Cancel the “Cancel Culture” nonsense - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Cancel the “Cancel Culture” nonsense

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I just want to clear things up. I saw a post from someone who said she didn’t want push back or criticism for her post. If we didn’t like it we could just unfriend her.

In her post she was disgusted by the “WAP” performance at the Grammys by Cardi B and someone I’ve never heard of … Megan Thee Stallion. I just Googled her. Anyway, it turns out the performance was a pervert’s dream show: two women grinding each other, wearing skimpy clothing. For perverts it had to be slightly disappointing because at no time did either woman get completely naked, nor were there any extreme closeups …. believe it or not sometimes I TMI myself.

So, the woman’s rant went on about how disgusting it was, that children shouldn’t be allowed to watch it — at this point I have to ask: do any parents of small children, under the age of 14, allow their children to watch awards shows without parental or supervisory oversight? Please tell me, parents, that you monitor what your children watch on TV — that it was a vulgar display of why American culture (or lack thereof) was destroying America. Many are too young to know this, and in fact it happened a year or two before I was born, but Elvis Presley was declared to be the same thing: a vulgar display of the decline of civilization. About 12 years later John Lennon declared The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ, which they were at the time, and the Beatles record burnings took place. 

The point is we can look back on many moments on music and pop culture that have been called a sign of the end, when they are nothing more than a sign of the times. Remember when Madonna shared big wet kisses with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. That happened during the Grammys as well. 

Then there was the big Super Bowl moment when Janet Jackson, with the assistance of Justin Timberlake, bared her breast for Super Bowl fans around the world. I saw that one and fell out of my chair. Justin Timberlake recently apologized for his actions with both Spears and Jackson. I don’t know what went on between him and Britney, but I saw the Janet Jackson moment and if anyone doesn’t believe that was scripted and rehearsed … anyway, it was deemed another vulgar display of the end of culture and civilization. 

If a culture can be ended by a young white man swiveling his hips on TV, or a singer/songwriter commenting on his band’s popularity or three women kissing or the sight of a woman’s bare breast, maybe that culture should be put to rest.

Did anyone declare it was the end of culture when a bunch of privileged white men wrote the U.S. Constitution in such a way that made slavery legal? No, despite it being the documentation of a less than perfect union. The revered Founding Fathers who were slavers made sure their vile institution was legal. We fought a civil war over that very same institution 72 years later and it was abolished as a result … sort of.

Because the South was never forced to fully give up its allegiance to “The Cause” oppression of blacks continues to this day. Much — maybe most — of our legal system is based on the oppression of minorities, especially African Americans. For decades Southern states were allowed to officially display the battle flag of a defeated insurrection and they were allowed to enact Jim Crow laws which oppressed African Americans and prevented them from fully participating in society, i.e. the right to vote. It’s going on today, by the way, with all the new voting restrictions that one federal judge said attacked African American populations with surgical precision. Add to that the grotesque gerrymandering and viola! Blacks are denied proper representation. 

One guy from Arizona even argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that without the new voter suppression laws the GOP would never win another election. Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin actually said — and then doubled down on — that he was not afraid of the January 6 insurrectionists because he knew they (mostly white racists) were law abiding folks that loved law enforcement, but had they been Black protestors, well by golly, that would have been cause for worry.

Anyway, the decline of civilization and culture? I don’t know. I believe that, like Janet Jackson, Britney, Madonna and Christina, and John Lennon and Elvis Presley before them, most people will forget about Cardi B and — I have to look up her name again — Megan Thee Stallion in a month or so until the next time we are confronted with a sweat inducing artistic performance. 

Oh jeez, I can’t believe I forgot Robert Maplethorpe’s controversy, and the banning of Allen Ginsburg’s Howl and William S. Burrows’ Naked Lunch, both of which are American classics everyone should read. I had the opportunity to see both of them give a spoken word performance in Milwaukee one cold night in Milwaukee, WI. My heart fluttered when Burrows stepped out on stage.

Oh jeez, and I forgot Hugh Hefner and Playboy magazine! I had a subscription, on and off, from 1975-2006.

Getting back to the ranting woman on Facebook … She was upset that Dr. Seuss, Pepe Le Pew, Dumbo, Space Jam, Aristocats and other forms of childhood entertainment had been “cancelled.”

First of all “Cancel Culture” is a made up term people use when something they like is discontinued or attacked for being insensitive, racist, misogynist or xenophobic (or all of the above). It’s especially troubling for comedians because many are no longer invited to perform at universities because some of their material is offensive to some people. Do we over-react at times? Yeah. If I’m not interested in something I don’t watch or listen to it. I also believe that if a performer is going to use material that some people find offensive they ought to step up and take the consequences, face down their critics with their own defense of their material. It’s one of the reasons I like Bill Maher, even though I often disagree with his views.

Here’s where I want to set the record straight: Dr. Seuss was not cancelled. His publishing company just pulled six titles that no one reads anymore because of their racist and xenophobic images and messages. We can still read Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and a bunch of other titles I can’t remember. Even as a kid I wasn’t a fan of Dr. Seuss.

Disney-Plus has’t cancelled any of their titles, they have just restricted them so young children cannot watch them without a parent or guardian. Let’s be even more honest; kids don’t want to watch those old Disney titles anyway. They are more interested in newer cartoons, the ones we see over advertised on TV. I would be surprised if children even want to see the Toy Story series. I may be wrong about that. Parents can set me straight if I am.

As for the stinky skunk from Looney Tunes, there hasn’t been a new Pepe Le Pew cartoon in decades, possibly because few of us thought it was funny or entertaining. He has made several cameo appearances in other cartoons, although his scene in Space Jam 2 has been cut. An old cartoon nobody likes or watches has been taken out of circulation, but nothing else has been “cancelled.”

Well, that’s not entirely true. The ultimate cancel culture, if such a thing exists, would be the 250-plus voter suppression laws proposed in 43 states, canceling the voting rights of millions of voters so a political party can maintain power. That is the worst cancel culture. What else have conservatives cancelled or tried to cancel? Colin Kaepernick comes to mind, then are the Dixie Chicks, who were now just the Chicks. Then there was the time they insisted we call French fries “freedom fries.” The public considered that a ridiculous idea and continued calling them French fries. I call them an addiction, especially those from the Golden Arches.

Dr. Seuss books are safe, the Disney titles we don’t watch any more are still on their streaming service. But the millions of people that have been, or will be denied their legal rights to vote, have been cancelled or are about to be kicked off the voter rolls and cancelled.The U.S. Senate needs to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to prevent those 43 states from enacting their 21st century Jim Crow laws.

Now I’m about to end this post. Not cancelled, just finished for now. I’m sure the MAGA Mules in Congress will say or do something stupid, or very stupid, again, giving me something to rant about in the future. 

About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.

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