Censorship

British Students Ban "Blurred Lines" From Their Own Universities

Once upon a time, students' political leaders kicked against authoritarianism; now they enforce it.

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Over the past fortnight, five prestigious institutions in the U.K. have banned Robin Thicke's saucy R&B ditty Blurred Lines from playing anywhere on their premises, on the basis that its overly sexual lyrics might encourage bad behaviour in men.

Which institutions, I hear you ask? Stuffy churches, perhaps, aghast that a song would promote casual sex? Islamic groups, maybe, believing that lines like "I know you want it" are not suitable for young ears, especially female ones? Or maybe it was killjoy police forces, not exactly renowned for their ability to chill out, which forbade the playing of Thicke's tune?

Nope, it was student unions. Five student representative bodies—at the Universities of Edinburgh, West Scotland, Leeds, Derby and Kingston—have banned Blurred Lines in all the premises in which they have dominion, including student bars and dancehalls, on the basis that it "undermines and degrades women" and "promotes an unhealthy attitude toward sex and consent".

Once upon a time, students' political leaders kicked against authoritarianism; now they enforce it.

In the space of a generation, they've gone from demanding the right of young adults on campus to listen to, dance to, read and watch what they want, to placing a paternalistic hand over students' ears and eyes lest they hear something a bit raunchy.

Blurred Lines, a massive global hit sung by Thicke with Pharrell Williams and the rapper T.I., has been the subject of controversy since it was released in March. The modern breed of sexless, censorious feminist has been particularly vocal in slamming both the song and its accompanying video, which features the three singers, fully clothed, cavorting with some very attractive models wearing only flesh-colored thongs. Blurred Lines is "creepy" and "a bit rapey," says one observer.

Now, British student unions have taken this shrill reaction to what is just a pretty good and perfectly harmless pop song to its logical conclusion. The student union at Edinburgh kicked things off on 12 September by banning Blurred Lines from every student building. It did this as part of its policy to "End Rape Culture and Lad Banter" on campus.

It's hard to work out what is most shocking about the Edinburgh union's ban-happy antics: the fact that it thinks nothing of behaving like a nun at a convent-school disco and switching off any song that mentions the sex act, or the fact that it has an actual policy to "end lad banter"—that is, to prevent young men from speaking in a certain gruff, licentious fashion. Quite when student leaders switched from fighting for students to fighting against them, and against their apparently demonic thought and speech patterns, is a mystery.

The Edinburgh union said Blurred Lines "trivializes rape," and in doing so it contributes to "a culturally permissible attitude to rape." Really? Are the minds of male students so malleable, so putty-like, that a single encounter with lyrics like "You're an animal, baby, it's in your nature" and "Let me liberate you" might be enough to push them towards committing rape?

Behind the Edinburgh union's pseudo-radical, feminism-justified banning of Blurred Lines there lurks the old, highly discredited spectre of media effects theory—the idea that media images and words pollute people's minds and make them behave in all sorts of sordid and even criminal ways. Just as Britain's stuffy old censors of the pre-1960s period refused to let the public read D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover on the basis that it might make them immoral and depraved, so today's youthful, rosy-cheeked student censors refuse to allow their charges to hear Blurred Lines on the basis that it could turn them bestial.

The instinct behind the Edinburgh union's banning of Blurred Lines is the same one that has motored every act of censorship in history: a paternalistic urge to keep the little people's base motives in check by protecting them from sexy, blasphemous, or shocking imagery.

Other student unions have followed Edinburgh's authoritarian lead. The union at Leeds University banned Blurred Lines on the basis that it "degrades women." Kingston University in London has banned it due to "the disrespectful nature of the lyrics." If universities only play songs with respectful lyrics, what will happen to gangsta rap, the Sex Pistols, the Velvet Underground, death metal, or any other musical genre that broaches the old chestnuts of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll?

Student leaders' intolerant war on Blurred Lines fits a depressing pattern in modern British university life. In the UK, as in other parts of the Western world, students have become extraordinarily censorious in recent years, seeking to obliterate from campuses any song, book, newspaper or person that has the temerity to offend their sensibilities.

