Cancel Culture Hell
The other night, my son asked a very interesting question: What is hell like?
Now… in case you’re wondering, this question didn’t come out of nowhere. We were actually discussing a Biblical perspective of life without God in it, which led to hell… I just don’t want you to think that we were sitting around the dinner table and the conversation consisted of:
How was school today?
Please pass the taquitos.
What’s hell like?
Anyway, when I was a boy, I was told that hell was like treading water in a giant lake full of boogers, snot and mucus. And, with the level of this grossness hovering just above your chin line, the devil himself would come along every so often on a jet ski and splash boogers, snot and mucus into your eyes, mouth, nose and hair.
This description left an indelible mark on my psyche, for sure!
But, perhaps more accurately, hell can be better described as an eternal existence without God. I mean, imagine that – a life completely devoid of The Creator and all of His divine attributes. A world without love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, justice, righteousness, gentleness, mercy, patience, grace, forgiveness.
Talk about a world I wouldn’t want to live in! Suddenly the boogers, snot and mucus don’t seem quite as bad!
But, today’s episode isn’t about me teaching my kids about hell. It’s about what all of us are teaching our kids regarding where our society is headed. Are we drawing nearer to an existence with or without these things? Or, to quote Schoolhouse Rock, are we working toward a more perfect union, or something else entirely?
And that’s when Saturday morning cartoons enter into the picture.
Saturday Morning Cartoons
As a kid, Saturday morning cartoons were one of my life’s highest priorities. In addition to Schoolhouse Rock, there were The Super Friends, Scooby Doo, The Fantastic Four, Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, and yes, even Speedy Gonzales and Pepe Le Pew. They were all staples of my entertainment, enjoyment and even education.
Oddly enough, they reinforced the lessons my parents and teachers taught me regarding teamwork, friendship, our nation’s history and goals, work ethic, dating… and the difference between rabbit season and duck season.
But, I also remember the hubbub surrounding The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – haters asserted that if kids filled their minds with these ultra-violent reptiles, then we’d grow up to become a violent generation obsessed with hand-to-hand combat and eating pizza. Instead, Gen X grew up to be balanced, active, and happy, according to a plethora of sociological studies – we even use big words like plethora and sociological! And, instead of becoming a generation hellbent on dropping anvils and pianos on our enemies, as those “evil” cartoons had instructed us, we’re the generation who brought the world Google, Wikipedia, Amazon and YouTube… (for better or worse). My point is: while we were entertained by the likes of the Muppet Show, we weren’t ever tempted to fall in love with chickens, frogs, or pigs.
In other words, as a generation, we have been able to parse apart the good from the bad, the comical from the serious, the virtuous from the absurd from within our entertainment… and therefore, we enjoyed it all… no matter how “problematic” these shows may appear today.
So, don’t give me any of this garbage about canceling Pepe Le Pew because some idiot may be influenced by his antics and become a rapist. Don’t ignorantly assume that any parent today is racist against Mexicans because they grew up watching Speedy Gonzales – heck, the odds are better that thousands of young track stars in the 70’s and 80’s positively influenced by the wise-cracking mouse… so, leave the little guy alone!
But, enough about animated “evils” that have been recently labeled as problematic and are being removed from our cultural lexicon. Let’s talk about real life “problems”.
In the past year, we have seen a California school district work to rename 44 of its campuses because they felt the school names paid tribute to people with discriminatory legacies. Senator Dianne Feinstein, conservationist John Muir, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa, and even Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were listed among the heroes that the San Francisco school board felt, “engaged in the subjugation and enslavement of human beings… oppressed women… led to genocide; or… diminished the opportunities of those amongst us to the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Seriously? Washington didn’t do enough to fight for our unalienable rights? When Honest Abe was assassinated because of his efforts to rid our nation of slavery, that wasn’t enough personal sacrifice for the betterment of the oppressed?
Or, let’s take a look at some current cultural icons who are paying the price for being declared living on the “wrong side of history” …
There’s Gina Carano – a favorite around our house for her work on the show The Mandalorian. Gina had the audacity to tweet a very disturbing photo from Nazi-era Germany of a woman screaming, crying and bleeding, running away from her attackers in her undergarments… her attackers, by the way, were children. Gina added the caption:
“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors… even by children.
Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews.”
Almost immediately after posting this blunt warning against hating our neighbors, the actress was fired by Disney, dropped by her talent agency and Hasbro even took her Star Wars action figures off of the market.
