So much to talk about lately.
It's more than a little distressing to find friends echoing Fox News talking points verbatim. One of my friends shared a "Skunk's Lives [sic] Matter! Save Pepe Le Pew!" meme. I asked him if he really believed that Pepe Le Pew set a good example for kids.
"We survived it, didn't we?"
That reminded me of nothing so much as those people who think we should bring corporeal punishment back because "I was spanked and I didn't turn into a monster"...you believe in beating defenceless children. Care to reconsider how you turned out?
I'm not saying my friend and former colleague feels this way. He's been married a long time and I know for a fact he treats women with respect. So I tried a different tack, answering "we survived it, didn't we" with
Ask the women of your acquaintance. Every single one of them has been catcalled, groped, or worse -- which is what Pepe teaches kids to do.
I thought that would end it, but no:
you're right. Kids today are better off playing grand theft auto and listening to rap "music", with graphic content that would make Pepe look like a fucking saint!
I watched Animaniacs from ages three to about eight. Grand Theft Auto wasn't around back then: Pong was the only game in town. But I can state with confidence that if GTA had been a thing, and further assuming I was a completely different person who wanted to pretend to snort cocaine off dead prostitute breast, or whatever you do in that game...I wouldn't have been allowed to. I doubt he let his little kid play GTA either.
And who says I think Grand Theft Auto is acceptable, either? I don't, for what it's worth, but I tend to keep that opinion to myself. But I'll say this.
I did a project on the evils of television in high school (because I've hated television for even longer than that). One of the papers I cited is behind a JSTOR paywall, so you'll have to trust me. Before television, the Inuit had a very limited idea of how "the south" lived. They themselves had a communal society: children were never punished, the "justice" system heavily leaned towards restitution and reconciliation, and violence in their world was almost unheard of. Then television came. From the most innocent slapstick comedies, children learned that hitting people could be funny. It wasn't long before elders were confronted with children they must have thought were evil changelings, getting in fights and destroying community property. People are products of their surroundings.
As for music, well.
Another e-friend of mine wrote an excellent essay largely concerning the hit of 2020, Cardi B's "WAP". Those letters stand for "Wet-Ass Pussy", featuring Megan Thee Stallion (yes, 'Thee') and yeah, the lyrics are not safe for work. children or life. For what it's worth and if you dare...
I hate this song. Possibly more than any hit since Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair"...wait. Steeling myself and listening to that again, it's easily ten times better than "WAP". "Hair" has three chords. "WAP" doesn't even have one. Hell, "WAP" doesn't even have a melody to speak of. It's spoken rap over a one-note loop (a guy singing "there's some whores in this house" over and over and over and over and...) I'm not sure there's ever been a more boring track topping the charts.
I do not hate the song because of the lyrics. Actually I kind of like the lyrics, as filthy as they are, mostly because it's a woman writing them and singing them. I'm not surprised conservative men are disgusted: to them, women aren't supposed to enjoy sex and they sure as hell aren't supposed to be empowered by it. As far as I'm concerned, anything that upsets conservatives is at least provisionally a Good Thing.
No, I just hate the song because musically, the song sucks. If you want a trio of sexual empowerment songs from a queer, pan, Black woman that are actually musically significant, try Janelle Monáe - "PYNK", "I Got The Juice", and "Screwed". That last one, in particular, has a Prince vibe and some damn good lyrics. Or go back to Tin Pan Alley. Like this. "Get 'em from the Peanut Man (Hot Nuts)". Women singing about their sexual needs: nothing new.
None of these songs are aimed at the same age group Pepe Le Pew was. I'm not naive enough to imagine kids don't hear Cardi B well before they probably should, but I will guarantee you she's not the soundtrack to a Saturday morning cartoon.
Can we admit that, just like the six Dr. Seuss books pulled by the publisher -- the ones nobody had ever heard of before -- nobody is actually going to miss Pepe Le Pew? Even putting aside the rapey cringiness--well, I can't, really, because there was nothing else to that character at all. He was a one dunk skunk. Maybe that's the most disturbing thing of all: Pepe Le Pew makes ignoring the whole notion of consent boring.
"It's just a cartoon skunk". Yeah, it's just a toy potato, but you're obsessed with giving it a penis and scrotum for some reason.
I'll call out my side when we get ridiculous, and I did that today, too. I found a post that said:
"Men opening doors for women is a symbol of aggressive patriachy. Men are saying 'you may enter or leave this place, but only on my say-so....A man opening and holding a door for a women is subconsciously reminding her that all men are in control of a woman's choices."
I have a suggestion involving sex and travel.
You know what would be aggressive patriarchy? NOT holding a door open for a woman. Holding the door SHUT while she tries to open it. What if a woman holds a door open for me? That's called politeness and I do it for everyone, no matter the gender...
It turns out this comes from an incel page on Facebook, made up to look like it's a women's page. Nobody is seriously suggesting holding a door for someone is an act of toxic masculinity. But someone or someones is trying very hard to get to you believe this is the latest unacceptable thing the Left is trying to "cancel". I last saw this a couple of months ago, when for the third year running there were widespread reports that Santa Claus needed to be gender-neutral. This idiocy is only real insofar as it was repeatedly manufactured out of a St. Petersburg troll farm. These memes spread on Facebook, nobody bothers to check the truth of them, and all of a sudden you have conservatives outraged at "the Left's latest target". There are cranks on the Left who say things like this. Nobody takes them seriously. But these memes gain traction precisely because conservatives do not, perhaps can not, understand why anything should change. Look at the dozens and dozens of lawmakers in the United States doing everything they possibly can to bring Jim Crow back. Some seventy million people want government to be of, by and for straight white men and nobody else. If people don't even blink at stripping voting rights, why would they even deign to notice all the insidious racism and misogyny that made them into what they are?
Look at that Atlanta spa shooter, the latest advertisement for GUNS! GUNS! GUUUUJUUUUUUUNS! Not a racist, he says, after killing six Asian women and two white women. Bullshit. You know damn well he sought out Asian women, because Asian women are common fetish objects for many men. And how is misogyny any better, hm?
Wonder if he learned women were sex objects from Pepe Le Pew.