Various British student unions have banned Eminem's songs (they're homophobic and misogynistic, apparently); the tabloid newspaper, The Sun (because it has a naked woman on Page 3, and men and women over the age of 18 can't possibly be exposed to tits); and right-wing or Zionist speakers—numerous unions have "No Platform" policies, which means they forbid inviting far-right or Zionist spokespeople to take part in debates on campus.

We seem to have nurtured a spectacularly narcissistic generation, many of whom seem truly to believe that it is perfectly natural and reasonable to demand the squishing of anything that offends them. This is the grisly end product of the self-esteem culture: having educated young people to believe that their self-esteem is sacrosanct, and that anything which dents it is evil, we cannot now be surprised that they believe they have the right to erect a moral, censorship-powered forcefield around themselves and their peers in order to ward off any idea or image or song that makes them feel bad.

Universities, or at least some of them, were once hotbeds of radicalism, sites of feverish and excitable political debate in which any idea was permissible, especially if it railed against adult society. Not now. Today, universities in Britain and elsewhere have become breeding grounds for nanny staters and nudgers, training courses for the blue pen-wielding authoritarians of the future. That's the most worrying thing about the student reps currently bashing Blurred Lines—one day, these joyless, casually censorious, fun-allergic misanthropes will be running Britain.

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  1. The modern breed of sexless, censorious feminist has been particularly vocal in slamming both the song and its accompanying video, which features the three singers, fully clothed, cavorting with some very attractive models wearing only flesh-colored thongs.

    Uh…not in the uncensored version.

    1. There’s only one airstrip in Airstrip One.

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  2. Five student representative bodies?at the Universities of Edinburgh, West Scotland, Leeds, Derby and Kingston?have banned Blurred Lines in all the premises in which they have dominion, including student bars and dancehalls, on the basis that it “undermines and degrades women” and “promotes an unhealthy attitude toward sex and consent”.

    EMILY RATJKOWSKI.

    Your argument is invalid.

    1. EMILY RATJKOWSKI.

      You, sir, are both a scholar and a gentleman. I thank you.

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  3. Sorry, Britain. You had a good run, but the sun is setting on the empire. Enjoy your irrelevance as the meddlers, prohibitionists harridans and other assorted fascists set the tone for your fading future.

  4. Universities, or at least some of them, were once hotbeds of radicalism, sites of feverish and excitable political debate in which any idea was permissible, especially if it railed against adult society.

    I’m glad you added the ‘at least some of them’ because this is otherwise an example of looking at the past through rose-colored glasses. Student unions have never been pro-free speech or in favor of the free exchange of ideas. Go back to the ’60s and ’70s when radical activists would occupy buildings and attack the police in order to force schools to adapt their educational goals…and the schools would yield to this rank intimidation instead of just expelling everyone who tried to pull this shit. The left has despised the opposition from day one and attempted to stifle any word, any belief, and any thought that finds itself opposed to left-wing orthodoxy.

    What’s changed is that the ‘moderate’ left has gotten infested with the same totalitarian, violent, and oppressive fervor that the radical left has always had.

    1. I think leftists lead the way in these changing social trends, but rightists follow, inevitably, though not without grumbling.

      I don’t find it particularly surprising that universities should be at the vanguard of social change, like in this case the stigmatization of rape. Students are young, idealistic and filled with the desire to change the world.

      1. Left, right, statist/collectivists are statist/collectivists. The only difference between “left” and “right” is just which aspect of your life they want to control FIRST. They’ll get around to all of it, sooner or later.

        1. I doubt you’ll find any society where there aren’t taboos. Looks like rape is heading in that direction. Adapt or die, it’s the cruelest law of the universe.

          1. Are you seriously suggesting that rape isn’t already a taboo? You’re kidding, right?

            This isn’t about rape or sex, unless you count the rape of civil liberty. It’s about control.

            1. I’m suggesting the taboo status of rape is being bumped up a notch or two. And you’re right, it’s about control.

              1. its not about bolstering rape’s connotation.

                its about villifying maleness.

                rape needs no bolster. most men feel rapists should die, not sent to prison or rehabilitated. which is what MANY females believe.

                if “ending rape culture” was really about rape it would be more about an express lane for execution for standard rape than about flyers, posters, and shaming men for having a penis.

                its gender war, nothing more. its just hidden in a pretense that rape isnt properly despised.

