The Cancel Wars

Recently, I wrote in regards to the Potato Head franchise.  Since then, things have snowballed.

What started with a couple potatoes that don’t have a gender in the first place segued into Dr. Suess books being “cancelled.”  Then Pepe Le Peu being “cancelled.”  Then a bunch of stuff on Disney+ being “cancelled.”

And through all of this, there is a very vocal group that is appalled and outraged and downright offended that other people seem to be…offended?  Let’s unpack this.

I already wrote about how I never gave a crap about my Potatohead’s gender when I was four, so why should you? Why should anyone?  It’s a GD potato with eyeballs.  But I am a literary person and a lover of all things Seuss, so let’s roll over there a second.

It’s six books, guys…and these were no “Cat in the Hat,” mind you.  Six underperforming books that have stereotypically racist imagery in them.  If you are defending that…what, exactly, are you defending?  What precious childhood memory is being eroded because you *just* realized we can’t be out here drawing Asians with lines for eyes?  It has nothing to do with the words and everything to do with the pictures.  Yes, they are offensive.  But you don’t get to cry and whine about people being offended when you yourself are taking offense to this supposed “cancel culture.”  Why is that more important to you than how other people feel?  Why are children’s books and toys something to get riled up about, but not the actual children we have locked in cages?

Let’s move on to television.  First of all, as any self-respecting Looney Tunes lover knows, those shorts were not all for children.  They ran in theaters between kid and adult movies alike.  So not every character is aimed at the 7-10 crowd, let alone the 4-7s.  Some are for adults, like Pepe Le Peu, a spoof on the “overly romantic European” trope of the day.  Now, I remember being a kid and thinking this was just as messed up at the Geordie Porgy rhyme (Georgie Porgy, pudding pie, kissed the girls and made them cry…um…excuse me?)  Like…she wasn’t interested.  She wasn’t even the same species.  There was no great love story there.  What, he eventually wore her down?  Kinda gross when you think about it.  So why, exactly, do you want your kids to watch that?

And Disney, the flippin gold-standard of children’s programming, DARES to put warnings before The Muppet Show??

Oh, you mean, that ONCE AGAIN adult program that you have morphed into children’s television? And people are mad because they moved some films off the kid’s profiles too, to encourage watching them with the whole family.  Again, I don’t know about you, but those crows in Dumbo were BLACK, and not just because they were crows.  They made it that way, deliberately.  Are you…are you not paying attention?

So when whole groups of people are marginalized in some way, that’s fine with you, so long as they don’t take your precious potatoes?

Except, it’s a trick, you know.

Everyone on the right is going to go out and buy that box that says Mr. Potatohead.  Then, when the new ones come out, everyone on the left is going to run out and buy the new Potatoheads.  Just like everyone is snapping up those 6 Suess underselling books now…along with record sales of his other books.  And how many folks will meander over to Disney+ out of sheer curiosity, and watch a little Swiss Family Robinson to see what the fuss was about?

You fools, they want your money.

They are riling up and dividing you so that you purchase their product and/or give them free publicity.  And we fall for it!  I’m just as riled right now as the next person, though my reasoning might be a little different.  I’m also just annoyed how the same type of people who tried to cancel the phrase “happy holidays” are railing against cancel culture now that it supposedly affects them…even though it definitely doesn’t.  Your life is not made worse by these decisions…someone else’s life might be made a little better, though.  Why are you so determined to deny other people that chance?  When did pride become more important than compassion?

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