H*nky Chateau

I love that all of Elton John's CDs look like records


Just a plain old cover

So while browsing iTunes, I happened upon the Elton John section. I really enjoy Elton John, so I started browsing his discography, until I came upon one of my favourite albums of all time: Elton’s fifth album, Honky Chateau. It’s probably his best album, more compact than the sprawling Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and far and away easier to listen to than Madman Across the Water. Followed immediately by Don’t Shoot Me (I’m Just the Piano Player), it was truly a turning point in his musical career.

Honky Chateau was my first exposure to the music of Elton John. My Dad had it on LP, and I listened to it over and over again in our basement. The first song, “Honky Cat” was spectacular and upbeat, followed immediately by “Mellow,” which was, as the name suggests, delightfully mellow. These two great songs were immediately followed by one of my favourite songs of all time “I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself” – a disturbingly happy song about the singer planning to commit suicide because he’s tired of mankind and his dad won’t let him use the car. And of course, who can forget one of Elton’s best-known songs, “Rocket Man.”(Sorry if that last link was not what you expected).

But the thing that upset me about its listing on iTunes, and the reason I am writing this blog at all, is that they have replaced the word “Honky” with the word “H*nky.” At first, I couldn’t understand why, and then I realized that at some point in the past, “Honky” was a derogatory term used against white people, especially in the United States. For some fearful iTunes person, the word “Honky” was just too darn offensive.

Asking around the office if they were offended by the term, the people I spoke to didn’t understand what I was asking, having never heard the term before. When I explained, the response was an overwhelming no, with one respondent going so far as to say “anyone still offended by the term in 2011 is a wiener.” And frankly, I find the term wiener way more offensive than honky.

Come on, iTunes.

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