  5. well, that does it! I was just ignoring the video, I have heard and seen everything anyway; but now, banning something? Cool! Puts it right there on the top of my bucket list. People learned along time ago banning something is the surest way to get someone to do something. Look at the US and the gun-grabbers, sales have soared! Look at Prohibition, liquor outlets soared. Ban a book/movie, what is the first thing a reasonable person will do? Get it! Never can tell! They are still just kids (under 30), they will learn.

    1. Yep. I didn’t think much of the song until I began hearing sanctimonious complaints from feminists and family values folks, apparently reaching across the aisle when it suits them.

    2. When was the last time you said ‘nigger’ in public? For me it was some 15 years ago, and then it was ironic.

      1. Me? I dunno, been awhile. Don’t have a use for it generally, though if they call me “cracker” or “honkey” or whatever, I will certainly shoot nigger back. I have no prob. using it in that case. Start something with me, I will continue and hopefully end it.

        1. It’s the prohibition that gives these words their power. That and the hurt they cause.

          What’s more interesting is how Liberalism seems to be crumbling, even in places like universities where it has been holding out. I’m not sure it ever gained much of a foot hold in the workplace.

          1. Liberalism died a long, long time ago. Like, in the late 19th century or early 20th century.

          2. You seem to be unaware of sexual harassment laws, union laws, laws where government decides what is safe work or not (rather than individual companies and employees making that decision – decisions they were making that were improving work place safety), laws regarding discrimination in hiring, and perhaps 60,000 pages of workplace regulations, including details like exactly how big bathroom mirrors must be and how high off the ground they must be placed (or suffer a fine if not outright closure of your business).

            1. You do realize he means, real liberalism, as in classical liberalism… right?

              *sigh*

    3. Well, I never had any interest in what Alan Thicke’s son might be up to, but I just went and looked up the video.

      If that’s what gets people’s panties in a bunch these days, then they have too much time on their hands.

      -jcr

  6. Nothing that happens in Limeyland surprises me anymore.

  7. Slightly OT: Ace over at AoS did a nice little piece on Thicke and this song.

    Top Ten Interesting Things About Robin Thicke and His Song “Blurred Lines,” With a Special Focus on the Various Sexual, Cultural, Legal, and Racial Controversies It Has Spawned

  8. Blurred Lines (Unrated Version)

    Proof positive of the Streisand effect. Never heard of this or seen it until a few days ago. Not really my thing, but I like it. The video, I mean.

    1. Same here. Except I have no interest in the tits, and even less in the appallingly awful “music”. However, I don’t see how it’s any rapier than much other crap put out over the last 30 years or so. Except, there are tits – I guess.

    2. Ok, After seeing it, now I understand why the left hates it, the singers were smoking, eating ice cream cones, playing with domesticated animals while young, hot models prance around in oversized white shoes.

    3. I like it better with the sound turned off. Just like that Robert Palmer video with the hot chicks in the black dresses a couple of years back.

      -jcr

    4. You all must really be a bunch of old farts. I’m in my mid-40’s, and I think this song is great! I blast the radio every time it comes on (and my car has a pretty decent system too, wonder what the other peeps at stop lights think, hearing the bass bumping and the tunes up loud, they look over and here’s this old white guy with a beard and big bald spot)

      1. Radio? You listen to the radio? You must be old

        1. zing!

          Was that you in the lane next to me the other day? You’re a [rhymes with Thicke]

      2. I am also in my mid-40’s – I just have better taste in music.

  9. imagine some American university banning the playing of a rap song over too many references to hoes and bitchez, or banning a country song for lyrics that involve an extramarital affair. And here I thought college was a time when teenagers moved toward adulthood. Apparently not.

