June 10, 2020



Those are the pragmatic reasons I buy physical media. But there’s a third, increasingly important one.

I own the first ten seasons of The Simpsons on DVD. The season three premiere is an episode called “Stark Raving Dad.” It features guest star Michael Jackson playing a mental patient who wasn’t Michael Jackson (but believed he was). It was a sweet, funny, memorable episode, and Jackson’s involvement wasn’t even confirmed/admitted until years later.

In 2019, upon the launch of the Disney+ streaming service, “Stark Raving Dad” was missing, despite a major pre-launch selling point of the service being the inclusion of the entirety of the Simpsons canon.

Why was this episode missing? Simple. The producers no longer felt comfortable with Michael Jackson’s involvement, given the allegations against him detailed in Leaving Neverland.

Most interestingly, producer James L. Brooks said of the controversy: “I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.”

I’m not here to defend Michael Jackson. I use this example to point out that even content that is considered substantively “permissible” may be deleted from existence because of an association. I also get pretty nervous when someone unironically says, “I’m against book burning, but . . . “

I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, as I’ve watched an op/ed by a sitting U.S. Senator that represents a majority viewpoint cause an explosion at the New York Times, and Drew Brees have to issue multiple apologies after stating the apparently-now-forbidden opinion that he believes kneeling during the National Anthem is disrespectful.

As online conservatives seemingly hyperbolically warned us for years, and which Andrew Sullivan astutely informed us in 2018, the campus culture has engulfed society at large. Another prophet on this front was Peggy Noonan, who warned us last year that Cultural-Revolution-esque struggle sessions would be here soon enough.

Now, they’re here.

—“Buy Physical Media,” Tom Garrett, Ricochet.com.

Chaser: ‘Gone with the Wind’ pulled from HBO Max until it can return with ‘historical context.’

—CNN, today.

Hangover: Today would have been Hattie McDaniel’s 127th birthday. Here is her Oscar speech after becoming the first African American to win an Academy Award, for..Gone with the Wind:

Presumably, Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles is on the shortlist for the Memory Hole as well. As John Nolte warned in 2014 at Big Hollywood: ‘Blazing Saddles’ Review: Buy a Copy Before the Left Burns Them All.

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