By BEN R. WILLIAMS
I recently got a request to write a column about the latest outrage: the streaming service Disney+ has removed several movies from their Kids Profiles, including Peter Pan and Dumbo.
People are predictably up in arms about this, largely because they seem to think the movies have been completely removed from the streaming service, which is not the case. The movies are simply unavailable on user profiles set up for children. Adults can still watch the movies, and they’ll now come with a content advisory. Adults can also choose to show their kids the movies. And kids, being pretty smart, can probably circumvent the restriction anyway.
Why these particular movies? Well, Peter Pan includes the song “What Made the Red Man Red?” which, viewed through the lens of the 21st century, is a staggeringly racist scene that’s usually cut when the movie is shown in syndication.
Dumbo, meanwhile, features not only the wildly racist crow characters (their leader is named “Jim Crow,” for crying out loud), but also the “roustabouts” song, which features the only black human characters in the movie singing about how they never learned to read or write and “slave until we’re almost dead.” Not to mention the extended sequence in which Dumbo gets drunk and sees visions of nightmarish pink elephants, which actually takes up more screen time than the part where Dumbo learns to fly, which is ostensibly the point of the movie.
Anyway, people are upset and making a big deal over this because no one understands what’s actually happening, and God forbid people take five seconds to read an article and understand the full story because then they wouldn’t get to be angry anymore.
It’s all getting pretty tiring, isn’t it? In the last few weeks, I’ve written about Gina Carano, Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss, and now this. Every week, there’s a new hot-button “cancel culture” issue in the news, and every week, people work themselves into a high dudgeon because they don’t have the full story and don’t care to know it.
I’m not relishing the idea of writing the same basic column every week for the next four years, so instead, I’ve come up with a brilliant idea. Since every one of these outrages is basically the same, I’ve written a generic column that you can clip out of the paper and stick on your fridge. Read it once a week, and I guarantee it will remain relevant for years to come. I hope you enjoy!
Generic cancel culture outrage column
By BEN R. WILLIAMS
Boy, did you hear the latest? It seems that (media entity/corporation/public figure) is in hot water because (a press release was misconstrued by the media/a politician has no actual platform beyond keeping the base angry/they realized it’s no longer profitable to be openly racist, only quietly and subtly racist).
I did some research into this issue, however, and it turns out that (the media intentionally misconstrued this issue because it generates clicks on social media/the aforementioned politician is trying to distract everyone from the fact that they openly hate their constituents and vote against their interests/the thing being “cancelled” is obviously racist to everyone who doesn’t keep a dog-eared copy of “The Turner Diaries” on their nightstand).
People are plenty upset, because as we all know, (there is no room for nuance in 21st century American discourse/ditto/that’s all I’ve got).
Anyway, I hope this column answered some questions. Join us next week when we’ll address the cancellation of such treasured classics as (a toy that you assumed hadn’t been manufactured since 1965/a book you’ve neither read nor heard of/Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will.”)