    1. Duh, Adults shouldn’t be allowed to listen to music that “undermines and degrades women” either.

      1. And who is going to tell me what books/music “undermines or degrades women?” Certainly not you, certainly not anyone else. That is using a VERY broad brush to paint! I alone will decide what I listen to and no one else will. Read some classic literature, view a few some older movies, read a few plays by the greats, listen to some of the older music. These things are littered with references we don’t practice or believe in anymore. But, if we refuse to learn from the past by self-discovery, we are doomed to repeat it. Banning is either a far left progressive ideology or some extremist rt. wing group. This is what it means to be “adult.” One can hear/see/read/whatever this type of info. and decide not to follow it anymore. But censorship, I suggest anyone who decides to take my entertainment wear some heavy duty steel gloves, because I have a very sharp hatchet.

    2. Adulthood as envisioned by campus liberals means taking a proactive stance in using coercive authority to prohibit things you find offensive.

  10. I’m sure Shrike will be along any moment to explain to us that only Islamo-Christfags are a real threat to liberty.

  11. Uh, like 95% of US universities are not shrines to political correctness, hard left double-talk, diversity nonsense, anti-constitutional ideologues and so on?

    Thought crime has been a fact of life in higher education everywhere for decades too…

    1. I know, the professors both hated and loved me and this was before dinosaurs! *g*

      1. They had to get 2 professors to grade exams in most of the humanities in my school. They admitted this was to combat bias. If you had libertarian leanings and had one of our marxist ideologues as the only judge of your work, you’d end up being charged with hate crimes and drummed out of the school. 🙂

        Thankfully we did have some professors who were not Maoists.

        1. I have attended talks by both Roger Scruton and Niall Fergusson. And I can tell you that probably 80% of academia despises them for their success and politically unacceptable opinions.

          The horror.

  12. Geez, I’ve avoided this song quite by happy accident lo these many months but I s’pose I’ll have to actually listen to it now. I don’t think this Thicke (related to Alan?)(google search-Fcuk yeah!) guy could’ve gotten better publicity. Malcolm Maclaren rolls over in his grave.

  13. Wow that was the greatest video since the Lapdance Song…NSFWx XX

    http://music-from-youtube.blog…..d.html?m=1

    Coincidentally I believe Pharrel was in that one too.

  14. What I found most offensive about the uncensored video was #THICKE flashing on the screen every five seconds. I did appreciate the dark haired white girl with the decent sized natural boobs, however.

    Musically, though, when I want to listen to a song that “contributes to ‘a culturally permissible attitude to rape,'” I’ll stick with “Sex Type Thing” by Stone Temple Pilots.

    1. I did appreciate the dark haired white girl with the decent sized natural boobs, however.

      She’s British-Polish model/actress Emily Ratajikowski, who before this was most notable for a Carl’s Jr. commercial

      1. Thanks.

        That last name is brutal, but still probably worth memorizing for when I get bored and need to kill time with Google Image Search.

        Why can’t all hot chicks have simple names like Kate Upton? *sob*

        1. Rat-a-ji-kowski. As far as Polish names go that’s not that hard to pronounce. And Google will surely know what you mean anyway and help you out.

          1. I think in Polish it would be pronounced Rat-ay-kowski.

        2. Because having a simple English name means one is also likely to have plenty of English genes, which considerably lowers the chance of being hot.

    2. Same here, as for the video, lovely women all, but I would rather watch a decent looking amateur milf bang herself, pretty much a redheaded, blonde or African-American version of what I’ve already got, than a slick product like that.

  15. on the basis that its overly sexual lyrics might encourage bad behaviour in men.

    Somebody has to save those randy lads from themselves.

    1. We’re all potential rapists, P Brooks.

      1. Someone said that to General Sir Michael Jackson in a live tv interview (British Commanding Officer during the Kosovo adventure).

        He immediately shot back, “Very well. All women are potential prostitutes.”

  16. The book Men on Strike talks about men opting out of marriage in a feminist influenced world where they feel inadequate or unwelcome. I don’t support the idea that the world IS indeed hostile to men, but I do accept that many men feel hostility in this area and are indeed backing off from traditional marriage roles.

    I suspect a similar thing may be happening at universities and other established institutions in governance. Men seem to be opting out in the face of hostility and setting up a ‘blackmarket’ culture off to the side. It’s not like these banned songs/books/movies are unpopular. Their popularity signals a large audience. A hidden audience.

