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Lou Reed, Hater?

It is time to round up the Social Justice Warriors and drive them into the sea. [1] Look:

The student association at a Canadian university is apologizing to members of the transgender community who may have felt “hurt” or devalued by overhearing Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.”

In a statement on Facebook, Ontario’s University of Guelph Central Student Association apologized anyone who was upset by the “hurtful” “transphobic lyrics” played during a campus event. The student association claimed the song “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” was picked for a playlist of ‘70s and ‘80s songs out of “ignorance” and showed “an error in judgement” [sic]:

It’s come to our attention that the playlist we had on during bus pass distribution on Thursday contained a song with transphobic lyrics (Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side). The playlist was compiled by one of the Executives with the intent of feeling like a road trip from the 70s and 80s. The song was included solely on those terms and made in ignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics.


We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement.

The student association also said they are “committed” to being more “mindful” of the music they play during events in the future, and suggested students attend a meeting to “discuss how we can create better playlists in the future” with songs that are “more inclusive.”


The student association page continued by saying the mere concept of the song, taking a walk on the wild side, is “problematic” and “dangerous” because it describes transgender people (reportedly 0.5 percent of the Canadian population) as being “unusual,” which they claim is “dehumanizing” and makes people somehow less supportive of transgender rights:

Additionally, stating that conversing, spending time with, or having sex with a trans person is “taking a walk on the wild side” is also problematic. It labels trans folks as “wild” or “unusual” or “unnatural” which is a dangerous rhetoric.

The song was released in 1972. [2] There is nothing hostile to transgenderism in the song. In fact, it was considered risqué at the time because it referenced transgenderism. This lyric is about Holly Woodlawn, a trans actress who was part of Andy Warhol’s crowd (as was Reed):

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,
Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.

The entire song is about these outré characters … because transgenderism was walking on the wild side in 1972, and to a significant degree it is today. Reed himself had a relationship back then with a male-to-female transgender. [3] And now Reed, who later in life married Laurie Anderson, and who died in 2013, is a … bigot?!

These puritanical progressives are horrible.

77 Comments (Open | Close)

77 Comments To "Lou Reed, Hater?"

#1 Comment By Roland P. On May 20, 2017 @ 11:05 am

“For their next roadtrip party, I’d suggest Disney soundtracks. Play them the theme song from Frozen on a loop”

I’m a bus driver and the last copy of Frozen played in the bus committed suicide…

Jumped right out of the DVD player and under the front wheel of the bus..

Asked DVD player why it didn’t stop it and the player just said ‘I had to “Let It Go”‘……

#2 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 20, 2017 @ 12:00 pm

If they burrow into a STEM discipline the result is the same…

Not the same. Incompetence in STEM field can have far more grave real world consequences. America’s Lysenko is waiting to happen.

The standard SJW was hatched from an egg last Tuesday. These people have zero historical sense

True that. If they had a sense of history, they would know they are NOT living in Bull Connor’s Jim Crow, and never will, no matter how much they’d like to he heroes striding the stage in 1963. And that’s good for them, because most of them would turn and run crying “No fair” at first sign of police dogs and fire hoses. It took intensive training to stand up to that treatment.

So they watch eagerly for sympathy and approval… deny them that pleasure. Laugh derisively, and when they have a nervous breakdown, gently explain why. Individually.

#3 Comment By JohnE_o On May 20, 2017 @ 12:01 pm

Attitudes like that is what gave “The Story of Little Black Sambo” an undeserved bad rep.

#4 Comment By Ken On May 20, 2017 @ 1:56 pm

The student association’s statement is further proof that prejudice, including reverse prejudice, makes people stupid. Just plain stupid.

