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. Anon Nurse,

    I majored in Useless Information 101, 202, 303, 401 and 404, 501, 502, etc……..

    Harold Henkins (oops)….is his real name…Conway Twitty is the stage name….

    I think it comes from Conway, Arkansas….and Twitty, Texas….I know I am correct on the first state and city….the second one I would have to call a friend….

  2. anon nurse,

    Did you mean Harold Perkins…. the real name of Mr. Twitty….

  3. Swarthmore Mom,
    How many Soul Train episodes have you seen? I grew up watching Soul Train and catch a rerun every now and again on Centric TV. Believe me when I tell you Don Cornelius’s Soul Train looks nothing like that. That looks more like the popular show Solid Gold.

    As for the song, I grew up dancing to this song. It was a party favorite. Was it intended to be a racist insult. I never thought about that. Even looking at the lyrics now, it seems to be paying homage to the Chinese and the expertness they displayed in their fighting techniques. I know that during the time the song came out Bruce Lee, who was Chinese and Kung Fu movies were all the rage and everybody had Kung Fu fever. Martial art schools were springing up all over the place. Kung Fu was everywhere. Indeed, as the refrain of the song says, “everybody was Kung Fu fighting.”

    Btw, the reference to “cats” in the song is not intended to reinforce the stereotype that the Chinese eat cats. Black men used the term much like we use the term Dude meaning a male person. For example they would talk about “the cats on the corner,” or “the cats around the way,” or “that crazy cat up the street.” Also, the reference to “funky China men from funky Chinatown,” refers to the people and place as hip, cool, or as we would say in the 70’s–groovy.

    Right on brother, right on!

  4. rafflaw,

    You will have to admit, won’t you, that Ms. Toni Tennille is a perfectly beautiful woman.

  5. raff, you have to remember this is Ole Miss. They are consistently in the Playboy top ten party schools. That is not an accident. And, you cannot walk down Sorority Row without running into a past, present or future Miss America.

  6. OS,
    I think those students were just confused and thought they were in their dance class! I just can’t imagine joining in a “flash mob” when I was in college. Unless of course there was some Mad Dog 20/20 involved!

  7. Former Fed,
    Thanks (I think) for sharing the Muskrat Love videos with us. I have to go into counseling now after watching the Captain and Tennille one too many times!! 🙂

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