Fairy Tale of Censorship

Published on 18 December 2007 in ,

Well Radio 1’s decision to censor The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York has now been reversed now, but sometimes in times like this, I just want to throw a dictionary at some people.

The simple fact is that the term fagot has been used to describe all sorts of things, from a Northern meat based product, through to a bundle of twigs. And one of those dictionary definitions is that of an old, shrivelled woman.

The person I really want to throw the dictionary at is the ever-annoying, self-important Peter Tatchell who proclaims…

“The word faggot is being sung as an insult, alongside scumbag and maggot. In this abusive context it is unacceptable,” he said.

Radio 1 backs down in Pogues row

Well of course its being sung as an insult. Anyone with any brains can tell that from the song. But sorry to break your own sense of importance Pete, but this one’s got a usage that’s got nothing to do with your sexuality. Maybe it’s time to reclaim our traditional insults from people like Pete…


  • Kirk says:

    It’s all very silly. Our modern idea of Fred and Barney having a gay old time is probably rather different to what Hannah and Barbera had in mind.
    I disagree with all censorship of single words in songs. If you don’t want that word, don’t play the song – blanking it out ruins it. I wonder how mony people would have noticed if they’d just not played it at all?

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    The editor of Attitude Magazine was on Channel 4 News saying pretty much that – in 20 years of hearing the song, he’d never thought about it and he reckoned most people wouldn’t have. And he certainly wasn’t about to get offended now.
    Words change meaning all the time. Fagot (or faggot – both spellings are correct) is one that has multiple meanings to this day – unlike gay of course, where it’s “happy” usage has pretty much disappeared.
    Now if people don’t mind, I’m off to munch on a faggot myself. The meat based kind that is! (I’m not really – it’s just a way to end this comment)