#5 Comment By Egypt Steve On May 20, 2017 @ 1:57 pm

This is kind of interesting:

“In an interview with The Guardian published December 13, 2008, Holly Woodlawn said: “My father got a job at a hotel, so we moved from New York to Miami Beach. I was going to school, getting stones thrown at me and being beaten up by homophobic rednecks. I felt I deserved better, and I hated football and baseball. So, aged 15, I decided to get the hell out of there and ran away from home. I had $27, so hitchhiked across the USA. I did pluck my eyebrows in Georgia. It hurt! My friend Georgette was plucking them and I was screaming, but all of a sudden I had these gorgeous eyebrows and she put mascara on my eyes. We ran into some marines in Lafayette in South Carolina. They tried to attack me. I was 15 and not used to this stuff. I was sitting in a car with this marine, terrified that he was going to rape me and kill me. I said, ‘I’ve never done this before.’ He said, ‘You don’t wanna have sex with me?’ I said it wasn’t that I didn’t find him attractive, I just didn’t want to do it. But he was wonderful. He protected me. While Georgette was in a motel screaming and yelling with 18 marines but having a good time, he said, ‘When you’re with me, nothing will happen to you.’ And they drove us all the way to New Jersey.

In New York I was living on the street. Then I met Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling, and they’d watch Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo movies at 1am. There was this club called Max’s Kansas City. Jackie and Candy had just done this movie called Flesh, and they said, ‘You have to meet Andy [Warhol]. He’s gonna make you a superstar.’

I didn’t want to be a superstar. My wig looked like yak hair. One day Jackie put on a show and I was in the chorus. I saw this bag of glitter and a jar of Vaseline, and smeared myself with it and got this boyfriend to throw the glitter on me. [Director] Paul Morrissey said, ‘I don’t know who she is but she’s a star.’ Next thing Paul’s calling me up to star in a movie called Trash, and the rest is history.

One day a friend called me and said, ‘Turn on the radio!’ They were playing ‘Walk On The Wild Side.’ The funny thing is that, while I knew the Velvet Underground’s music, I’d never met Lou Reed. I called him up and said, ‘How do you know this stuff about me?’ He said, ‘Holly, you have the biggest mouth in town.’ We met and we’ve been friends ever since.”

Also turns out that the singers who sang backing vocals on the track were white English girls, who recorded a couple of minor hits in the UK under the name “The Thunderthighs.” I dunno, maybe that bit was a bit of questionable cultural appropriation. But the thing was, everyone was just having a bit of fun by stepping out of their own narrow lane — like the song said. I just can’t see anything wrong with that.

#6 Comment By Peter On May 20, 2017 @ 3:49 pm

I always enjoyed Lou Reed’s music. He was a great melodist and had a terrific “hipster” vocal delivery. But I did view him as a hater of Christianity and Reagan and stuff like that. He loved to write shocking lyrics and even today it is startling to hear some of them on the public airwaves. “When a c* gets that blue it’s a universal truth that you know that b* will never f* again.” (Street Hassle, quoted from memory.) Reed, like the folk singers before him and Madonna and Miley Cyrus after him, made a career of breaking the taboos of small-town, church-going Republicans, which is to say he was a standard Hollywood product. Actual transsexuals should be distinguished from the flamboyant cross-dressing types featured in Reed’s musical narratives, who are essentially gay and have no interest in surgical sex change. Actual transsexuals, such as one old friend, are not particularly sexy or interested in transgressing norms any more than needed to feel accepted and at peace with themselves. But politics throws them together with people like Reed who are out to offend at any cost. Surprising how many of them end up in heterosexual marriages when they get too old to be marketed as culture-war shock troops.

#7 Comment By Colonel Bogey On May 20, 2017 @ 4:03 pm

What’s with the snide [sic] after the word ‘judgement’ in the Guelph University statement? That’s a perfectly correct spelling, especially in Canada, and is much more logical than the awkward ‘judgment’.

#8 Comment By dominic1955 On May 20, 2017 @ 5:55 pm

This whole Butthurt offense circus is getting plain stupid.

