Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a Broadway smash hit that has grossed more than $1 billion in less than a decade. It’s based on the lives and times of the founders of these United States. Because those founders were far from perfect (spoiler: so are we), there is now a movement on Twitter to cancel Miranda’s play, Hamilton.
Hamilton is under fire from left-leaning activists who say the Tony award-winning musical is a relic from a less-woke era that glorifies a slave-trader and other founding fathers who have recently fallen out of favor.
“…less-woke era…” Hamilton isn’t the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind (which has also faced a cancel threat from HBO). It came out in 2015! And it has made many non-white American actors and theater folks very rich. It has sparked renewed interest in American history. But now some hard leftists who cannot abide anything impure by their own reckoning existing want it canceled.
Cancel culture is coming for all the things. A Houston real estate association canceled the use of “master” for the largest bedroom in homes. Cancel culture has already returned for the NFL’s Washington Redskins, and for the first time owner Dan Snyder says he’s thoroughly reviewing the name he has reviewed several times before. But that was before major sponsors started dropping their support for the NFC East’s most evil team.
Monday, cancel culture came for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
So, yes, it bothers me that the term “Fighting Irish” is used for a nickname. It bothers me that its origins are based on stereotypes, and trying to make the Catholic team seem lesser than their opponents. It bothers me that their mascot and logo are a leprechaun with his fists up like he’s John L. Sullivan.
I’ll continue to simply refer to them as “The Irish.” This embraces the cultural ties to Irish Americans, without using an outdated stereotype. The superimposed ND is a good logo. We don’t need a fighting leprechaun.
The author proposes this after spending several paragraphs explaining why so many people aren’t offended by the “Fighting Irish” in any way, and how that nickname is why the small Catholic school in the Midwest has gained such a national following. So what’s Irish for “Karen”? Cáitín, according to the Googles.
Cancel culture recently came up against the Texas Rangers baseball team, when journalist Doug J. Swanson smeared them as “brutal and racist” in a forthcoming book. Swanson isn’t a historian or a scholar, and his book has already come under heavy criticism from historians and scholars for being…wrong. Or at least, wildly unfair to a complex and storied organization.
One of those historians is Dr. Jody Edward Ginn. Ginn is the executive director of the Texas Rangers Heritage Center; was a consultant on the gritty and great Netflix account of the hunt for Bonnie and Clyde, The Highwaymen; and has written a strong book, prior to Swanson’s emergence as the Rangers’ enemy, called East Texas Troubles. Ginn knows the full Texas Rangers history from the time of its origins to today far better than most.
The Houston Chronicle reviewed East Texas Troubles in 2019 and found a story that does not square at all with a one-dimensional negative view of the Texas Rangers (the law enforcement agency from which the baseball team derives its awesome name).
Ginn’s story picks up in the 1930s. The Rangers had a checkered history but had come under reform-minded leadership looking to professionalize the service. A gang called the McClanahan-Burleson gang was terrorizing people of all colors and backgrounds in the piney woods of East Texas. It took the cleaned-up Rangers to clean house and deal with the gang, and they got results. Ginn says that “in 1935, in Deep East Texas, white juries convicted white men solely on the testimony of black victims and witnesses.”
How? The book offers the details of the Rangers’ success that cancel culture refuses to study or acknowledge. Nothing is as one-dimensional as the cancelers would have anyone believe. And believe it or not, while the Texas Rangers cannot seem to win a World Series, the Texas Rangers are one of America’s most respected and pre-eminent law enforcement agencies today. This was not always the case, but it is today and has been for close to a century now. The baseball team was right to face down the cancelers and keep the Rangers’ name, while Love Field airport in Dallas did the wrong thing by removing a Rangers statue from one of its terminals on the sole basis of Swanson’s as yet unpublished book.
Across cult-TV sitcom Community’s six-season run, the motley study-buddy group dealt with life at deeply sub-par Greendale Community College. Greendale was as forward-thinking as Oberlin and wanted to accommodate and include everyone in its mascot without any possibility of ever offending anyone anywhere. It couldn’t use any animals, and ethnicity of any kind was out (even in 2009, when the show debuted).
So for its mascot, Greendale came up with…this terrifying thing.
“Say hello to our ethnically neutral mascot,” Chevy Chase’s wildly offensive character, Pierce Hawthorne, says. “The Greendale…Human Being!”
It was colorless, featureless, and deeply unsettling.
This is where we’re headed if the cancelers aren’t canceled, soon.