    So, what I expect will happen is the party’s going to move out, away from the student halls and the newly PC frat houses and just set up off campus somewhere.

  17. OMG, who is the brunette in the video?

  18. We’re all potential rapists, P Brooks.

    1. That’s right NO SLACKING

  19. I’m amazed that anyone can work up enough outrage to actually ban something so – I don’t know the right adjective here – harmless?

    I hadn’t heard the song or seen the vid until the Miley thing, after which I sought it out.

    Is it sexist – probably, but it seems intentionally, tongue in cheek so. Almost a parody. My only thought watching it was to wonder how much the model/dancer girls were paid to go topless. I also noted that Robin Thicke looked like a dirty old man – not that appealing.

    The NYT recently ran a story about hook-up culture at elite universities which included interviews with several women. Most of them admitted or acknowledged that getting drunk was a necessary component to hooking-up. Talk about blurred lines.

    There’s much cognitive dissonance here, particularly among women, but some men as well.

  20. This reminds me of the book, “Little Black Sambo.” I know, it’s not a song but a bunch of folks thought it was horribly racist and banned it and, if one just glances cursively, it can be so construed. Of course, smart people ignored them and kept their copies. What the “banners”, for lack of a better description didn’t see, b/c they couldn’t look past the simplest of meanings, was this actually painted a picture of a very brave little boy outsmarting the most ferocious of beasts. It is an analogy much like David & Goliath. See, that’s where censorship get you, into the land of la and strawberry cupcakes growing on trees and rainbow colored unicorns!

    1. Also note that it takes place in India and involves no Africans, -American or otherwise.

  21. Huh. When I heard the song I thought it was saying the opposite of rape culture, portraying some guys who were begging women for company and a woman who was completely in control of the situation and not interested in these pathetic guys.

    Now that these colleges have pointed out it was rapey…. nope, I listen again and hear the same thing.

    Maybe this says more about where their minds are than about the song itself?

    1. Yeah, I got the same take as you.

  22. I just watched the 4:33 sec. unrated version. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, in fact, it was as said above, more that the girls were giving the guys the brush off, the lyrics, from what I heard (understood) seemed rather tame to some of the stuff I have heard in regular old rock. Looks like some college kids got their panties in a twist over nothing. If you are over the age of 18 and have yet to have seen bare boobs, please look under daddy’s bed and find the Playboys’ and Hustlers’ magazines. (or in the sock drawer, or under the work bench). I imagine 9/10 men have some lying around.

    1. Nobody buys skin mags anymore. The kids need to look for locked or hidden files or partitions on daddy’s hard drive. (That’s where MY porn is 😉 )

  23. “creepy” and “a bit rapey,”

    Translated into Americanese as meaning: Good entertainment, ideal for the twerkplace environment.

    Thankfully, we’re not Scottish.

    Yet.

  24. “Five student representative bodies?at the Universities of Edinburgh, West Scotland, Leeds, Derby and Kingston?have banned…”

    This is what democracy looks like.

  25. If the purpose is to stop young men from misbehaving, I’m surprised that watching soccer-football games wasn’t the first thing they banned.

  26. Seems obvious to me from the description and the title that the song aims to raise for consider’n the issue it’s being banned for. So the banners don’t want the issue raised.

  27. There is no rape culture in western society. It is not socially acceptable in any western country. Dumbass euros.

    1. But we’re just ONE exposed breast and/or sexual innuendo away from a return to those dark days. Won’t somebody think of the children?

  28. It’s just weird that people are getting all bent out of shape over this one song, when lyrics like this (and much “worse”) float through virtually EVERY mainstream rap or hip hop song. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Miley Cyrus.

    1. float through virtually EVERY mainstream rap or hip hop song.

      I think because white people are actually listening to this song, so they’re horrified.