#9 Comment By TR On May 20, 2017 @ 7:31 pm

Michael Guarino: “STEM is too hard.” Maybe so, but at the two universities I was with in the late sixties, the largest concentration of radicals was in the grad student and young instructor cohort of the Math department. That’s a fact. I have no explanation.

#10 Comment By TR On May 20, 2017 @ 7:37 pm

Carlos: “Where did we go wrong?” Skip the “we” and ask yourself what the SJW’s are reacting against. I say this because I remember in the sixties, it was the middle-class kids who had lived in houses with multiple bathrooms and separate bedrooms for everyone–i. e., “boring” upper-middle-class suburbia–who tended to be the most radical, anti-materialistic sorts.

This is just a suggestion, by the way. Perhaps it just shows my bias for dialectical inquiry.

#11 Comment By Bruce On May 20, 2017 @ 8:59 pm

No, what is really sad is Rod, (or myself), (or anybody else), making any kind of assumption about the politics or persuassion or motivation or composition of the Guelph Central Student Association. You, Rod, immediately launch into a blind supposition about “puritanical progressives”, without one whisker or shred of evidence or knowledge about who issued this directive or why. For all you know, this board may very well be headed by an old-school Protestant minister with a certain set of “do unto others” values, or possibly a deeply conservative born-again Christian who happens to have a gay or transgendered family member, (behold Newt Gingrich or the Cheneys, and I know of one as well. Funny the way that works.) All I’m saying is let’s, every one of us, not be so quick to judge or assess, condone or condemn based on something as flimsy as “appearances”. We have enough trouble already and reducing any individual or event to a supposition, conjecture, hunch, speculation or assumption based primarily on “the way things look”, is both intellectually lazy, morally treacherous and subject to each of our own, top-loaded series of preconceptions and prejudices.

[NFR: Please. You know exactly what these kids were about. — RD]

#12 Comment By M_Young On May 20, 2017 @ 10:52 pm

That’s weird, I’ve been thinking about Lou Reed lately. Entirely because a lot of the Left, here and elsewhere, claim that white heroin use is new, and that it is only a concern now because of the perception that whites are on the drug. But I’ve always thought of heroin was a white drug, and Lou Reed was my mental picture of a heroin addict.

#13 Comment By Michael Guarino On May 21, 2017 @ 12:29 am

By the way, just because this is a student government association does not mean it might not be a refuge for kooks.

Explaining why an association of professional mathematicians would fall for this takes more than the graveyard whistling you’re attempting with the student organization.

#14 Comment By John Fargo On May 21, 2017 @ 2:45 am

“It has come to our attention…” It would be nice to know who exactly brought it to their attention. Was it an actual trans student or group, or just some random snowflake? They would like to apologize because someone MAY have been offended? “We would like to apologize for the recent student production of West Side Story as it may have offended the dancing, singing, Puerto Rican minority community.”

#15 Comment By JonF On May 21, 2017 @ 6:55 am

Re: Explaining why an association of professional mathematicians would fall for this …

Huh? We are talking come vaguely identified “student association” which, on second thought, may not even deserve the moniker “Student government” depending on exactly what it is and the purpose it serves. A “gay student union” would be a student association too, example. So would a lacrosse club. Why are you conflating some undergrad group with a “society of professional mathematicians”?

#16 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On May 21, 2017 @ 9:53 am


Blue Oyster Cult is elitist/racist, what with all their references to the western literary canon

Exactly! Thanks a lot. Kudos to you. I knew this song is hurtful.



It might be helpful to analysis if I could understand what exactly they are singing. The only words I understand are the “c’mon baby” part and, of course, the oft-repeated title line, which together make up perhaps 80% of the song.

I love it. I probably wouldn’t like it as much if I understood more of the words, but this is true of almost all pop music. Yes I know I could look it up, but I prefer to sit here in my muddled way and just like it.

