Are Edinburgh University Right To Ban Blurred Lines? So Called ‘Rape Song’ Comes Under The CoshMisogyny and pop- the two seem to have, unfortunately, gone hand in hand, forever making a mockery of the world for feeling enlightened. Even the most talented bands have been guilty.

The music industry is perhaps the most backward thinking of them all (apart from maybe footballers) in its attitude to women. It’s a place where sex sells and ‘dolly birds’ get the record deals and a Mary Beard lookalike would be deemed to have no musical talent because she is no cliched idea of a pin up. It can be a dark and dismal ditch of grunting, preening cavemen in cheap aftershave, pushing women around and bragging about it on song.

In fact, it’s even worse than that.

The current number one in the charts is Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke…you may wonder what this is but then the charts matter little these days and are hardly the great compass to music culture they once were, but a sad corner of low selling tracks, major label chart hypes, boy bands with few fans heading for a tabloid crash and solo singers on the fast lane to flipping burgers.

Thicke by name and thick by nature has a number one single with lines in the chorus ‘I Know You Want It’ ‘Must Get nasty’ And ‘I hate these blurred lines’. Obviously not the gentleman and closer to a drunk and confused footballer in an overpriced hotel room pushing a girl around, Thicke seems to think this is how you treat a woman.

Critics have pointed out that track condones rape and Rape Crisis in Scotland have backed the move.

However can we just ban offensive songs? Would we have to ban Nick Cave songs about murdering women even if they are in an artful context? What do you think? Do you think we can’t ban the song but shake your head wearily at the Idiot Child singing the tune? do you think dumb pop singers should be made to confront their lyrics? Do you think songs still have the power to influence putty minded buffoons? Do you think the song is a sad reflection of our contemporary culture or just a pimple on the arse end of humanity? Does pop even matter that much any more? Should Thicke pay a big chunk of royalties to Rape Crisis or is he happy to treat women this way in first second or third person?

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. I think there is a difference between the adult aimed Nick Cave and the artists of the teenager/yoof markets. Chart music it is over sexualised enough without songs with hints of rape. Sadly I can see this CD being sold next to sexy underwear for toddlers !

  2. The University of Edinburgh have not made any decisions at all concerning “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. However, the University of Edinburgh Student Association, which is a separate entity from the University, has made the decision to not play this track in its premises. This is their prerogative, surely? Nothing has been “banned”.


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