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Swampy Steve
08-31-2010, 04:10 AM
Hoagy Carmichael song he sang in "To Have & To Have Not" Im wondering if this tune is considered "offensive" . I was working up the chords to it, {its just a fun old song to me} but I didnt want to waste my time ,,, if it was going to be offensive to people.
I cant always tell whats offensive, and some things down here that arent ,, are someplace else.
what you think?
Steve

janeray1940
08-31-2010, 04:38 AM
As you've suggested, I think it depends on who and where your audience is. I've loved Hoagy since I was a little kid and thought about suggesting HK Blues for one of the groups I play in, but decided against it because it's sure to offend someone, either by the use of the word "colored" or the stereotype of drug use in Asia. I'm in Los Angeles, the people I play music with are mainly in their 30s and 40s, and we've all grown up knowing that "colored" is an offensive word. I doubt that everyone who heard it could just let it go as a convention that was once acceptable but has become less so over time. But if my audience was, say, my 85-year-old mother and her friends in a far less multicultural city, I wouldn't worry since much of that demographic still uses the word "colored" conversationally.

Then again - George Harrison covered HK Blues in the 1980s, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott did so as recently as the 1990s, and I don't think either one concerned themselves with political correctness. They just knew a good song when they heard one!

ukecantdothat
08-31-2010, 09:29 AM
I say do it. I did Camptown Races on my YT channel and put up big disclaimers pointing out its racist beginnings and left out the potentially offensive lyrics. Acknowledging such things isn't always necessary, especially with a song nobody thinks of as offensive, but it helps sometimes. These days people do seem a bit more aware of such things, so I put up the disclaimer anyway.

rainbowjoe
08-31-2010, 10:46 AM
Go for it! It's only offensive if you mean it to be. Ol' Hoagy came from a different time, and the stereotypes and style just paint a colorful picture of folks perception back then.

Swampy Steve
08-31-2010, 10:50 AM
Thanks for the replys, I was just checking, I have put my foot in my mouth too many times,,, and am trying to learn to avoid that. It wont be exact, but hopefully good enough to be fun
Steve

SailQwest
08-31-2010, 11:13 AM
Some people are very easily offended, even if you warn them beforehand that they might find a song offensive. Just saying...

ukecantdothat
08-31-2010, 01:41 PM
Some people are very easily offended, even if you warn them beforehand that they might find a song offensive. Just saying...

True enough. Maybe that's why I tend to gravitate toward instrumentals!

whetu
08-31-2010, 02:01 PM
and we've all grown up knowing that "colored" is an offensive word.

Well... to be fair... the word in and of itself isn't offensive. What is offensive is the context and the racist idiot using it. The same can be said for every other 'racist' word, some of which can have very interesting and literally sound etymologies (e.g. South African K bomb). Others can have a rather boring explanation when you get down to it (e.g. N bomb)

Anyway, to paraphrase the late, great, George Carlin: There's no such thing as bad words, there are only bad thoughts and bad intentions.

ukecantdothat
08-31-2010, 02:20 PM
I was just thinkin'... (always a dangerous pursuit...) that Hong Kong Blues Offensive is an outstanding name for a band...

R.I.P. Mr. Carlin.

TCK
08-31-2010, 03:46 PM
Got to agree with many of the responses here. So much of our musical library consists of historical notes that many of us would rather forget...but there is a certain reward in hearing them and remembering where we have been, and enjoying them for what they are- entertainment. Play them and you are not a racist, you are a historian.
Because I am a bones player as well, this haunts me as all the bad from minstrel shows seems to have had some staying power, and yet the music has all but vanished.

luvdat
08-31-2010, 03:53 PM
For anyone who feels inclined to believe that the use of "colored" is automatically rascist please research the meaning of the NAACP. I do agree that the use of the word in conversation in 2010 is anachronistic at best, absurd, and yes, potentially rascist and offensive...

What gets lost in these discussions is what "rascism" really is...it goes far beyond prejudice...into the demonic heart of someone like Hitler (or small town versions of him)...or into the more palatable (forgotten? buried?) teachings (for some people) on eugenics in someone like Margaret Sanger.

ukecantdothat
08-31-2010, 04:59 PM
Come to think of it... I haven't heard Lou Reed's "Take A Walk On The Wild Side" much lately... You, know... the part right before, "Do do do, do do, do do do, do, do do, do do, do do do... dooooooooooo..."

