hopelessness, a sad and seriocomic slice of life revolving around another line in the song, "I've built my dreams around you." While it's not Edward Albee, the dialogue is valid and the intent is clear. The song is not about offending homosexuals.
In reporting the controversy, several newspapers reproduced the lyrics this way: "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot. Happy christmas your a*** I pray God its our last." So they found "arse" a lot more offensive than "faggot!" Which is queer, because it's tough to be a faggot without some arse involved.
The song could've simply been resurrected for what it is; an accurate vignette on the unrest and anger that often accompanies the "joyous holiday time of year." It also could've been a salute to a lamented singer who died at 41. On Christmas holiday in Mexico, she managed to keep her sons out of the way of a joy-rider in a power boat when she was struck a fatal blow. Just who was driving that boat and what sentence should be imposed are unanswered questions.
For more on that story, please visit http://www.justiceforkirsty.org/
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