The debate on Christmas song censorship has focussed on The Pogues' festive hit.
Amid the newly re-triggered controversy over the lyrics of Christmas classic ‘Fairytale of New York’, the song’s writer Shane MacGowan has said that he’d be “absolutely fine” with the word “faggot” being censored on the radio.
From time to time, debates have re-emerged as to the use of the word, sung by Kirsty MacColl in the 1987 Christmas hit for The Pogues and which has since become officially the most-played festive song of all time. The word “faggot” is rightly regarded as a homophobic slur in this day and age, but some have argued that the contemporary context of the song means the word should be interpreted as traditional Irish slang for a ‘lazy person’.
This week, RTE 2FM presenter Eoghan McDermott tweeted to object to the word, which he condemned as a “slur” and “insult”, while his colleague Stephen Byrne revealed how he felt when he heard it played in a club.
Shane MacGowan has given his thoughts on the long-standing controversy
“I stood in a room as over 200 people screamed a word that’s been used to make me feel like an outsider, with such joy and cheer,” he wrote.
It comes in the context of a week that’s seen a censorship debate over another Christmas song, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’, being called to be suspended from radio play because of its lyrics, with a campaigner describing them as misogynistic and sinister.
However, ‘Fairytale of New York’s author, Shane MacGowan, has waded into the controversy, releasing a statement to Virgin Media Television’s ‘The Tonight Show’.
Shane McGowan gives us a statement with his reaction to the #FairytaleofNewYork censorship calls @VirginMedia_One #TonightVMT pic.twitter.com/LudzWjZK9l— The Tonight Show (@TonightVMT) 6 December 2018
“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,” MacGowan said in a statement on Thursday evening (December 6th).
“The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character,” he continued. “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.”
More: The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan gets new teeth for Christmas [archive]