November 2002 - Q (UK)
(submitted by Autumn)
? from reader: "I once heard something about The Cure's Killing an Arab being taken rather literally and becoming something of a racist anthem in the US. Is this true and, if so, what happened? -Antony Salatova, Braintree"
answer: "It's true. The song's title, actually inspired by Albert Camus's existential novel The Outsider, was always problematic. In 1979, mistaking the band for fellow - if peculiarly dressed - racists, National Front supporters kicked off at a gig at London's Nashville Rooms. Then, in 1986, when their Standing on a Beach compilation was released, the song was taken up by American right-wing shock-jocks working at several college radio stations including Ivy League Institution Princeton and the University of Michigan. Following complaints from the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the band requested radio stations stop playing the song and further copies of the album were issued with stickers declaring: "The song Killing an Arab has absolutely no racist overtones whatsoever. It is a song that decries the existense of all prejudice and consequent violence."