27 April 2011

It Was A Little Bit Frightening .....

Political correctness is one of my pet hates. Today I awake to news of, as the oft used saying goes, political correctness gone mad. A pub singer on the Isle of Wight has been arrested for singing the 1970s hit Kung Fu Fighting.

He was performing the song as part of his set when two chinese walked past, took offence and notifies the police. The are several important facts here, not least that he was not aiming the song at them, he was unaware of their presence, no offence was intended, they simply overheard the song and chose to make a complaint. Another, pretty important in my opinion, is the fact that there is absolutely nothing racist in the song.  Surely the fact that the song is 37 years old (and I remember it well, that dates me ) and no-one  to my knowledge has complained before says it all. The lyrics of the song, both written and performed by Carl Douglas, are as follows:- 

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening
But they fought with expert timing

They were funky China men from funky Chinatown
They were chopping them up and they were chopping them down
It's an ancient Chineese art and everybody knew their part
From a feint into a slip, and kicking from the hip

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing

There was funky Billy Chin and little Sammy Chung
He said here comes the big boss, lets get it on
We took a bow and made a stand, started swinging with the hand
The sudden motion made me skip now we're into a brand knew trip

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening
But they did it with expert timing

(repeat)..make sure you have expert timing
Kung-fu fighting, had to be fast as lightning 

What is there, even for a Chinaman, to take offence to in that song? Have they , misheard the word "funky" for something a little less polite? Offensive to cats? Maybe, by an amazing coincidence, they not only happened to be walking past whilst the song was being performed but also happen to be Billy Chin and Sammy Chung (if so possibly Sammy even considered the lyrics heightist as well) . 

Admittedly the Isle of Wight is not exactly a hot bed of crime and debauchery but  can't believe that the police there are so short of cases to solve that they pursued this. Ironically, the singer was arrested, after they phoned him and he agreed to meet them, in a Chinese restaurant.

Whilst stories like this appear comical in isolation, it's what they can lead to that is frightening. Comedians have already had to tame down their acts for fear of causing offence, next  will songs have to be checked as suitable to all in a 3 minute walking radius before being sung, or simply banned completely?

If this case is successful I may try for a case of mental cruelty next time I hear Tony Christie's Amarillo. I could call 2200 witnesses who happened to be at Fratton Park on 24th April 2005 to back me up.

For anyone not familiar with the Carl Douglas hit (deemed so in offensive that it went to Number One in the UK, USA and other countries and even won a Grammy in 1974 for best selling single) then here it is - catch it while you still can.


Snopper said...

Fairly typical of the Island, I suggest. Why, even their `newspaper` (Black and White and Read all over) has headlines such as "Pedestrian almost knocked down by cyclist."

I`m still waiting for "Marie Celeste docks at Cowes."

Glad to see you`re back with us Wurz.

TGR Worzel said...

Actually, I very nearly blogged on the subject of political correctness at the weekend.

I was watching the movie "Steptoe and Son" on ITV3.

I've seen it before and knew what to expect, but I still couldn't believe my ears when it started. The first two words (literally the first two) rather set the tone for the rest of the film. Enoch Powell would have been proud of the sentiment.

It was quite interesting though, to be reminded what people were genuinely saying, thinking and warning about in the 1970's, when viewing it all from todays perspective...

Overall, I was a little surprised that this particular movie can still be broadcast in the 21st Century with all the political correctness that surrounds us, even on an obscure digital channel. But it was quite reassuring that it is still being broadcast, at the right time and in the right place. Mind you, I bet there were lots of 12yr olds watching ITV3 at the time, so maybe it wasn't the right time or place...!

Your example here Wurzel, obviously goes to the other extreme, with some people taking offence for no valid reason whatsoever. All I can think of was that they were really thinking about the potential for claiming compensation via the courts...

Compo culture. That's another problem...!