Uncle-Taco
08-31-2010, 06:21 PM
Play it.

There's "offensive" because you performed the wrong tune in front of the wrong audience, probably with the knowledge and, perhaps, the intent of being offensive. If people get offended then (whether you offended on purpose or because of a bad repertoire choice for the situation), then they have a right to feel that way.

But then there is "offensive" as in some idiot chose to be offended because they are just one of those super entitled people who will, because they can, feel and express how you wrecked their lives and the lives of their vulnerable, precious children because your art contained a word or an innuendo that they associated meaning to.

When I perform (read: respect) a classic song, if "Little brown gal" offends someone; if a reference to a "monkey-faced woman" in a blues song offends them; if "...your biscuits is plenty tall enough for me" offends them...if someone chooses to jump on an opportunity to get offended by me because of their own interpretation/interjection of "offensiveness" into the art I perform, then they can kiss my old caboose, go away, and get their own dad-gummed gig and perform what THEY like.:old:

I say stay true to the art you're performing. It respects the creator and it makes you an honest fan, and a respectful--and respectable--artist.

arashi_nero
09-01-2010, 06:25 AM
this thread reminds me of the disney movey "song of the south". it still saddens me that disney has decided not to release it anymore. i remember it being on the tv many times when i was young and it really did have a great story. disney doesn't want to release it on dvd (or ever again) because they think it is antiquated and may be offensive to people nowadays.

seeso
09-01-2010, 11:55 AM
I just took a look at the lyrics. I wouldn't call them offensive. It's understood that song is from a different time.

theabsurdman
05-26-2015, 03:39 AM
Just playing this now. What a great song! Hoagy's performance in "To Have and Have Not" was pure liquid honey.

http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/r/ramblin_jack_elliott/hong_kong_blues_crd.htm


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUn4DOGiY_A

Anybody who is offended by the word "Coloured" (from an era when it was considered a polite term) needs to get a life (and get bent).

Incidentally, anybody know what instrument is the guy behind the banjo playing?

Captain America
05-26-2015, 04:24 AM
I used to automatically think that doing this kind of thing was retrograde and should be avoided. This was 20 years ago at the advent of our PC era.

Now, I feel we're all rather much more sensitized to the issue, and that we really CAN, from an historian's point of view, perform these kinds of songs. . . in a setting in which we're all reasonable, mature individuals who recognize that this is a look at history. . . and NOT a present attempt to be offensive.

Another part of me rejects the intentional intellectual lobotomizing that is caused by NOT doing such things as reading Huckleberry Finn. Or Shakespeare.

CeeJay
05-26-2015, 04:36 AM
Some people are very easily offended, even if you warn them beforehand that they might find a song offensive. Just saying...

Especially if warned ...they get their "Offend Me Drives" all warmed up......

I think the true and honest reaction to someone who says "You have offended me " should be , "Sorry , It was not my intent ".
But then ,hey ho....in todays "liberal and free speaking" world it is it would seem only the "liberals"who are allowed to be free to say what they think .....:o

JJFN
05-26-2015, 05:07 AM
If you have to ask? You probably shouldn't.

river_driver
05-26-2015, 06:39 AM
Play the song, and just change the lyric if you're worried about it.

CeeJay
05-26-2015, 06:51 AM
Play them and you are not a racist, you are a historian.
Because I am a bones player as well, this haunts me as all the bad from minstrel shows seems to have had some staying power, and yet the music has all but vanished.

Sorry , enlighten this ignoramus ..what is a Bones player...I know you play the pump...but da bones ??

plunker
05-26-2015, 07:17 AM
Some people are very easily offended, even if you warn them beforehand that they might find a song offensive. Just saying...

Some people run around with a spring loaded chip on their sholder and it has hair trigger. I think "being offended" has become such an art form that the real issues of the time are diluted. I would play it, and if you wanted to give a intro describing thee fact that there is alot of music that reflects a differnt time and culture and we can accept the good the good and understand why the "bad" is there.

Ukejenny
05-26-2015, 07:25 AM
I don't think there's anything wrong with performing oldies, or even changing a word or several words to make the song more palatable if you want. Our group does "Are You From Dixie" and there is a mention of plantations...but nothing about color or skin in there. If there was something like that, I'd just switch out the word or words for something else.

My ukulele students sometimes want to do songs with curse words in them, so we change "damn" to "durn" and "ass" to "rump" or whatever.

