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Double standards

Songs being banned from radio during the annual Crop-Over Festival is nothing new.

In fact, songs being on a no-play lists of public broadcast stations generally, both here and overseas, has long been a standard practise.

Most Barbadians who have long lost their mother’s features would easily remember a period in the 1980s when political commentaries penned and sung by calypsonian the Mighty Gabby never made it to the airwaves.

Other singers of that genre and others, including Jamaican dancehall, have all suffered similar fates at some stage on the basis that the material was unfit for transmittal by a particular broadcast company.

No one in their right mind should get upset or be angry when radio and television representatives seek to enforce standards by which they judge what should and should not be played on radio.

And in that same regard composers and producers of songs should know they risk limiting the audience their material is exposed to if it is deemed vulgar, otherwise offensive, or advocates violence.

We are revisiting this old and much discussed issue in the context of a recent media report suggesting the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation has “banned” a song called Fat Pork, sung by Mikard.

Having listened to this Crop-Over 2013 contribution, the first phrase that comes to mind is “hypocritical condemnation”.

It is true we are not song writing experts, but we would side with those other listeners who have no fundamental problem with the song Fat Pork.

As calypsos go, the song is no masterpiece. It is not dealing with unique subject matter, and the treatment of the topic in what some would call a sexually suggestive manner, is not new.

Radio stations must have standards we agree, but what’s the difference between this song and others which have not been banned in recent years when the standards were the same but have similarly dealt with topics including bacon, pork, salt fish and conk.

Why move to condemn Mikard when each weekend at various fetes we see women wearing clothing in public that is more suited for their bedrooms? Are the lyrics of his song so risqu√ that we should be more concerned about these words than the increasing, but unfortunately now common, display of sexual positions masquerading as dancing each Kadooment Day or community carnival?

Will Barbados’ public morals — especially those of the youngest among us — be any more corrupted by a song called Fat Pork and which includes lyrics about a “delicacy”, which is “roundish in shape, pinkish in colour and fleshy on the inside” than the behaviour already highlighted and that which we have not mentioned? We certainly think not, although our views are in no way intended to condone or encourage vulgarity and sexual innuendo, which will continue even if Mikard decides his singing days are over.

Our problem is with the stench of hypocrisy and double standards which too often accompanies discussion on such issues.

And in this regard one does not have to think too hard to remember the heavy public criticism of a previous Crop-Over song similar to Fat Pork, which quickly fizzed after it became known that a certain calypso composer wrote it. So that what was previously deemed vulgar by some, quickly became a lyrical piece worthy of admiration and broadcast. Such is the nature of this society and many of those who inhabit it. Let us set standards and maintain them, let us be condemnatory of things deserving of such, and of course we should try to retain whatever moral fabric we can at all times. That does not mean, however, that any of us should be sanctimonious about it while condoning or ignoring worse.

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