NSFW: The Hypocrisy of “Clean” Music

I got to thinking about this issue a few days ago, when I was shopping for pants in Zellers, I think it was, and the song Hot in Hear came on the radio. In the first verse, the word “ass” was, as in so many songs, removed. But these days, they don’t just bleep out that part of the song. Oh, no. Instead, the word “ass” was dubbed over with a sample of this gasping woman, who sounded like she was going to achieve orgasm right in the middle of the song. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years, I’m sure you’ve heard the kind of thing I’m talking about.

Let’s think about this for a minute. The word “ass” is so awful, so dangerous to Canadian children everywhere, so offensive to Christians and grandmothers, that it can’t be played in a song on the radio. Instead, it’s perfectly okay to play the sound of some strange woman having a public orgasm. This is obviously the message we want to be sending to our children: it doesn’t matter what you think, say, or do, it’s okay unless you use a list of proscribed “evil” words to talk about it. The words “ass” and “shit” are WRONG! But singing “I am getting so hot. I’m going to take my clothes off” in a mall is just fine. What is the CRTC thinking? Either outlaw all discussion of sex entirely, and only allow the radio and TV to play approved children’s programming all day, or get rid of this silly double standard that says you can say whatever you want, as long as you don’t use the awful “evil” words! The song Californication pulled the same trick. If it had been called “California Fucking” (sounds like the unreleased track from the Mamas and the Papas) it never would’ve got radio play. But just because they use the word fornication, they can say whatever they want. Do we in this country really believe that kids haven’t heard the word fuck before, and that they have no idea what the word Fornication means?

Bad Touch (warning!: I have no idea what the above video is showing, and I don’t what to know) by The Bloodhound Gang is another example of a song that got a huge number of radio plays when it first came out, a number of years ago. As it didn’t use any “evil” words, it could be played on the radio unmodified. Apparently, children and Christians just couldn’t figure out lyrics like “You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel,” “Getting horny now,” “only God knows where we stuck it,” “put your hands down my pants and I bet you’ll feel nuts,” etc, because they didn’t use any of those nasty “bad” words. I know from personal experience that isn’t true. I remember downloading this track off of Napster as a not particularly sexually aware 13-year-old, and knowing perfectly well that it was about doing the dirty dance. I won’t say what it’s about directly (the s-word) in case any 13-year-olds are reading this who still haven’t figured it out.

Can we please just get over ourselves and scrap the idea of bad words entirely? You can’t say bad words. You can only use words to say bad things. And you can say bad things as long as you know enough words to make a phrase. The words don’t matter; it’s all in how you use them.

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