Icelander53
05-26-2015, 12:51 PM
I'm amazed at how uptight people can get over basically nada.

theabsurdman
05-26-2015, 01:09 PM
There is an original verse in "Oh Susannah" I would take out..

i suppose the the question is why you want to do this song? It's certainly not a HC classic, he wrote many songs that were, and this one is not only dated -not always a bad thing- but no longer remotely relevant. The lyrics, while not in the "Oh Susannah" level of universal offensiveness, are still fairly racist, and the song itself isn't very good.
So why bother with this one? Unless you like creating situations, then go for it.

"Dated?" "Relevant?" What are you wibbling on about?
It's a Hoagy song that I always liked (more than Stardust) and I'm excited that I can now play/ sing it. End of.
So he says "Coloured man", and there's a heroin subtext, big deal! Nobody outside the USA remotely cares.

More importantly, what was the guy behind the banjo playing? a mandolin? or something else?

river_driver
05-26-2015, 01:44 PM
More importantly, what was the guy behind the banjo playing? a mandolin? or something else?

Looks like a mandolin to me.
EDIT TO ADD: Maybe a Regal. Double cutaway, "two-point" mandos were pretty fancy back then, but you don't see them often anymore. F-style and A-style accounts for 99+% of the mandolin trade anymore.

andylama
05-26-2015, 02:01 PM
I'm Asian, and I say play the song. Someone somewhere will be offended, but then some people can be outraged by white noise. (cue white jokes) These are people with nothing better to worry about (read: first world problems) It is after all, about intent. Even at worst, these old songs are nowhere near as offensive as a lot of today's Top 40 pop stuff.*

I'm most familiar with the rendition of this song by Bob Dorough/Dave Frishberg on their delightful "Who's On First" album (all jazz piano, no ukes).

* I recently stumbled upon a YouTube video of a pretty young woman (Caucasian, if you care) playing an Eminem song on a uke, and she rapped all kinds of profanity as she strummed, and THIS I found quite off-putting, even though she was talented.

bigphil
05-26-2015, 04:37 PM
This is a particularly timely question for me, just today I received an email from one of our club members who objected to singing Reuben James, a Kenny Rogers tune that contains the lyrics, "just a no account share croppin' colored man..." This song is about an orphaned child who was raised and taught well by Reuben James. I love the song and always considered it to be a testament to the black man who took in the white orphan. I was surprised that someon could focus on those lyrics and find them offensive enough to object to performing the tune. I was glad to see most folks here agree to perform the Hong Kong Blues song. I'm also in agreement that people who want to be offended will find a reason to be.

coolkayaker1
05-26-2015, 05:58 PM
The Rolling Stones are on tour this summer. I hope they play Brown Sugar.

Rllink
05-27-2015, 05:23 AM
I like the song, "City of New Orleans". I had a person take offense to that song, and I was not even playing it. It came up in conversation about sixties songs, and this person labeled it a racist song. The reference to freight yards full of old black men. Evidently, saying "old black men" is racist in this person's mind. And then, following that, is apparently a veiled reference to the disparity between sons of pullman porters and sons of engineers. Pullman porters being black, and engineers being white. I don't hear that in the song. I hear a song that reflects on the passing of the railroad.

I think that people hear what they want to hear in a song, and you, as an entertainer, can not control that. I do think that often times changing the lyrics to be more palatable for those who spend their lives offended just makes it worse. I've seen people do that, and have even seen music lyrics printed that way, and sometimes it works out OK, more often than not, it diminishes the song and the message is lost.

Cornfield
05-27-2015, 06:40 AM
I like the song, "City of New Orleans". I had a person take offense to that song, and I was not even playing it. It came up in conversation about sixties songs, and this person labeled it a racist song. The reference to freight yards full of old black men. Evidently, saying "old black men" is racist in this person's mind. And then, following that, is apparently a veiled reference to the disparity between sons of pullman porters and sons of engineers. Pullman porters being black, and engineers being white. I don't hear that in the song. I hear a song that reflects on the passing of the railroad.

I think that people hear what they want to hear in a song, and you, as an entertainer, can not control that. I do think that often times changing the lyrics to be more palatable for those who spend their lives offended just makes it worse. I've seen people do that, and have even seen music lyrics printed that way, and sometimes it works out OK, more often than not, it diminishes the song and the message is lost.

You might direct the critics to this song by Vance Gilbert "Old White Men":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtE3JksPpXw

Rllink
05-27-2015, 08:32 AM
You might direct the critics to this song by Vance Gilbert "Old White Men":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtE3JksPpXwI don't usually defend myself in arguments like this. If someone feels obliged to express their offendedness to me, I generally politely listen to them, and then walk away without comment. But thanks for the video just the same.

seasidesal
05-27-2015, 06:12 PM
Censorship in music is what's offensive.
Audience, cover your ears if you don't like it, or leave.
Performers, give a little history first if you want to make it interesting and/or prepare those who might be offended.

Hoagy himself actually re-worded it as "Memphis man" in 1957.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFxuLnnRbJI

ralphk
05-28-2015, 03:12 AM
You might considering a bit of lyric changes. I like this tune, from a Braodway show of the 1920's, but found the term "bimbo" was offensive to current audiences, so I changed that to "babe".

Ralph

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1QogiD6YYo

CeeJay
05-28-2015, 03:15 AM
You might considering a bit of lyric changes. I like this tune, from a Braodway show of the 1920's, but found the term "bimbo" was offensive to current audiences, so I changed that to "babe".

Ralph

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1QogiD6YYo

Which some will find equally so ....

Captain America
05-28-2015, 04:00 AM
These PC discussion always allow us to recite the little speeches we've made up long before, to help show how just and righteous we are, and we get that little "righteous buzz" when we doing our typing in these little threads.

I tend to dislike the broad use of stereotypes, since I'm a bit of a nonconformist. So I disdain the notion that I act like a normal Asian male. I look to my heros and find black women there (gasp!), despite my own racial makeup. Is this wrong? I think what matters are common values, not the externalities; that's at least MLK's take on it.

I read this thread and I'm glad I'm not Irish, considering the Pogues songs and the stereotypes there. I ran across a newspaper item on the anti-German hysteria that targeted German-Americans a hundred years ago. . . and of course, Germans are all lovers of Hitler and the Nazis, no? And Asians are all smarter than you! :)

Mature people look past this external stuff.

Captain America
05-28-2015, 04:02 AM
Censorship in music is what's offensive.
Audience, cover your ears if you don't like it, or leave.
Performers, give a little history first if you want to make it interesting and/or prepare those who might be offended.

Hoagy himself actually re-worded it as "Memphis man" in 1957.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFxuLnnRbJI

To me this makes sense. I also don't flinch when a man sings a song written for women, or a woman sings a song written for a man to sing; I rather want to hear the song itself.

Captain America
05-28-2015, 04:04 AM
I like the song, "City of New Orleans". I had a person take offense to that song, and I was not even playing it. It came up in conversation about sixties songs, and this person labeled it a racist song. The reference to freight yards full of old black men. Evidently, saying "old black men" is racist in this person's mind. And then, following that, is apparently a veiled reference to the disparity between sons of pullman porters and sons of engineers. Pullman porters being black, and engineers being white. I don't hear that in the song. I hear a song that reflects on the passing of the railroad.

I think that people hear what they want to hear in a song, and you, as an entertainer, can not control that. I do think that often times changing the lyrics to be more palatable for those who spend their lives offended just makes it worse. I've seen people do that, and have even seen music lyrics printed that way, and sometimes it works out OK, more often than not, it diminishes the song and the message is lost.


Of course, one of the heros of the labor movement was the black fellow who ran the Brotherhood of Locomotive Workers, and the union had a bit of a pact with the railroads to keep those jobs for blacks, since other groups had their own turf in the industry.

LDS714
05-28-2015, 04:56 AM
Censorship in music is what's offensive.
Audience, cover your ears if you don't like it, or leave.
Performers, give a little history first if you want to make it interesting and/or prepare those who might be offended.

Agreed. Censorship, especially because someone just doesn't like something, is doubleplusungood.

k0k0peli
05-29-2015, 08:01 AM
I sing Ian & Sylvia's bucolic SHORT GRASS about ranch life: a new colt foaled / the mare grows old / cycle of changes in this changeless land / where the short grass grows. Lesbians long ago were off-put if not offended by: lives of pride / men who ride / they keep the old skills that came up the trail / from Mexico. But I've had no complaints lately. And HONG KONG BLUES? I must explain what "kicking old Buddha's gong" means! These are songs as history lessons. Although I hesitate to sing pieces that exploit racial stereotypes, like the line "there's a little n****r named Ragtime Joe". That's not for most audiences, nope.

ksiegel
05-29-2015, 12:25 PM
When Dave Van Ronk did this song on the album HUMMING TO MYSELF, he said "Here's the story of a very unfortunate Memphis Man, who got 'rested down in old Hong Kong"

Years ago, I had a wonderful conversation with Dave, where he said that he considered himself mostly a Jazz singer, and loved doing the classics - Hong Kong Blues was mentioned. Since I was in High School at the time, he explained to me that songs evolve with time, and lyrics change with the performer, and to never be ashamed of changing a song to be the one you want to sing.


