Should The Cure remove "Killing An Arab" from their live setlist?

Started by dsanchez, April 22, 2019, 16:13:12

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dsanchez

This question was recently brought up on Twitter, so here it is:

Should The Cure remove "Killing An Arab" from their live set list  (because the controversy it can generate)?

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chemicaloverload

Is it a personal statement though? The whole issue surrounding this song was its misappropriated use and the fact that all the criticism that followed amounted to censorship. You have said you don't believe in censorship but by not singing it, that would be censorship. You also say by not singing it, it would promote peace, but what peace are you referring to and is it directed towards a specific incident you relate it to?

As for fans expressing pent up emotion- in one of the most controlled environments that we put ourselves in where people are paid to look after fans and are usually trained in conflict management. What's wrong with anger? Anger does not mean hatred. Go back to the literal meaning embedded in the book- indifference.

If you go down this censorship trail, we risk a mass ban on hundreds of music- Rage against the machine, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Korn, The Offspring- the list is endless.

Peace is not spread like a disease. It is educated, it is a mentality, it is public policy, it is tolerance. It is not dependant on Robert Smith standing up on stage at the end of the concert and choosing not to sing a song which is based on art. Peace integrity over artist integrity? No. Integrity is maintaining a consistent sense of self and you're asking someone to abandon that.

You choose not to like or sing the song, that's ok. You choose to like the song and sing the song, thats ok. Let people be people.

Have a read here: https://gregstevens.com/2016/03/06/thoughts-killing-arab/

This is a very informative and well researched piece of writing.
Life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves

chemicaloverload

I think your response is obviously coming from a deeply personal space and it's your own feelings about the song, being scared, that is clouding your judgement.

It's not about race. It's not about hatred. It's not about fear. Therefore, by not singing it cannot be about peace. There is no correlation between the two. I fail to see it. You don't seem to touch upon the censorship aspect of the previous controversy? You seem to be advocating for censorship...

See the issue is, there is a younger more captive generation out there and by spreading a very confused message about peace and this song, you're stirring a pot, a pot that could boil over and have some devastating consequences. You're also coming very close to demonising the band you love for a song they wrote in their youth and if you read that article, have thoughts of their own which you should digest.

Also, to ask someone to rise above their 'self-righteousness', to where? You're level? Isn't that more self-righteous and somewhat sanctimonious in itself? You can't say that you love certain things about a person and then try to take them away, with the same hand.


Life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves

chemicaloverload

But don't you get that your not making them safe because you are putting labels on everyone? Your taking traits from people and defining them, rather than letting people define themselves! Your trying to stuff everyone into their own box. There is no box. There is only people and they should choose to define themselves- not you or society. If you really wanted peace, proper real peace, there would be no labels. There would only people standing with one another as human beings, free of religion, colour, race, gender, sexuality the lot. So what your doing is counter productive. You might think it comes from a good place but its totally misinformed and its misplaced. The same way you have plucked a song and paired it with hatred.

None of it computes. And we are going to keep going around in circles because you don't seem to grasp the gravity of your comments, which you yourself have made public. You have also now alluded to a public figure behaving inappropriately with young girls. Do you understand the UK's stance on historic child sex crimes right now? Do you know the amount of famous people who have been investigated for such allegations? Its you who should exercise a filter. You don't demonise him but follow that statement with something so severe and abhorrent?

You need to stop now, because you're bringing f****** ill conceived comments into a public realm that you clearly have no idea about.

I'm finished here. You might want to start thinking before you speak.
Life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves

dsanchez

Quote from: tanyasmith on April 22, 2019, 22:43:38I don't demonize Robert Smith. He may have  [...], he may have not.

Unless you have proof of what you are insinuating (not someone claiming on Pinterest something - people fabricate things on the internet everyday) there's a "Modify" button you can use to remove this part. We can't just write something that serious to harm people's reputation. This is serious.

Been following The Cure for over 15 years, never heard something like this, nor from anyone, nor did I find such thing on the internet.

p.s. will comment on the opening post later.
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chemicaloverload

'People who have been disenfranchised'- is that not the whole point of the song in the first place? And those who have been judged normally turn to music when that happens, yet you are comfortable enough to tear that down. If you feel so strongly about it all, why aren't you using your voice more appropriately? Instead of this crusade of confusion, with Pinterest as an apparently valid source. Put your voice behind matters that will see change, that will see a result. If you want to spread peace, this is not the way to go about it and it seems that no matter what anyone says, you will not and cannot accept that. You said you don't engage in negativity, then what are you doing? I'm curious now as to why you seem to be victim blaming by saying its young women throwing themselves at people-  you're creating a schizophrenic narrative. You might want to solidify a stance and stick to it.

This is my point. You don't seem to have a full grasp of anything you are saying.



Life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves

Ulrich

Quote from: tanyasmith on April 22, 2019, 16:37:25
I know that this is not an easy question with an easy answer. It has pros and cons on both sides. I just wonder which is more important: to keep making a personal statement by singing it or to make a global statement that promotes peace by not singing it?

Could it be that you got it wrong right from the start?  :?

"Killing An Arab" may sound like an "angry" song, but it is based on the book "The Outsider" ("L'Etranger" = "The Stranger") by Albert Camus (as has been mentioned many times before).

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-cure/killing-an-arab
QuoteThis was inspired by Albert Camus' book The Stranger (also known as The Outsider). It is not a racist song, but still caused a lot of controversy because many people assumed so because of the title. The book deals with existentialism, and the title "Killing An Arab" was taken from a passage where the main character thinks about the emptiness of life after killing a man on a beach for reasons he can't explain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stranger_(Camus_novel)

QuoteThe title character is Meursault, an indifferent French Algerian described as "a citizen of France domiciled in North Africa, a man of the Mediterranean, an homme du midi yet one who hardly partakes of the traditional Mediterranean culture". He attends his mother's funeral. A few days later, he kills an Arab man in French Algiers, who was involved in a conflict with a friend. Meursault is tried and sentenced to death. The story is divided into two parts, presenting Meursault's first-person narrative view before and after the murder, respectively.

In January 1955, Camus wrote:
I summarized The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: 'In our society any man who does not weep at his mother's funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.' I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.

In my opinion, this song (based on the book, as stated by Robert many times since 1978) has often been misunderstood (and I would not say it is a "personal statement", it is just a song based on literature)!

From the link above posted by chemicaloverload:

Quote"If there's one thing I would change, it's the title," says Smith, sounding a little weary. "I wrote it when I was still in school and I had no idea that anyone would ever listen to it other than my immediate school friends. One of the themes of the song is that everyone's existence is pretty much the same. Everyone lives, everyone dies, our existences are the same. It's as far from a racist song as you can write. It seems though that no one can get past the title and that's incredibly frustrating."
Too many secrets, too many lies...

word_on_a_wing

(*Me re-entering the forum*)
... "what did I miss?" ...ummmm.....


...side-note. Obviously the claims on Pinterest are bogus.  If you should make such statements please post a link (so we can rightly look into it and debunk it) rather than make claims without any supportive evidence.  Thanks 🙏🏼
"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

Ulrich

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on April 23, 2019, 11:55:56
...side-note. Obviously the claims on Pinterest are bogus.

dsanchez has addressed this issue already - let's not discuss this any further in a topic about the first Cure single and why they still play it live.
Too many secrets, too many lies...

word_on_a_wing

Quote from: Ulrich on April 23, 2019, 14:09:55
Quote from: word_on_a_wing on April 23, 2019, 11:55:56
...side-note. Obviously the claims on Pinterest are bogus.

dsanchez has addressed this issue already - let's not discuss this any further in a topic about the first Cure single and why they still play it live.

Good point
(...I think my psychologist brain switched into gear ... making claims? I want references)

My final thoughts (cue Dr Phil music) ...while we may find ourselves grabbing hold of views or beliefs (whatever they may be) it is all an attempt to get ground under our feet, to try feel more secure in this finite play in which we live ...which begs the question ...when will we awake and realise we don't need ground under our feet, that we can FLY ...and holding on so tightly to beliefs and views keeps us asleep and weighed down on this earth.

...and now to end with a lyric from Killing An Arab ...
"Whichever I chose
It amounts to the same
Absolutely nothing"

"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

MeltingMan

Quote from: tanyasmith on April 22, 2019, 22:43:38
At Hyde Park, I stood behind an Israeli man and his wife. They were beautiful people, in and out. I also stood next to a German woman, dark-haired, blue-eyed, Queen of the underdogs, a universal mother who had snacks for us all in her very large tote bag. At the end of the show we all stood stoically, confused, impressed, hoping that there was a good reason they performed that song.

I totally get that. We had a similar discussion in November 2016, and The Cure played KaA instead
of Why Can't I Be You. It was the end of the tour, so it was appropriate. I'm against a constant removal,
however. That's it from my side.
Look at me the way you once did

Ulrich

Quote from: MeltingMan on April 23, 2019, 15:47:00
We had a similar discussion in November 2016...
I'm against a constant removal

If they'd remove it (or e.g. if they hadn't played it at HP), soon there would be voices asking "why didn't they play that first single (at an anniversary show)?"

My guess: the reason why they play it is that they still like the song and enjoy to perform it on stage.
(Whether that is a good reason, everyone should decide for themselves...)  :neutral-face
Too many secrets, too many lies...

Ulrich

My question is: has any one of you here ever read that book by A. Camus? I did so, back in 1989.

Quote from: tanyasmith on April 23, 2019, 16:56:15
Do you all see the irony of your comments, asking me to remove statements I've made, asking me to censor my thoughts and input?

Nothing wrong with thoughts and input. However, asking you to remove allegations and accusations based on rumors is not censorship!! :pouting-face
It is simply to protect you (and the forum) from any legal action!!!

Quote from: tanyasmith on April 23, 2019, 16:56:15
I just don't understand the need The Cure has (and Cure fans) to make dramatic features of this song, such as closing their anniversary show with it, at the possible expense of alienating innocent Cure fans, at the possible expense of it being used as racist propaganda...

Sorry, you are totally over-interpreting things here! The one making "dramatic features" out of it is you!
Anyone who calls her/himself "Cure fan" should know about the song and the why and wherefores. (The most basic links about the song and the book have already been put here into this topic.)

Any Cure fan who still does not know that the song is not about racism, should definitely go and do his/her homework! NOW!! (There, I'm the teacher yet again...)  :evil:
Too many secrets, too many lies...

dsanchez

Quote from: Ulrich on April 23, 2019, 17:35:01
My question is: has any one of you here ever read that book by A. Camus? I did so, back in 1989.
Quote from: tanyasmith on April 23, 2019, 16:56:15
Do you all see the irony of your comments, asking me to remove statements I've made, asking me to censor my thoughts and input?
Nothing wrong with thoughts and input. However, asking you to remove allegations and accusations based on rumors is not censorship!! :pouting-face
It is simply to protect you (and the forum) from any legal action!!!

You summarized pretty well, @Ulrich :smth023

@tanya, if you would have posted those R.S. allegations on Twitter, not only that tweet would have been reported by all The Cure fans out there, but Twitter might have taken actions with your account (I am glad you were reasonable enough to remove those allegations here on the forum)

As for the topic itself, yes, this song has been and will be controversial (no for Curefans who know its background, of course) because its title. During the release of the Standing On A Beach compilation, a campaign forced The Cure to place stickers on the album's cover to clarify the song had not any racist purpose whatsoever:

QuoteA rock song called ''Killing an Arab'' by a British group, the Cure, has resulted in a nationwide campaign to control the implications of its title. Although the song itself does not have a racist message, the Cure announced yesterday that it had agreed, after protests from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, to place explanatory stickers on albums, to add a message in the credits of its concert film and to discourage American radio stations from playing the song.

This is not the first time The Cure take such an action. During the time of the Muhammad cartoons, I remember the band changed the title of the song to "Killing Another".

In one of the posts above, Tanya said:

QuoteIn Hyde Park I stood, I listened, I watched. Robert's face was contorted in hatred, as if he was using that song to release angry feelings. Could be healing for him, but is it healing for our earth and the people in it?

That's just speculation. We don't know what's in Robert's mind. What we know is that this is a song written during Bob's punk time. This is not a slow song. This is not "Apart" or "The Big Hand", this is an energetic, amazing song to end a gig. I  still remember pretty well back in 2013 when I was pogo-dancing that song at the National Stadium of Lima with my friends and I swear you, the last thing that crossed our minds were Muslims, Arabs or killings: we were just enjoying the music.

QuoteShould the song Killing an Arab be sang uncensored, with more consideration or completely taken off the playlist at concerts?

I am totally fine with any change as long as the song is not removed from gigs, but that's just my opinion. In the end is, up to the band to decide whether to play it or not. Honestly, The Cure removing or adding this song won't make any difference to world peace (there are much more relevant subjects out there!). In the end, when you look the overall picture, The Cure has created more than a hundred songs. If anything, their music has brought more peace and happiness to the world than it hasn't.
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Ulrich

Quote from: tanyasmith on April 23, 2019, 19:43:58
It always been my impression that Robert Smith is a non-racist. He and his wife sponsored some children in South America (Aurora was the girl Robert sponsored, I believe, and Mary sponsored a boy).

And now? It has been pointed out often enough now that the song is non-racist too. So why go on (and on and on)?

Quote from: tanyasmith on April 23, 2019, 19:43:58
How do all these titles sound?

Are you still going on about the title? Did you not understand what Robert said???
"It seems though that no one can get past the title and that's incredibly frustrating."
Got it?

Quote from: tanyasmith on April 23, 2019, 19:43:58
Who does the singer relate himself to in the song?

Read the book (or at least a summary - some links are already in here)!
Too many secrets, too many lies...