I’ve been trying to figure out what all is going on in the world of cancel culture.
The latest news concerns Pepé Le Pew. Le Pew was dropped from a Space Jam sequel because he and his cartoons contributed to rape culture.
Before going on, I want to say that Le Pew was a comic genius who was only portraying a role in a fictional series of films. He himself was no more a rapist than Anthony Hopkins was a psychopathic cannibalistic serial killer, so far as we know.
I’ve been reading synopses of Le Pew’s work, and I’m amazed how many cartoons he made. I saw him between features at movies in the 1950s and ’60s. Apparently, I’ve only seen a tiny fraction of his oeuvre.
For those too young to know him, Pepé Le Pew was a cartoon skunk who spoke bad French and regularly fell in lust for a French female black cat who invariably had gotten a white stripe painted down her back, triggering Pepé’s hormones. He chased her throughout each cartoon, gave her unwelcome hugs, smooched her incessantly, all the while stinking, because he’s a skunk, so she’s dying slowly from the stench.
In the course of reading up on the history of Le Pew, my favorite revelation had to do with how the cartoons were translated for French audiences: They had Le Pew speaking bad Italian.
I also learned Warner Brothers had earlier canceled Elmer Fudd’s rifle. I learned this the same week that I learned that in the pro-gun community, a Fudd is the name given to a gun supporter who specifically supports guns only for the purpose of hunting, not for self-defense.
I wish the idea of canceling cartoons had caught on when I was growing up. They could have canceled that horrible, abusive bird Woody Woodpecker in 1953, and spared me a lot of anguish.
And Roadrunner. What a sadistic psycho. All they had to do to take him out was let Wile E. Coyote catch him just once.
The other cancel culture situation I’ve been trying to figure out this week is the whole Harry and Meghan, Oprah and Piers Morgan, and various named and unnamed members of the remaining royal family situation. Who’s canceling whom?
Honestly, I thought Piers Morgan was already permanently canceled years ago. But it turns out I was tricked by a Mandela Effect aided by wishful thinking. Watching his performance on “Good Morning Britain” recently was therefore a bit surprising. He’s still around? Well, OK. But just then his co-host reminds him — of his self-created fiction — that he dated Meghan and that she dumped him for Harry, and next I find out Piers Morgan is no longer with “Good Morning Britain,” after walking out.
So, again, who’s canceling whom? He started out trashing Meghan for calling out racism in the royal family, so the intent appeared to be to sideline her, and he ends up sidelining himself, at least for now. I feel like it’s 1963 and I’m watching Saturday evening wrestling on KIRO TV. The guys with the masks are the villains.
But that’s all just a sideshow. The real news in all this is the world has only just learned this week the British royal family is a racist institution. Because someone asked how dark Harry and Meghan’s baby Archie might be.
Now. She said this in the same interview with Oprah in which it came out that she had never Googled Prince Harry. I guess she has also never Googled “British royal family,” “House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,” “Windsor” or a dynastic monarchy in general.
The concept of a dynastic monarchy, as I understand it, is to endeavor to keep one limited genetic line in power in a country. Maybe that’s an oversimplification, but I am really sure that racism is a driver whenever people set about perpetuating their royal institution. “These ones have the good genes; more of these genes, please.”
As the nature of the enterprise at its core is the preservation of a bloodline, if proof were to emerge that the British royal family is not racist, it would be astounding. We would all pore over the details of the proof looking for the error that must surely lie somewhere within it.
That was a mathematics joke. Actually, this is not mathematics, so proof has nothing to do with any of it.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more in the Mar. 17-23, 2021 issue.