He also explained that "Kicking Buddha's Gong" meant smoking opium, and since we'd covered the opium wars in history class, that made a lot of sense to me. (Then - I don't remember a lot about that history class now, more than 40 years later...)


-Kurt

tbeltrans
05-29-2015, 12:51 PM
It is a real shame, in my opinion, how easily so many people get offended by just about everything today. I think this whole political correctness thing has gotten way out of hand. It seems to me that we all can recognize when a person is intentionally being offensive and when not. In the cases in which it is unclear, we can certainly ask and get things cleared up quickly. A bit of common sense goes a long way. If we could only replace all the "lawyering" with common sense and common decency, I think a lot of this political correctness could just disappear and we could get on with acting like adults.

Tony

warndt
05-29-2015, 01:45 PM
It is a real shame, in my opinion, how easily so many people get offended by just about everything today. I think this whole political correctness thing has gotten way out of hand. It seems to me that we all can recognize when a person is intentionally being offensive and when not. In the cases in which it is unclear, we can certainly ask and get things cleared up quickly. A bit of common sense goes a long way. If we could only replace all the "lawyering" with common sense and common decency, I think a lot of this political correctness could just disappear and we could get on with acting like adults.

Tony


YUP...me too!

PeteyHoudini
05-29-2015, 02:30 PM
I personally wouldn't sing any song with potentially offensive lyrics. Some of the Rolling Stones lyrics really haven't aged well, sorry to say. It has nothing to do with political correctness. Things evolve/change and aren't acceptable anymore. Silly pop songs don't have to become holy texts preserving the original to the letter at all costs.

Case in point, if you think everything constitutes political correctness and stupid censorship; I challenge you to cover the ORIGINAL LYRICS from the song "It Depends on What You Pay" from the musical called "The Fantasticks" and upload it to YouTube under your name. That song is stupid.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5697901

Edgar Allan Poe edited and re-edited his famous poem "The Raven" so many times. Didn't the Kinks even refurbish some of their songs? hehe

cheerio!

Petey

tbeltrans
05-29-2015, 02:53 PM
I personally wouldn't sing any song with potentially offensive lyrics. Some of the Rolling Stones lyrics really haven't aged well, sorry to say. It has nothing to do with political correctness. Things evolve/change and aren't acceptable anymore. Silly pop songs don't have to become holy texts preserving the original to the letter at all costs.

Case in point, if you think everything constitutes political correctness and stupid censorship; I challenge you to cover the ORIGINAL LYRICS from the song "It Depends on What You Pay" from the musical called "The Fantasticks" and upload it to YouTube under your name. That song is stupid.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5697901

Edgar Allan Poe edited and re-edited his famous poem "The Raven" so many times. Didn't the Kinks even refurbish some of their songs? hehe

cheerio!

Petey

I realize many people have very strong feelings about this. We can certainly respectfully agree to disagree and move on. Neither of us will convince the other of the validity of our views and that is fine with me.

Tony

k0k0peli
05-29-2015, 05:56 PM
When Dave Van Ronk did this song on the album HUMMING TO MYSELF, he sand "Here's the story of a very unfortunate Memphis Man, who got 'rested down in old Hong Kong" Chuck Berry originally wrote his famous lyric as "... there lived a colored boy named Johnny B. Goode" but changed it to "country boy" for more crossover appeal. Worked, eh? Dave van Ronk's change goes in the same direction. All quite valid. And yes, I change lyrics too, not for offensiveness, but just because they don't ring right to my ear. And of course there are those old Jagger-Richards lyrics...


