Goodbye Sweet Caroline

Penn State University has removed Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” from the playlist at football games. The song was apparently a longstanding tradition:

The song, which might, weirdly, be vaguely inspired by Caroline Kennedy, has nothing to do with football, though it is pretty funny to shout the lyrics aloud.

The reason for the removal? Well it’s that whole “touching hands/reaching out/touching me/touching you” thing. In the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, it just seemed to administrators that the lines were in slightly bad taste.

Eh, okay. Whatever. Penn State actually changes the playlist every year so it’s not like this is real censorship. But this really seems like the wrong thing about which to worry.

Note that the “touching me, touching you here” refers to a consensual activity between two people of opposite gender and more or less the same age. It’s not, you know, bad touching.

(Though note that Caroline Kennedy was apparently 11 years old when Diamond first performed the song. The reaction of Mrs. Onassis at the time is not recorded. Diamond performed the song for Kennedy’s 50th birthday party.)

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer