Culture

And Then They Came to Cancel Pepe Le Pew

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

It should be clear now that the New York Times is waging culture war against everything and seeks to impose Year Zero. Its latest attack focuses on cartoon skunk Pepe Le Pew. Apparently, the amorous French skunk perpetuates rape culture.

Well, that’s a take. It’s a bit of a leap to go from a cartoon skunk to “this is how you should behave, young man.”

Skunks are by their nature reclusive and extremely smelly creatures. They spray a horrible-smelling musk when they believe they’re threatened but they smell bad all the time. Pepe isn’t written to be a behavioral role model. He’s a skunk. The comedy is that he’s so amorous while he smells so bad but doesn’t realize he has a BO problem, because he’s a skunk, and, by the way the target of his affections is a cat. That’s the joke. It’s not terribly sophisticated. Pepe Le Pew was the villain in the cartoon, anyway. He’s not depicted heroically and I can’t believe my life has come down to analyzing Pepe Le Pew cartoons. I never liked that character in the first place.

Growing up, we did have cartoons that were explicitly supposed to show behavior role models — Davey & Goliath. That stop-motion cartoon was produced by the Lutheran Church. We knew the difference between that and other shows and cartoons. The Three Stooges weren’t role models, either. They were intentionally idiots — white, male idiots. Gilligan was a white, male doofus. Looney Tunes did teach classical music, between hunting for wabbits and such, but it’s about silly laughs. Classical music is racist now anyway, according to the cancel culture shock troops. If you listen to Bach and Beethoven, report yourself for reeducation, comrade.

Pepe Le Pew will be leaving YouTube shortly and eBay will likely forbid you from selling your old DVDs of the cartoon. Amazon has a lot of products to memory-hole. Porky Pig — a fat-shamer who mocks speech impediments! — will be right behind him. That’s how this goes. The new Puritans will eventually get around to canceling everything they don’t like or have over-analyzed, even if they lose a battle every now and then. By the time they do cancel all the things, those today who think this or that isn’t an example of cancel culture either still won’t understand what’s going on or they’ll join right in on the digital book and film burning. Dennis Prager wrote about them all of two months ago.

But on second thought, here’s another take. Pepe Le Pew is a product of Hollywood and Hollywood really is terrible. Hollywood Babylon hates basic American ideals as much as the New York Times does. It’s full of awful people who did and do despicable things to get rich and obtain power, and they made a sewer of our culture along the way. Harvey Weinstein was their king and they’re really not worth defending. So now do “George Lucas appropriated Japanese culture to make Star Wars.” Because he totally did. Let’s see Mao’s House at Disney deal with that.

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