Something Seriously Wrong in Wight: Singer Arrested For Singing “Kung Fu Fighting”

We have previously followed the trend against free speech in the West ranging from anti-blasphemy laws (including a resolution supported by President Obama) to hate speech prosecutions for criticizing everything from religion to homosexuality to overweight people. England has been a focus of many of these stories. Now, on the Isle of Wight, musician Simon Ledger, 34, has been arrested after singing “Kung Fu Fighting” and a passing person of Chinese descent cried foul.

Ledger and his band were performing at the Driftwood Beach Bar on the Isle of Wight when an Asian man walked by with his mother. The man proceeded to scream a profanity at the band and make an obscene hand gesture. Ledger thought nothing of it until he was contacted that night — ironically, at a Chinese restaurant, to ask him to come into the police station. When he arrived, he was promptly put under arrest.

What is astonishing is that, rather than fire or discipline the officers for making such a ridiculous arrest, the Hampshire Constabulary has said that its investigation is continuing. I assume the investigation is looking into whether Ledger has ever played Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

I am unsure why our English cousins are allowing this trend to continue in criminalizing forms of speech. England has shown how these laws are being used to achieve what centuries of direct acts of censorship failed to achieve: the silencing of individuals with unpopular views and the establishment of majoritarian speech standards.

Here are the lyrics:

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

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 frightning
But they did it with expert timing

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

Under this standard, other songs would have to be added to coverage under the criminal code. If the standard is that we can only play songs that will not be viewed as offensive by anyone, we will be left with Muskrat Love (the worst song in history) and Gregorian chants.

The greatest tragedy is that this arrest has finally forced me to do something I have long hoped to avoid: play Kung Fu fighting, one of the worst songs in history. However, our commitment to free speech leaves us no alternative. Warning: the following song is really really bad:

Source: MSNBC

Jonathan Turley

48 thoughts on “Something Seriously Wrong in Wight: Singer Arrested For Singing “Kung Fu Fighting””

  1. Amateurs. Amateurs! Here is the worst of them all, but the video is fun. This is a flash mob at the University of Mississippi Student Union. Ole Miss kids know how to party, even to bad music.

  2. Lest we forget Prof. Turley’s love for Barry Manilow’s elevator music.

    “I can barely stand hearing I Write the Songs once a year in an elevator.”

  3. What the girl muskrat said to the boy muskrat after one session of Muskrat Love:

  4. “…we will be left with Muskrat Love (the worst song in history) and Gregorian chants.”

  5. The video looks like it came from Don Cornelius’s “Soul Train”. Like it. The Doors remind me of dorm life. The girl across the hall played them non stop.

  6. I am feeling that the ASCAP royalties were not put into my account.

  7. I would arrest anyone singing “Kung-Fu Fighting”, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree”, anything by The Captain and Tennille, or anything else written in the 1970’s. So There! (Except The Beatles or The Rolling Stones) (or Jimmy Reed or Muddy Waters)(or Fats Domino or Bo Diddley)

  8. I have several relatives and friends who are European. I’m lumping them all together rather than separating by country because they have all remarked on the serious racism problems that have developed over the last 30 years. (Mostly starting in the 80’s and thus well entrenched.)

    Basically it stems from the old colonial days and all the automatic citizenship that was/is granted to those born in said colonial holdings. They immigrated in huge numbers and the citizens of the colonial power states are angry as hell about it for reasons that everyone can appreciate … crowding, overtaxing of facilities, jobs, lack of education or too much education, etc. Riots are not uncommon on both sides and the violence is remarkable.

    For instance one has the right of abode in England if :
    1. you have been a citizen of a Commonwealth country up to 1 January 1983 and, immediately before that date:
    2. you were a Commonwealth citizen with a parent who, at the time of your birth or legal adoption, was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and had their citizenship by being born in the United Kingdom, or
    3. you were a Commonwealth citizen and are, or were, the wife of a man with the right of abode in the United Kingdom.

    Then there is France:
    Former colonies, and particularly Algeria, demanded for their citizens a privileged right to immigrate in France : this is the reason for the presence in French cities of a large population of immigrants from Algeria and Western Africa who often face social and cultural problems, racism and unemployment. (The Constitution of 1958 recognized that all people born in Algeria were French citizens {Article 75}) France tightened up its citizenship laws in 1992 but by then it was too late.

    And all are dealing with illegal immigrants.

    Governments are trying to get a handle on it all and thus we see the overreaching that is illustrated in this article.

    At least that’s what is being reported to me.

  9. rafflaw,

    That is why I put a disclaimer…. Kind of a cool song to sit around and listen to in college….

  10. That does it. Even though I recently turned 64, I absolutely refuse to ever let a cottage on the Isle of Wight, even if it’s not too dear.

  11. AY,
    I like the original version better. However, Mr. Morrison added a few lyrics that I was unfamiliar with that did spice it up a bit!!

  12. My vote is the song should be banished… I had listened to this one, one way too many times…. It made no sense then and it makes no sense now…Why, is the only question would someone really go to the length to learn the lyrics and then utter them in public…. That in of itself should be a distinct separate offense again humanity itself…..

    But then again….I appreciate Jim Morrison’s version of Gloria….the best…..

    This version is not suitable for all audiences….. Please if suggestive and direct language is offensive to you please do not listen to it…..

  13. Even if it was sung as a deliberate racist provocation, I still don’t see how its valid to arrest the singer. I wish the UK took after us a little on free speech.

  14. Just to be clear, I can’t see how there is any real merit to the arrest or “investigation” whatever that means.

    But… I can see how someone who IS NOT familiar with the song or it’s cultural context but IS familiar with anti-Asian racism (all too common in the UK) would experience the emotional state of “being offended.” My guess is that it isn’t so much the lyrics as the tinny faux-Asian musical notes that repeat throughout the song. To me, they are reminiscent of the sounds kids make on the playground when pulling the corners of their eyes back to mock/imitate someone of Asian ethnicity.

    Assuming that the description is correct, and the band was already playing the song when the complaining individual walked by, then this whole thing is unambiguously silly. On the other hand, if an Asian-looking person walked up, the band saw him/her and then decided to launch into the song, that could be a very different situation.

  15. Kung Fu Fighting?? Prof. Turley, that was a difficult task if you had to listen to the whole thing! This is an absurd investigation into craziness. While I don’t like the song or the lyrics, I don’t consider it a criminal offense to sing it.
    watch out for the Bobbies’ night sticks!

  16. I just read this story myself and was about to leave it as a suggestion, but you kung-fu chopped me to the idea, Prof.

    Oops. Got to go. The Bobbies are at the door.

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