I personally wouldn't sing any song with potentially offensive lyrics. Some of the Rolling Stones lyrics really haven't aged well, sorry to say. It has nothing to do with political correctness. Things evolve/change and aren't acceptable anymore. Silly pop songs don't have to become holy texts preserving the original to the letter at all costs.
I loved AFTERMATH when it was released and learned everything on it -- great stuff in my busking days, so long ago. But I haven't been able to bring myself to sing STUPID GIRL or UNDER MY THUMB for a long, long time. Other songs (that don't come immediately to mind because I'm real tired) of prior decades that aroused no hostility then, now seem hopelessly misogynistic. I should dig out my old playlists and see what to scratch off or heavily modify.

tbeltrans
05-30-2015, 12:18 AM
I have no problem with changing the words to a tune to make it more comfortable for the performer and/or the audience. The reality is that my opinion on that doesn't matter - it is the performer's choice anyway. Personally, I would rather hear an individual performer's take on a tune rather than that performer slavishly trying to imitate the original or whatever is considered the standard for its performance.

Tony

tbeltrans
05-30-2015, 03:00 AM
I am amazed by the amount of people amazed at the amount of people offended by other people's offendedness.

This has devolved into a contest to see who is the most seemingly level headed and who thinks they realizes most how being "PC" has just gone too far. It's starting to read like a conservative news source's comments section...

Some just love this song, some think it's seen its day. Whether you choose to sing it, change the words, keep 'em, etc., you are choosing to sing a song with dated lyrics and odd colloquialisms in use many years ago. Some of that old stuff still works, some don't.

Asked for opinions, is the song racist. It has racial overtones, yes. So does Brown Sugar, as pointed above. No need to lord your superior attitudes over those who feel certain songs may have "had their day" and would not be in THEIR repertoire.

Offended? No one here is offended by a song's lyrics. No one here, that I've read, has been overly sensitive. I am amazed at the amazement.....

To me, this thread has followed a typical route that many thousands of threads in as many forums over the years have followed. As with in-person conversation, threads will take off in directions tangential to whatever the initial point of the conversation was. The problem with online forums is that we only get the words, not the vocal inflections, facial expressions, and body language that completes the communication that in-person communication affords. Also, with in-person communication, there is immediate feedback among the participants that keeps the level of understanding and the topic in line.

I really don't know why I posted my opinion in this thread, and realize that I should not have done so. As with many expressed opinions, some will agree, others will disagree, and that is both fine and normal. What is problematic about posting on topics such as the direction this thread has taken, is that the ukulele is a fun instrument that really brings people together, and subjects such as being discussed toward the end of this thread do not support that end. I will make the effort to not participate in such threads here again, with the intention of keeping with the spirit of the ukulele.

Tony

theabsurdman
05-30-2015, 03:52 AM
I am amazed by the amount of people amazed at the amount of people offended by other people's offendedness.

This has devolved into a contest to see who is the most seemingly level headed and who thinks they realizes most how being "PC" has just gone too far. It's starting to read like a conservative news source's comments section...

Some just love this song, some think it's seen its day. Whether you choose to sing it, change the words, keep 'em, etc., you are choosing to sing a song with dated lyrics and odd colloquialisms in use many years ago. Some of that old stuff still works, some don't.

Asked for opinions, is the song racist. It has racial overtones, yes. So does Brown Sugar, as pointed above. No need to lord your superior attitudes over those who feel certain songs may have "had their day" and would not be in THEIR repertoire.

Offended? No one here is offended by a song's lyrics. No one here, that I've read, has been overly sensitive. I am amazed at the amazement.....

I disagree. HK Blues has no "racial overtones" that I can discern. Objections to it are just the use of the word "coloured", which is currently deemed Un-PC (although it might be polite again next year) despite it being the term used by black people to describe themselves when the song was written, also when "blues" was black music, so the subject of the song being black was entirely legitimate to mention. Nobody was disparaged, so there is no need for offence.

A different case would be made for the "Johnny Rebel" country songs which are actually disparaging to black people. But not for the language used. For instance, I wouldn't consider Boris Gardener's "Every N***** is a Star" to be similarly offensive as he wasn't out to put anybody else down. And I'm glad to see YouTube hasn't sought to delete either of these artists.

What I object to is this language tokenism or "offence by association" that is being pushed by a Left-wing Taliban intent on erasing the past 1984-style. In the UK, for instance, there is a "historical" sex abuse campaign under way targetting 2nd-tier older show business personalities. Following successful convictions, the State Broadcaster (BBC) then follows up by making sure that the miscreant never appears on TV or radio again. So for instance, this policy has rendered many classic episodes of the long-running "Top Of The Pops" show now un-broadcastable through association with presenters Jimmy Savile and Dave Lee Travis and acts such as Gary Glitter. Interestingly, nobody suggests banning the music of 1st-tier stars like Elvis or Jerry Lee Lewis with similarly dubious pasts.

