Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Double Standards

Here's something I don't get: A German radio station was just playing "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus. There's a line in it saying "her boyfriend's a dick / he brings a gun to school"... Now guess what they censored? -- Yes, indeed. They left the "dick" in there and garbled the "gun". Now what's up with that? If you've read my short story partly based on my experiences in working for an American college radio station (no English version available yet, sorry), I can tell you that whilst I made up most of the science-fictionish elements of the story, the FCC (federal Communications Commission) forms people had to fill out when "offensive content" had been aired are absolutely real. You probably know it is common practice in English-speaking countries to "BEEP" out any offensive language like the f-word (or aforementioned d-word), which usually does not happen in Germany because of the simple fact that most of these words do not sound even half as offensive to German ears (including those of the "moral authorities") when uttered in a foreign language. And although I can understand that bringing guns to school has become a sensitive topic here in Germany as well, I fail to see how the WORD itself in that CONTEXT seems more offensive than calling the person an expletive.

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