Not since Marge Simpson busted out her best C+C Music Factory impression has a performance of “Everybody Dance Now” resulted in such mortification. Time was, Americans thought of Canada as a peaceful place. America’s hat was where you went to enjoy beautiful wildlife, friendly people, and some of the finest music ever created by humans. But now it seems that neighborly mentality is dying, crushed between the pages of a French-English translation dictionary in a Quebecois bookshop. The Montreal Gazette reports it is no longer even safe to sing a song in your own car: Police in that city ticketed a man for singing along to C+C Music Factory’s ’90s hit “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).”
Taoufik Moalla, 38, is a father of two and apparently a devout fan of old-school B-boy jams, as he popped a CD of the track into his car’s player last month while driving to the grocery store to buy water, presumably in preparation of all the sweat he was gonna be made to expend. While he was singing and jumping to the rhythm—jump, jumping to the rhythm—four police officers surrounded his car and demanded his license and registration. After asking why he had been stopped, Moalla says the following exchange took place:
“They asked me if I was screaming. I said, ‘No, I was singing.’ I was singing the refrain ‘Everybody Dance Now,’ but it wasn’t loud enough to disturb anyone.”
While this is far from the first time someone has confused the refrain to “Gonna Make You Sweat” with a person screaming, the police refused to accept Moalla’s singing defense, or even acknowledge the beats and lyrics to make you shake your pants. Instead, he was given a ticket for $149 for “screaming in a public place.” Moalla is less than thrilled, and his urge to put his butt up, hands in the air, and say yeah has almost certainly waned. He’s contesting the ticket, and not just because he was in his car, driving, when the cops stopped him, which seems like a weird definition of “public place.” “I wasn’t screaming,” he adds. “I was singing. In my car.”
We at The A.V. Club support Moalla’s mission to legitimize his actions in the eyes of the Canadian law. C+C Music Factory is a reminder to us all that we should work hard, play hard, and contest unjust tickets hardest of all.