…to send up homophobia? You decide.
Next they’ll be taking the n-word out of Huck Finn or something.
UPDATE: In the version posted here, and in others I’ve listened to this morning, the f-word isn’t actually sung—the word “mother” is substituted. Would these pass muster with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council?*
UPPERDATE: Mark Knopfler reflected in 1985:
The layers of irony in “Money for Nothing” have certainly confused people. I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London - he actually said it was “below the belt.” Apart from the fact that there are stupid gay people as well as stupid other people, it suggests that maybe you can’t let it have so many meanings - you have to be direct.
In fact, I’m still in two minds as to whether it’s a good idea to write songs that aren’t in the first person, to take on other characters. The singer in “Money for Nothing” is a real ignoramus, hard hat mentality - somebody who sees everything in financial terms. I mean, this guy has a grudging respect for rock stars. He sees it in terms of, well, that’s not working and yet the guys rich: that’s a good scam. He isn’t sneering.
*As pointed out by reader Catelli, yes, they would. Interesting that the stage performances substituted other words—like “mother” and “trucker.” Was this sensitivity or simply defensiveness?