As Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt discussed yesterday, evidently you can no longer have Kung Fu Fighting in England. The song I mean; presumably karate lessons are still kosher:
Hugh Hewitt: Now settling down to the serious stuff, Mark, today you also talked about the fact that we dare not sing Kung Fu Fighting in a pub in Britain.
Mark Steyn: No, this is a guy who is a singer in a bar on oldie’s night, and he was singing Kung Fu Fighting, which as I’m sure you know, Hugh, was Billboard’s number one record in the United States in December, 1974.
HH: Oh, you bet.
MS: And a couple of people happened to be passing by and heard the song, and they were Chinese. And they reported it to the police, and the police on the Isle of Wight arrested this guy for racism, for committing a racially aggravated offense. As I said, this was a number one record in the United States, number one record in the United Kingdom, in Australia, all over the world. But apparently it’s now a hate crime. And on a certain level, it’s funny. But at a certain level, the stupidity of Western civilization is reaching a tipping point. And I’m tired of this stuff, which is why I don’t regard Kung Fu Fighting as the acme of Western civilization. But we are committed now to defending this song to the end. I’m in favor of it, I don’t know whether the Isle of Wight has a national anthem, but if it doesn’t, I want it to adopt Kung Fu Fighting as their national anthem.
HH: And I want to say, we are heard by the internet around the world, so at this very moment, as I read the lyrics from Kung Fu Fighting with Mark Steyn humming in the background, 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.
HH: They were funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown.
HH: We are now, I think, in peril of arrest if we go to the Isle of Wight, Mark Steyn.
MS: Yeah, that’s true, and I don’t know why, because I haven’t, you know, I haven’t deconstructed the lyric of the song with the attention that Noam Chomsky or some such might bring to it, or Jacques Derrida, or a French postmodernist. But when I used to groove to it in discotechs, it seemed pretty obvious to me that it was complimentary about the funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown. How many times, by the way, if you’re Chinese, how many songs in the entire English language song literature, how many songs are there that hail you as funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown? I mean, I don’t know what’s to complain about. I’d love to be that funky.
HH: Well, if we have anyone listening who’s named Billy Chin or Sammy Chung, since they are specifically named as funky Billy Chin and little Sammy Chung, they can call the program and tell us whether or not they consider themselves to be deeply offended. So Mark Steyn, this is kind of silly, but at the same time, your book, Lights Out, isn’t silly at all. This is going on around the globe. Sometimes, it’s sinister, as with the cartoons of Mohammed. Sometimes, it’s absurd. But it’s everywhere.
MS: Yeah, and actually, at heart, what it is, is it’s an assault on the principle of equality before the law. There was a fellow who was just convicted by the same guys who tried me a couple of years back, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, who flew in, they devoted a day to the tone of my jokes, they flew in expert witnesses to discuss the “tone” of my jokes. Now they just convicted last week a stand up comedian for putting down two hecklers. They happened to be, you know, Don Rickles does this every night of the week. These hecklers happened to be two lesbian hecklers. And so they accused him of homophobia, and he was fined $15,000 dollars for the brand new crime of putting down hecklers at a comedy club homophobically. This is a brand new crime. If he’d said everything he said, as abusive as it was, and they often are in these places, to you and me, we would have had no grounds to complain, because neither of us are lesbians. You know, well, I’m sure you’re not, Hugh. I’ve been considering it as a career move in my…it would do me a world of good up in Canada, frankly.
MS: But that’s the point. The assault on, you can tell the same jokes to these two hecklers, you can tell the same jokes to you and me, and it’s a crime, according to who you direct it to. You can sing, I can sing Kung Fu Fighting to you all I want, and it’s not a crime. But if we’re on the Isle of Wight, and a couple of Chinese guys happen to be passing by, suddenly, it’s a hate crime. This is an assault on the principle of equality before the law. I’m tired of group rights. Group rights are the great justification for the nanny state, and I’m sock of it.
Shouldn’t the Isle of Wight change its name to something more more multicultural sounding? All that wightness sounds pretty racist to me.