      1. the lyrics are nothing extraordinary.

        its the sensation of nonequality that is felt by seeing fully clothed men view females as naked objects.

        the lyrics, as a form of argumentation, are actually quite good. it frames unwanted behavior as slavery, and desired behavior as liberation. when combined with a beat its persuasive.

        if it was rapey it wouldnt be bothering with dressing up a choice. why convince a slut her man is holding her back/down if you are just gonna rape her? rape is about denying choice, not debating it.

        most of the arguments i hear against this song are misguided and untrue. ppl ought to search out why it rubs them wrong and be honest about it.

        its certainly not ‘slut shaming’. its celebrating sluts. so why does it really bother them?

        in a sexual context, women have become accustomed to a lopsided power dynamic. this video does the faux paus of ignoring it. if there was more ‘weak kneed worship’ of the vagina it would be OK. these guys are basically standing on their own 2 feet. unconscionable to have men do that when pussy celebration is on parade.

  29. In the space of a generation, they’ve gone from demanding the right of young adults on campus to listen to, dance to, read and watch what they want, to placing a paternalistic hand over students’ ears and eyes lest they hear something a bit raunchy.

    There is no revolution for liberty. There’s only a revolution for equality, and liberty gets in the way of equality.

    1. Sad but true.

    2. Not so much equality as equitas – they are different. Personal liberty differs from individual to individual. It is the mark of an immature mind to believe that everything must be offered to them in order to have liberty. True freedom is in the mind – it cannot be acquired.

  30. What would they do with She’s So Cold by the Stones, which is a better song and much more misogynistic than Blurred Lines? Would it be too much for them to handle?

    1. “Under My Thumb” ?

  31. Perhaps what they need is a free speech zone…

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  33. As terrible as this song is- not lyrically i belive he has no talent for music and should be forced to listen to his own garbage until he quits realizing how bad he sucks.- anyways these students should hate themselves for trying to regulate others, there should be such seething hate and contempt for anyone that tries this kind of crap that to do so would be tantamount to the same social blow back they seek to inflict upon others… this is why England is for socialist scum and the US has no business being an ally of them or any other socialist scum nation like it.

  34. Wonder what they think of Cannibal Corpse’s “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled”

    They think they know who I am
    All they know is I love to kill
    Face down, dead on the ground
    Find me before another is found

    I come alive in the darkness
    Left murdered and nameless
    Dead unburied and rotten
    Half eaten by insects

    She was so beautiful
    I had to kill her

    Tied her up
    And taped her mouth shut
    Couldn’t scream
    Raped violently
    Rope tight, around her throat
    Her body twitches
    As she chokes

    Strangulation caused her death
    Just like all the others
    Raped before and after death
    Stripped, naked, tortured

    They’re all dead, they’re all dead
    They’re all dead, by strangulation

    I come alive in the darkness
    Left murdered and nameless
    Dead unburied and rotten
    Half eaten by insects

    It felt so good to kill

    I took their lives away
    7 dead, lying rotten
    Unburied victims
    their naked bodies putrefy

    Strangulation caused her death
    Just like all the others
    Raped before and after death
    Stripped, naked, tortured

    They’re all dead, they’re all dead
    They’re all dead, by strangulation

    I come alive in the darkness
    Left murdered and nameless
    Dead unburied and rotten
    Half eaten by insects

    They think they know who I am
    All they know is I love to kill
    Face down, dead on the ground
    Find me before another is found

    1. cant believe i used to be allowed to walk around school with a tomb of the mutilated shirt on, for the Un-metal among us it features a naked rotting woman being eaten out “literally and graphically violent” by a zombie with half her vag skin in its mouth and a tit rotting off, i never got asked to take it off or anything about it, instead my friend who had 2 silouets of mudflap girls on a sevendust shirt got shit for his sexually explicit shit standing next to me in mine while nothing was said to me

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  37. I, personally, do not see the harm in a body of individuals determining for themselves if they wish to entertain a particular atmosphere. It is not as though they are asking for it to be banned from existence. Schools are like homes, they harbor a particular atmosphere, and need to foster the overall image the school wishes to imbue – just as a parent would their home. Children may fuss and argue, but they still have some freedoms outside of the parental environment. Must everyone have any freedom whenever and wherever they wish in order to believe they are free? If so, then they are truly the slave, as they will never achieve unconditional freedom.

  38. Thank you very much
    ,,,,,

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