Our cultural heritage is being selectively shredded by extremists with a political agenda beyond Politeness and Equality and it should be resisted, imo.

theabsurdman
05-30-2015, 04:01 AM
Your opinions are as valid as anyone's. Keep posting them.
As with most things that go on for a long time, this notion of political correctness has taken a sad turn. It's become almost a dirty word to some, and they are all too eager to show how they're not going to be bound by some "silly rule of behavior"..when all PC is is just thinking before you open mouth/pen/keyboard, not going out of your way to piss a group or subgroup off. Notice "out of your way".

Does anyone else find it terrifically sad that Internet folks with avatars can be so quick to be snarky/put down/belittle other people with opposing or different attitudes toward certain subjects while holding high the crazy banner of "This sensitivity to our recent and on-going relationship with racism has gone too far!!" ?**

Besides, the song sucks anyway, not that it's overly racist. While I make no claim to understand how a race would respond to any mildly understated racial undertones, I can't imagine any would bother to listen, simply because the song is boring, and..it sucks. Go give a listen to G. Harrison's recording. Not even he could save this turd.

my opinions only, which the anti-PC crowd will find offensive, I'm sure..;)

**which I just did, come to think..

You are of course entitled to your (minority) opinion of HK Blues. I'm with George.

CeeJay
05-30-2015, 04:28 AM
I disagree. HK Blues has no "racial overtones" that I can discern. Objections to it are just the use of the word "coloured", which is currently deemed Un-PC (although it might be polite again next year) despite it being the term used by black people to describe themselves when the song was written, also when "blues" was black music, so the subject of the song being black was entirely legitimate to mention. Nobody was disparaged, so there is no need for offence.

A different case would be made for the "Johnny Rebel" country songs which are actually disparaging to black people. But not for the language used. For instance, I wouldn't consider Boris Gardener's "Every N***** is a Star" to be similarly offensive as he wasn't out to put anybody else down. And I'm glad to see YouTube hasn't sought to delete either of these artists.

What I object to is this language tokenism or "offence by association" that is being pushed by a Left-wing Taliban intent on erasing the past 1984-style. In the UK, for instance, there is a "historical" sex abuse campaign under way targetting 2nd-tier older show business personalities. Following successful convictions, the State Broadcaster (BBC) then follows up by making sure that the miscreant never appears on TV or radio again. So for instance, this policy has rendered many classic episodes of the long-running "Top Of The Pops" show now un-broadcastable through association with presenters Jimmy Savile and Dave Lee Travis and acts such as Gary Glitter. Interestingly, nobody suggests banning the music of 1st-tier stars like Elvis or Jerry Lee Lewis with similarly dubious pasts.

Our cultural heritage is being selectively shredded by extremists with a political agenda beyond Politeness and Equality and it should be resisted, imo.

It's virtually Social Engineering . And what annoys some is the fact that it isn't certain words that are deemed offensive . It's whom it is that uses them .

I spent 25 years of my prison service as a Diversity Officer (Race Relations Liaison Officer ) to just declare my bones in this matter.

The word " ****** " or " Niggah " for example is loudly used in parts of the UK and the US by some Black people . As a form of "self - affirmation" , whatever that may be . Yet if a non- Black person uses it , even in context of a song , penned by Black artists , then even White people get offended .

Likewise" Coloured " is a similarly taboo word ,as is "Afro" the phrase "People Of Colour" and many others...anyway. 'Tis a minefield. Tolerance is, or should be, a two way street.

The whole topic of racial stereotyping , racist language and PC Pro/Con is a fascinating ,emotive and thoroughly incendiary one .....but not really for these pages probably.

The original question posed ....whatever you feel that you and your audience will be comfortable with would be my suggestion .

And if anyone gets offended , just remind them that you are singing a song as penned by somebody in the ...whatever era...and that you thought that censorship was the province of the Police States around the World. Censorship and Sensitivity are NOT one and the same.

