Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lily Allen has a potty mouth

One of the things I like about French TV, other than the nearly complete lack of commercials, is that it is totally uncensored. Movies are shown in their original format, with their original dialog (except when only the French-dubbed version is available), and with their original content and length. In the US, only the expensive pay cable channels like HBO or Showtime show unedited movies, and all the other channels (even the cable channels) edit the movies for language, nudity, sometimes violence, and even to shorten the movie to fit in the designated time slot!

Like French TV, French radio is also not censored, and this song is quite popular. Personally, I am not offended by "bad" words. I do not use them often, but their use doesn't bother me and in fact seem natural in certain situations. But, like most Americans I think, I have been brought up to recognize the taboo of them. A group of construction workers standing around a job site my cuss like sailors, but if an old women or child walks up, they immediately switch to more accepted language. I think I am the same way. Cussing in certain situations just seem weird to me.

Lily Allen is an English pop/alternative singer whose latest single, F*ck You (excuse my French), is quite popular in France (and most of Europe). For the most part the lyrics are very tame, but the oft-repeated chorus contains many uses of the F word. Or more accurately, like most choruses, just repetitions of the same single use of the word (which you can probably guess from the title of the song).

Perhaps the most Surreal example of this for me, was when George and I were in Rome, Italy. It was our last day in Italy and we decided to go to the grocery store to buy some pastas and sauces to take back to France with us. It was a pretty normal grocery store--a few kids, a couple old ladies, and a few other random people picking up the necessities. As we were deciding how much we could stuff in our luggage, Lily Allen's new hit came on the radio, and the middle-aged Italian guy working behind the deli counter was apparently quite the fan. He was humming and dancing and chopping his meat and when the chorus came around, he burst into song--F*ck You. F*ck you very, very muuuuch. The old lady buying meat from him didn't seem to mind.

You can hear the song here--uncensored of course. Or a censored version here.

I should clarify that all French TV shows are rated (like in the US) and shows rated not suitable for children can only be shown after a certain hour, and all TVs/cable boxes have the ability to block certain channels and/or programs. I guess the difference is that the decisions are left to individuals, not enforced by some government agency.

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