Thanks for saving Baby Yoda, Gina, but you ticked off the wrong 50% of American voters, so your acting career must be terminated. Who knows what societal damage you might incite with your tweets if you appear on any more episodes of a fictional show taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Then, there’s Chris Harrison, host of the show The Bachelor and all of its spin offs for 20 years. Now, let me just say that I have never seen a single full episode of Harrison’s Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Pad, nor any other bachelor-based / broadcast brothel type show. BUT there is no denying that Harrison did the heavy lifting while raking in millions of viewers and billions of dollars for ABC over two decades. But that all came to a screeching halt when he suggested that Americans should offer grace to a recent contestant and a chance for her to speak on her own behalf, when old photos of her surfaced attending a fraternity/sorority party while dressed in a Gone with the Wind style dress. Yup. That was her sin – attending a themed party that had nothing to do with glorifying slavery – dressed like Scarlett O’Hara. And, all Harrison did was say, “Let’s give the girl some time and some grace”. But the powers that be said, “Nope. Sorry, Chris. Frankly we don’t give a damn and we’re not giving her nor you any grace whatsoever. (But we will keep cashing the million-dollar checks from Netflix, Hulu and other syndication outlets that you continue to earn for us.)”
Other recent victims of this phenomena that have made headlines include Chris Pratt, Jeremy Renner and James Gunn… and those are just the ones related to Marvel movies. Each of them was either fired from their job or threatened with such, simply because of old tweets they may have posted, words they may have said long ago, or beliefs held by organizations they are tangentially aligned with… NOT because of anything they say, do, or believe that actually harm people.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Bill Cosby should be in jail for the way he drugged and raped those girls. Louis C.K. should, indeed, have faced the consequences of actually treating women in a beyond disgusting manner.
But comedian Kevin Hart never did anything worthy of being forced to step down from hosting the 2019 Oscars. All he did was tell racy, politically incorrect jokes that may not have aged well, but haven’t caused any real harm to anyone ever.
Cancel Culture IS Real
Now, I’m not pointing out all these instances of “cancel culture” to merely gripe and moan about people who agree with me losing in the culture wars to those on the other side. I’m pointing them out to reveal the tip of the iceberg of a real phenomenon that is sweeping across our country. Because, if your only news source has been the likes of CNN or NBC, you’d be convinced that incidents of people being ostracized from their professions, schools and the public square are merely figments of your imagination. Balanced news feeds are flooded with headlines spanning from “Cancel Culture Is Not Real” and “Cancel Culture Is A Myth” to “Cancel Culture Strikes Again”.
But, if we were to really dive into the evidence of celebrities and average Joe’s alike facing forced resignations after being labeled as “problematic”, the truth is that cancel culture is real, and it sucks.
There are simply too many powerful people making too much persuasive noise based on hypothetical what ifs rather than actual harmful behaviors, and innocent people are losing their jobs, getting kicked off their teams and are facing expulsion from school based on ancient tweets, bad jokes or innocent mistakes that are all completely harmless.
No child has ever watched Dumbo or Peter Pan, sang along with the crow or Indian characters, and then were inspired to grow up to become neo-Nazis. No one has ever played with an old Mr. Potato Head and was convinced to join the ranks of misogyny, bigotry or transphobia.
Yet, the reality is that an unreal small group of people feigning imaginary offense has been promoted to the roles of judge, jury and career executioner.
A World Without Grace
The world they are creating, and demanding that the rest of us reside in, is completely devoid of patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, faith, hope, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
In other words, these people who demand that our monuments be stripped down, our schools be renamed, our comedians be banned, and conservatives be cast out… these “cultural authorities” demand that we live in a world without love.
And, as I said earlier, an existence without love, without patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, faith, hope, mercy, grace, and forgiveness is quite simply a life without God, His presence, and all the precious things that stem from Him.
To put it more simply, they want us to live in hell.
They demand it.
Let me make that perfectly clear: In the current cultural climate, the Left has made themselves abundantly clear that there is no room for grace, patience, mercy or forgiveness. Once they deem you “guilty” or “problematic”, there is no dialogue, no grace, no live-and-let-live, just immediate excommunicado. And a world without grace, mercy, patience or forgiveness is, by definition, a hell on earth.
So, going back to my family’s dinner conversation, the real question isn’t “what is hell like”; but the question really is: Are we there yet?
And, if our kids are growing up in a society resembling a Godless living hell, what will we do as parents? Do we tell them to lay low and get along to get along? Instruct them to turn the other cheek until all four cheeks have been bruised and battered? Or, do we arm them with a foundational belief system that is so strong that when they put their foot down, their convictions stand firm, without compromise; but always with truth wrapped in love, patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, faith, hope, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
And maybe, just maybe, if enough of our kids hold these truths to be self-evident, then they will rise up to become tomorrow’s leaders, and they will lead us out of this cancel culture hell we’re living in today.
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