A snowflake: An overly sensitive or easily offended person, or one who believes they are entitled to special treatment on account of their supposedly unique characteristics.

Is it ok to use hateful language if it is sung?

Is it ok to use hateful language if it is sung?

A moral person: If moral is used as an adjective, it means good, or ethical. If you have a strong moral character, you are a good member of society.

Ask around and most people will say that it is their favourite Christmas song. Fairytale of New York is simultaneously sad, happy and festive. But it has also been raised as having elements of homophobia due to the dated slang used in the sixth verse.

We all know the lyrics, scumbag, maggot, you can finish it off in your head. And of course, it’s the word f*ggot that the internet has a problem with. And rightly so. The slang word is a widely offensive term used to insult gay men.

1987 was the year when the song was released, two and a half decades before legislation to allow same-sex marriage in the U.K. was passed. It doesn’t take an expert to figure out that there are major differences between the attitude towards sexual equality then and now.

To put this into perspective, in 1987 the Minnesota Supreme Court refused to rule on the constitutionality of the state’s anti-sodomy law. It wasn’t until 2001 when the appeal was made.

Even ten years later, discrimination was still a norm in society. In 1997, New Zealand’s court of appeal ruled unanimously not to grant same-sex couples the right to marry.

This is not to say that the song was written to cause offence. Rather, language and society have both developed significantly since the original release of this song, meaning that it is not acceptable to use this term in today's world as it perhaps was then.

It wasn’t until 2001 when the the Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage. Belgium, Canada, Spain and South Africa all followed suit. It took another 13 years for same-sex marriage to be officially legalised in the supposedly modern, diverse, accepting United Kingdom.

In a statement, Shane MacGowan said:

The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character. She is not supposed to be a nice person, or even a wholesome person.

“She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate.

Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend! She is just supposed to be an authentic character and not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable, sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively.

“If people don’t understand that I was trying to accurately portray the character as authentically as possible then I am absolutely fine with them bleeping the word but I don’t want to get into an argument.

The acceptance that this word was used by someone of a ‘certain generation’ at a ‘certain time in history’ by MacGowan himself, only further suggests that the social acceptance of these types of lyrics has changed dramatically since the song was first released.

If this still isn’t enough to convince you that this word should be censored from the song, ask yourself this…

If a song were to be released now in which the singer openly used homosexual slurs, would you be comfortable singing that?

Probably (hopefully) not.

There is a difference between being a ‘snowflake’ and a moral champion, and this argument stands to show that.

In 1987, we may not have blinked an eyelid to these lyrics. But that was over 30 years ago and 26 countries have legalised same-sex marriage in that time. We should be challenging any language and behaviour that incites hate towards any minority group, and that’s why this word should be censored in the song.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk

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