The trailer has arrived for the must-see true crime documentary on Sophie Toscan du Plantier
The trailer has arrived for the must-see true crime documentary on Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Jennifer McShane

What to eat this week: Beef with green chilli, soy, black sesame and soba
What to eat this week: Beef with green chilli, soy, black sesame and soba

Lauren Heskin

This modern Sligo farmhouse with a dreamy home office chalet and a treehouse is for sale for €245,000
This modern Sligo farmhouse with a dreamy home office chalet and a treehouse is for...

Lauren Heskin

Picnic season is here, so up your alfresco dining game with these chic accessories
Picnic season is here, so up your alfresco dining game with these chic accessories

Megan Burns

Soon enough, we will all be united in hate-watching Wild Mountain Thyme
Soon enough, we will all be united in hate-watching Wild Mountain Thyme

Lynn Enright

Stress Awareness Month: 6 tips to help you mange symptoms (and avoid burnout)
Stress Awareness Month: 6 tips to help you mange symptoms (and avoid burnout)

Jennifer McShane

Lizzo slides into Chris Evans’ DMs and his reaction is everything
Lizzo slides into Chris Evans’ DMs and his reaction is everything

Shayna Sappington

Image / Editorial

The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan responds to Fairytale of New York lyrics controversy


by Jennifer McShane
08th Dec 2018
blank

There has been a lot of talk in recent days about the so-called hidden meaning and inappropriate lyrics in some of our favourite Christmas songs. We published a piece recently that divided readers, following the news that some Irish radio stations had decided to remove Baby, It’s Cold Outside from playlists and censor the ‘homophobic’ use of a particular word in Fairytale of New York.

One can definitely see the logic in the argument made for Baby It’s Cold Outside, bearing in mind that it was written in the 1940s. In 2018, the undertone of the lyrics has been read by many to imply sexual coercion. The woman really wants to go home, and the man – who keeps cutting across her – doesn’t want her to leave.  And so, some are of the opinion that it’s now inappropriate in the #MeToo era. The Irish season radio station, Christmas FM, has said it has removed the song from its playlist as “it doesn’t resonate well with listeners.” That said, there has been much debate about some new interpretations of the track.

An ex-English teacher posting on Tumblr argued that “yes, by applying today’s worldview to the song, it does sound like a rape anthem but the song makes sense in the context of a society in which women are expected to reject men’s advances whether they actually want to or not. The woman is perfectly sober and about to have awesome consensual sex and use the drink (offered to her in the song) as plausible deniability because she’s living in a society where women aren’t supposed to have sexual agency .. It’s not a song about rape, it’s a song about a woman finding a way to exercise sexual agency in a patriarchal society designed to stop her doing so.”

Fairytale of New York is a particularly beloved Christmas song. Not least because it’s Irish, at this stage it’s rooted in nostalgia. It has lost none of its impact; the songwriting prowess of Shane MacGowan ensured that the track, over twenty years after its original release, is timeless – like all truly great works of art are. Even so, some of its lyrics have also been criticised. In the song, Kirsty MacColl calls MacGowan’s character a “cheap, lousy, f****t” leading a number of Irish stations to censor the word.

The argument has also been made that while many object to MacColl using the terminology, few cry outrage for MacGowan using what is demeaning language in relation to her – MacGowan calls MacColl “an old slut on junk.”

This week, MacGowan has released a statement on the lyrics, saying that “The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak with her character. She is not supposed to be a nice person or even a wholesome person…”. He added that the use of the term was “never intended to offend.”

He reiterates the argument that the song was of its time, but added that he thought it fine if some saw fit to censor. “Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend! She is just supposed to be an authentic character… 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.

His full statement is below:

Also Read

Rosanna Davidson and her twin boys
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, PARENTHOOD
Rosanna Davidson: ‘I had sort of accepted that I was a girl who couldn’t have a baby herself’

For Mother's Day Lia Hynes sits down with Rosanna Davidson, whose exceptional journey into motherhood has given many hope.

By Lia Hynes

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost,...

By Amanda Kavanagh

blank
EDITORIAL
Is marketplace feminism stealing the limelight from real female-driven issues?

‘Femertising’ is big business. Brands are increasingly taking advantage of...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Vaccine envy: ‘Why a year of Covid has brought out the begrudgers’

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
What to eat this weekend: Fish n’ courgette chips with homemade tartar sauce

This healthy fish and courgette chips recipe from Jane Kennedy...

By Meg Walker

blank
EDITORIAL
Here’s how you can watch a new short film starring Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal fans, this one is for you… A 14-minute...

By Jennifer McShane

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
premium IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako