“Walk on the Wild Side” offends Guelph college students; Lou Reed friends incredulous

Walk on the Wild Side” was a song written by Lou Reed and released on his Transformer album in 1972. If you were young then, you’ll surely have heard it, though perhaps not on the radio.  It’s about people making the journey to New York City, where Andy Warhol’s “Factory” attracted all manner of beats, proto-hippies, counterculture rebels, and—the subject of this post—transsexuals.

Here’s the song:

Here is the first part of lyrics; the first four lines are the ones at issue:

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,
Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.
Candy came from out on the island,
In the backroom she was everybody’s darling,
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She sayes, hey baby, take a walk on the wild side
Said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
And the colored girls go,
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
(etc.)
Those lines refer to a real person: Holly Woodlawn, a transsexual female born in Puerto Rico, who later became a star of Warhol’s movie Trash and then a singer; she was quite well known in New York. In fact, one reader sent me this:
I knew Holly Woodlawn very well when I lived in New York; she was a good friend of our neighbour.  Every time a movie theatre in NY played Trash or other Warhol movie Holly went to see it, but she had to pay for a ticket every time!

Although Woodlawn transitioned before coming to NYC, Reed was taking artistic license here. But something of the kind really happened with Holly, and yes, what was known as a “he” became a “she”. It’s just a gender change; no need for offense.

But that would underestimate the degree of offense taken when anyone, even 45 years ago, wrote lyrics like the above, and then the song gets played to the Perpetually Offended. As the Guardian wrote:

The Guelph Central Student Association, a group at the University of Guelph in Ontario, apologised for including the song on a playlist at a campus event.

In an apology published to Facebook and subsequently removed, the group said: “We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement.”

The Guelph student group promised to be “more mindful in our music selection during any events we hold” and added: “If there are students or members of the campus community who overheard the song in our playlist and were hurt by its inclusion and you’d like to talk with us about it and how we can do better, we welcome that.”

Here’s the Guelph Student Union Facebook post, now MIA:

I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with that at all: in fact both Reed and Warhol were extraordinarily sympathetic to transsexuals like Woodlawn and Candy Darling, who would at that time been totally ostracized from society at large. The apology above sounds like something from China’s Cultural Revolution: the kind of things criminals would wear on a sign around their necks. Perhaps the student union realized this, too, and maybe that’s why they removed the post. They’ve refused press requests for comment.

Warhol’s and Reed’s friends of course defended the song (from the Guardian and the Star):

Friends of the late Lou Reed responded on Saturday with disbelief to a claim by a Canadian student body that the singer’s 1972 hit Walk on the Wild Side contains transphobic lyrics.

“I don’t know if Lou would be cracking up about this or crying because it’s just too stupid,” the singer’s longtime producer, Hal Willner, told the Guardian. “The song was a love song to all the people he knew and to New York City by a man who supported the community and the city his whole life.”

and:

Friends, colleagues and biographers of Reed have come to the late singer-songwriter’s defence.

“The song was a love song to all the people he knew and to New York City by a man who supported the community and the city his whole life,” said Reed’s former producer Hal Willner in an interview with the Guardian.

Howard Sounes, author of Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed, told the Star that Reed “cannot fairly be accused” of being transphobic.

“Lou Reed was a difficult and sometimes unpleasant person, but transphobic he was not,” Sounes said. “Reed was a bisexual who had close friendships, and conducted love affairs with, (transgender) men.”

In the mid-1970s, Reed was in what was essentially a marriage with a transgender person who went by both Ricky and Rachel, Sounes added.

“Lou loved Ricky/ Rachel, and was very public about their relationship at a time when such things were considered extremely outré . . . He was in love with transgender people. He found them exciting — sexually and intellectually — and he celebrated them in his work.”

. . . In a 2016 article about Reed for New York magazine’s entertainment blog Vulture, music critic Bill Wyman said much of Reed’s work centred on “the experience of the unwanted and the despised. Some of the words we have today — bullied, gay, trans — didn’t really exist as such back then.”

In his piece, Wyman singled out Reed’s compositions “Sister Ray” and “Sweet Jane” as examples of bringing transgender stories to mainstream music.

What happened here is what happens so often these days: students or Authoritarian Leftists just hear a word that “triggers” them, and then, without understanding the context (or reading an “offensive” article), respond with a kneejerk ideological reaction, apologizing profusely to the marginalized and often demonizing their opponents with slurs like “transphobe,” “racist” or “sexist.”

Well, transgender people are widely disliked and mistreated, and all of us should ensure that they’re treated like everyone else. Changing gender, like being gay, is not a “choice” but, to a determinist, a cultural and/or biological imperative. There is no excuse for discriminating against them.

But the Guelph Student Union carried this too far. Like Dan Arel, who accused Richard Dawkins of writing the “conceptual penis” paper (the real authors were Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay), they had no clue about the facts behind what enraged them (in Arel’s case, he apparently didn’t read the paper he went nuts about).

Why do I write about these issues, ignoring the perfidies of the Trump Adminstration? For one thing, because Trump and his odious minions are widely analyzed elsewhere, everyone knows I despise them, and I have nothing more to add to analyses of the Daily Presidential Follies. I am on the Left, and I don’t want it torn apart by ridiculous infighting about issues like an old and apparently transphilic song. If we keep behaving this way, taking offense at everything and demonizing those who should be on our side, we’ll never have the unanimity it will take to reclaim our government from the ultraconservatives.

For the sake of that unanimity, we must speak our minds—and not be cowed by the slurs that are the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the Regressives.

Holly Woodlawn (1946-2015)

h/t: Alexander

91 Comments

  1. Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Holly Woodlawn herself said: “Paul Morrissey made me a star, but Lou Reed made me immortal”.

    • Doug
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      I wonder if these protesters even know the story behind the song, that Holly Woodlawn was a real person.

      And now I’m waiting for people to start complaining about the line referring to “colored girls.”

      • DrBrydon
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        They don’t know anything except how to be offended.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, reading the lyrics I was expecting it to be the ‘colored girls’ that caused the shitstorm. Cultural appropriation and all that sort of thing.

        cr

  2. allison
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I’ve always hated that song 🤢 not because of the lyrics, though.

  3. Danny Kodicek
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I agree with you entirely, although I would say that the comment you quote “He found them exciting — sexually and intellectually” comes across as just a little bit off to me. It somewhat fetishises trans people, or at least suggests that Reed did so, and that kind of thing contributes to a general ‘othering’ that is in my opinion unhealthy and unhelpful (like when people try to show how nonracist they are by going on about how they find black people exotically attractive). I’d almost use the word ‘microaggression’ if I didn’t know how much that would piss you off 😉
    In no way meant as a negative opinion on what you said, it was just a point of interest that popped out for me.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      I thought the same about the phrase, but it wasn’t Jerry who said it. It was a quote from Howard Soanes in an article written by someone else.

      Also, if you remember the early 1970s, those words would have been seen differently then, so the journalist who got the quote may just have been dealing with someone who hasn’t updated their language. Sounes must be at least in his 80s now.

      I know people in their late 70s who still say Negro because they think that’s the right word to use.

      • Colin McLachlan
        Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        Oh dear, early 70s here, and I obviously didn’t get that memo. What is the correct term now? (I was going to say “what is the correct term this week?”, but I didn’t want you to think the snark was directed at you).

        Fortunately where I live the need to use any term for “these people” seldom arises, so hopefully I haven’t offended anyone. Again, this is not snark.

    • drorharari
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      And what, Danny, is so wrong about fetishing trans people? What’s wrong with fetishing a woman’s toe or under wears? People have all kinds of fetishes and the moment you start faulting them for those, you might as well start faulting trans people for their “transgressions”… as that article explained, Lou Reed was a complex person with all kinds of issues along with his musical abilities. Why judge? Live and let live (or die, in the case of Lou)

    • BJ
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Even if it was the case (and that’s extremely debatable), what is wrong with “fetishizing” a certain kind of person? Literally each and every one of us have our “type,” and are thus “fetishizing” that type.

      Same with objectification. We all do it to each other, every single second of every day. There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s a perfectly healthy and natural part of human sexuality.

      • Danny Kodicek
        Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:57 am | Permalink

        I can’t agree with that. Objectification may be natural, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. I think it’s something we ought to try to avoid.

        To a lesser extent I feel the same way about ‘type’ – it’s basically a kind of prejudice. It’s judging someone by superficial features rather than their whole personality. I’m not saying we don’t all do it, of course, but I do think it’s a negative trait.

        (Although actually, speaking personally, I don’t think I do have a type – at least not physically. In my life I’ve had sexual relations with two men and five women of extremely different appearance. There’s probably some common ground between them but I don’t know what it is!)

        • BJ
          Posted May 24, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

          I have a type, but I also can’t be attracted to someone unless I *also* have an intellectual and emotional connection with them. You can call anything a type of prejudice, really — the fact that I won’t date stupid people who can’t hold a conversation with me is a “type” I don’t like, so that’s a form of prejudice under your rules.

          As long as your type isn’t “I hate x people,” it’s natural, healthy, and doesn’t matter. And we all look at people and say, “that person is pretty to me.” THere is nothing wrong with that. It’s not prejudiced at all. It’s objectification, but it harms nobody, so why avoid it? You can’t delete it from the minds of literally every person on earth (because every single one of us does it, whether it be looks, intellects, emotional sensitivity, all three, or something else). It’s just not a bad thing, and I don’t see why it needs to be avoided, beyond “it’s bad.”

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            Absolutely agree. And if it wasn’t for the convenient shorthand afforded by lumping things (which includes people) into rough categories, we’d be wandering round in a perpetual daze of information-processing confusion.

            cr

  4. Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The world is burning & these people are arguing about how many angels are dancing on a pin…

    • Molly Harden
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      I know, right? Still, nice to have a daily update on the latest outrages committed by the Oberlin Student Council.

  5. darrelle
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I would have never guessed that a human mouth could fit so many feet in it. If any people related to this incident deserve to be shamed it is the self proclaimed defenders of the rights and dignity of transgender people that accuse anything by Lou Reed of being transpobic.

    These SJWs could not have own-goaled themselves any more than they’ve done here. They would deny the lived experience of Lou Reed, a bisexual who had a loving relationship with a transgender person in a time when such things were about 87 times more socially unacceptable than they are now? What assholes.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I would have never guessed that a human mouth could fit so many feet in it.

      Abelist!

      • darrelle
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        I like to think I do my part!

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Inclusivist!

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Generally speaking, the maximum is two, unless you’re a human caterpillar…

        cr

    • somer
      Posted May 24, 2017 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      the assholes have constructed themselves a parallel reality and are trying to make the Universities and those around them join their version of “reality”

  6. Danny Kodicek
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    On a further point of interest and challenge – would you have the same response if this apology had been with regard, not to “Walk on the wild side” but to The Kinks’ “Lola”?

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Which reminds me, have you ever listened to the words of “Come Dancing”. Or more particularly the live version on “To the Bone”? Gave the song a twist I hadn’t previously considered.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      I heard “Lola” on the radio the other day, and was surprised there hadn’t been some sort of bias incident related to the song. I guess kids don’t listen to good music any more. Sad.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        I take offense every time I hear that tune: how dare Ray compare the bubbly to “cherry cola”!

        • Danny Kodicek
          Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:58 am | Permalink

          I believe it was originally ‘coca cola’ but they were forced to change it

    • BJ
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Why wouldn’t it be?

  7. busterggi
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    There is a great deal of offensiveness in the history of the world – genocide in its many incarnations particularly.

    That doesn’t mean it should be erased or ignored.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      In fact, we should hear about it. How can we move forward if we don’t know where we’ve come from, and how do we measure our progress?

      My favourite quote is, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

      There’s another one that goes something like, “Those of us who know history are doomed to spend our lives watching while those who don’t know history repeat it.”

      • darrelle
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        A favorite of mine that fits well with those two quotes.

        “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” [Sir Winston Churchill]

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          Yes! Love that one too.

      • bric
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Cicero put it slightly differently – The man who knows no history remains a child

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          That’s a good one too.

  8. Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I agree with you. I´m always insisting: “political correctness” is not the same (not necessarily) as progressivism.

  9. Doug
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Next we need to ban the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” for the reference to cross-dressing in the final verse. Not to mention that the song is reggae-inspired (Cultural appropriation!)

  10. Anselm
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Apart from anything else, how do these regressive leftists determine what’s offensive? Do they actually consult the people concerned in any way? If not (and I suspect that that’s often the case), they’re either objectifying the poor benighted groups as no more than a means of satisfying their own perceived need to ride to someone’s rescue on their magnificent white steeds, or they’re being incredibly patronising in that they’ve decided in their infinite wisdom that they know better than said poor benighted groups what’s good for them. Heck, why not go the whole hog and colonise them until they decide they’re ready for self-government?

    • Peter
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      I suspect it is enough if one transgender person is offended. No arguments are required to the effect that the feeling of offense is justified or that an offense should lead to self-censorship.
      But I’m just speculating here. I have no contacts with SJWs.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        It often is just one person, which is exactly the problem. They’re assuming that all transgender people feel the same as the one who’s “one of my best friends …”. It seems to me that in their world trans people aren’t allowed to have the full range of opinions like other people are. They have to think a certain way.

        It’s similar to the authoritarian/regressive leftists sympathizing with Islamists and the bigotry of low expectations: “We can’t expect them to treat women, gay people etc with respect because of their culture.” (It’s never religion of course!)

        • darrelle
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          I think one of several key ingredients of this type of behavior is that personality trait some people seem to have that renders them incapable of not sticking their noses into other people’s business. A classic example of what I mean is the neighbor who constantly patrols the neighborhood looking for infractions to report to the HOA. Self righteousness, prejudice and closemindedness are all very commonly associated with this type of person in my experience (direct).

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, I’d go along with that.

        • BJ
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but as I noted in my post below, it can be extremely dangerous if you’re part of one of these groups they’re ostensibly “protecting” and speak up against their actions. I have seen them become more vicious against someone from a group they think they’re protecting but who has committed wrong-think than against those groups they actually oppose.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

            You’re right, they can get really nasty, but I don’t let that stop me. I don’t speak out unless I’m sure of my facts and feel strong in my position. There are always people who will support you against the extremists and, because they’re extremists, they’re actually the minority, not the majority. They appear to be the majority because no one speaks out against them, which is why I do speak. Not many are prepared to be the person who’s the first to stick their head above the parapet. I am. I don’t care what other people think of me. I am comfortable in my opinions. They are all thought through. If I don’t know something or don’t have an opinion I say so. I have no husband or kids to embarrass. Often it just needs one to stand up for lots of others to do it too.

        • Anselm
          Posted May 24, 2017 at 3:18 am | Permalink

          Good point, and it leads to a further one, reinforced in other posts in this thread: who cares? More accurately, why should anyone care? What business is it of mine if you’re transsexual, bisexual or whatever? Are you breaking any laws? Are you harming anyone? If so, stop it or I’ll call the police. If not, it’s not for me to impede your pursuit of happiness, as the Americans’ own magnificent Declaration of Independence points out.

          And why should anyone be defined by their sexual orientation anyway? I’m hetero, but I have better things to do than to go around all day thinking of myself that way. I suspect that, if the majority of people of other sexual orientations do so, it’s because they’re forced to by fascists of various stamps, be they regressive leftist or religious or A.N. Other, who bang on about it in public and official discourse – or kill them, as is happening in places like Chechnya as we speak.

          Shouldn’t we make more effort to take people at their word for how they see themselves? If they aren’t harming anyone – where’s the harm? Vive la difference, as the Spanish say. Buddha knows there are plenty of genuine subjects of concern for us all, like anthropic climate change. Why don’t regressive leftists focus their apparently limitless energy on these and stop inventing injuries in order to feed their own egos?

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

            I agree, though it’s not just regressive leftists. Religious conservatives are also pretty good at defining people by their sexuality or gender identity as if that’s the only thing about them that’s important, or of any importance.

      • BJ
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Often it’s absolutely no person from that group. I’ve seen groups of largely white, upper class people get offended on behalf of other groups, and then when told off by someone of that actual group, call them the nastiest of things, like “race/gender traitor,” “Uncle Tom,” “internalized MRA,” etc.

    • Posted May 24, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      I sometimes wonder how many of them actually talk to each other.

      There was some good stuff done at the anti-racism directorate meeting I went to once, but it was clear to me that one has to be skeptical when someone claims to be a “community organizer” or the like.

  11. Travis
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Hey look at that, my school being crazy as usual. (Dr. Coyne can affirm this by seeing my email assuming it shows for him). I ‘m not sharing it publicly, however.

    Honestly, I like Guelph as a more friendly and welcoming campus (I don’t mean that in the “we’re allies” way, although that’s the case as well – I mean it in the place feels like it hates you less than other campuses I’ve been to like uWaterloo).

    That said, I have seen this kind of craziness a lot. I’ve spoken with feminist groups about rape culture when they have posters saying we live in one and refer to things like sexualization in advertising as evidence of such a culture.

    When I was a grad student, I got an email enthusiastically forwarded to most departments saying that men “need to take responsibility for violence against women”, if you can believe that. At the time, I didn’t know how toxic of an organization White Ribbon was (look up Erin Pizzey) but they were behind it and I went to their event. The problem with their organization, in part, is that they frame domestic violence as a male-on-female issue, when it simply is not. They deliberately leave male victims, and female perpetrators out of the equation. They cite womens’ “fear” of walking outside alone at night and similar things as if paranoia makes one more of a victim than actually being more likely the victim of violence (men)

    • dabertini
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you. I went to both UofW and UGu and enjoyed my time at the latter more. Although this post does nothing for their reputation as an institution for enlightenment!

    • BJ
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Hell, feminists groups like RAINN — a group that’s entire mission is supposedly anti-rape — have repeatedly fought to get “made to penetrate” not defined as rape by the government, just so the stats would be more skewed. Because when you look at the DOJ stats on rape, if you include made to penetrate, almost as many men are raped each year as women. They care far more about their narrative, ideology, and ultimately, power, than they do about victims of anything or any issue at all. They’ve also repeatedly protested every time a city tries to open a men’s shelter for men who live in abusive homes, because if men’s shelters started popping up, that might change attitudes regarding the “men are the violent ones, while women are the delicate flowers who need to be protected.”

      It’s disgusting, insidious, and completely puts the lie to their supposed mission.

      • Peter
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        What exactly does “made to penetrate” refer to? I have never heard this expression.

        • Travis
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

          It refers to envelopment (woman enveloping man) and I think including forced receiving of oral sex on a man. There was a recent example of a man being expelled iirc in some bizarre situation where another woman had given him a blowjob when he was passed out.

          In other words, he was raped or at the very least sexually assaulted and he was punished… because the girl regretted it? I’d have to google around for the article as I can’t remember the details.

          • BJ
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

            Yup, she got him to get an erection while passed out, blew him, and then they expelled him because she was also drunk and therefore he raped her, but not the other way around. Men have to be responsible for their own sexual behavior and choices, and those of all women, even when unconscious.

            It happened at Amherst, if anyone cares to look it up.

        • BJ
          Posted May 24, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

          What the other commenter said. It’s actually pretty easy to get a man to get an erection, even if he doesn’t want one and doesn’t like what’s happening and resisting. I’ve seen women argue, “why would he have an erection if he didn’t want it?” They don’t understand male biology, clearly. Just because I wake up with an erection in the morning sometimes doesn’t mean I want a stranger to jump on top of me and have sex with me.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            Funny, that’s what I’m always hoping for and I never have any such luck.

            (Sorry, couldn’t resist… )

            cr

  12. Ullrich Fischere
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Wow! Lou Reed of all people accused of transgressing against trans people? What the Actual Fuck???

    • bric
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Pretty much my reaction, this song was an anthem in the gay clubs of my youth.
      I see it has 81,409,741 plays on Spotify – none of them by trans people?

  13. Craw
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Ugh. I grew up in Guelph, my dad is an emeritus from Guelph. In recent years the student association there has shown signs of being bonkers, but this takes the cake.

  14. Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I think this episode is another example of the utter laziness, both actual and intellectual, that pervades these SJWs. Jeez, had they bothered to spend 10 minutes actually doing a little research, they would have realized there was nothing to apologize. This conduct comports with their constant shutting people down rather than engage in an intellectual debate.

    The combination of utter laziness with the conviction that you are on the right side of every issue, is pernicious.

    • Peter
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I fully agree. Jean-Paul Sartre once said that Marxism appealed to lazy people because it offered an answer for every problem without having to study the specific problem. Well, something similar seems to be true about these SJWs.

    • BJ
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      They had to apologize. Can you imagine what would have happened if they didn’t? Remember the hell Paul Nungesser went through simply for defending himself? Or the UVA fraternity that turned out to be completely innocent.

      Violence is not a tool these people are afraid of using, both physical and institutional, and Oberlin is exactly the kind of place that would punish them for offending people.

  15. Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I love the song Candy Says. One of my favorite songs.

  16. Dave137
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Zero understanding of context or subtext. It’s all literal and by default offensive.

    • nicky
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      But even literally, without context, I can find but ‘trans-sympathy’ in the text. I’m totally mystified.

  17. Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    A major point with the Offended is that they purport to be educated, yet this. Or maybe too educated?

    • Craw
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Prejudiced. The song mentions transsexuals and is from before their birth. Therefore it’s a hate song.

      • Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Ah, reality and experience only belong to themselves. Thanks for the clarity. 😉

  18. Cate Plys
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Jerry for keeping up with these ridiculous incidents that are important because taken together they divide progressives. And voila Trump.

  19. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Understanding the importance of history and context is utterly paramount (and could do a lot to alleviate concerns about Huck Finn and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.)

    My brother claims to have met a young woman who says that we should not use the term “polyamory” because that is cultural appropriation of the “Polynesians”.

    • nicky
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      No JLH, your brother is wrong. It is a cultural appropriation from the Greeks: poly = many (or much).

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Naw, I think it’s the woman who met his brother who’s RONG. Maybe the Greeks should sue to make the Polynesians change their name.

        And don’t let’s get started on the appropriation involved in “Tiki culture.” 🙂

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      The polynesians were responsible for an awful lot of things then. Polyester, polygons, polynomials, polyurethane, polytechnics, parrots…

      cr

      • Colin McLachlan
        Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        …parrots 😀 😀

    • BJ
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      A recent prominent feminist blogger said people shouldn’t use the word “daddy” (especially sexually) because that was culturally appropriating from the underground gay sex community of the 70’s and 80’s.

      (It was Shanley, our favorite insane feminist. Read her Twitter feed for some absolute hilarity. She is the ideal angry, man-hating, low-information high-outrage feminist).

  20. Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    You post some things that are really nuts and bother me in the same way it does you, but this one is beyond my belief! I am incredulous.

  21. Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I would like to think that more and better education would make people more understanding, sympathetic and accepting. And that, people just recently trying to protect and defend the marginalized would take time to do a little research before knee-jerk blathering.

    “Well, transgender people are widely disliked and mistreated, and all of us should ensure that they’re treated like everyone else. Changing gender, like being gay, is not a “choice” but, to a determinist, a cultural and/or biological imperative. There is no excuse for discriminating against them.”

    Unfortunately, if determinism causes all this,
    the over-reactive folk are succumbing to their
    determinism also. We have generations of work ahead of us to change ourselves, if we can.

  22. Genghis
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s not just the transgender issue. I’ve seen complaints from the Ought Crowd about the lines “And the coloured girls go, Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo”

    • BJ
      Posted May 24, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Ah yes, such a huge difference between “colored” and “people of color.”

      Like we always say, they’re so regressive they’ve gone back around to the worst part of the circle.

  23. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I cannot think how anyone thought this required an apology, rather than a lesson in the history of pop music in the early 1970s. I know I don’t care much about music but I was there, I’m not deaf, and I know just how utterly ignorant the complaint is.
    Of course, describing an ignorant complainer as ignorant is a mega-aggression these days, even when it adequately evidenced by the ignorant statements of the complainer. Somewhere I’ve got the world’s smallest violin and a special Spinal Tap (ohh, more mega-aggression!) amplifier turned to -1 for you to play … whatever is the wailing catsong that is meant to signify grief.

    • Colin McLachlan
      Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      Of course, describing an ignorant complainer as ignorant is a mega-aggression these days

      Part of the problem there is that the word “ignorant” has itself become debased to mean rude or discourteous. I know that language changes, but…

  24. DrBrydon
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    If all you care about is words, it’s easy to find things to be offended by. Context is hard. It requires you to engage, and understand, and put aside your contemporary sensibilities. It’s a shame, because doing those things is also what’s required to reach understanding with other people. It does seem, though, like the SJW are less interested in reaching agreement than in forcing compliance.

  25. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Neat trick by the late, great Lou: writing lyrics that 45 years ago offended the prudes and puritans, yet now offend the goofs at Guelph.

    The offense-mongers are eating their own; their standards change every 10 minutes.

  26. drorharari
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    “I am on the Left, and I don’t want it torn apart by ridiculous infighting about issues like an old and apparently transphilic song.”

    Dr Coyne, how can I break it to you? You’re not really on the left – the left have left you, me and most reasonable people and ventured into Absurdistan. You are clinging to the label and I can understand you, I was there once but upon digging into my soul, I have found that I am much more of a liberal conservative. The land has shifted under my feet but just like I never had any issue with how people define themselves and how they feel about themselves, I now do take issue with people creating delusional reality of socially constructed sex, conceptual penises and 1984-style subversion of language.

    As for Trump, he is the cure. The bitter tasting cure that will sure get you all kinds of vicious side affects but which will at the end cure you. His election was a necessity for the much required course correction after 8 years of decline into racial conflicts manufactured by Obama and other do-no-gooders. Listen to Thomas Sowell describe how racial tensions are caused by do-no-gooders on capmpus (here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agkye3vlG0Q). And as the medicine is bitter but necessary, what’s the use of childishly moaning and whining about it? Take it like a man (ooops, sorry, I did not mean to come out as patriarchal…)

    • somer
      Posted May 24, 2017 at 1:45 am | Permalink

      Professor Coyne

      • drorharari
        Posted May 24, 2017 at 3:30 am | Permalink

        Oops, you’re probably right but I see no way to fix it. On the other hand, I’ve been following Dr./Professor. Jordan Peterson lately and both he and people around him alternate with the terms so it helped blur the distinction for me…

  27. Marina
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Large ignorance, large stupidity with a dollop of fanaticism. What could go wrong?

  28. Larry Smith
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s about time someone exposed the Vicious nature of Lou Reed’s most famous song… I modestly propose lyric changes, which I’m sure will salve all hurt feelings:

    “Walk on the Mild Side”

    Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
    Took public transportation zir way across the U.S.A. (because hitch-hiking is too dangerous)
    Plucked zir eyebrows on the way
    Shaved zir legs and then ze was a ze
    Ze said, hey person of undetermined and irrelevant gender,
    take a walk on the mild side,
    Said, hey respected person whom I would never address in so belittling a way as “honey,”
    take a walk on the mild side…

    And the … oh no…

  29. Newish Gnu
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I hear that song on the radio regularly.

  30. Posted May 24, 2017 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    Just as well they mussed the ‘colored’ bit.

  31. roadworker
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    I saw something about this story a little earlier and was reminded of how much I like that song and the whole album, so I played it really loud and cherished the sound and the memories. One of the things I like about many of Lou Reed’s lyrics is that they are true to the people and the times that he wrote in/about. If people want to impoverish the culture by erasing these songs from collective memory, my friends and i (including a good assortment of marginalised, oppressed and misfitting individuals)will still have our copies which we will continue to relish.

    • BJ
      Posted May 25, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      I know. This song is basically 70’s NYC in word form. It’s pretty amazing.

  32. Posted June 17, 2017 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    I am trans and a millennial. This is too far! I might add that I spent a lot of time at Guelph when I was in uni. I’ve always identified with this song and these people obviously know nothing about Lou Reed or Andy Warhol. They are ignorant to their own LGBT heritage and history.

    I really want to get stoned now and listen to Transformer.


Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*

%d bloggers like this: