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 biggie

Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down” was on for the millionth time yesterday and I didn’t mind because I like the song and all but there’s one thing that does bother me about when that song is played on the radio; censors blank out two words that aren’t even obscene!

When Ne-Yo sings, “I used to be commander and chief of my pimp ship flying high…” they blank out the word “ship”.

Then when Kanye spits, “How can you ask someone who’s only average…?” they blank out the word “ask”.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that hyper sensitive censors hit the mute button on words that might have sounded like fouler words or words that were innocuous in most cases and only sometimes slightly risky due to context. Heck, Wanye and Baby’s “Always Strapped” has the second word in its title blanked depending on the time of day or which station you catch it on.

If you think back to 2003, in the chorus to 50 Cent’s “What Up Gangsta“, when 50 spit, “What up Blood, what up Cuz…” the “Blood” part always got blanked. This I found particularly disturbing because the censor, who was clearly showing his affinity for street gangs by omitting the reference to a popular one, also blatantly missed the fact that “Cuz” is just another word for “Crip” (the rivals to the Bloods). This could make it seem as if the radio endorsed the Crips over the Bloods.

By far, in my opinion, the worst case of runaway censorship however had to be on The Notorious B.I.G.’s “One More Chance” remix when Big spit “Navajos creep me in their teepee…” “Navajos” would get garbled-which is similar to being blanked, just with distorted audio- thereby rendering an entire nation of Native Americans too perverse to mention aloud.

The late great comedian George Carlin had a standup routine where he listed the 7 words that were, under all circumstances, too offensive to ever say on television or the radio. I’m not gonna write them here (just click on Carlin’s name if you’ve absolutely GOTTA hear them), but I will give you their cleaner alternatives: feces, urine, womb, copulation, chicken lollipop, female-parent fornicator and the palindrome for “breast”.

What do ya’ll think of censorship? Are there truly such things as “bad” words and if so, which words are they?

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