Is it really a cancel culture or is it just a change done due to a changing culture?
Some of the more common things we’ve been hearing or reading about with either changing something in a show or movie or flagging it as “Content that could be considered offensive.” An example would be changes with the new movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy” that they supposedly removed Pepe’ Le Pew due to the character’s behavior could be seen as part of rape culture. This isn’t anything new and is considered cancel culture, but the decision was up to Warner Brothers due to content from older shows that were acceptable then but wouldn’t be considered acceptable now. Since this was done by Warner Brothers themselves, technically this isn’t cancel culture. This isn’t anything really new though.
Nowadays, we have become a different culture and things have been changing. It might feel more rapidly than expected but not necessarily. When you’ve gone and realized what is going on in many different shows, movies, comedians, etc., you start changing your view on what you have been entertained on. Can you still enjoy it? Sure, but knowing that there might be parts that used to not be cringy, are now so. Another question should be asked, do we realize what we are seeing, or hearing isn’t really a good thing and why are we enjoying it if it is? If we don’t realize it, might be one thing to a degree, especially in older shows and movies and even comedians. Yet, if someone states something that could be considered offensive, do we go on the defensive or do we wonder what is it that makes it offensive and see if there is something to it? Many will go on the defensive without thinking or caring of others but themselves or of the media that they loved for so long. I would think that these people will not have a clue that they are part of a darker part of that older culture if they cannot learn and care for how others may sometimes think and feel. Women who have been raped, might easily be able to see Pepe’ Le Pew as a problem, while men like me might still be able to find it funny, up until you realize what is going on and see it as a problem and have a choice in still watching it or not. This is what the new culture is trying to convey for others.
Let me give you an example of my own. Bill Cosby had been a good comedian, especially in the 60s to the 90s. I have a couple of his CDs and listening to a variety of his skits like about Noah and the Ark with God or some experiences he had in the subway or about having chocolate cake for breakfast. Now that it is known that he drugged women and then had his way with them, you can find one skit on a CD that almost describes what he was doing. The skit was called “Spanish Fly.” Before learning of what he might have been doing, I thought the way he represented it was funny and didn’t even think about what he was actually doing. The skit describes of finding something like Spanish Fly that makes women go wild and men love to see that kind of wild. In some ways, you had to assume that something was going on, but in the skit, nothing was happening between the woman and man that seemed problematic just a couple of certain types of grunts meaning a sense of wildness and men’s horny like needs as if he’s only watching. Yet, here it was, exactly about what he was doing, and what wasn’t mentioned was that the men weren’t just watching the women go wild, but they were being active with them. I now haven’t heard that skit in a few years now because I realized that this was really about rape culture and a representation of what he’s actually been doing! I realized this on my own, so I hadn’t really read or heard anything from anyone about that skit. It was my decision to not listen to the skit anymore due to this realization.
This would be the same with Pepe’ Le Pew in the sense that you have an overly sex crazed skunk that goes after any lady skunk anyway he wants to and no matter if the lady wants it or not and if she is trying to say no she still has her personal space taken away. At the time of viewing in the first place, it doesn’t seem like a problem. It is meant to be funny and possibly stereotypical of the French at that time, but knowing what it is about now, even before the supposed cancellation, it just doesn’t seem as funny anymore, but it shows that our rape culture is alive and well and wants to still be kicking strong. Women would most likely see this as a good representation of how men tend to violate them and those who have had that experience might be ticked off at seeing such things or totally ashamed to the point of breakdown. If they’ve seen it in the past, most likely, they will not be willing to watch Pepe’ anymore anyway.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a show or movie just because of it, unless it really is something that affects you. Many of us have changed our views on certain shows and movies, but still enjoy the movie or show as is because we realize the cultural significance and we still like to watch them. We can if we choose to keep watching or listening to something if we want to. We can still enjoy the Looney Tunes and see Pepe’ do his thing and realize that this was the culture back then. We can see the variety of other parts that could be considered too stereotypical and realize that it isn’t actually true but is what was seen at that time. So, we technically can enjoy older shows and movies for what they are, but we would also have to keep in mind that this is no longer acceptable and shouldn’t be acceptable.
Does this mean that if you are wanting to see Pepe’ do his thing that you are doing it just because he’s there and want to be reminded of nostalgia? Or is this about still accepting and going by an older culture that should no longer be accepted? What does this mean about you? It is something to think about when it comes to caring and thinking of others in a kinder light. The older culture is harsher and many times not very accepting of other cultures but their own. I’ve seen many other white people feel they have to protect the old culture from dying like it still should be the only culture worth being in when in fact, that culture is gone. We can still be reminded of what that culture used to be. We can still be reminded of our history of an older culture that wasn’t very good to others and kept various stereotypes of various races and ethnic types of people. Some people still love keeping their stereotypes that they’ve known since the 1970s, as if no changes have been made to our culture since then and haven’t learned to rid of those stereotypes that are no longer useful or good. I don’t know if this is an ego driven thing or not, especially if you are a white guy and feel like your sense of power has been reduced, when it really is just the power of others have increased but your power hasn’t been reduced. It is the comparing of how much power you still have over others that might really be the problem to look at.
Companies like Disney and Warner Brothers have done these changes and warnings in their shows and movies since they both have a huge library of shows and movies that would show the older cultures in their biggest light and their shadiest aspects too. At the time they came out, the shadiest wasn’t considered shady and just normal part of life and culture. These companies have realized that the culture has changed and want to make sure that people realize that some of their favorite shows and movies aren’t as good in behavior as they used to be seen as. In many ways, this is their way to be accountable and responsible for those aspects of the older movies and shows that can be offensive to some.
This isn’t just about movies or shows, but even toys have been hit. Mr. Potato Head made news recently because the company Hasbro, was thinking of getting rid of the “Mr.” in the name. Nothing else. Yet, what did we get? People screaming angry about the change to the point where everyone forgot that you can take any part of Mr. Potato Head and put them on Mrs. Potato Head. I remember the commercials back in the day about this and no one seemed to have complained about that at all. All Hasbro was thinking of doing was removing the pronouns. Since your Mr. Potato Head could have Mrs. Potato Head parts, they could be considered transgender or nonbinary now, it seemed like something that could have been done already just not with the pronouns and not with the labeling of transgender or nonbinary. Interesting how just a change of pronouns make people angry! What were they angry about? Not about the pronouns. They were angry because someone wanted to change something that had to do with the left and Progressives themselves. This is something the left has been doing especially online and just the idea of changing pronouns will just set some people off. In my other articles, I did mention that the left is a bit more toxic and forcing the idea to others and I think this is the reaction against them for doing so. It had nothing to do with the actual decision from Hasbro.
So, what have I been learning about these things? That times have changed, and some people are having a hard time being able to change their perspectives. Also, it seems like there is a lot of protecting going on for what is considered traditional views and feelings of something that has been around for a while. Yet, I do think there is a lack of understanding or caring for others when it comes to those aspects like rape culture. Women especially have had so much tough times because of that, that anything that reminds them of what happened to them or what can happen to another, makes them be not just offended but may take actual action due to the fact that people can still think this way and kids can be brought up to think this way still. We are a people who can be easily manipulated, and kids especially are very susceptible to this manipulation. Yet, adults aren’t immune and always tend to think twice, but can easily be taken in, maybe even easier than kids because sometimes kids will ask questions. Adults don’t always ask questions about something that has been seen as traditional. They expect it to be the way they’ve been taught and told and will not see any other way. They want to be kept being right and hate when people tell them off. Also, we’ve gotten to a point of finding many who do not want to be accountable for their actions, their opinions, and their defensiveness to something that can be considered harmful and problematic. This is something that I feel needs to be changed and looked at in a particular light. I’m not sure exactly how best to do so at this point, but it does still need to be taken seriously. I’m hoping that in the future, we will be able to bring something to light that will be more helpful since currently, it is just people reacting to something that others have done because they have reacted to something. Maybe one day we can act instead of always reacting?