Eastern Statesman

Student newspaper of Eastern Oklahoma State College

Opinion: Culture Vultures —  Canceling the classics

By Krimson Followill, Staff Writer

In today’s times, many people are outraged by most things that have existed forever. This so-called ‘cancel culture’ has become so prevalent and makes headlines every time a new piece of media or person is “canceled.”

The most recent pieces under fire in the media are the 1978 film “Grease,” cartoon skunk Pepe Le Pew, rap star Eminem, and the publishers for Dr. Seuss books who ceased the printing of a few outdated books.

The film “Grease” is being ridiculed for being misogynistic, slut-shaming, and a tad bit ‘rapey.’ So many individuals took hold of the line “Did she put up a fight?” from the musical number Summer Nights. Although this song has been around and heard by millions since 1978, people are just recently taking issue with it. I agree that some of the messages portrayed in the film are very outdated and wrong, however, this film is from a different time in history. On the other hand, it only came up when a few individuals spoke about their qualms with the film and someone else ran with “just ban it,” leading to the explosion of critics on the web arguing over it.

I never thought I would see the day so many people were bent out of shape over a flirtatious cartoon skunk, but 2021 is the year where anything goes, I suppose. Mr. Le Pew has been accused of being a little too handsy with the females he encounters, and some say his existence promotes rape culture. However, this skunk only gained traction due to them removing him from the newest “Space Jam” starring Lebron James. I’m uncertain as to why people were so angry over his removal; he wasn’t really a prominent character in the one starring Michael Jordan. Pepe Le Pew is flirtatious, but I don’t think I would take it as far to say he promotes rape culture. Maybe in his earlier appearances, but nowadays I would say it was blown out of proportion by both sides of the fence.

Perhaps one of the most famous rap stars in the world has divided two generations, Gen Z and the Millennials. As a “cusper” and an avid Eminem listener, I am going to have to side with the millennials on this. Gen Z has called for his cancellation because the messages in his music. However, if you listen to the artist outside of his lyrics, he doesn’t promote the sort of things in his music. Most of his songs were written about darker times in his life that he has grown past and tried to atone for. The people calling for his downfall are the same ones who listen to artists such as YNW Melly who is in prison for murdering two of his friends and staging it to look like a drive-by. His hit song “Murder on my Mind” was so popular, and he actually described the scene of his friend dying in his arms, but his music was still continuously streamed across the globe and used as an audio for millions of TikTok videos.

I believe the most recent of all of these “cancelations” is when the Dr. Seuss publishers said they were discontinuing some older books. People took that to mean they were getting rid of all the Dr. Seuss books because they were offensive. Yet, the books they were getting rid of were not even books that most people have ever heard of. Full blown adults that have not picked up a children’s book in 40 years were completely flabbergasted at the discontinuation. I am only 19 and I could not tell you the last time I thought about a Dr. Seuss book. People get so heated over something without putting a single bit of effort into the reasons behind what is going on or if it is even happening at all.

Whether things are actually being canceled or not is up for debate, but it is definitely sparking discussion between age groups. As outdated as some things are, I don’t believe censoring them is the solution. As a society, we should use them as guidelines to improve the types of things we produce as a whole. We can look back and learn from what used to be the norm and change our future. What good is history if you erase it? You learn from past transgressions and use them to your advantage.

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