Offended By "In The Flesh"

General discussion about Pink Floyd.
User avatar
Real Pink in the Inside
Posts: 2012
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 7:31 pm
Location: The Dark Side of Neptune

Offended By "In The Flesh"

Post by Real Pink in the Inside »

One of the articles in the latest issue of Spare Bricks webzine ( tells us about a couple who were apparently offended by Roger's performance of "In The Flesh" during one of his shows in 1999.


"A couple of years ago, I was in Camden, New Jersey to see Roger Waters perform In The Flesh. The show began with a pumped-up version of the tour's title song. Many people were screaming. Many people were singing along. Many people held their crossed wrists over their heads. Many people were enjoying themselves. And a few people were leaving.

I thought it odd that the young couple chose that moment to get refreshments or use the restrooms or do whatever they were departing to go do that should have been done before the show started. Some time later, I realized that their seats, a couple rows ahead of me, were still vacant. Then it dawned to me--the angst in their faces, the yarmulke, their lack of participation in the sing-along--they were Jewish. They were offended by Roger's rantings and weren't coming back."

- Ed Paule


Paule goes on to state:

"...are these neo-Nazi ramblings truly offensive? The short answer to this question is yes and no. It all depends on the context. ... If the context is the whole album of The Wall (or the movie, or the live performances of The Wall that occurred in 1980, 1981, and 1990) then these lines are not offensive. They are not offensive in this context ... Roger Waters has performed this song live on each of his solo tours. ... In all of these cases, the song is played outside the context of The Wall. It is in these performances that 'Roger Waters'--and not 'Pink's evil alter ego'--sings these lyrics. It is in these performances that these lyrics become offensive; especially to audience members that are unaware the song's proper context."

I think even when Roger does play the song by itself live it is not offensive. In my eyes, the lines "There's one smoking a joint! And another with spots!" make it obvious the song is a satire (The latter line in particular, although I think both make it clear when you consider your surrounding at time [i.e., There are usually a number of individuals smoking grass during live performances by Pink Floyd/Roger Waters. In this setting, they are arguably NOT a minority on par with homosexuals and Jews, for example. Just breathe in the air, man :lol:]). As such, I do not think the song in this context IS offensive. Obviously one COULD be offended by the song in this context (Just as they could be when the context is the whole of The Wall), but essentially anything could offend someone (I doubt anyone is going to argue that point). I think the intent is obviously not to offend anyone at the show, and the previously mentioned lines make this abundantly clear. In my opinion, anyone who takes the song as seriously as the aforementioned couple needs to actually THINK about where they are and what they are hearing.

What do you think?
User avatar
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 1:52 am
Location: Michigan, US

Post by dgsyd1 »

Either the couple in question have had a sense of humour bypass, or they didn't understand the context under which the song was written. It it was the former then that's their problem, and if it's the later then what on earth were they doing at a Roger Waters show?
User avatar
Posts: 902
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2002 7:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin USA

Post by quicksilver »

You're never going to please everybody. People like this will always have a bug up their caboose about something. Usually you're familiar with an artist before you buy tickets and know what to expect when you go to the show. I believe if these people listened to the whole album and maybe watched the movie they would understand better the meaning behind it.
User avatar
David Smith
Posts: 7074
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2002 12:54 pm
Location: Edinburgh or Aberdeen depending on the time of year

Post by David Smith »

I would presume if you liked roger waters enough to go and see him live then you would be mostly bassing this upon pink floyd rather than his solo career, with in which case I would have thought they would have heard the song first anyway. how many large Floyd/ waters fans haven't heard The Wall? Can't be many out there.
User avatar
Posts: 11194
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 5:54 pm
Location: In the editing bay...working on the final cut...

Post by mosespa »

This is actually a pet peeve of mine.

I think that people, as a whole, are becoming entirely TOO SENSITIVE!!

The Jewish couple who left the concert obviously felt that the lyrics of ITF were a personal attack upon them, specifically. Maybe it didn't register as such to them, but their response says it all.

Have we, as a species, become so sissified that every artist now has to stop and think, "Is this piece going to offend some specific person in a part of the world I've only seen through photographs and television shows? Is some young interracial couple going to be offended if I name my group Vanilla Fudge?"

People...GET A DUCKING GRIP!!!!!!!! The artist doesn't know you, has probably never even come close to putting a composite of your face together in his mind when he's thinking about his audience.

It's one thing to be moved by a piece of's something else entirely to take it as an attack upon your specific person.

I think that perhaps every artist in the world should put this phrase at the end of whatever work they create...


And if anyone who reads this is it again and then go take a good close look in the nearest mirror.
Posts: 505
Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2002 12:44 am
Gender: Male

Post by bong »

I agree mossy, Vanilla Fudge is a great band. Well, more like one hit wonders.
Posts: 1118
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2002 10:28 pm
Location: Toronto

Post by MikeWaters »

i dont think they should of went if they were just going to leave. i mean...what fan hasnt heard "in the flesh" is on pink floyds most popular album(i think) twice! and im sure Roger Waters isnt racicst or prejiduce.(i really cant spell) if they knew why he wrote it and what he was feeling when he wrote it ect... then im sure the couple wouldnt mind(as much if not at all) what the lyrics of the song are.anyways its late im heding off to bed im not sure if this even makes sense.

User avatar
Posts: 331
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2002 12:38 pm
Location: Aide of Adel.

Post by Furious »

You have to laugh

when i heard The Wall for the first time, eithout any prior knowledge, i knew this to be a parody.

i mean

'That one's got spots'

if that line doesnt give the joke away then you're a fucking idiot.