If the cancel culture army and the easily offended were serious about deleting a dubious history of offensive, violent, sexist, homophobic, or just plain wrong-ness in American pop culture in hopes of building back better, they would step up their game and get serious.
Right now it’s all just a distraction to divide and conquer.
Window dressing for the silent masses.
It’s easy to erase cartoon characters like Pepe Le Pew from history. His motives and intentions were pretty obvious to anyone who ever watched the French cartoon skunk chase down a female cat and smother it with unwanted hugs and kisses.
However, while he may have been a childhood influencer on the likes of Andrew Cuomo and Roger Ailes, Pepe is a side act. He won’t be missed by many and his vanquishing will be protested by even fewer.
Removing him won’t cure the ills that plague modern America. It’ll just make a few people feel better about themselves.
Cancel culture needs to aim higher to really make a statement. Start by admitting that Pepe was a bit player in a bigger world that featured a multitude of characters that, at times, behaved the exact same way or maybe worse.
Bugs Bunny should be at the top of the list. How many times did he dress in drag and plant a kiss on an unsuspecting Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam? I don’t even know what you would call that, but it seems wrong.
Fortunately for Bugs Bunny, he’s at the top of the food chain when it comes to cartoon characters. Deleting him from existence would certainly cause a ruckus.
Better to take out lesser knowns like the skunk.
That’s not going to change the world, though. In order to reach the hearts and minds of their comrades, culture zealots need to take aim at the big guns, the top shows, the biggest movies, and the most popular music.
That’s coming for sure, but it’s not here yet because they don’t want to draw that much attention to the movement. They don’t want to tip their hands too soon. They like to chip away at the stone from the shadows until it’s too late to do anything about it. Just a snip and clip around the edges while slowly drawing back the curtain.
To move too quickly — to unveil the master plan too soon — would surely spook even the most woke of the woke.
Personally, I’m tired of the sniper act from the shadows. If you’re going to wage war on history via pop culture, then, in the words of Kurt Russel’s Wyatt Earp, “get to fighting or get away.”
Canceling a book in Dr. Suess from 1937 with a questionable drawing put on paper 80-some years ago is weak and hardly the catalyst a good dystopian movement needs to rocket to the moon.
Just cancel everything now, starting with the 1980s. It’s a decade jam-packed with what some might argue are the most offensive and questionable films, songs, actors, rock bands, comedians, and books ever collected in one 10-year timeframe.
Start with the John Hughes classic, “Sixteen Candles.”
If you want to talk about negative stereo-types influencing a generation or two then look no further than this coming-of-age movie watched by millions and millions of people world-wide since its release in 1984.
It features one of the most memorably offensive characters ever put-on film — an Asian exchange student by the name of Long Duk Dong. Yes, he’s named, as Molly Ringwald’s character Samantha Baker says in disgust, “after a duck’s dong.”
And we are worried about drawings in a children’s book?
Dong, who can barely speak English, spends the movie acting like a clueless goof, getting drunk, climbing trees, and ultimately, scoring with a gym teacher from his high school.
Racism? Check. Pedophilia? Check. Hateful imagery? Check.
“Sixteen Candles” is just one of the offenders found in the 1980s. Just about every other movie made then contains something that will offend someone somewhere. From fat shaming (“Chunk” forced to shake his jelly rolls to gain entrance into the house in “The Goonies”), to blatant racism (Clark Griswold telling his family to “roll ‘em up,” after taking a wrong turn into a black neighborhood in St. Louis (just before a scene where several black men steal Clark’s hub caps as he’s asking them directions back onto the highway), to homophobia in just about every comedy of the decade.
I could offer hundreds of pop culture candidates for deletion from that period.
But why stop there? There are plenty more examples from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 90s, the 2000s. You don’t have to look very hard to find something offensive about anything anywhere from any decade.
There is enough out there to distract us from reality for years and years.