I was also able to catch the line about Romeo and Juliet. Which, as Marie has pointed out, is all about smug European supremacy, while at the same time celebrating heterosexual relations over anything else.

Romeo and Juliet can also be viewed as references to Romulus and the gens Julia, thus showing monarchical and dictatorial tendencies reigning among group members. They are atrocious, these Long Island occultists.

#17 Comment By Fran Macadam On May 21, 2017 @ 11:04 am

Once they think they’ve killed us all, they turn their guns on themselves. Last Transgender Standing?

#18 Comment By OMM 0910 On May 21, 2017 @ 11:37 am

#19 Comment By Prof. Woland On May 21, 2017 @ 10:38 pm

Hardcore atheist secular liberal here.

If these numbnuts cannot understand historical context than F them.

Seriously. Do they hate “Lola” by the Kinks also?

Both of these songs were probably instrumental in actually helping to normalize something that would have been considered a mental disorder at the time–and now they want to act as if they are hurtful.

No. This is not liberal. This is authoritarian crap.

I will fight these things (and I actually do so on my FB friends lists..)–because they are just stupid.

This is not progressive–as there’s no progress in creating division and hating on people..

#20 Comment By inthepines On May 22, 2017 @ 6:53 am

No dissent allowed here, I see. Both my comments agreeing with the college kids were removed by the moderators. The fact that actual trans college students didn’t want to hear the song is apparently trumped by boomer nostalgia.

#21 Comment By Good Reason On May 22, 2017 @ 7:12 am

Blue Oyster Cult/Don’t Fear the Reaper; glorification of death/suicide . . . “we can be like they are”–that is, dead. Like Romeo and Juliet, 40,000 men and women everyday . . . read the lyrics online.

#22 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 22, 2017 @ 9:14 am

without one whisker or shred of evidence or knowledge about who issued this directive or why.

By their fruits do we know them. If it turns out the whole thing was engineered by Jerry Falwell, Jr., its no less ridiculous.

“We would like to apologize for the recent student production of West Side Story as it may have offended the dancing, singing, Puerto Rican minority community.”

Nothing wrong with “West Side Story,” but I do remember the first time I saw the movie, wondering why they had to have Natalie Wood play the role of Maria. There wasn’t one Puerto Rican actress who might have played the role more authentically? That was the phoniest faux Hispanic accent I’ve ever heard.

On the other hand, when I saw “The Pirate Queen” about a 16th century Irish clan, I noted that several of the pirate crew were played by black actors, and I thought, why not? This is a production in New York. Should all the black actors be barred from roles here? A sense of proportion goes a long way.

#23 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On May 22, 2017 @ 1:46 pm

Blue Oyster Cult/Don’t Fear the Reaper; glorification of death/suicide . . . “we can be like they are”–that is, dead. Like Romeo and Juliet, 40,000 men and women everyday . . . read the lyrics online.

I thought modern culture celebrates suicide and doesn’t consider such things hurtful.

#24 Comment By nick On May 22, 2017 @ 3:38 pm

So if these people are bigots, can we also say Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is too?

#25 Comment By Potato On May 22, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

Blue Oyster Cult/Don’t Fear the Reaper; glorification of death/suicide . . . “we can be like they are”–that is, dead. Like Romeo and Juliet, 40,000 men and women everyday . . . read the lyrics online.

Now I’m doubly glad I skipped it. I will now endeavor to forget your explanation and go back to chanting “mumble mumble mumble Don’t fear the reaper! Don’t fear the reaper! La la la la la l! mumble mumble mumble” like I did before.

Heard the song on the muzac at Target yesterday. Will this stuff never die?

#26 Comment By wryman On May 22, 2017 @ 6:40 pm

Not to mention this:

Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman
But she was another man
All the girls around her say she’s got it coming
But she gets it while she can

#27 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On May 23, 2017 @ 12:23 pm

Will this stuff never die?

Never. As Axl Rose said, who said that rock is dead? None in this morgue, that’s for sure.