I just pulled out my (very) old and coverless copy of a Francis & Day Song Book , a spin off from their community songbook series .
I think it was called Negro Spirituals and Songs From the Plantations...whewee....you may think twice X Many before you do
some of these babies..there are words in these lyrics that I had even forgotten existed !! Interestingly though , doing a bit of research into the authors of many of the lyrics there seems to be an awful lot of White writers using pidgeon english ....hmmmm Though most of these were living and writing around the 1900's...so probably thought that they were being "Right On"..:rolleyes:

CeeJay
05-30-2015, 05:24 AM
The "racial overtones", not necessarily racist other than all songs of the era seem to note the ethnicity of the protagonist, unless of course, they're white. If you like old movies, it's quite obvious how non-white ethnicities were portrayed, well up into the '70s with few exceptions. After that, it starts to get better, and now.. well now, by gosh, most of the time non-whites are actually portrayed as real people! Sometimes they're good guys, and sometimes they're bad, but they're people, not caricatures.

Now why do you think that is? Because folks started to get uppity, even white folks,and that dang "Left-Wing Taliban" started selectively shredding the portrayal of non-whites in song and film. Not erasing the history, just noting the ludicrous and insulting nature of it. Blackface had it's good old fun time, back when the good negro just clenched his teeth and took it, because..well, there was no choice. The chinaman was all sing-songy and subservient, all the while scheming away, and I'm sure the actual scheming involved trying to convince those Anglo-Saxons that they didn't really act like that, and trying to keep their tempers even. Well, now we have a good start. Those scheming Chinese, and those goofy tuneful Negroes finally edged their way into the portrayal and the respectability the White Man has always enjoyed. Sure, it's historical. So was the Holocaust. Some things are not meant to be nostalgic to some. Historical, yes, nostalgic, no.

So that's why the "racial overtones". Racist? Well... yeah, sorta, in the broad sense of things. Again folks, just opinions, un-informed as anyone here.

I get every single word that you have written . I think what get's up peoples nose is when somebody rams the " I am offended " posture down somebody elses throat immediately that they make a mistake or innocently use a phrase that may be , Historical but questionable, shall we say ...a lighter touch even may help...but whatever ...at least we can all play together in the same room nowadays and have a chance to air our grievances together .


Stephen Fry says to those who complain that he has offended them " madam / sir, that is your problem , it is not mine "

CeeJay
05-30-2015, 06:27 AM
I don't recall anyone offended by this particular song in this thread. I like Stephen Fry, and offhand remarks like his are great comebacks, but really mean little except in context. You just called someone's wife a fat harlot, would that quote be applicable? I'm sure it would be to some, which is the terrific sadness in this day and age of quotable one-offs.


Did I ? Where ? When ?

I didn't mean to indicate that you were saying that anyone was offended, or that anyone was offended . Nor that you were ramming up the nose .

My bad , I tend to use the "you" generically when perhaps I should tighten up my English and use "people" . So to be absolutely clear in this case you does not mean "You ,Neal" .:D

I was generalising about other quotes and posts and statements made on the thread ....that is the problem I think with forums . They lack the fluidity of conversation and the immediacy of explanation and validation...and quick cross references and checks...


The problem some people have with people taking offence is that sometimes it is done almost automatically without any sort of recourse to the background or any knowledge of the relationship that may exist between two groups of people . I think that sometimes goes to the heart of the problem , people getting offended on behalf of ...or just to be "PC" without fully understanding the situation......maybe.

If in the course of an evening out somebody calls his best mates wife a "Fat Harlot" there may well be an understanding , a background joke that makes that perfectly acceptable to those involved . But that is a direct insult , in terms of the language used but I see where you are coming from.

So yes ,maybe the put down would be appropriate....it certainly is more polite than "Mind your own Damned business this is a private conversation " would be.....This isn't about scoring points or laying down that my opinion is right ...I said earlier , getting into the subject of Race Relations, racist language and Diversity is to step into a minefield......because it is all about perceptions and trying to see other peoples POV.

Cheers

CeeJay
05-30-2015, 08:54 AM
Cheers :cheers:

theabsurdman
06-01-2015, 03:36 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLlTlYfqQV4

acmespaceship
06-01-2015, 06:53 AM
+1 for Stan Freberg. Always +1 for Stan Freberg.

k0k0peli
06-01-2015, 07:57 PM
AFAIK the term "political correctness" was first used circa 1970 by liberals to poke fun at rad-libs (often self-styled Maoists) with extreme and silly ideological positions. "If your're gonna throw a brick through a store window, is it more PC to throw it left- or right-handed?" Then reactionaries (calling themselves conservatives) stole and twisted the term to justify their own abusive language. "I'm not PC -- I'll call a coon a coon." Opposition to hate speech is not PC; it's just a demand for respect and decency.